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KatelynRose 07-15-2014 09:12 AM

I have a few questions for cloth-diapering-mamas:
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So, I'm due with my first baby in December.. I'd really like to do cloth diapering, to save money in the long run AND to reduce landfill waste.. As well as just for the health and well being of my little one.

I just have so many questions for those of you who have already gone the cloth diapering route. Because of our tight budget, I'm trying to go the most economical route ..

I have heard and read that 30 diapers is a good number to start out with so they don't get worn down too quickly.

Has anyone had experience with one-size fitted diapers? Do they work for every age? I was thinking if these work they'd be amazing so I could just adjust the size as he grows older.
If not, what diapers did you find work best? What were they made of, what type of fit, etc?

Any other tips our have for a first time cloth diapering mother would be very much appreciated!!! Thank you!

Galatea 07-15-2014 04:00 PM

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Obviously we have already talked, but if you want to be absolute cheapest, it is flats and covers. Flats are one-size. They are extremely easy to keep clean. You just have to learn to fold them. But you could spend less than $100 and be done if you went that way.

Prefolds are next cheapest. You would likely need 2-3 sizes depending on your baby and what shape PFs you get.

After 4 kids and owning a store, I will just use PFs and flats for this baby.

sidrajedi 07-15-2014 06:58 PM

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I bought prefolds and flats and one-size pockets. I love my prefolds (Indian cotton) my flats had some stink issues before DD grew out of them (bamboo/cotton blend) and I had to throw out the one size pockets because they grew mold that i couldn't get rid of and began to fall apart (alva brand=cheap). I have a one size cover that I like (a snap bububibi) that was inexpensive, but I like the thirsties duo wrap snaps best.

If I had it to do all over again I would still buy my Indian cotton prefolds (from and the thirsties covers.

I do diaper laundry weekly and strip/line dry every six weeks. The alvas gave my prefolds mold but I was able to bleach it out and sun bathe them and resolve it and now have no problems.

I used a service and my own diapers when DD was little since I only had a laundromat, but now that she is older (she goes through less diapers in a day) and I have a washer and dryer, I go though about 30 diapers in a week. I wash covers every 2-3 days and have 8 size two (i had 10 size 1) covers. I made my own cloth wipes by cutting up an old 100 percent cotton bed sheet from the thrift store and serging the ends. It made so many wipes!

I like the Indian cotton a lot. I would reccomend against anything bamboo (the alvas had bamboo inserts, part of the problem)! IME and from what I've read/heard bamboo has stink issues and molds easily if not washed often enough. Also, go for snaps and avoid Velcro (hook and loop) unless you like to sew pul, the Velcro wears out pretty fast.

I have two large wet bags in rotation and leave them unzipped. They don't stink up the place.

All-in-all I did not spend a lot of money and what I did spend was over time. It was around $700 including two months of diaper service, two newborn diaper covers and the diapers I had to throw out. I also bought an overnight wool cover for $40 and never figured out how to lanolise it properly so it would repel instead of leak. I put it away and plan to try again with the next baby. If I add up just the prefolds, the wetbags, and the covers it cost me under $470! If you were willing to launder more often (most do) you could get your total cost down to around $300.

GL! I love cloth, I hope you will too.

crazyms 07-17-2014 09:36 PM

If you really do want the most economical route and are on a really tight budget then flats or prefolds with covers are definitely the way to go. I tried all the kinds and honestly those ended up being my favorite anyways but that's just my opinion. How many you would need would depend on how often you can do the laundry though. I could get away with 2-4 each of pul day covers and wool or fleece night covers with 2-3 dz flats or prefolds but I also handwashed and line dried them daily except our occasional backups for some reason when I'd just run them all through the washer/dryer that day.

For the cheapest option - look on for used covers. They can be found easily there for under $5 each. You can buy used flats and prefolds there as well if you'd like but watch shipping prices. New covers can usually be found for $10-15 if you feel the need to buy new. Etsy will have decent prices on new ones from WAHMs. Gerber brand flats and prefolds can be bought for about $10-12/dz at Walmart. You can find them from other suppliers as well but I don't know the price ranges on them.

If you want cloth wipes they can be made yourself really cheap from used items or I've found good prices on them on Etsy if you really felt the urge to buy.

