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If you’re new to cloth diapering, and feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry! We’ve created a guide designed to be both comprehensive and concise. Browse through the most common questions about cloth and you’ll have the hang of it in no time! If you have any questions, or are confused, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.


Baby

Disposable diapers contain traces of dioxins, a carcinogenic toxin. The powder substance in disposables that absorbs liquid, sodium polyacrylate, is a super absorbent polymer which was banned from tampons due to links with toxic shock syndrome. Cloth diapers are simply a more natural option and natural = good!

Cloth diapers contain blowouts better than disposables, which means fewer outfit and bedding changes.

Environment

Canadian and US landfills absorb over 41 billion disposable diapers a year. Each diaper is anticipated to take 250-500 years to decompose.

Your Pocket Book

It’s rare that making a more environmentally sensitive choice actually saves you money. Although the upfront investment is more, cloth saves most people one to two thousand or more in the long run.

There are loads of misconceptions about cloth diapers. Modern cloth truly is easy. Not convinced? Listen up:

Fiction

Fact

You have to scrape poop

Check out flushable liners or diaper sprayers. These modern inventions make handling poopy diapers an absolute breeze.

Cloth diapers are bulky

There are loads of diaper styles on the market. Yes, some are bulkier. If a trim fit is important to you, you can have it!

Cloth Diapering ‘on the go’ is hard

It’s easy! Put a few diapers in your diaper bag along with an odor and waterproof wet bag, and you’re set to go. When you get home, just toss the diapers and wetbag right into your pail.

I’ll prick my baby with pins

Although diaper pins are still available, they’re really a thing of the past. Most diapers close with either aplix (Velcro) or snaps. If you use prefolds, the snappi makes fastens easy as pie.

Cloth Diapers leak

If you have a good fit and change your baby regularly, leaking is not an issue. Many parents find newborn poop is actually better contained in cloth diapers rather than disposables!

Cloth Diapers are expensive

Using cloth diapers can actually save you over a thousand dollars depending on the kind of cloth diapers you choose.

You have to do laundry non-stop

Using cloth diapers means an additional 2-3 loads of laundry per week. With all the laundry you’ll be doing for your lil munchkin, you’ll barely notice it. Just empty your pail liner and diapers right into the machine and press start…it’s super easy.

My baby won’t sleep through the night

There’s a nighttime solution to keep every baby comfortable. You can absolutely use cloth diapers for naps, long trips, and overnight no matter how heavy your baby wets.

Wipe away your visions of diaper pins. The cloth diaper world has revolutionized. It’s hip, trendy and loads of fun. Great patterns and color options make for super cute tushies! We explain three of the most common cloth diapering systems below.

  1. Diaper + Cover
  2. Pocket Diapers
  3. All-In-One Diapers

SYSTEM 1: Diaper + Cover

The cloth diaper plus cover system may be the original, but don’t let that make you think it’s in any way dated. Tons of options and great prints make this system a popular choice.

Diaper Types

Prefold/Flat – Prefolds or flats are available in a range of options, including bleached cotton, unbleached cotton and hemp/cotton blends blends. With the innovation of modern diaper covers designed to control leaks, prefolds are a great, affordable option. They can be simply folded in three lengthwise creating a long rectangle and laid inside a cover. Alternatively, you can wrap it on the baby and keep it in place with an easy to use snappi (goodbye diaper pins!) and then put a cover on top.

Examples: Bummis Organic Cotton Prefolds

Fitted – Fitted cloth diapers resemble a regular disposable diaper. Snaps or velcro make for a quick and easy fasten and gathered elastic legs help contain messes. Fitted diapers are a popular and easy to use choice, particularly for newborns and for overnight solutions in older babies. They require a cover overtop to make them waterproof.

