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Using a diaper is a personal and modern choice. You as a parent need to decide which one to select. However, there are no additional health benefits, if you choose a diaper over the other. Even the NGOs and other organizations dealing with pediatrics do not set any bar or forbid you from using it.
While some parents are certain from the beginning, some remain confused regarding the choice of diapers. As many are convinced by the convenience of using disposable diapers, there is a large section of parents who prefer cloth diapers over anything. Recently there has been a surge in the use of cotton diapers and a variety of such is being produced. Thinking around how these diapers are? Well, read till the end to know more!
What are Cloth Diapers?
What are the things that come to your mind when you hear about cloth diapers? Square pieces of clothes, attached with safety pins, get dirty easily? Well, well, well, those were the ideas of cloth diapers previously!
Now the reusable diapers are not pieces of cloth. They are refurbished with many children-friendly materials so that your baby feels cozy. Being eco-friendly, you need not worry about any side effects from it that might harm your baby.
You can keep your baby’s sensitive skin away from chemicals. While some are opting for these diapers to save money, some are doing so to go natural!
Cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers
As you enter the choice between cloth diapers and disposable ones, the primary difference that surfaces is the cost. Reusable diapers are a one-time buy that will benefit you. However, disposable ones are not such. You need to buy them frequently and they shall cost more.
Disposable diapers do not require laundering whereas reusable ones require frequent laundering. You need to spend time on cloth diapers by cleaning them, washing them, and making them ready for use. Whereas disposable diapers can be thrown after use.
Though at times, the ingredients used to make a disposable diaper might irritate the sensitive skin of your baby, the cloth diapers will never cause any irritation in the skin. There is also a chance of leakage in the disposable diapers but the reusable ones hold waste in a better way.
You indeed need to change the reusable diapers from time to time. However, in the case of disposable ones, they are much more convenient to use. The reusable diapers have a fashionable look which might attract you to choose them for your baby.
Nonetheless, the debate is a never-ending one yet, nowadays the use of cloth diapers has emerged as a fashion and many parents are choosing them for the greater benefit of their child. Yet, it is always your personal choice as a parent to choose one that you feel will be comfortable for your baby.
Types of cloth diapers
As there is a notable flourishment in the reusable diaper industry, various types of these diapers have come in front. Before buying you need to choose the best cloth diaper suitable for your use. You can also try out a few types and then select one. We have the list and details of each type that might help you to buy one of your choices.
- All in one diaper: They are similar to the disposable ones, as they have an absorbent layer and waterproof back. The absorbents are present in multiple layers and you can fold them accordingly.
You can add a booster absorbent if you require more absorbency. If you leave your baby to a caretaker, it is very easy for them to check these diapers from time to time. However, they are a bit more costly than the other types of cloth diapers.
- All in two diapers: All in two diapers are also known as hybrids. They are very similar to the all-in-one diaper but have detachable layers of absorbency that help you to customize the absorbing efficiently.
As it is equipped with this feature, you get an extra facility to change the soiled absorbent and replace it with new boosters. They are also open to adding nighttime boosters for convenience. These diapers are also easy for laundering as you can wash the covers and inserts separately and dry them.
- Flats or pre-fold diapers: These diapers are like traditional cloth diapers and will cost you less. They are the most pocket-friendly type among the others. However, you will face a little inconvenience in fitting them. The Prefolds are rectangular and thus you have to fold and fasten them with clips.
Even you have to use a diaper cover as the cloth is not waterproof. Nonetheless, the greatest advantage is that you can change the cloth when soiled, keeping the cover back if it is in a good condition to use.
- Fitted cloth diapers: The fitted cloth diapers, also known as fitteds have leg and back elastics and are made from absorbent material. As the elastic is used, many parents prefer them to use it. They are ideal for overnight use. However, it is similar to pre-fold diapers and does not have waterproofing backs.
Thus, you need a cover to enclose it. There are many sizes in which these fitted cloth diapers are available. Unlike the pre-folds, you can go on using them when your child grows if the cover remains perfect. Else you need to change it.
- Pocket diapers: Pocket diapers are the result of modern technology which has a waterproof back. You don’t have to use a cover. The appearance of these diapers is similar to that of disposable ones. The name of this diaper is due to its functionality.
There is a pocket where you can insert extra pre-folds or diaper inserts for increasing absorbency. You can even take the stuffing (absorbent) out of the pocket before sending it to the laundry.
- Contour diapers: Contour diapers are something between the fitted diapers and pre-folds. They can be used by attaching a pin or diaper clip. Moreover, you will also need a diaper cover as it is not waterproof. However, you can use it for a long time until it is dirty. They just fit around the legs properly and thus become a great option for the night.
Cloth diaper accessories
The reusable diaper accessories are an important piece of the item required while using this kind of diaper. You will find them in many attractive colors and designs that will make your baby look great. The important accessories are:
- Diaper cover: The diaper covers act as a protective layer resisting leakage. They also make your baby look cool. As you use prefolds and fitted diapers you will need these covers. You can get them in attractive designs and colors.
