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Cloth Diapering, Decoded

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Cloth Diapering, Decoded

Navigating the world of cloth diapering can be confusing! Here are some common types of cloth diapers and how to use them.

What makes a prefold different from fitted? What kind of liner do I need, and how many? Should I choose these one-size-fits-all diaper system or something made for each stage of my baby’s growth? Do I really need to buy diapers and covers?

When I was pregnant, one thing I knew without question was that we’d use cloth diapers on our baby, but when the time came to actually choose and use them, there were a lot of confusing moments! And for some reason, cloth diaper makers don’t seem to be big on including detailed instructions with their products.

Related Reading: Is it safe to have a vegan pregnancy?

Why Cloth?

For any parent concerned about the environment, cloth diapering is pretty much a no-brainer, isn’t it? Disposable diapers are such a waste! They pile up in landfills, and all of that human waste breaks down to create methane, a greenhouse gas far more harmful than CO2.

Plus, disposables are just expensive! Since my baby was early, he was too small to wear cloth at first: most diaper systems seem to start at 7 or 8 pounds, and Darrol was 6. Those weeks where we were using paper diapers were the pits! We were constantly running to the store for more. Over the first year of an average child’s life, you can spend around $500 on cloth diapers or $800 on paper. And those numbers are for cloth diapers that don’t grow with your baby. If you choose a cloth system that grows with baby, that $500 investment is it. You’re set until he’s potty trained! With paper, you’re spending that $800 every year that your child isn’t potty trained.

I ended up registering for a few different types of diaper, and when we signed up for a diaper service, they provided yet another sort, so I’ve kind of been through the cloth diaper ringer. Here’s what I’ve learned!

Next: Common Diaper Terms

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


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12:34AM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

great info! thanks so much for sharing!

9:15AM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

this was so helpful you have NO IDEA! We did disposables with my son, but have decided to do cltoh diapers this go round. I like the cover you have! I have 6 covers and 60 prefolds right now. i would like to at least try the insert on the video, sounds awesome. We have the bucket and liner, the stretchy fasteners, the wet bag and more. I am so excited to do this instead.

7:47PM PDT on May 30, 2013

Lots of new ideas since my kids were in diapers. I used the plain old diapers with plastic pants. Was pretty easy really, Just an additional washer load every other day or so. My kids had terrible skin reactions from disposable diapers, so we were much happier with cloth diapers.

5:15PM PDT on May 30, 2013


10:51AM PDT on May 30, 2013

thanks, very interesting

6:11PM PDT on May 29, 2013

Thank you for interesting info.

6:10PM PDT on May 29, 2013

Thank you for interesting info.

3:38AM PDT on May 28, 2013

Thanks for posting.

7:19AM PDT on May 23, 2013

I am considering using cloth diapers for my eighth child on the way. I have tried them, and had ups and downs, used disposable ones for convenience and I sure wish I could get a service. Since my budget is small , the tub and washer are my handy dandy tools. I can see as baby grows I will have to make decisions about how to handle it when we go out...that was always a disaster for me, wet clothes, soaked or poopy smelling and then that makes for more laundry. I think I like the disposable for long outings and prefer the cloth around the homestead and outside. I do not like the idea of adding more to landfills and I try to minimize my usage. Right now, I am potty training my son who is two to Pee and he is doing great! Any suggestions about the transition to pooping in the toilet? Thanks for the article and I will get on to sewing my own diapers again, it is fun to do these things before the baby is born!

4:04PM PDT on May 21, 2013

I love these things. Thank you for the info!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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