Examples: Kissaluvs Cotton Fleece Fitted

Diaper Cover Types

All of the diaper types listed above require a diaper cover overtop or else baby’s clothes (and yours too!!!) will be a tad wet ; )

The most common diaper covers are made of the following materials:
PUL – Polyurethane Laminate is waterproof and stands up well to regular use
Wool – A popular choice given the natural fibers, its breathability and the ability to repel water.

Also fitting into the Diaper + Cover category are the new hybrid systems such as the bumGenius flip or GroVia . Hybrid systems, also often referred to as all-in-two diapers, allow you to simply tuck or snap absorbent material into a cover with your choice of either a reusable soaker (organic / stay dry) or a disposable insert. The covers can be re-used multiple times without washing provided they are not soiled. These systems are essentially a modern take on the traditional prefold + cover system.

SYSTEM TWO: Pocket Diapers

Pocket cloth diapers most typically consist of a waterproof outer PUL cover and a microfleece, microsuede or cotton interior which touches the baby’s skin.

Pocket diapers have an opening either at the front or back in which you can add extra stuffing between the outer PUL layer and inner fleece/suede lining. The “stuffing” is referred to as an insert and provides the absorbency for the diaper. There are a wide range of inserts available, some of which are made of natural fibres (e.g., hemp) and others which are not (e.g., microfiber). You can tailor absorbency to suit your little one’s needs.

Once stuffed, these diapers go on and off just like a disposable. Some of the brands are even made so the inserts agitate out of the diaper in the wash all on their own!

One of the benefits of pocket diapers is that the diaper dries more quickly than traditional all-in-ones in which the absorbency is fully sewn into the diaper itself. Pocket diapers also allow you to customize absorbency for times of greater need (e.g., long car trips or overnight) versus general daytime use when changes are more frequent.

Examples: bumGenius 4.0, FuzziBunz

SYSTEM 3: All-in-Ones

All-in-One cloth diapers are typically considered the easiest diaper to use. They are in fact the closest to a disposable. Traditional all-in-ones typically consist of an outer waterproof layer, typically made of PUL, and a microfleece, cotton or microsuede inner liner that touches baby’s skin. In a traditional All-in-One, the absorbent material is sewn directly into the diaper between the PUL outer and the soft inner lining that touches the baby’s skin. This means that All-In-Ones can simply go on and off like a disposable. The primary drawback with All-in-Ones tends to be the drying time. In Pocket Diapers, the absorbency material is separate, and stuffed in and out of the pocket area, which lends faster drying times.

Examples: bumGenius Elemental, Tots Bots Easy Fit

What is the difference between a liner, doubler and insert?

Liners are placed between the baby’s skin and the cloth diaper. Liners provide a quick and easy solution to handling poop and help protect the diaper if you are using diaper creams. Fleece liners can also be added to provide a stay-dry feel for baby if your diaper is made of natural fibers.
Inserts are the absorbent part of pocket diapers. They are available in a wide range of textiles including microfiber, hemp, bamboo, etc. You can use one or more inserts per pocket diaper and even combine different kinds such as pairing a microfiber insert with a hemp insert.

Doublers are designed to provide an extra absorption boost to a diaper. They are typically placed on top of the diaper, next to baby’s skin. However, they could be added into a pocket opening as well, similar to inserts.

What is the least expensive diapering system?

The least expensive option is to use prefolds with covers.

Which cloth diaper is as easy as disposables?

The easiest diapers to use are all-in-ones or pocket diapers. Daycares, dads and family members often like these diapers best. If you choose a diaper with an aplix closure (velcro) they're as easy as pie!

Which cloth diaper is best for newborns?

One of the absolute best newborn diapering systems is a kissaluvs size 0 fitted plus a diaper cover (Thirsties Size 1 Duo Wrap or Bummis Super Brite Newborn). The kissaluvs fitteds are incredible at containing newborn poop. Pair it with a diaper cover that features leg gussets for virtually leak proof system.

