Need Specific Advice on Cloth Diapers

Updated on July 23, 2008
W.B. asks from Chicago, IL
14 answers

I'm expecting my second child any day now. I'd really like to give cloth diapers another try but I feel completely baffled and overwhelmed trying to sort through all of the information and options about cloth diapering. With my first, we used cloth for about 4 months or so, using the Bottoms Up diaper service. My husband got frustrated with fitting the diapers into the covers and stopped using them and then it seemed silly for me to use them when he and the babysitter didn't.

I'd like to not use a diaper service this time and not invest a ton of money before I know if we're going to stick with it. I'm looking for an easy diaper to use--I thought the all in ones sounded good but then I read that they're not really practical for every day use. I've been to and greenmountain and other websites and read some of the cloth diaper posts here and I still feel like I have no clue where to begin.

Please tell me what's worked well for you and be specific; when I read about cloth diapers, I don't always understand what products people are referring to. Also, if you can let me know what I need to begin, without investing too much. Thanks!

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answers from Chicago on

I have not met anyone that has been cloth diapering longer than I have:)!I have been cloth diapering 4 children in the last 12 and a half years. I have tried at least a dozen different diapers and another dozen different covers! I always recommend Motherease, especially like the Sandy's. They are my favorite for many reasons. Easy to use, no leaking or blowouts. I can be more specific later. I'm running out of computer time tonight:)Excellent customer service, great packages to do exclusive or part-time diaping. Feel free to write for more info. and keep up the good work!

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answers from Chicago on

I'm in the process of switching my 19 month old and 4 month old. I have decided to do half prefolds and half pocket diapers. I did a lot of research and the best thing I can tell you is not to buy a whole bunch of one specific type until you try them out. It is so overwhelming but I think we can also over think everything. I've heard good things about Fuzzi Bunz. I personally bought Happy Heinys One Size and am very happy so far. They will adjust sizes so I don't have to keep buying more. I am hosting a cloth diaper class in August. Ann of Love Bugs Co. will be teaching it, it's free. She's been very helpful ( If you're interested, let me know!

Pocket diapers are so close to disposables, babysitter and husband friendly!



answers from Chicago on

Hi W.,
I use cloth diapers and love it. I use a combination of Fuzzi Bunz and Haute Pockets. These are the pocket diapers where there is an outer covering and inserts. Fuzzi Bunz come in sizes (small, medium, large) and Haute Pockets are one size fits all. I started with 6 small Fuzzi Bunz and 6 Haute Pockets at about 3 weeks old. I will eventually buy medium Fuzzi Bunz (I hear that many children will potty train from teh mediums). The Fuzzi Bunz are a trimmer fit. I have a diaper pail (kitchen garbage can with a lid from Target and a diaper pail liner purchased online. When I change the diaper I seperate the insert from the pocket and throw into the pail (no rinsing). When I am ready to wash (with 12 diapers it's about every 24-36 hours)I dump the diapers and the diaper liner into the wash. I start with a cold rinse and then a hot wash and a double cold rinse. I use Charlies is all natural. You'll want to use a detergent that is all natural because if you don't the absorbancy will be compromised. When my baby starts to have solid poops I will use a biodegradeable liner that I will flush when changing the diaper.I have never had any leaks or blowouts in 3 months of using the cloth diapers. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

Congrats on your upcoming arrival! We use cloth for our newborn and used it for our son until he was 15 months old (at which point he went to daycare and we had to switch). Here's what works for us:
We use mostly "fitted" diapers. These have snaps, come in sizes (small, med, large) and require a waterproof cover. The snaps and shape make these much less intimidating for husbands and babysitters than prefolds are.

For newborn, I LOVE Kissaluvs Size 0 diapers. No blowouts EVER. Fit up to about 13 lbs. I got most of mine used online (see, and sometimes ebay has them). New they're around $10 each, used for $6-7 each. They also have a "seconds" store online that occasionally has stuff - you can get on an email list and they'll let you know when it's open.

When my son outgrew these we switched to Motherease One-size diapers. Similar to fitteds, one-sizes can be snapped and folded in a variety of ways to fit (theoretically) from 8-35 lbs. GREAT value. Pretty good diapers. My sister has used the same stash of 24 diapers on her son from birth through now (2 years). These dipes didn't really fit my son that well because he was so skinny, so we ended up getting another brand (sugarbritches) of fitteds (in size medium). They fit him better. We have a whole stash of the Motherease One-sizes that we've kept because we'll use them for our daughter in a couple months too. You can buy these new from Motherease for around $10 each or used. Check diaperswappers or the forum on the Motherease website. Motherease has a nice "starter sample set" deal where you get 1 diaper, 1 cover, and 1 doubler/liner for something like $15 so you can test it out.

Covers: we use almost exclusively Motherease Airflow covers. They're a bit puffy but they work really well and never EVER leak. Again, great value. We find that having around 4 covers that fit at any given time is about right - just swap the covers out at each change and let them air dry. Wash every few days either with the regular laundry or the diapers.

