Cloth Diapers…. So Many Choices!!

I’ve previously done some research on the topic of cloth vs. disposable diapers, and my husband and I agree that cloth will work for us. I plan to stay home with the baby, so he/she won’t be going to daycare or anything, and I will be home enough that I can do the extra required laundry (ugh-laundry-my favorite). So then the next step was to try to decide what kind of cloth diapers to get and how many.

I found this great step-by-step that helps you do a little compare and contrast on all the types of cloth diapers out there, from flat cloth diapers (think old-style with the safety pins and everything) to All-In-Ones (basically just like disposables except you wash and reuse them).  They range in price (the simpler they are, they more expensive they get), but overall you will still save money using any type of cloth diaper over disposables.

I was incredibly confused when I first started looking at all the different types of cloth diapers!  It can be overwhelming when you are first delving into the cloth-diaper world (amidst all the other important decisions you must make before baby is born), so let me break it down for you as I see it:

  • Flats– these are the oldest kind of cloth diapers and are probably what your mother or grandmother used. Disadvantages: They require folding and pinning with pins or Snappis, and you must use a waterproof diaper cover.  Advantages:  They dry very quickly and are the most inexpensive option ($20 for a dozen-  less than $2 each)
  • Prefolds– these diapers are similar to flats, but have several layers.  Disadvantages: They also require folding, pinning, and a waterproof cover.  Advantages: They are very economical ($1.75-$5 each) and extremely absorbent.
  • Fitteds– they look like disposables and fasten with snaps or velcro.  They come in a variety of cute colors and prints.  Disadvantages: Like prefolds and flats, a waterproof cover must be used, and they will cost more than a simple prefold ($8-$25 each).  Advantages: No pinning is required and they are still very absorbent.  A variety of commercial and homemade fitted diapers are available.
  • All-In-One’s (AIO’s)– these diapers, like fitted, and pocket diapers, look like disposables and fasten with velcro or snaps.  Advantages: They combine the absorbent part of the diaper with the waterproofing of the cover.  Basically, they come as one piece and are extremely simple to use.  The only difference between these and disposable diapers is that you wash them after use instead of throwing them away. Disadvantages: Some people find them less absorbent than fitteds or prefolds, and you don’t always have the option to increase their absorbency when needed as you do with pocket diapers.  They are also more expensive then prefolds ($15 each for newborn sizes, $22-$30 each for other sizes or one-size).
  • Pocket Diapers– this type of diaper is basically a waterproof cover with a fleece liner into which you may stuff any absorbent material, from specially made stuffers to prefolds.  Advantages: The fleece liner keeps the baby dry, and the absorbent material can be chosen based on the absorbency you are looking for.  These diapers are also quite easy to use.  Disadvantages: They aren’t quite as straightforward as an AIO, and they cost more than prefolds ($15-$25 each).

To potentially complicate things, cloth diapers come in different sizes as well.  There are some pocket and AIO diapers that have a one-size fit (they are adjustable for a range of baby bottoms), but they don’t always cover the really small newborn sizes (they may go from 12 to 35 pounds, for example, but your newborn isn’t likely to be 12 pounds from the get-go!).
Another matter to consider is how many you will need.  The recommendation given by the step-by-step guide (and the one I’m going by) is that you will need 20-24 diapers for a newborn to 4 months, 16-20 diapers for a baby 4-10 months, and 12-16 diapers for a child 10+ months.

So there you have it.  Most people don’t use flats anymore, but I do have a friend who used prefolds with her son and seemed very happy with them.  So far I’m thinking that the AIO is the best choice for us since it seems to be the simplest.  I need to research pocket diapers a little more, though.  Who knows, maybe we won’t know for sure what works for us until we try them.  I went ahead and made a registry just for diapers, though, more for my peace of mind than anything else (putting something on a registry makes me feel like it’s “decided”).

I decided to have special newborn diapers and then use one-size diapers after that.  I chose a mixture of Rumparooz Lil Joey Newborn Diapers, GroVia Organic Newborn AIO Cloth Diapers, and Kissaluv’s All-In-One Newborn Cloth Diapers for the newborn sizes.  I like the Kissaluv’s and the Rumparooz because they have a special button in the front so you can get the diaper out of the way of the umbilical cord.  I like the GroVia because they are organic. (I’ll let you know right now that organic clothing and bedding has been sort of my crazy obsession lately- I just don’t like the thought of chemical stuff being next to my baby’s skin all the time.  Important or not, it makes me feel better.)


For the one-size diapers that we’ll use when Baby outgrows the newborn size, I chose bumGenius! Elemental All-In-One One Size Diapers.  Again, I like that they are organic.

So.  Obviously I don’t yet have any personal real-life experience yet with these (or any) cloth diapers, so I’d love to hear from anyone who has used the diapers I plan to buy and has either loved or hated them.  I don’t know, am I making a mistake using AIO’s?  Should I go with pocket diapers for more versatile absorbency or should I not waste my money and just get some good old prefolds?? (I will be purchasing prefolds anyway because they are awesome for a variety of other uses: burp cloths, changing surface, rag to wipe up spills and messes, etc.)


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laughingpromises
    Jul 29, 2012 @ 22:01:54

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have been thinking a lot about cloth diapers. I think that’s the route we’re going to go, but I hadn’t researched it yet. You have saved me the trouble. 🙂


    • travelnole
      Jul 29, 2012 @ 22:23:35

      No problem! I may have to add an addendum to my post from today because, after spending even MORE time researching, I’m wondering if I should start with a few prefolds so I have something I KNOW will be absorbent enough and then try out the AIO’s at my leisure. Decisions, decisions! But yeah, cloth diapers can be so easy to use now- it’s great!


  2. Trackback: Baby cloth diapers very economic | cloth diapers effective for your
  3. Kendra
    Oct 27, 2012 @ 20:32:08

    Have you already decided which ones to use? I’ve used them all. Prefolds all the way. Pockets are great for toddlers and overnight.


    • travelnole
      Oct 28, 2012 @ 00:45:08

      Actually, yes, I have decided and really need to write a new diaper post because I completely changed my mind since writing this! I’m going with prefolds! I realized that not only would I be taking a gamble and spending a lot of money stocking up on AIO’s without having tried any, but that (from what I’ve read) they might not even give me enough coverage for nighttime. So I’ll have my full stock of prefolds and then maybe try some other options at my leisure. 🙂 I’m planning to just fold and stick the prefolds inside a cover- so easy that it almost seems silly to go with something fancier!


      • Kendra
        Oct 28, 2012 @ 01:22:41

        Awesome! I wish I had known all of this before I dove in to cloth diapering. I bought soo many diapers, and now I just use prefolds, folded and stuck into a cover. No snappies or pins, they work great. You must have done a lot of forum reading to come to that conclusion! haha. I was just thinking I need to do a new diapering post too. I will. 🙂

      • travelnole
        Oct 29, 2012 @ 00:25:45

        I plan to just fold them too 🙂 Great, I look forward to reading a diapering post from you!

  4. Trackback: My Beginning Cloth Diaper Stash « Natural Birth

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