We do not necessarily recommend one-size diapers from the get-go. One-size diapers are ultra-convenient, particularly if you have more than one child in the diaper stage. However, many one-size diapers do not fit babies well until they are around 11-14 pounds (approximately 2-3 months of age). Now, every baby is different, but we generally suggest waiting until you’re out of the newborn stage to add a ton of these diapers into your stash. Please keep this in mind as an ill-fitting diaper will be prone to leaks and the source of much frustration!

Some sized diapers (in most cases you only need 2 sizes from birth to potty training) fit well right from the newborn stage. Check out the Thirsties DUO.

Tell me about one-size cloth diapers. They seem like the perfect option, fitting from birth right up to toilet training.

Fitted diapers, cloth diaper covers, pocket diapers, and all-in-one diapers are available in both sized options and one-size options, varying by manufacturer. One size cloth diapers work with your growing baby and can even be used on multiple diaper-wearing children in the home of different ages. The majority of diapers on the market today, not to mention the most popular cloth diapers, are one-size systems.

There are however, some drawbacks to one-size cloth diapers. Many one-size diapers do not fit newborns well until they are around 11-14 pounds (approximately 2-3 months of age). Similarly, they may fit too small on toddlers who have not yet reached potty training. This has led some companies, such as Thirsties, to create a two-size diaper, predicated on the idea that a two-size approach ensures an optimal fit for the wee-est baby up to the biggest toddler.

One-size diapers typically will not offer as trim of a fit as a sized diaper will. Simply put, there’s more material. This does not interfere with the function of the diaper itself, but is something to consider if you’re after an uber trim fit.

Overall, one-size cloth diapers are fantastic; you just need to keep in mind the potential fit issues that can occur on a newborn or large toddler.

I’m interested in organic cloth diapers.

Many parents are now choosing to place natural fibers next to their baby’s bottom. Crops such as hemp, bamboo, and cotton can be grown organically, offering parents a very earth-friendly natural cloth diapering option.

One of our favorite organic cloth diapers is the bumGenius Elemental. The diaper offers a super trim fit and dries quickly given the diaper design. The Bumgenius has a PUL outer, so if you are looking for an all-natural system, you may want to consider pairing an organic prefold with a wool cover for example.

Natural fibers do not offer the stay dry feeling that fleece does. However, feeling wetness is not bad for the baby. In fact, it often helps little ones toilet train earlier.

Which diapers should I use for daycare?

We highly recommend keeping it as simple as possible for daycare. Choose either all-in-one or pocket diapers with aplix (Velcro), not snaps. If you go with pocket diapers, make certain they are sent to daycare pre-stuffed.

We also recommend laying disposable diaper liners in each diaper ahead of time so handling poopy diapers is a breeze. An odor and waterproof wetbag large enough to hold a day’s worth of diapers is also a must have.

Which cloth diaper is best for night time?

Finding a night-time solution that works for you is always possible, whether your baby is a super-soaker or not.

Typically, two options work best for nighttime, irrespective of the cloth diapering system you use during the day.

(1) Pocket Diaper. Take a pocket diaper and add two to three inserts. Be careful not to over-stuff so that it doesn’t fit properly (and potentially leaks), but you want to ensure you have enough absorbent material to handle a long night stretch. We typically recommend that you use a combination of microfiber and hemp inserts. Place the microfiber insert on top of the hemp insert and stuff both into the pocket opening. Microfiber is a fast absorbing material, which will soak up wetness from your baby quickly. Although hemp absorbs more slowly, it can hold an incredible amount of liquid. Alternatively, use a flip organic cotton insert in the pocket. This is an incredibly absorbent insert that should stand up to a night!

(2) Fitted + Cover. Fitteds offer great absorbency and if you pair it with a wool cover for great breathability and absorbency (wool can hold up to 30% of its weight in liquid) you'll have no problems. This is our fav! Check out the Bumboo Bamboo Fitted cloth diaper - so soft, so absorbent.

Which cloth diaper is the trimmest?

