I often get emails from other mothers who are interested in using cloth diapers on their children or are expecting and wondering about how to use cloth diapers. When I first was interested in it, I felt lost too. I knew nothing about cloth diapering, other than it was a more Eco-friendly choice and that was initially why I knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers with Serafina.
Now, after nearly two years of using them, I realize how much I truly love them and how easy and affordable it really is!
Yesterday I got an order of new cloth diapers and covers in the mail. I decided to order more for her a few weeks ago because the ones she was/is wearing are from my first ever order, before she was born. That means the diapers that she has been using since birth have lasted me 21 months! And in total the amount that I have spent on diapers for Serafina up until now and for the rest of her diaper-wearing years is $418.
If we were to have been using disposable diapers and buying a pack of diapers every 2 weeks for 21 months, we would have spent around over $900 on diapers so far! And all of those thousands of diapers would be in a landfill somewhere, taking 250-500+ years to decompose, if ever!
Today I wanted to share some information on cloth diapers and also some videos for those interested in getting started. I know that this information would have been a life-saver to me when I was first considering going cloth, so I hope that it will help some of you out there as well. 🙂
First of all, there are many different types of cloth diapers. Just like everything else in the world nowadays, there are many choices, which can be terribly confusing!
Different Types Of Cloth Diapers
This is the type of diapers that we use. A prefold is a piece of cloth that you fold and use as your actual diaper. You can fasten it with a snappi or you can just fold it around your baby inside a waterproof diaper cover.
prefold diaper fastened with a snappi
I personally do not use the snappi’s and find that even without them, the diaper stays in place. Along with the prefold or cloth diaper, you will also need a waterproof cover. I love this system of cloth diapering because often times all that I have to change is the cloth (prefold) part of the diaper and the cover stays completely clean. When I placed my first order for diapers, I ordered 33 prefolds and 6 diaper covers to get me started. The total cost was $136.00. The site that I order my cloth diapers from is called caterpillarbaby.com.
Since then (around when Serafina turned one) I ordered more diaper covers because she had grown a little bigger and even the adjustable covers that I bought, she had outgrown. The second time I placed an order, I got 8 adjustable diaper covers and continued to use the same prefolds. I spent another $100. Those diaper covers and the same prefolds from my first order of diapers, have lasted me until this new order that I got yesterday.
I ordered 7 diaper covers, a swim diaper for summer and 15 new (bigger) prefolds this time around, even though I plan on still using the old prefolds still too, until she really outgrows them. My last order of diapers cost $182.00 and will last me until she is potty trained.
So, in total, the amount that I have spent on cloth diapering Serafina for her lifetime is $418.00. My original purchase of diapers for Serafina up until 21 months was just $236.00. Whereas, if I had been buying a package of disposable diapers every few weeks at $15.99 each, I would have spent around $900 on diapers up until now, PLUS the additional cost on diapers I would still have to spend for the remainder of her toddler years until she is potty trained.
I find that this system of using prefold diapers and waterproof covers is the most affordable (especially if you buy the adjustable covers in the first place, which I didn’t because I didn’t know too much about cloth diapering) because you aren’t having to wash the whole diaper every single time you change your baby, just the cloth part. The only time you have to wash the cover too, is if it gets poop on it, which happens every few changes or maybe once or twice a day. If you go for a different system, you will have to wash the entire diaper, which means you will have to buy more diapers and the different cloth diaper types do tend to cost a more. Plus, (and the best thing in my opinion is) all of these cloth diapers and covers that I purchased I can use again when and if we ever have another baby! So for my next baby’s lifetime in diapers, I will have to spend $0.
Prefolds also have to be prepped before you use them. See this video on prepping your cloth diapers.
Types Of Covers
There are two types of covers, ones that fasten with Aplix velcro and ones that fasten with snaps. I like the velco ones because they are just like disposables and are very quick to do, but some of the covers you can buy with snaps are adjustable both in the waist and in the length of the diaper as well. I used to use just the Aplix velcro type at first, but this time I decided to pay a little more than usual on a couple of adjustable covers to see what they are like. I also figured that if I bought a few of the adjustable type, then I will not have to buy anymore covers at all.