KatelynRose 07-17-2014 10:52 PM

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Thanks everyone who has offered advice! It's very helpful :)

Hehe hello @Galatea !! ;) I have really appreciated your input! You have thorough knowledge, thanks for sharing! So, in your experience, which covers work best with flats and prefolds? Do they have to be much better to reduce leakage?

Thanks for the GL wishes, @sidrajedi ! I have a friend who told me she likes her bububibi covers, but I didn't know what type of CD she was using with them, she wasn't specific. I'm guessing the thirsties are much better? And they only have two sizes? That's not too difficult! I get confused when they are labelled small medium large, so it's nice to see these sized by weight, it makes more sense to me. I'm glad you made those comments about bamboo, I've been wondering how well it actually works. Also I appreciate your breakdown of the expenses all added up.

Wow, @crazyms I didn't realize how cheap I could find prefolds/flats! I definitely plan to make my own cloth wipes ;)

So.. How difficult are prefolds / flats to wash? Much easier than other styles? How do I wash the covers.. I can't dry them right? But do I wash them in the machine or wipe them off? I don't plan on trying wool, I thought it sounded complicated, haha..

crazyms 07-18-2014 12:48 AM

LOL I understand the wool sounding complicated. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. For brands I know there are a ton of options and I can't remember all of them but I know I had and loved the Bummis and Thirsties covers. I would recommend either of those. The other moms might have ideas about other brands.

For washing I found it much easier to wash prefolds/flats than other diaper types. I liked that they were thinner (and thus easier) to work with plus I felt like the were getting cleaned better but that's probably just me being weird. For covers I rinsed or handwashed them in the sink and then hung them to dry. They can be done in a washer if you prefer though and while a random dryer turn won't kill them it is recommended that you hang dry them instead. I usually handwashed and line dried my flats and prefolds also but they can easily be done in the washer and dryer. One thing I loved about the covers is if I rinsed/washed them when I took them off baby they would almost always be dry and ready to go at the next changing. It made it very easy to only keep a few on hand.

Galatea 07-18-2014 06:07 AM

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My favorite were the Thirsties Duo Wraps. The size one really fit a NB snapped all the way down, and they are wide enough over the legs and hips to contain a PF or flat.

KatelynRose 07-18-2014 08:32 AM

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It seems all three of you ( @crazyms , @Galatea , @sidrajedi ) like the thirsties duo wraps, and those seem great! Thanks for that tip!!

I just looked up the many ways to fold Flats and it seems quite simple and versatile! I didn't even realize.. I am wondering if they will leak a lot or if the covers keep that from happening at all? Do you guys double up on flats? It seems Birdseye weave is cheapest, does it work well? Are there other options besides the Birdseye weave or is that standard?

Fitted diapers looked so convenient at first (and still do) but now I'm thinking I could get away with doing the flats with covers since we are on a budget. It doesn't seem too difficult and it's much cheaper! Fitteds are like $20 apiece if they're made of organic materials, so that makes diapering pricey! Flats are much more economical, which I really like.. I'm just nervous about leakage. Also, I'm wondering if I need extras in flats in case I'm doubling up?

Thank you all for being so kind and answering my millions of questions! I feel so lost and you are all being wonderfully helpful!

crazyms 07-18-2014 09:27 AM

IME the covers prevented leaking. I didn't have any trouble with mine. I used both flats and prefolds though mostly using the prefolds at night or if we went somewhere since they were thicker. You could easily double up on the flats for more coverage if you'd like. The birdseye is the standard for flats. I'm sure there are other options but I've never used anything but birdseye.

The fitteds seemed more convenient to me as well until I used them. I found them to be too bulky and no more convenient than the prefolds since I still needed a cover anyways. The flats are cheap and are easy to use once you get the hang of folding. I liked to fold mine when doing the laundry and stack them that way so they were ready to go in a cover. If you would like a little more convenience than that the prefolds would be a great idea. (I also found prefolds were easier to get dad to use! :thumb)