Cloth Diapers vary in their trimness. If a trim fit is important to you, or you’re looking to add a few diapers to your stash perfect for under jeans, then we recommend you try one of the following diapers:

  • BG Elemental
  • GroVia All-in-One
  • Tots Bots Easy Fit

Should I go with snaps or velcro/aplix?

Snaps typically last longer than Velcro as Velcro does tend to wear over time, particularly if you regularly place your diapers in the drier. However, Velcro makes for super quick and easy changes, and also allows you to find the perfect snugness around the waist. Snaps can be challenging if you have a super-wiggly baby, but many parents prefer them for how well they last. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. We like to have a mix.

How do I measure my baby for sizing?

There are three measurements you will need: waist, leg, and rise.

  • Waist: Measure approximately 1 inch below the belly button (where the top of the diaper will sit).
  • Leg: Measure around the fullest part of baby’s thigh. You will essentially follow where the diaper elastic would normally be.
  • Rise: Measure from 1 inch below the belly button, up to the level of the belly button in the back.

I’m still stuck…I don’t know which kind or which brands to select.

Give us a call or drop us an e-mail…we’re happy to help you make a selection that will be suited to your needs.

  • Cloth Diapers (Consult chart for the number you want to have on hand)
  • 1 or 2 Pail Liners
  • 1 or 2 Wetbags
  • 24 Cloth Wipes
  • Flushable Liners/Diaper Sprayer (after solids are introduced)
  • Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent

Our diaper chart below details recommendations on how many cloth diapers to purchase based on the age of your little one and your intended washing frequency.

We recommend that you wash your diapers every 2-3 days. Washing every two days works out to approximately 3 loads of laundry per week (e.g., Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), and washing every three days works out to approximately two loads of laundry per week (e.g., Wednesday, Saturday). We do not recommend leaving your cloth diapers any longer than 3 days maximum before washing.

The more frequently you wash, the less diapers you will need. However, keep in mind that these diapers will be used more in rotation, which means they will experience more wear and tear than if you have a larger stash.

If you are purchasing one-size diapers, most people will purchase 20-24 cloth diapers.

Baby’s Age

Laundry Freq

Qty. Diapers

Newborn (10-12 changes per day)

Every 2 Days
Every 3 Days

20-24
30-36

Infant (8-10 changes per day)

Every 2 Days
Every 3 Days

16-20
24-30

Toddler (6-8 changes per day)

Every 2 Days
Every 3 Days

12-16
18-24

 

I’m not certain I want to cloth diaper full-time. How many diapers should I purchase?

Choosing cloth diapering doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For your lifestyle, it may work best to use a mix (e.g., cloth at home, disposables when running errands or on vacation); you may prefer cloth 100% of the time (wet bags are amazing); or you may simply feel cloth isn’t a good fit for you.

If you would like to try cloth diapering, but aren’t ready to commit fully, we recommend purchasing around 5-8 diapers to start. Two fitted diapers with one cover, one or two pocket diapers and one or two all-in-one diapers is a good mix to try.

Won’t I need to change my baby more often if I cloth diaper?

Your baby should be changed regularly; in newborns this is often every 2 hours or even less. Sometimes when we use disposables, we leave them on babies for much longer than that simply because we can given the super absorbent polymers they contain. We should always change our babies whenever they have wet the diaper.

If I can re-use covers, I won’t need to buy the full quantity of covers. How many should I have?

We typically recommend a minimum of 8-10 cloth diaper covers if you are using fitted cloth diapers or prefolds full-time.

When is it too late to start cloth diapering?

Cloth is always an option! Cloth diapers typically pay for themselves within 6 months, 9 months maximum. Most babies in cloth begin to toilet train around 2 – 2.5 years. If your baby is a year old already, it is still financially (not to mention environmentally!) beneficial to make the switch.

Aside from purchasing cloth diapers, there are a few other accessories that we consider essential to setting you up for success. Here are the cloth diapering accessories that we recommend you purchase:

Flushable Liners or Diaper Sprayer

If you have an exclusively breastfed baby, poopy diapers can simply be tossed directly into your diaper pail as breastfed poop is completely water soluble. If you are formula feeding, or your baby has started solids, you’ll definitely want to check out flushable liners or a mini-shower.