If I were to do this all over again, I would definitely buy the adjustable snap diapers from the start because they grow with your baby and therefore last longer and save you even more money. There are two brands of adjustable diaper covers that I have purchased, Thirsties and now these new Blueberry Coveralls ones. I have got to say that both are great, but I am loving these Blueberry diapers because they have two snaps at the waist and are extremely adjustable. They also come in so many cute designs!
With this system of diapering, I find that I wash diapers every 2-4 days. We have a plastic garbage can in our bathroom with a removable inner bin which we keep the dirty diapers in. Wet diapers go in as is. If a diaper is poopy, we put the poop into the toilet and then rinse the diaper in the bathtub before tossing it into the bin so that it is fairly cleaned off and so that it won’t stink. When it is time to do a load of diaper laundry, I simply take down to our laundry area and toss them into a hot wash with a little bit of laundry soap. You can also use a bit of baking soda in the wash occasionally to get out any stains. For the most part, I find that our diapers are still very clean looking and are not at all badly stained. I will use them again if we ever have another baby.
A fitted diaper is like a prefold, except that it requires no folding and no pins or snappi’s. The fitted diaper is already in the shape of a diaper and fastens either with velcro or snaps. The cost of the fitted diapers is a little more and you will have to do more washing with this system. You will also still need to buy a waterproof cover to go on top of the fitted diaper. The advantages of fitted diapers are that they are more simple than the prefold system because you don’t have to do any folding or use any snaps.
3. Pocket Diapers
Pocket diapers are a little more complex. The pocket diaper consists of an outer waterproof layer made of PUL that is sewn to a cloth layer which goes against the skin. There is an opening left in the back between the two layers where you place an absorbent insert. Usually when you purchase these diapers, they come with inserts or you can use prefolds to place inside as well. These diapers are said to be very absorbent and a lot of people like them, despite the extra work of having to stuff the diapers. With this type of diaper you also have control over how absorbent it is depending on if you place an extra insert in it or not. These diapers are great for using at night if you only purchase a few of them for that purpose too. The disadvantages of pocket diapers is the little extra time you have to take to put them together and also they do not come as clean as the prefolds.
An all-in-one diaper is just like it sounds, all the parts of the diapers that we have discussed (the waterproof cover, the absorbent layer and the layer against the skin) are all sewn together and are essentially just like a disposable diaper. A lot of people find this to be the most convenient type of cloth diaper. The disadvantages are that they cost way more (around $10 more than the prefold system for each diaper, that is $17-$20+ per diaper), are not as easy to get clean, do not fit your baby as long and wear out much faster. So for the sake of convenience, there are also many pitfalls to consider.
I think that this video I found shares some more good information on the different types of cloth diapers.
Other Things You Will Need
1. Cloth Wipes
A lot of people who use cloth diapers also use cloth wipes as well. I used cloth wipes at first, but after a while I went back to using regular wipes for poopy diapers and only use cloth wipes for wet changes. I also didn’t buy cloth wipes, but just bought some baby wash cloths (which are much cheaper) and kept a little pail of warm water with a drop of baby soap nearby when I would change a diaper.
2. Pail with Pail Liner or Plastic Garbage Can with Removable Bin
You will need a place to keep those dirty diapers. Many people buy a diaper pail and a pail liner, but I find using a small plastic garbage can with a removable plastic bin works just fine.
This is essential to have when you go out and have a diaper to change. You place the dirty diaper into the wetbag and then when you get home you place both the wetbag and the diaper into your diaper pail or garbage can to be washed.
Reasons For Using Cloth Diapers
There are so many reasons to use cloth diapers! Here are some of the reasons why I chose cloth diapers.
1. Cloth Diapers Save Money
It is said that the average baby goes through 6 to 8 thousand diapers from birth to about age three. That means $3000-$4000 is spent on diapers per baby. In comparison, cloth diapers to last a child three years usually costs between $300-$800, depending which type of diaper you decide to use. (source) At a minimum that means you save about $2200 if you use cloth diapers. But if you also consider that those cloth diapers are reusable and can last for one or more successive children, your savings doubles and even triples! Whereas the money you spend on disposables, literally ends up in the garbage.
2. Cloth Diapers are Reusable
Even after you are done using the cloth diapers for all your babies, that cloth diaper can still live on as a rag or something else.