Whatever you decide to do, I suggest purchasing or borrowing 1-2 diapers that you're considering and see how they work for you. If you like them after a couple uses you can get a bunch more. I recommend you get enough that you can wash diapers every 2-3 days. So, around 24 for a newborn, and around 15 for an older child. The nice thing is that good cloth diapers hold their value pretty well, so if you buy something and only use it once or twice and decide you don't like it, you can sell it for about 90% of what you paid for it. Even well used dipes get 60-70% of their value if they're well cared-for and in good shape. This makes the investment easier to think about.

Note: lots of other options out there. I hear that Fuzzibuns pocket diapers are very good too, but have never used them myself. They cost substantially more b/c you essentially pay for a cover with each diaper. Pockets are very convenient to put on, but you have to empty out the pockets before you wash them, which always seemed like a pain to me.



answers from Chicago on

I make my own cloth diapers, but there's a webstore that is advertising a cloth diaper trial. You make a deposit, get several different kinds of diapers for 3 weeks so you can get a feel for what kinds you like, send the dipes back and get all but $10 of your deposit back. I haven't personally tried it but it might be something to look into.

My only other advice is that I'm finding that cloth diapering is kind of rough for baby's first month. Mine is so skinny and poops ALL the time. I started cloth with my first when she was 10 mo and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was, so that's why i'm doing it with baby #2. It DOES get easier! So maybe wait until the second or 3rd month and the diapers may fit better and your husband/babysitter may be more willing to get on board at that time.



answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't worry--my daughter didn't walk til 17 months, and has no coordination problems at all. She also had a hilarious way of "crawling," which was more like sitting and pulling herself around with her arms. Friends suggested I call Early Intervention to have her assessed, and we ended up doing both physical and speech therapy for about a year. They're a state agency and almost all of their services are free. They'll come to your home once a week for an hour-long session for kids under 3 years old.



answers from Chicago on

Try to get information on Mother-ease brand. I carry their organic cloth diapers in my Boutique, getting good feed back about them.
Healthy Babies Happy Families



answers from Chicago on

W.- I love Fuzzi Bunz and have used them from birth with my seven month old son. They are pocket diapers, which means you have the liner and then the diaper part- you wash both every time but you can add liners if you need more absorbancy (like a hemp liner for overnight). Initially fuzzi bunz are a bigger investment, for about 24 smalls, you would pay about $500. This would get you through up to 15 pounds (although my son fit in them until about 18 pounds because he was long). It osunds expensive, however, you can resell them as well for a good amount of money on diaperswapper or diaperpin, and in studies, using disposable diapers adds up to about $1350 a year using an average brand. So, you still save a ton of money. I love the cloth diapers and would love to share more info with you if you are interested. I also bought my diapers from a store where I can get them a lot less than the retail value (my friend works there and gets them for wholesale plus 20% so they end up being about $14.50/each or something). Let me know if you are interested and I can talk to her about a discount. S.
Oh- I use a mini hand shower (hooks up to the toilet) to spray off poop and I never have to touch anything gross :-)



answers from Chicago on

I used cloth diapers on my son who is 9 years old now. I did start with a diaper service that went out of business, so I started using my own, nothing fancy, I just used cheap Gerber cloth diapers and pins from Target. I sometimes used covers, sometimes not, again, nothing fancy. The trick was to wash the diapers properly. I used bleach and laundry detergent in hot water, also Borax to give the soap a boost in hard water, and then vinegar in the rinse to get any remaining bleach and soap out, then a second rinse (some washing machines give you a choice on running a second rinse). Using cloth diapers is not hard and you don't need to spend a lot of money on it, just remember, that's the way all babies used to be diapered before expensive gimmicky stuff came on the market. One other thing to keep in mind, though, is that a lot of baby clothes are not made with cloth diapers and their "bulge" in mind, so loose onesies and gowns are the way to go, at least in the first few months.



answers from Chicago on

My husband and I also started with Bottoms Up Diaper Service for the first month and felt bad because we rarely used all of our allotted diapers. I found with the chinese prefolds that there was just too much leaking and it seemed that one pee and the whole thing was soaked from stem to stern. We shop at BeByBaby a lot and decided to try the Econappies which are a one-size-fits-all pocket diaper. Meaning, they have snaps to adjust how long they are as well as how wide they are and that the absorbent portion of the diaper goes inside a 'pocket' and can be removed for easier washing and drying. They are on the pricey side but should last him until he is potty-trained so they pay for themselves rather quickly. However, because of that, we did build up our stash slowly.

One note, while it says that they are a one-size diaper (which we wanted so we wouldn't have to buy a whole stash of smalls and then two months later a whole stash of mediums, etc), our little boy was on the big size and I found the legs were not real snug on him until he got a bit bigger, so they may not work so well for a newborn.

I now have 13 Econappies and I do a load every day mostly. We still use disposables at night so that there's no chance of a leak if he goes a few more hours without a change, but soon I'll probably get some doublers (extra absorbent layers to soak more up) and use the cloth at night also. We also use disposables often when we go out, largely for space considerations as the cloth diapers take up a lot more room in the bag. Even with that though, these diapers have paid for themselves in a couple months. I'm going to try the new bumgenius one-size to build my stash further. They're cheaper and I've heard loads of good things about them.