Flushable Liners make dealing with poopy diapers an absolute breeze. Just lift up the liner and drop in the toilet, or turn your cloth diaper over and let it drop into the toilet. No scraping, no fuss! If there is a bit of residual poop left on your diaper, don’t worry about it. Your machine will take care of it!

Another option is a diaper sprayer, which attaches right to the toilet. You can spray your poopy diapers and then just toss the diaper into your dry pail along with the rest of them.

Diaper Pail Liners

Diaper pail liners are fantastic! These are placed inside your diaper pail or can be left to hang behind a door if you prefer not to use a diaper pail. They provide a wick-proof, odor-resistant option for storing your dirty diapers between washing. The best part? When it’s time for laundry just carry the liner (kind of like a large duffel bag) and empty it inside out into your washer. Leave your pail liner inside the washer to be washed right along with your diapers! We highly recommend having two diaper pail liners so that you always have one in your diaper pail even if the other is in the wash.

Zippered Wet Bags

Zippered wet bags are a must have for cloth diapering parents on the go. They offer an odor and moisture proof solution for storing dirty diapers until you’re home again. The best part? Just toss the wet bag along with your dirty diapers into your dry pail at home. They can all be washed together. We highly recommend having two wet bags on hand so when one is in the wash, you still have another ready for use.

Cloth Wipes

At first thought, you might think cloth wipes are a pain, but we urge you to give them a try. They can be easily washed right along with your diapers and if you want you can even make your own natural solution to spray onto your baby’s bum when you’re changing a diaper. You’ll save hundreds and hundreds of dollars by using cloth wipes and they work wonderfully. If you’re out and about, you can moisten some cloth wipes ahead of time and put them in a baggie, or have a spray bottle in your diaper bag to use with them. Then just toss them along with the diaper into the wet bag.

Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent

It is imperative that you use the appropriate detergent to clean your cloth diapers or you will potentially have all kinds of undesirable problems ranging from leak issues to diaper rash on your baby’s tushie. Please consult our laundry care section for washing details and recommendations on which detergents to try.

Snappi

Leave it to a dad to create an ingenious invention to replace diaper pins! The snappi is made of plastic and works wonders to keep prefold cloth diapers or contour cloth diapers in place underneath a cover.

Can I use diaper cream when I cloth diaper?

Yes, of course! However, we strongly recommend you use cloth diaper friendly creams. Any zinc or petroleum based creams (most drug-store creams) will coat the fibers in your diapers and cause repelling issues. Even when using a cloth diaper safe cream, we always recommend the use of a disposable liner with creams just to minimize the build up of the cream on the diaper material.

Check out CJs BUTTer or Dimpleskins bumbum balm.

All babies are susceptible to diaper rash. Did you know that babies in cloth diapers actually experience LESS diaper rash on average than babies in disposables?

Can I use disposable wipes?

Yes, of course you can use disposable wipes. We highly recommend you try cloth wipes, mostly because they are so easy and can be thrown into your diaper pail and washed right along with your diapers. Over time, cloth wipes are absolutely the cheapest option.

I'd like to use cloth wipes. Can you recommend a wipes solution?

One of our favourite cloth wipes solution recipes is as follows:

  • 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil.
  • 1 teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap
  • 1 cup of Distilled Water / Water

Alternatively, you can just use water!

What will my diaper bag look like if I cloth diaper?

We recommend the following for your diaper bag:

  • Wet Bag
  • Cloth Wipes
  • Spray bottle with water / wipes solution
  • Changing Pad
  • Extra Diaper

You’ll see this list is remarkably similar to what you require with disposable diapers. The main difference is the inclusion of a water and odor-proof wetbag that you can throw your cloth wipes and dirty diapers into for storage until you get home.

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