KatelynRose 07-18-2014 10:26 AM

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@crazyms .. It seemed like the prefolds are the same as flats except they are thicker? You still have to fold them, right? The flats seem more versatile.. ?
So can you fold and pin the flats if you use them under a cover, or do you just fold them into the cover?
I'm glad Birdseye is standard, I found some very cheap sets of organic flats I just wondered when it said Birdseye. Also good to know the covers stop leakage. Dad says he is happy to fold, but doesn't want a bunch of poop leaks all over the house. That's his major concern (and mine too for that matter haha)
(Sorry every time a question is answered another one pops up I can't help it!) :o

crazyms 07-18-2014 11:05 AM

:lol Ask away! I love to help and once upon a time I asked all these questions on this board. :wink:

The prefolds are similar to the flats but are made of three panels with the middle panel being thicker for more padding and coverage. When I used prefolds I folded the two outer sides in, laid inside the cover and then just spread out the "wings" at the ends of the diaper that weren't in the crotch area. I hope that makes sense. They were very easy to use but flats are just as good so it's really preference. I just kept some of both.

As for versatility I found both the have multiple uses although I'm sure the flats would have more! The prefolds I also used for burp cloths and later made into mama pads and such. The flats were used for burp cloths and all as well and now that we're past diaper days they are serving as kitchen towels. All my cloth wipes went to family cloth. The only thing left were the covers but my girls didn't mind making those doll dipes. :)

The pins can be used with the flats under a cover. I never bothered with pinning in place with the prefolds but did like it with the flats most of the time since it seemed a little more secure to me. I really like the snappis. Have you seen those? They're plastic things to hold the flat in place instead of a diaper pin so no needle to poke baby!

KatelynRose 07-18-2014 04:08 PM

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Haha thanks for understanding @crazyms :D
This information has helped me so much! I am so happy to know that cloth diapering doesn't have to be so darn expensive..
I saw the snappis when I looked up the prefolds.. Do they stay in place well? They seemed a little pricey per snappi (Not awful just $3 per snappi and I thought they looked like they should be more like $3 for a pack of 3-4 of them, you know? They overprice baby items) ..Do they hold up a long time so you won't need too many?

crazyms 07-18-2014 04:30 PM

I thought the same thing when I saw them. I personally found them to work just fine went used on a flat inside a cover and only ever had two. I'd say they hold up well as I bought mine used and then kept them through 2 babies. Honestly I don't see the need to have more than one really since that isn't an item that will really get dirty kwim?

KatelynRose 07-18-2014 05:28 PM

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I wondered how dirty they could get haha even if they do get dirty they seem easy to rinse off. Well that's probably a safer option than pinning, even with the baby safe pins it makes me nervous I do to want to prick a squirmy baby!

crazyms 07-18-2014 05:47 PM

They're very easy to just rinse off or wipe off with a damp cloth. I liked them a lot better than the pin idea also. I was just never brave enough to get close to a baby with a needle. In the tiny phases it might be so bad but I could see that fun when they're mobile and don't want to sit still for a change in the first place!

sidrajedi 07-19-2014 04:15 PM

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I used snappis and pins. I like having both (10 pins, 2 snappis) but the snappis held up and the pins broke.

You don't have to fold the prefolds as much as the flats and its easier. I used to store my flats half folded out of the dryer to cut down on the folding needed during a change. I liked both. I like the prefolds better now that DD I older.

I had way less leaks with the cloth than I had with sposies during the EBF poop stage and no leaks now.

KatelynRose 07-19-2014 05:37 PM

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Oh that's wonderful to know the snappis hold up so well! :)

I'll probably get a mixture of prefolds and flats just since flats are so cheap, but I would like to try the prefolds... :wink

I'm so happy to hear that the prefolds/flats work so well, because it will save me TONS of money!

IdentityCrisisMama 07-19-2014 05:43 PM

Chiming in to the chorus...

With my first we used a service and just had flats with the old plastic covers. That was easy in so many ways (not to mention not having to sort through the ridiculous options and variety of diapers and covers in the world).

With our second we started with flats and PFs with a variety of covers. I ended up not liking flats (never got the fold down) and preferred PFs. I LOVED wool and found it the absolute nicest on the baby. Not the knitted kind (that never worked for me) but the felted wool. So soft!

When my DC was about a year someone gifted us with a whole bunch of pocket diapers (one of the big, popular brands). They were GREAT for an older baby - so easy, fewer leaks, easier to wear normal clothes, not as upsetting as wool to get covered in dirt and mud from an active baby.

All in all I would say that even with hand-me-downs that we did not save money but it's nice to start of life with a baby doing something good for the Earth that we're going to leave to them. :love

rinap 07-21-2014 08:26 AM

Snappies are awesome (but yes, a bit expensive). You want two because sometimes in the middle of the most inconvenient time one will slingshot off and disappear (or occasionally break) will often reappear, but not in the middle of the night, or when you're trying to run out the door. (we like having an extra in the diaper bag and an extra at the changing table, but we like having backup).

boscopup 07-21-2014 06:22 PM

You don't need very many Snappis. I ended up not using them much, and just left my prefolds unfastened. The covers hold them on. The downside to that is that you might get more poop leaking onto your cover, which means you have to wash the cover instead of re-using it. A good cover with gussets won't leak though. I LOVE cloth for the newborn-6 month old stage, when disposables can very easily leak all over - either out the leg or up the back! Cloth contains it better, IME.

Since I de-stashed after my "last" baby and now have ended up pregnant again :D, I'm wanting to make a very cheap stash this time. I'm going to get prefolds and Assunta covers (they're $5 each, and there is a Tiny size and a One-Size, so basically two sizes to buy kind of like Thirsties Duos, which are also very good). I'll try the snappis again, but if I still don't like them, it's not a big deal. I'll just go unfastened again. You can even trifold a prefold and lay it in the cover - easy peasy.

I've been looking at flats, and they're cool, but I don't know if I want to do THAT much folding out of the dryer. I'm lazy that way. Prefolds are something my kids can fold in half for stacking. I don't really need to fold them before putting them on baby. Just lay the baby on it, do my magic, and close the cover up. :)

KatelynRose 07-21-2014 08:43 PM

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Congrats on your pregnancy! ;)

The thing I like about flats is how CHEAP they are, plus they come in one standard size that I can fold for every stage.. Whereas the prefolds I'd have to collect different sizes. Since this is my first I am not chasing around other children, I'm not too worried about taking a tad bit extra time for folding. Maybe in the future I can collect some prefolds but for now I'm thinking flats are the most economical route... :)

crazyms 07-21-2014 08:53 PM

Flats would definitely be the most economical route and they dry faster than anything else available even the prefolds (even though the prefolds do dry pretty fast!). If you want the cheapest option then definitely the flats. Like you said you can always pick up prefolds as you go if you have the money. Snappis are also not necessary. If you are placing a cover over flats or prefolds there is no need to close the flat or prefold itself with anything. You can just lay it inside the cover and then close the cover like a pp stated. That's what I did with mine. Although the snappi was nice to have at times with the flats you could easily get by without them as well.

The wet bags are great for holding the dirty laundry but if you want to save money I know many other moms use pillowcases or mesh laundry bags in place of the more expensive wet bags and they work just fine. I ended up getting a wet bag because I found one at a good deal used but before that I used either an old pillowcase or a laundry bag and it worked just as well. The only thing I ended up really using the wet bag for was in the diaper bag for dirties when we were in town.

Galatea 07-22-2014 04:00 AM

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You will need to use two flats at once sometimes. Some kids pee more.

You can do PFs in only two sizes, if you buy the "older" sizes of infant and premium. I did that before these new square sizes were invented. You could do flats for the NB stage and then pick up some premium PFs as you go when baby hits 4-5 months.

KatelynRose 07-22-2014 07:27 AM

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That's a good idea, I looked up how to fold a prefold that is "too big" of a size for the baby so that I could go a couple of sizes up.. I just know most of my stock will be flats. I planned on having to use two flats at a time since they are so thin.. It would be a dream come true if I only had to use one but I think that'd be a miracle hahahaha

Hmm, is it possible to use a small trash can that I spray wash out or would that be annoying? Instead of a wetbag? .. I guess it'd be annoying when it's cold and I don't feel like going outside. I'll have to check into wetbags, I'm sure I can find something. Do they leak through the pillowcase or that works pretty well?

OrmEmbar 07-25-2014 03:05 PM

You can use any container you like! The nice thing about using a pillow case or bag to line the container is that you don't have to handle the dirty diapers as much when putting them in the washing machine. But, right now I am using a rubbermaid bin and it works just fine. I do like a taller/narrower option though. I really liked using a 5 galling bucket with a pillow case for a liner.

