I wrote a brochure on cloth diapers earlier this year, so I'm just going to C&P most of it:
Do I have to use pins?
Pins and flat squares of fabric were once the only option if a well-fitting diaper was needed. These were, and still are an excellent chioce (they wash beautifully & dry very fast) - but today’s diaper market has so much more to offer!
Flat diapers evolved into prefolds, which are still the most popular type of diaper. Prefolds are rectangular diapers that are thicker in the middle than on the sides, and are described in terms of size and then number of layers of fabric used to make them. A 4x8x4 prefold has 4 layers of fabric on each side, and 8 layers in the center.
Prefolds can be pinned, laid in a self-closing wrap & velcroed on, or fastened with a Snappi (a stretchy plastic diaper fastener) to get a nice fit.
From prefolds came the fitted diaper - cut to a contour shape, with elastic at the back & legs, and snaps or velcro to close them. The elastic on the diapers tends to keep messes more contained, and the self-fastening options eliminate the need for a separate fastener.
All of these diapers use some type of moisture-containing cover to keep clothes dry. Vinyl, coated nylon, polyurethane laminated fabrics, and wool are all popular diaper-cover materials, and they come in many different styles - pull-on, side-snapping, and self-closing wrap.
There are also diapers available that incorporate the waterproof cover right into the diaper.
All-in-Ones (AIOs) are basically a fitted diaper with a waterproof outer layer. AIO’s can be more expensive, and tend to wear out faster than other types of diapers, but their fasten-and-go nature makes them very popular for busy parents.
Pocket diapers, one of the newest diapering innovations, has taken diapers & covers to a new level. A pocket diaper is like an AIO, only the inner absorbent material is completely removable and interchangeable. This allows the user the freedom to choose what they want to use to “stuff” the cover with, and once stuffed, the diaper is as easy to use as an AIO. An added advantage is faster drying times.
There are only so many ways a cloth diaper can be made, but imaginitive diaper-makers are coming up with new variations every day. Whether you choose to go with inexpensive gauze flatfolds & pull-on vinyl pants, or the most state-of-the-art All-in-Ones, you can be sure you are making the best choice.
How Many do I Need?
A newborn will usually require about 3 dozen diapers and 6 covers, if you wash every other day. Older babies can get by with 2 dozen diapers & 3-4 covers.
Laundry, especially with a new baby, is a fact of life. When we wear clothes, they need to be washed. Fortunately for us, diaper-washing is not the chore it once was for mothers of previous generations!
A basic diaper-washing routine may follow these steps:
•If your baby is not exclusively breastfed, empty stools into the toilet. (Technically, this is also required by law of paper-diaper users, as well!) If your baby is exclusively breastfed, don’t worry about this step - their stools will dissolve in the wash.
•Put the diaper into a covered diaper pail. As long as it has a secure lid, you won’t smell it.
•Empty the diaper pail into the washing machine.
•Add 1/4 the recommended amount of detergent, and run a complete wash cycle on cold.
•Add ½ the recommended amount of detergent, and a water softener like Calgon if you have hard water. Runa complete wash on hot.
•Run an extra rinse if you like. Adding vinegar can cut soap residue, but isn’t recommended for diapers with synthetic fibers.
•Dry on hot in the dryer, or hang to dry. Running diapers through the dryer for about 10 minutes before or after line-drying will soften them up if stiffness is a problem.
Real Diapers are Still the Best Option
No matter where you live, and what your finances are like, chances are that cloth diapers will win out as your best diapering option.
Washing & reusing your baby’s diapers for 2 years can mean:
•A cost of anywhere from $20 - $900 for cloth diapers & covers, as opposed to $1000 for the cheapest throwaway diapers & wipes ($.18/diaper & $.02/wipe). Diapering costs for subsequent cloth-diapered babies will be negligible.
•4000 fewer soiled diapers will end up in a landfill. Throwaway diapers do not decompose, and may leach toxins into the groundwater.
•Less diaper rash, since cloth diapered babies are changed more often, and aren’t exposed to the polyacrylate gel crystals used in paper diapers.
With all the options available to cloth diaperers, there is a system out there for every budget and every lifestyle. From gauze squares folded by hand to the fanciest fasten-and-go All-in-One diapers, you’re sure to find the best Real Diapers for your family.Go Real - Go Cloth
For more information on diaper care, diaper manufacturers, diaper services, articles and other resources for coth diaperers, visit these websites:www.realdiaperassociation.comwww.thediaperhyena.comwww.diaperpin.comwww.borntolove.com