- Diaper inserts: Worried about too much washing of the diapers? Well, as a solution to this problem use diaper inserts. You can position one of them while making your baby wear the nappy. While changing, just take off the insert and wash it. The other equipment of the diaper remains exact.
- Diaper pins or clips: If you are folding the cloth by yourself for the baby you will require clips or pins to attach it. The fitted and prefolds need diaper clips so that you can keep them intact.
How to make cloth diapers?
If you are using prefolds, you need to fold the piece of cloth in the form of a nappy. While some parents use diaper pins or clips, some sew the ends in their way. If you are opting to make diapers for your child, you need to know proper sewing techniques so that your child does not feel irritated while wearing them.
You should also choose the proper fabric which will be suitable for wearing. There are several folds that you need to make it fit your baby. Remember not to make it too tight or too fat which might make the little ones uncomfortable. You can fold it triangular from a square piece of cloth.
You can even tie knots instead of using clips or pins on the hips once the folding is done. Moreover, there are some tutorials to guide you on folding available everywhere. However, we would suggest you take advice from elders who have experience in it.
How to make a baby wear cloth diapers?
If you are using all in one or all in two diapers it is easy for you to make your baby wear it. You can simply put them up as you make your child wear pants. However, if you are using prefolds or sew fabrics to make diapers you need to tie a knot or use a diaper clip to make them fit.
You can place your baby on the folded cloth and pin it so that it does not hurt. If you have sewed them you can make your kid wear them like pants and adjust the rest part with a clip. However, fitting nappies does sound easy but is tough work. You need to make them wear it in a way that does not hurt them.
How do I understand when to change the cloth diaper?
Don’t need to worry about changing cloth diapers as it does not contain any chemicals, unlike the disposable ones. However, you should change a cloth diaper every two hours so that your baby doesn’t stay moist and develops cold.
Though cloth diapers don’t give out any smell when it is soiled, you can understand as the diapers hang a little longer when they are wet. You can also spot them as being stiff as natural fibers tend to become so when wet. Nonetheless, it is easy to see whether the cloth diaper is wet or not if you are not using a diaper cover.
In any chance, if you miss checking whether the diaper is wet or not, the irritation of wearing a wet diaper by your baby will surely indicate that he/she needs to change!
How to remove a cloth diaper from the baby?
When you check and find that the diaper is wet, remove it by pulling it down. If you are using all in one and all in two diapers, you can easily remove them. However, if you are using prefolds and pockets, you need to remove them carefully.
For prefolds, detach the pins or clips you used and remove the cloth. If you have used an extra absorbent then change the absorbent. Similar goes with the pocket diapers. Pull it down like pants and unzip the pocket to remove the wet absorbent and change it with a try one.
Remember, while removing a diaper your baby may stay irritated and cry as he/she has been wet for some time. Clean them also to avoid infections. While removing the diaper also be careful about the clips and pins as they might hurt your baby if not removed.
Where and how to store cloth diapers?
There are right ways to store diapers and you should not keep them here and there. The ways are easy and hassle-free yet you must adhere to them. Storing is an important part of keeping cloth diapers because with it a lot of things are interlinked.
Proper storage ensures that the diapers are away from the germ, dust, and your baby remains away from infections. They also ensure the longevity of the diapers. Your room will also look tidy if you properly keep the diapers. However, make sure to wash them properly so that there is no stain and stinky smell.
Follow the following steps so that you can store them properly and use them alternatively.
- Step one: Before storing, do remember to check whether the diaper has dried fully. Else leave it to dry properly and then store it.
- Step two: When you feel that the cloth has dried, store it in an airy basket or closet. You must not store them in vacuum containers or cabinets which might not be good for the fabric. You can use DIY cardboard boxes, bathroom closets, breathable baskets to keep them for reuse.
- Step three: Remember to keep the box or basket in a cool and dry place. Excessive heat is not good for the fabric. If you keep them in closets and cabinets, make sure they are in your bedroom or toilet. You can also keep the cardboard box and baskets in the room or under the bed. However, keep in mind to keep them away from dust.
How to wash and clean cloth diapers?
Cleaning is an important part of using cloth diapers, as it is connected to the hygiene of the baby. As you find the cloth wet and dirty you must rinse it immediately. If your baby is breastfeeding a simple rinsing under cold water and then under hot water will do.
However, you must use an antiseptic liquid to avoid contamination of germs. If you are just rinsing it under running water and letting it dry, then remember to wash it properly at least after a day or two.
If your baby has started to consume solid food, you need to flush the waste in the toilet. To avoid the foul smell and ammonia build-up, you must wash these diapers regularly with cold and hot water and dry them using antiseptic lotions. We will also suggest you wash the diapers separately from the other items of your baby.
You can also use detergents to wash the diapers as they will add a good smell to the nappies. It will also ensure proper cleaning and washing. However, you must check whether the detergent has gone from the cloth after washing. There shouldn’t be any extra foam left.
If you are using your washing machine, you can run an additional rinse cycle to ensure this. Though some parents use fabric softener after rinsing, we will leave that to your discretion.
Valuable tips for washing cloth diapers
As you wash diapers many questions about hygiene might strike in your head. Here are a few tips from experienced parents that might help you to wash cloth diapers.