I agree that the diaperpin can be a bit daunting. I went on a couple times then just decided to go at it slowly and find out what works for us. I'll warn you in the beginning, you're likely going to have leaks and blowouts. I'd buy a couple dozen prefolds to use as burpcloths and to put under your baby in car seats or bouncy chairs (or laps, whatever) so you only have to clean him and not everything else. Once the baby gets bigger, the diapers will fit better and contain more.

The website also has some sampler packages you can get so that you can try a few different kinds of diapers and see what works for you before you buy a whole bunch. But if husbands and babysitters are an issue, I would definitely suggest sticking with the pocket or all-in-one diapers. My husband has no problem using our pocket ones, but I still have to make sure that I stuff them.

Important things to do: get the right soap (and don't use too much of it) and pre-wash, pre-wash, pre-wash. I use Seventh Generation Free and Clear (Dreft is bad) and I pre-washed my pockets 4 times and my inserts 10 and they still just get more absorbent every time they go through.

Sorry this is so long, hope some of it helps.



answers from Chicago on

If you want to be the most economical, prefolds and covers are definitely the way to go. I've bought my infant prefolds at Be By Baby and from GMD is definitely my favorite. I just bought a new set of prefolds for my almost 6 month old because he grew out of the infant size. I'm selling off some fitteds because I just prefer the ease of a prefold. My fitteds were Little Beatles and they work great and are made of hemp so they are really absorbant. I've never used All In Ones, they are supposed to take forever to dry. I love Thirsties covers which I get at for $11 and free shipping. My son is still in a size small with a lot of room to grow still and he's about 15 lbs. For me, I bought 2 dozen of those which is about $50 and I have 3 covers but I could definitely use a few more covers. So lets say under a $100 and I think that this size prefold should get us through the next 4-6 months or so. Pretty good deal in my opinion. The infant prefolds he's grown out of I can sell but I'm going to save a few for rags/burp clothes. I also took some and cut out the middle portion for an extra insert for naps and overnights.
I also have some fuzzi bunz for my daughter who is two that I bought from craigslist but you can check diaperswappers too. They run about $17 or so but I bought them for about $10 I think. Definitely simple and babysitter friendly. It's pretty hard to screw up a diaper with snaps. I'm assuming your husband got frustrated because you didn't use snappis. To me, that was the greatest invention. Way easier than pins and they work wonderful. I think they are about $2 a piece. I seem to never have one where I need it so I bought a ton of those so I could place them all over the house and I always have a few in the diaper bag.
Green Mountain has the only prefolds that come in various sizes from what I've seen. My son is in the red-edged ones right now which is an in-between size. He's way to small for premiums but too big for infants.
I don't use a diaper service. I wash a load about every 2-3 days and hang dry outside the ones with stains to get out the stains and put the rest in the dryer with dryer balls. The covers I always hang dry. The PUL gets ruined in the dryer I think. I'm trying to go cover free as much as we can around the house to let the kids breathe a little more in this heat. My daughter doesn't seem to have any problems but my son is very sensitive to everything. I bought a wool Little Beatle cover and it really helps with breatheability more than a PUL cover. PUL stands for polyurethane laminate. it's waterproof but doesn't let the skin breathe at all.
Read some forums on diaperswappers. It's so helpful. Be By Baby has a class that really helped me a lot to get through all the confusion. THey sell a ton of stuff there too. IT's addicting, be careful!
Good luck.



answers from Chicago on


We tried fitted (shaped with snaps) and covers with velcro, but have found the simplest and most economical are prefolds (traditional flat with a thicker center layer), attached with a snappi (little plastic, stretchy "T" shaped piece in place of pins). Most people like to use covers with velcro (we have bummis superwrap, I think) but we now always use the Dappi nylon pullups. They're $2/each which might be why a lot of stores don't sell them. This is what we (hubby included, whom I had doubts about his committment) used fro 3.5 years with dd and now with infant son.



answers from Chicago on

I was a newbie recently to this too. I found that buying a variety of types on helped me decide which ones I liked. I actually use everything I bought but just prefer some over others.

You can get really good deals on diaperpin or diapertraders or diaperswappers.

I love my fuzzibunz, happy heinies, Bum Genius. The big thing now is the bum genius one size. Nice since you won't have to buy larger sizes as the baby grows.

I prefer pocket diapers for night time because you can add as much to them as you want to make them more absorbant. (I use cut up pieces of old fleece to add to the microfleece insert they came with).

I like All-in-ones (AIOs) or All-in-twos for on the road. As easy to use as a disposable but take longer to dry.

Beware buying cheapo diapers on ebay. Look at the reviews on Diaperpin for direction before buying.

Most of the cloth diaper sites have good recommendations for what to buy for a newborn

Remember that cloth diapers have resale value so you can get some back on the end when you are done.

I believe that Be By Baby (Roscoe and Lincoln) does a cloth diapering workshop.

Check for great articles on cloth diapering as well.

If I had realized how easy this was to do - I would have done it with baby #1 too!

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