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Have you ever considered cloth diapering your little one? Is your main objective to save money or the environment? Maybe you’re more interested from a health standpoint and protecting that sweet baby’s bottom. Regardless of your reasoning here are a few things you’ll need to know to get started.
Benefits of Cloth Diapering
- According to the EPA, Americans dispose of 20 billion diapers a year. This waste not only consists of wood fibers and plastics but also human feces. By cloth diapering you limit the diaper waste your own family contributes to landfills each year.
- Cloth diapers are free of the chemicals linked to disposables such dioxin, sodium polyacrylate, and tributylin.
- Cloth diapers can be reused with subsequent children and can save you money compared to disposables. With the availability of one-sized diapers you eliminate the need to buy different sizes as your child grows.
- Cloth diapers are soft on your baby’s bottom and come in a variety of prints and colors.
Types of Diapers
Cloth diapers today are not what they used to be. Not only are they cuter, they are also trimmer and more breathable. Cloth diapers also come in multiple sizes to fit any baby from newborn to potty training. Most diapers are also equipped with Velcro or snap closers at the waist to provide a secure fit.
Here’s a run down of the most popular types of cloth diapers on the market today:
Covers: Diaper covers only provide a waterproof barrier and need to be used over something else for absorption. Think of them like a shell made out of PUL (polyurethane laminate), wool, or fleece.
AIO or “All In One” diaper: This type of diaper consists of a waterproof cover with an inner absorbent layer sewn in. In some cases the built in absorbent layer is partially attached at one end, and in other cases it is sew in completely.
AI2 or “All in Two” diaper: This type of diaper consists of a waterproof cover and a separate absorbent insert that is attached usually with a snap.
Pockets: Similar to a diaper cover but in addition to a waterproof barrier there is a cloth pocket built in that can be stuffed with an absorbent insert. This pocket can be made of anything from micro fleece to suede cloth or cotton.
Fitteds: This type of diaper is usually made of cotton and includes a sewn in absorbent layer or there is an absorbent pad secured onto the inside with a snap. Unlike some of the other diapers, this does not have a waterproof barrier and needs to be used with a cover.
Hybrids: This type of diaper is most closely related to an AI2. The only difference is that the absorbent insert can be disposable and thrown away after it is soiled. Hence the term, “hybrid.”
Inserts & Prefolds: Inserts and prefolds provide the absorbent element in cloth diapers. Inserts are usually made from cloth, microfiber, and hemp. Prefolds are usually made from cotton or hemp.
Start Up Costs for Cloth Diapers
Considering that newborns require 10 to 12 diaper changes a day, there should be at least 12 diapers in an initial stash. From there the stash should increase to 2 to 3 dozen. Parents can expect to spend anywhere from $300 to over $1,000 on cloth diapers for one child from birth until they are ready to potty train.
Start up costs may also include wetbags and dry pails for storing dirty diapers, a diaper sprayer, cloth diaper detergent, and cloth safe diaper creams. Some parents may forgo these items and instead improvise with zip lock bags, utility buckets, and approved store-bought detergents. With the wide variety of cloth diapers and accessories available it’s important to remember that cloth diapering can be as inexpensive or costly has you make it.