::Introduction - a diapering tutorial
Before you get all numb from all the options and lingo in this world of babies and their bowel movements, let's cover the basics. In no particular order:
- Pre-folds - these are the old school rectangular heavy cotton cloth diapers of our mothers' and grandmothers' generations (now seen in the rag bin, quite handily). You can get Chinese Prefolds or Indian Prefolds (unbleached, in 2 or 3 sizes - infant to toddler) for about $2 each. They are often listed as 4-6-4 or 4-8-4 with the middle number being the number of layers in the center section of diaper (most absorbant part). Contrary to what I overheard one uneducated salesgirl tell a customer at a national baby store, these are NOT prefolded. You must fold them on the baby before you put it on them. Then you use a waterproof cover.
- Snappis - these are an elasticized grabber thingy that people use to close up or "pin" a prefold, instead of those old baby pins. No worries about pricking the kid. About $3 each, I think. Would only need about 2 or 3 depending on the covers you use.
- Contours - these are usually cotton (like prefolds) but are cut out in a classic diaper shape that you don't need to fold them all up to fit around baby. Still require a Snappi and/or cover. Around $ each. They come sized (XS, S, M, L usually).
- Fitteds - these are really cool, frankly. Like contours, usually made of cotton or hemp, but have velcro or snaps to hold it in place. They are super convenient and I fell in love with Kissaluvs size 0 (newborn) for when we first came home from the hospital. They are sized (not one size fits all) and about $12 each and require a waterproof cover. Resale value (on eBay) for used fitteds is about $10 each.
- Covers - these are most often made of PUL - a waterproof laminate fabric. They are no longer rubber pull up pants, but are trim velcro or snap jobs. Other options are fleece or wool. Prices for PUL are generally in the $11 - $15 range. Wool tends to be more expensive, but you wash it less frequently.
- Pocket diapers - these are what we went with. Essentially, this is the cover and diaper in one (well, 2) unit(s). You change the absorbancy of the diaper by the size of the insert you slip into the back. The inside is typically some brushed fleece or cotton. The insert is often microfiber or hemp or cotton. You have 2 options: one-size and "perfect" size. One size is supposed to fit from birth to potty training. It has snaps or some other way to adjust size. Perfect size means you need to buy small, medium and large to get from birth to potty training. Costs are $13 - $27 per diaper with most in the $17 range. Resale value for used diapers (on eBay) is about $10 each if they're in good shape.
- All-in-one diapers - These are like pocket diapers except the insert is sewn in. More convenient and some people have an aversion to touching the insert after it's soiled. But generally more expensive and take longer to launder. They are touted as being just like disposable for ease and "great for babysitters and dads!" because we all know that apparently dads just don't get diapers. Tell that to Darling.
- Hybrid diapers - These are gDiapers, Flip, and there are probably others. You have a washable cover that you put a disposable or biodegradable (flushable - but that's debatable) or even cloth insert in. I know very little about these. We looked into them for traveling when laundry wasn't accessible, but decided for short trips that we could use disposables.
There is so much on cloth diapering out there, it's dizzying. Aside from the links above, try: