The ABC of cloth diapers.

1 08 2011

When we decided to go the cloth diaper route, I did a lot of research before committing to one brand or another, and I was gladly surprised to see how cute these new cloth diapers are, definitely not what I remembered from childhood! However, I was confused about all the vocabulary and the multiple different options that are out there. All in Ones, Pockets, Inserts, Boosters… And the list kept growing! I hope I can help some of you to make some sense of the loads of information with a brief summary of cloth diapers.

Cloth diapers come in a variety of systems to suit different needs, and many accessories. Some of these are:

All in Ones: These diapers work a lot like a disposable, the diaper is put on the baby and washed at each change. They are very easy to use, however they take a long time in drying and they can be pricey because you have to buy one diaper per change.

Boosters: An extra piece of cloth you put in your diaper to enhance absorption.

Doublers: See booster.

Hybrids: Cloth diapers that you can use either as a traditional cloth diaper or a disposable one. You can purchase disposable biodegradable inserts to use when you are on the go and avoid carrying a soiled diaper in your diaper bag.

Inserts and Covers: In this case you have cloth inserts that are set into a waterproof cover, they can be just placed into the cover or snapped on to it. The advantage to these is that the cover can be reused as long as it is not soiled and the inserts are washed. They can be a cheaper option since you will only need to buy many inserts but less covers. They dry fast! You can choose from a different arrange of inserts, and this will depend on the brand you are purchasing. I like to keep it simple and not have to fold the inserts myself, but some people like the versatility of folding their own diapers.

Liners: A piece of cloth or paper that you put between the diaper and baby’s bum to keep the solids from soiling the diaper, so you can get rid of them more easily. There are flushable biodegradable options.

Pockets: These diapers have an outer waterproof shell, and a pocket in which you can add cloth inserts. They work a lot like an All in One, except that you can take the inserts out and they dry much faster. You can also adjust how many inserts you would like to have depending on how much absorption your baby needs.

PUL: Polyurethane Laminating. This is a plastic layer that covers the outer part of the diaper, it keeps the moisture in, preventing spills.

Shells: Covers.

Inserts and covers are a good economic option for cloth diapering.

The prices vary a lot between systems and companies and you might want to invest some time considering what fits your pocket and lifestyle. If ease and convenience is a must, then all in ones are ready to use. If putting your hand into a wet pocket to retrieve the inserts is a big deal, then you might want to forgo pockets. If money is a big issue, then the Inserts and Covers (they are not hard to use, either!) are the way to go.

Whatever you choose, the initial investment might leave you thinking this is a very expensive option. After all, I spent about $500 when I set up my diaper stash for Ignacio. However, think that disposables are much more expensive, you will be spending $100+ per month in diapers! In about 5 months you will have cancelled your initial investment, plus you can use them for your next child too! This will bring the price so low!