3. Cloth Diapers Are Better For The Environment
Over 4 million disposable diapers are thrown away every single day in Canada! That amounts to around 1.5 billion disposable diapers in our landfills each year! In the United States the yearly amount of disposable diapers ending up in our landfills is 27.4 billion! (source) No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, plus all of the fecal matter is also sitting in those diapers, which can’t be a good thing. Disposable diapers also require a lot of our resources to be made and then they just end up in a landfill. These diapers are extremely wasteful in more ways than one, all for the sake of supposed convenience on the parent using them.
4. Cloth Diapers Are More Natural
Disposable diapers contain many chemicals or poisons, (TBT tributyl tin) and/or dioxins (which are highly carcinogenic), whereas cloth diapers are made from all natural materials like cotton or hemp. I noticed that with using cloth diapers Serafina rarely ever gets a diaper rash. When we used disposable diapers on her when we went on our camping trip last summer, she got a rash from the diapers. This made me really realize how unnatural they must be. Plus, have you ever noticed what is inside those diapers? I wonder what that gel-like substance really is and how healthy it can be on your baby and in our landfills.
5. Cloth Diapering Is Fun and Easy
Who doesn’t think that a baby looks absolutely adorable in a colorful cloth diaper? Cloth diapers now come in a variety of fun colors and styles. In contrast to what we are taught to believe (that cloth diapering is extremely inconvenient or somehow hard to do), cloth diapering is actually extremely easy too! Simply change the diaper as you would a disposable, place it into the diaper pail (rinse it quickly if it is soiled) and then when washing day comes, empty the diapers into the washing machine!
In Short I Love Cloth Diapers Because…
- It saves big bucks.
- It is a good investment – you can use the same diapers for years and even years later when you have another baby.
- It is more natural and healthy for my baby.
- I feel good about not polluting our planet with 1000′s of diapers that take years to biodegrade, if the ever really do.
- It is fun and easy.
- It is one small thing that I can do to make a difference, which puts a smile on my face.
Additional Helpful Information On Cloth Diapers:
- Dispelling the Myths: Why Cloth Diapering is Truly Easier Than it Seems
- Beginner’s Most Frequently Asked Questions
- Why Cloth Diapers?
- Washing & Caring for Cloth Diapers
- Getting Started with Cloth Diapers
- Cloth Diapering Tips & Tricks
- Real Diaper Association – Diaper Facts
- Prepping Cloth Diapers – Video
- 10 Cloth Diaper Myths – Video
I hope that you enjoyed this post on cloth diapering! If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below.
Hey Tiffany, I so miss your inspirational quotes. Do you think you could add them in again. They sure do brighten my Monday’s:) you are an inspiration.
I will get on that! 🙂
Such a great post!! We loved cloth diapering, wouldn’t do it any other way.
20 years ago I used cloth for both my kids and it feels really good to say they don’t “own” a huge pile of dirty diapers in a landfill somewhere.
I did get A LOT of flack from friends who just didn’t “get it” though 🙂
I could understand that. I think cloth diapering is drawing more attention nowadays. In some ways it even seems to be a trendy thing among moms. 🙂
Yay CD Mama!!! We love our prefolds and covers here! We didn’t have any luck with Thirsties (they leaked horribly for us but that could be because we have a little boy) but LOVE our Flip diaper covers–not one single leak. I love seeing mamas who cloth diaper. FYI, when you’re done with diapers completely, there’s a huge FB community where you can buy-sell-trade gently used CDs. If yours are still in good shape, you could probably make a few bucks back from them (can’t do that with used disposables!). Just search “cloth diaper swaps” and you’ll find lots of groups. Once I figured out what worked for us, I sold our “no-goes” through the groups.
Thanks for the info on the diaper swap. I have heard that many people sell them afterwards. If they are still in good shape, I suppose I probably could, though we are planning on having another baby at some point too. The reason I went with Thirsties covers in the first place was because they are cheapest. I am liking these Blueberry diapers now too! 🙂 Thanks for your comment.
I’ve heard good things about Blueberries! They’re definitely cuter than Flips too =)
I love cloth diapering too, and have done it since Zia was a baby. I just got new covers for the first time since then. They are one-size fits all with snaps, and I love them (Bububibi). Great post!
Thanks Mia! 🙂