- Wipeout inserts from pocket diapers: As the absorbent inside the pocket retains the waste, you must not forget to take it out before washing. Else, the rinsing is of no use.
- Wash under high water pressure: If you are washing with your hands, you must rinse the diapers under running water. However, if it is the teaching machine you must put on the highest water dispensing speed for washing. The high flow of water removes waste very fast and cleans the diaper properly.
- Wash with cold water without detergents on the first go: Remember not to use detergents while you are rinsing the diaper for the first time. Hold it under fast running water properly to let the waste and stain go.
- Use hot water and detergents after the first rinse: As you have completed rinsing under running water, put the diapers in hot water. However, if the diapers have elastics you must refrain from putting them directly in hot water. Doing so might loosen the elastic and make the diaper unfit. Use lukewarm water in that case. Add detergents and wash in warm water.
- Do rinse it once more after washing it in warm water: As you have washed the diaper in detergent and learn water, now rinse it again in normal water to ensure that the detergent has gone away. Remember to dry it fully and then store it in cold and dry closets.
Materials used to make cloth diapers
Being a parent you need to be careful about a lot of things. As you choose cloth diapers for your baby, you must know what they are made of. Before that, you must also know about the different layers of a diaper. Generally, there are parts of a diaper, the waterproof cover, and the absorbent. Various types of materials are used to make these two layers.
- Materials used for waterproofing
PUL (polyurethane laminate) and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) are commonly used as waterproofing materials on the covers of cloth diapers. The waterproofing layer is the most important part of a diaper as it prevents leakage. Not a single parent will want their baby to stay irritated and feel uncomfortable due to leakage.
So, before buying you can question the manufacturer whether they have proper waterproofing materials or not. As you know the names of the two materials you can check them before buying.
- Materials used for absorbent
A wide variety of materials are used for making the absorbent layer. At times to materials are fused to get a new item. We are providing you with the list of materials used for making absorbent so that while buying you can have a look and then buy.
- Bamboo fiber: Being a natural fiber, bamboo fiber is used in many other items including diapers. It absorbs very well and restricts the growth of bacteria on its own. However, converting bamboo wood to soft fiber uses chemicals for which some parents avoid. Else it works great as an organic absorbent.
- Cotton: Undoubtedly, cotton is the most common fiber used to make various baby clothes and dresses. It is also an important fiber for making it absorbent. Besides being available in a huge amount and widely used, cotton makes the baby feel comfortable than any other fiber can.
- Hemp: Hemp is also an incredible fiber that can hold water properly. It also prevents the growth of bacteria on its surface naturally. However, being thin, it cannot instantly absorb water. Thus, cotton is fused with hemp which makes it a powerful absorbent.
- Modal: Unlike bamboo, modal is also obtained by compressing wood to fiber. Thus labeling it as a perfect organic product is not correct. However, modal is preferred by many parents due to its silky and comfortable feel. The greatest advantage of using modal absorbent is that the softness remains the same after long use. Modal is also resistant to mineral buildup which protects the diaper from stinking and stains.
- Zorb: Zorb is the name used in the diapering world for polyester. It is a man-made chemical but often referred to as microfiber or Minky. It is a really good absorbent but loses its properties when used over and over again. They are commonly traced in pocket diapers as an absorbent.
- Wool: Wool is another natural absorbent material that is used in the diaper industry. It is a breathable material also. Besides being resistant to water, it also restricts the growth of bacteria naturally.
The cloth diapers are made from such materials that will be long-lasting and resistant to water. You as a parent must choose the material wisely depending on your faith regarding the particular material.
Cloth Diapers Sizes
Being a parent another important thing that you need to decide about diapers is the size. If you don’t consider the proper size, your baby will end up wearing either a very tight nappy or a very loose one. The same goes with the diaper covers also. However, knowing a single thing can guide you properly in choosing the diaper – your baby’s weight.
The cloth diapers and covers are available in two units, sized and one sized. The one-sized diapers are those that are available in free-size models but you can alter and adjust them according to your baby’s size.
- Sized diapers – These are ones marked with newborn, small, medium, and large units. You can also get them according to the weight of your baby. Both the denominators work for the sized diapers. Even the size is also marked by the age of the baby. There are plenty of size parameters using which you can buy them.
- OS or one-sized diapers – They are made in a free-size model that is ideal for babies of a wide range of weights and ages. There are adjustment buds that help you to fit it according to your baby’s waist. The advantage of using OS is that it can be used for a longer time than any other product.
How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
The number of diapers will vary from one child to another. However, the standard consensus that everybody follows, claims that in a day, a baby will require ten to twelve cloth diapers. The number can also become fifteen in some cases.
You must have at least 24 diapers so that you can use them alternatively.
However, those using pre-fold diapers might require more clothes depending on the absorbency. You should change a diaper at least eight to ten times a day. For the night it can be one or two.
If you are sifting from disposable diapers to cloth diapers you must go through a trial phase before buying them. It will help you to decide which is suitable for your baby. There is a wide range of these diapers in attractive colors, designs, and sizes which will make your baby look cool and give them comfort. Remember to check the size and buy so that it doesn’t turn to be a misfit.