Like many today, you may be looking to reduce household waste. Cloth diapers are definitely one way to do it, but the huge array of choices and new terminology is overwhelming. Let’s break it down so you can tell if cloth diapers are the right choice for you.

What you actually need:
At the very most basic, to diaper in cloth, you need some kind of absorbent cloth pads (about 3 dozen) and some waterproof diaper covers (7-12). Some parents even buy cheap, thrift store blankets and cut them into rectangles to put in diapers. You’ll also need 3 dozen baby washcloths, a diaper pail, and a changing pad. Go for the covers with snaps, instead of velcro, as they’re more secure and durable. Also get them with a snap-front to change sizes if possible.

Some common terms:
Prefold – Originally, diapers were large squares of thin cloth that needed to be folded down to create the layered, absorbent diaper pad. Prefolds are simply already many-ply cloth pads for diapering.

Insert – Some covers are designed so you can stuff the absorbent padding into a pocket in the cover (or snap it in). This kind of diapering takes some more prep for you. The advantage is that the diaper is a whole unit, more like a disposable diaper. Inserts are typically rectangular pads, thinner than pre-folds, with the expectation that you add 1-4 inserts depending on the need of your baby.

Pocket diapers – the waterproof covers for the insert-type diapers. All-in-one – Diapers with all the padding sewn in together. The trickiest to wash, but they require the least prep.

What you don’t need:
You don’t need to pick one system or company and stick with it. You can put prefolds in pocket covers, and inserts to pad out your all-in-ones. The important thing is having enough cloth to change your baby after every wet or mess.

You don’t need lots of wet bags in your diaper bag. Just use a plastic bread bag and toss it when you’re done.


Baby Discovery Box Team