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Cloth Diapering for Dummies

When my youngest son was born the idea of cloth diapering never really crossed my mind.  It wasn’t until I became active in my What To Expect While Expecting mommy group where I was exposed to the idea and information about cloth diapering. I remember thinking how adorable the diapers were and tried to do a little research on where to even start. To my suprise, I found very little information on the web that left me feeling extremely uncomfortable making a transition. After asking a lot of questions in my mom group, I finally decided to try cloth diapering when my son was about two months old.

The benefits of cloth diapering made me want to switch that much more. Of course cloth diapering is economically better (one disposable diaper takes an estimated 250-500 years to decompose, gross), but did you know that it is a lot cheaper as well? The average household spends over $3,000 on disposables for just one child. With cloth diapers you can save an estimated $2,000, plus reuse for future children.

Cloth diapering is like entering a whole new world with a whole new language and it can be quite overwhelming. There are so many different types of cloth diapers out there, how do you choose which brand and style is best for your child? I had so many questions and often found myself asking these:

How often will you be doing laundry? How are you suppose to clean them? What types of detergent do you need to use? How in the world do you prep a diaper? How many cloth diapers do you need? What exactly is the difference in the type of diapers–  what’s an AIO, a hybrid, a pocket, a prefold?

I know the frustrations many can get trying to figure out this whole cloth diapering world so I decided to put up a series of cloth diapering posts. I am hoping to help those of you who are wanting to cloth diaper, but haven’t due to the lack of information out there.  I want to be able to share my experience with you and hopefully through this, make it an easy and comfortable switch for those of you looking into cloth diapering.

So how do you start?

Here are some ways to find out which brands and styles are great for you and your child.

  • The best way, in my opinion, is to do a diaper trial from Jillian’s Drawers.  For $10 you can try out enough diapers for 12 diaper changes and you can keep the diapers for 21 days! The neat thing about doing something like this is you get to sample all the different types of diapers out there and see which one works best for you and your child. You pay $160.94 up front and if you decide you want to keep them they’ll refund you $10. If you decide they are not for you, that’s okay, they will refund all but the $10. Simple enough.
  • Head on over to a local boutique that sells cloth diapers. Many of the local stores I have found host cloth diapering classes. There are also benefits to this because you can actually see the diapers in person, talk to someone in person and bring your child in for a consultation. Usually the owner or employee can recommend a great diaper.
  • Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to reach out to an online cloth diapering group or post on a cloth diapering company page. We are blessed to be living in a time where social media is at a peak. We can often get answers just by simply asking.

Let’s go through the different style of diapers.  Here’s a great guide from Jillian’s Drawers.

Different CLoth Diapers

With us, I knew I wanted something easy, something that made me feel like I wasn’t “cloth diapering.” After trying out several different diapers, we ended up liking pocket diapers the best. With a pocket diaper the insert goes inside a pocket located on the inside back of your diaper. When your child goes pee or poo, you simply remove the insert and the insert and shell both go into your diaper pail to be washed.


Another diaper style I liked were Hybrid AI2 diapers. With the Hybrid AI2’s you have your outer diaper shell and an insert that snaps into the shell. When your baby pees, you unsnap the insert and put in a fresh, new one! With all other diapers, not only your insert, but your diaper shell itself needs to be changed and then thrown into your diaper pail to be washed after every diaper change.

Hybrid AI2

If you are looking for a diaper that is as similar to a disposable, I would recommend trying out an AIO (All in One). There is no taking an insert in or out. Everything is sewn and attached for you. A popular brand for AIO’s is bumGenius.

bumgenius AIO

Items you will need:

  • 12-24 Cloth Diapers- This depends on the age of your child and how often you will want to be doing laundry.
  • Cloth Diapering Safe Detergent- You can check out a list of safe detergent on The Diaper Jungle.
  • Diaper Rash Cream- You will need one that is SAFE for cloth diapers. We have DIY Butt Balm that is perfect.
  • Additional Inserts- Only if you are doing a diaper like a Hybrid AI2.

Items that may help make things easier:

  • 1-2 large wet bags or pail liners- This is where the dirty diapers will go into.
  • 1-2 small wet bags- Perfect for outings
  • Diaper Pail- The pail liners go into a diaper pail. You can substitute a diaper pail for a Home Depot orange bucket with 3 tbsp baking soda and some peppermint essential oil on the bottom of the bucket.
  • Diaper Sprayer- to help clean the poo off the diaper.
  • Flush-able Liners- This is a biodegradable piece of material that sits on top of any cloth diaper. It catches solid waste and makes it easy to flush away.
  • Disposable Inserts- These look like the inside of a disposable and stick onto the inside of a cloth shell. They are biodegradable and environmentally safe. You will get people asking if it defeats the purpose of cloth diapering, but it doesn’t. Regular disposables take over 200 years to decompose, these don’t. Plus, if you are sending your kids to a non-friendly cloth diaper daycare or to a relatives house to babysit, these are an excellent thing to have around.

Stay tuned. We will be talking all about how to PREP the cloth diapers for use!