So, what MAKES a good diaper? As a new mom jumping into cloth diapering, I was overwhelmed by the choices I had - basically my best advice,.. trials. You THINK you may know what you want, but in reality, you have no clue what baby's build is going to be, or whether or not he/she'll be a heavy wetter (yes, that does make a difference in what you decide to buy). Talk to other moms and even ask to borrow 1 or 2 for a few days and see if you like their preferred brand... I opted for buying many many used diapers from different companies. Eventually I found my favourites... for now.
As much as I'm all for supporting WHAMs (Work at Home Moms... I'll give a breakdown on abbreviations in a bit) - but I've been burned by many home-made diapers. My favourite so far is 4ward Thinking. Not only are they super cute, but they are very well made. I'm an fan.
Kate is wearing a candy corn cover and baby leg warmers (top) and a ruffle diaper cover in cherries (right) from 4ward Thinking.
What makes an awesome diaper?
- Hidden snaps or side snaps - reduces bulk
- Not too few and not too many snaps
- Breathable!!! bamboo and hemp is great, but almost always needs a cover...
- No red marks on the baby
- Very absorbent, but not too bulky
- Not too wide or too narrow between the legs
- No “bubble” butt
- Softness and durability of the fabric
- Obviously, lasts more than a couple of years
What kind of diapers are out there?
The choices can be overwhelming. I’ve tried my best to test out as many different varieties as I could and came to one conclusion. Origami is not for me – therefore I keep my prefolds for after shower naked time in the crib and to make really cute burp pads. Here’s a quick and dirty list of what’s out there… please note there may still be more to discover…
Pocket diaper: made of two (or more) layers of fabric sewn together to form a pocket that will hold an absorbent insert. These can be as convenient as disposables, but they do require stuffing an insert into the pocket after every laundry run.
All-In-One diaper: has a waterproof outer fabric (referred to as PUL) and an absorbent inner fabric, all sewn together to create one piece. This one resembles a typical disposable diaper the most.
All-in-Two diaper: same as the All in One, except the inner fabric is detachable.
Hybrid diapers: are best of both worlds. It’s an AIO with a pocket to allow for customization of your diaper for nighttime use or on long outings.
Covers and prefolds: the cheapest but not the easiest way to CD. Covers are a single layer of waterproof fabric. Whereas prefolds are what your mom (or grandma is some cases) used. There is no need for pins with a “snappi” and/or a cover. Prefolds are all cotton or bamboo (I have been seeing hemp lately) and come with a bleached (pure white) or unbleached (wheat colour) option.
There’s also another little thing… Sizing!
The sized diaper is a fit that varies by cloth diaper brand. So read the weight suggestions carefully before purchasing. Newborn, XS, S, M, L, XL, Toddler
The One-Sized diaper is a one size fits most (definitely not all) from newborn to toddler.
This is accomplished by MANY MANY snaps that interlock like puzzle pieces to make a near perfect fit. These can be bulky when baby is little but is great when it comes to your pocketbook.
- You most definitely going to get pilling. Avoid using the dryer. This increases the longevity of your diaper.
- You're going to get stains... don't use harsh chemicals to remove them.. otherwise use mother nature... the sun! Soak in HOT water overnight and use an oxygen fortified detergent, rinse well and leave in the sun. You may have to do this 2-3 times, but I have yet to meet a stain I couldn't handle.
- Velcro not sticking? you probably have lint and hair stuck in there. Rub a rough bristle brush and clean them out. You may at one point have to replace the velcro. I've done this to one of my used diapers - saved a LOT of money since the mom thought they were goners. Whip out the needle and thread!
It wasn't until recently that I finally asked the question... What does all your shorthand mean??? I was lost in all these blogs and reviews. Here's a quick breakdown of words and shorthands you may encounter:
- AIO: All in One - diaper that consists of absorbent material with a waterproof outer shell
- AI2: All in Two - diaper has an absorbent insert that sits in or sometimes snaps-in and a waterproof outer shell
- CD: cloth diaper
- Cover: waterproof outer shell - can be vinyl, lanolized wool or microfleece. Ideal for overnight diapers, prefolds, or any diaper that does not have waterproofing.
- DC: dear child
- DD: dear daughter
- DH: dear husband
- Doubler: Extra pad for added absorbency
- DS: dear son
- EUC: excellent used condition
- Fitted: Diapers that come in Newborn, Small, Medium, Large or Toddler
- OS: One-size - diaper has snaps to allow to custom fit the height of the diaper and sometimes even has elastics that you can measure to size around the baby's thighs.
- Pocket: A slit that you insert an absorbent material (prefold, bamboo , hemp or microfleece insert) with a waterproof outer shell
- Prepping: Washing a NEW diapers in hot water 3-4 times to get it at its most absorbent.
- Soaker: Absorbent part of the diaper or diaper pad
- Stripping: Cleaning your unsoiled diaper in HOT water without detergent to remove residue. Sometimes boiling a diaper for 10 minutes in a large pot also helps.
- Swishing: Dunking a diaper in the toilet to remove any soils.
- Wet Bag: Diaper storage bag with a waterproof layer for soiled wet diapers can be thrown inside out in the wash.
- WHAM: work at home mom
* I have not received any compensation for this post. These are my honest opinions.
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