I think the "sticky" note at the top of the diapering forum has a ton of information (including pictures) . . . if I remember correctly. Also, this is a nice set of pictures of real babies (including age and weight) in flat diapers. Shows origami fold, prefold fold, insert for Thirsties, Bummis and Flip diaper covers.

Have fun!

KatelynRose 07-25-2014 09:02 PM

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Oh wow thanks @OrmEmbar !

boater 07-26-2014 03:20 AM

I just wanted to chime in about the pail liner question. We just use a five gallon bucket (free from our local food co-op, it had been used to ship bulk honey in) with no liner. To me a pail liner just seems pointless. It's just an extra thing to buy and wash and eventually have to replace if you are washing and drying with diapers since Pul becomes delaminated over time with that kind of treatment and washing separately or having to line dry sounds even more annoying. So we just rinse the bucket in the tub faucet with a little castle soap or a spray of vinegar. That said, it's nice to have at least 2 or 3 zippered wetbags for the diaper bag so you have spares when one or more are in the wash.
I think it's a good idea to do some reading and watch some videos about flats with a newborn since diapering a newborn is so different than an older baby. I definitely think having the option to pin or snappi when you are in the ebf runny poo phase is a good thing. Later on pad folding flats into covers is super easy and convenient.
Also when you order flats from green mountain diapers they throw in pins for free and their pins are excellent quality. They slide through fabric easily and won't break.
I would definitely buy at least 2 snappies as well though because, as much as I love pins for older babies, on that very first diaper after giving birth I was too scared of hurting the baby and out of it to learn to pin for the first time. Also for middle of the night changes they are very handy and quick.
Another tip is if you find a fold you like, fold all of your flats into that fold out of the drier and stack next to your changing area so they're ready to go and whoever is doing the change doesn't have to fold a new diaper with a fussy/squirmy/poopy baby waiting.
Also, re doubling up, when the baby is little you probably won't need to if you are buying good quality flats, there will be enough absorbancy from all of that fabric. By the time you need to use 2 at a time you won't need as many changes per day so the amount you need should not increase.
I've heard though I haven't tried it yet that you can fold a flat in quarters (to end up with a smaller square) and use it on a newborn just as you would a prefold. Too me that sounds super convenient when you are just learning and sleep deprived and a bit overwhelmed with folds on a tiny baby.
Oh and one more thing- don't be afraid of wool. Its so soft and cuddly, it never wears out (unlike pul) it's breathable, washing is so simple and only needs to happen rarely. If you get a nice roomy pull on like disana the size range is huge (much more than what they're labled) and you can find them used easily for pretty cheap on diaperswappers or eBay or spots corner. Also you don't need many especially in larger sizes. Check out the little spruce organics website's using wool exclusively article. It's pretty informative.
Hope this helps! Good luck with your baby!

deenamathew 07-29-2014 12:22 AM


Originally Posted by KatelynRose (Post 17813866)
So, I'm due with my first baby in December.. I'd really like to do cloth diapering, to save money in the long run AND to reduce landfill waste.. As well as just for the health and well being of my little one.

I just have so many questions for those of you who have already gone the cloth diapering route. Because of our tight budget, I'm trying to go the most economical route ..

I have heard and read that 30 diapers is a good number to start out with so they don't get worn down too quickly.

Has anyone had experience with one-size fitted diapers? Do they work for every age? I was thinking if these work they'd be amazing so I could just adjust the size as he grows older.
If not, what diapers did you find work best? What were they made of, what type of fit, etc?

Any other tips our have for a first time cloth diapering mother would be very much appreciated!!! Thank you!

The one-size diapers will fit for 0-3 months babies. It doesn't fit well untill 14-15 lbs.

OrmEmbar 07-29-2014 01:37 PM

Tip: less washing detergent is better. I use biokleen and 1/3 scoop worked when we had very hard water. Now we have soft water and I actually use a measuring teaspoon to make sure I don't use too much in our front loader.
Every machine and water source is different so you will figure it out what is right for you. Diapers that get unusually stinky and a little stiff are a signal for me to reduce the suds. : )

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