Cloth Diapers 101

Here is some information on cloth diapering to help you get started.

First of all, even if you plan on cloth diapering, it’s nice to have some disposables. I personally like Seventh Generation. They have cute prints on them now but are still off white. When they’re wet, they don’t have a gross gel in them, so they actually feel kind of wet, more like a cloth diaper. In spite of that, they’re still trim like disposables.

I’m quite on the cautious side of parenting decisions, so I try to avoid questionable chemicals when I can. I know plenty of people who like the Target brand. But the boys both got Justin’s sensitive skin, and I read way too many articles about the chemicals in conventional diapers. Seventh Generation makes the best disposable diaper I have ever used. You might want a pack of Newborn while you’re getting the hang of things, and I use them sometimes for traveling so I don’t have to do laundry the whole time.

Um. Diapers could have their own book, so lets see here…

Dirty Diaper Necessities 

  1. First off, you’re going to need somewhere to put dirty diapers. We used to use a big 5 gallon pail with a lid from Walmart. A lidded trashcan would work too. The main thing you want to look for is something that is easily washed. You might also want something with a hands-free way of opening. Here are some options….Eventually, though, we decided that it took up too much space. Our house is very small. So we switched to hanging giant wet bags. We have one for the bathroom and one for the livingroom. We also have a smaller wet bag for the diaper bag. In a pinch, you can use walmart bags, but if you have 2 small wet bags to alternate in the diaper bag, that should be enough.
  2. You want a diaper sprayer. They make poop removal way easier. Plus you can use it as a bidet. Win/win. They make contraptions that are supposed to hold the diaper for you and allow less contact with the diaper, but in my opinion, that’s just more stuff to wash and store. FYI, though, they do exist, so if you or baby daddy are trying to avoid contact with poop, there are options!
  3. Laundry detergent. Tide Free and Clear is what a lot of people use, I think. Right now we’re using Charlie’s Soap, but I later read that it’s not the best, so once it’s gone we’re going to switch to something else. You can ask around and google recommendations, but you don’t necessarily have to splurge on a special detergent. I would avoid scents and dyes, and I’ve read that diapers should be in contact with detergent for at least 45 minutes. In my case, I often have to stop my washer and turn back the dial because even the long load is not that long.

Types of Diapers

  1. Pocket Diapers are great. When you buy them, they always come with their own inserts. It’s a cover with a stay-dry layer and an opening where you put in an insert (or two at night, if you need it.) Pros:  They’re nice for babysitters and people who don’t know how to use cloth diapers, because as long as you pre-stuff them, they aren’t confusing to use. I like to use them at night because Bash hates getting his diaper changed and he wiggles a lot and ends up kicking the the stuffing out of other diapers. Cons:  Once it’s wet/dirty, you have to pull the insert out and put both pieces in the wet bag. We have one set of these, but we have a combination of different types of diapers. I would say a good collection would be 2 sets of pocket diapers, a few covers and a pack or 2 of prefolds.
  2. Diaper junction makes my favorite one-size diaper cover. This is just a water proof cover that you put on top of an absorbent pre-fold cloth diaper. You have to buy the pre-fold diapers seperately. You can use snappi’s  to secure the diaper on the baby (more on that later. They’re modern diaper pins, basically), but you don’t need them. You can just tuck the diaper into the pockets they have. Pros: You can re-use the covers. You don’t have to wash them after every change. On a good day, you can use the same cover all day. Just wipe it with a wet cloth, put in a new prefold, and go one with your life. Sometimes babies get poop on them, but for pee at least, you can use it quite a few times.Cons: The covers aren’t attached to the diapers, so if you have a wiggly baby, it can be tough to get the diaper on. Here is a good pack of prefolds.
  3. Gdiapers are awesome. Pros: they’re really nice, cute, soft cotton on the outside, so if you come across a design that you love, you can buy one and use it along with your other diaper covers. Prefolds fit in it just fine. You don’t necessarily have to buy g-diaper inserts. Cons: their sizes are very specific. You have to buy NB, S, M, and L. It would get expensive having to buy a whole new set of diapers every 3-6 months. But, as I said, you can always get like one cute one per size. And they do have a good newborn set.
  4. All-in-ones are diapers that don’t come apart at all. Pros: They’re just like disposables, in that you don’t have to take an insert out, or anything like that. You just take it off and throw the whole thing in the pail. I don’t have any of these, but I imagine they might be good for a dad who doesn’t like messing with diapers, because he won’t have to touch the diaper as much as the others. Cons: You can only use it once before you have to wash it again. That is the same as the pocket diapers, so you could conceivably get these instead of pocket diapers, and still get some covers/pre-folds. I like having the option to re-use.

Newborns are special

You will need to have a plan for the newborn weeks. At most, you might use newborn size on a normal baby for like 3 months, but even the one-size-fit-all diapers don’t fit newborns. These are newborn options. You’ll probably go through 6-7 diapers a day, so I would recommend maybe 2 sets of pocket diapers, OR just get a box of the Seventh Generation Newborn diapers. OR you can get Gdiapers newborn bundle. I think we mostly used A newborn diaper cover and small prefold diapers. But those look big and awkward because newborns are tiny and absorbent diapers are fat. Although you could try a bamboo diaper insert inside of a diaper cover. Those are thin so they might work really well…. So to recap, you can use (A) newborn pocket diapers, (B) Disposables, (C) newborn Gdiapers, or (D) a few newborn covers and prefold diapers.

So, for doing laundry every 2 or 3 days, I recommend: 12-14 pocket diapers or AIO’s (you could get away with 6-7 but you might end up wanting more), 3-4 diaper covers, and 12-24 prefolds. Give or take a g-diaper cover or 2 because they’re cute. If they seem expensive, just remember that its WAY cheaper than disposables, you just have to pay for them all at once. Technically, you could even buy a little bit at a time until you have a full collection and are no longer dependent on disposables.-

Baby Wipes

We used disposable wipes for a little while, until we realized that we had an entire trash can full of poopy wipes, and it seemed silly since we were washing diapers anyway. So cloth wipes are better. They save you money and you can just throw them in with the rest of the diaper laundry. Flannel cloth wipes are great. You might want a few packs of them. And then you need some sort of solution. Here are some different ways you can do that.

  1. You can buy solution like this one. These dissolve in warm water. You can put the solution in a wipes warmer and put wipes in the warmer. Or you can put the solution in a spray bottle or squirt bottle and spray the wipes each time.
  2. You can make your own wipe solution. I make a very simple solution with olive oil, water, and castile soap.
  3. You can use this creme product. I keep wanting to try this out.


Rash prevention and treatment

I use Babyganics diaper cream. I don’t use it enough to justify making my own, and their version is good. But, don’t buy baby powder. It has some not-so-great ingredients in it, and it costs more because it’s a baby product…All you need is cornstarch. Or arrowroot starch, which is what I use. I put it an an empty spice container and voila 🙂


I hope this is helpful! I can update this if you guys have any questions about things I might have missed 🙂 I’m also taking pictures as I do my laundry right now, in case you need some visual aids.


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