Cloth Diapering 101

By: Doodlebums  11-11-2011
Keywords: Nappies, Cloth Diapers, Cloth Diapering


By the Doodle Bums Team


Now that you're interested in cloth diapers, your first question is probably: "Where do I start?". Your first decision is to determine which type of cloth diaper you are most comfortable with, and what your budget is like. Just like cars, all cloth diapers basically perform the same function, but you have to determine whether you're happy to drive a Huyndai Atoz, or prefer a BMW! However, most people like to try out a few of each, since different diapers are better depending on the situation. For example, you might prefer one type of diaper for overnight use, one for daytime use, or another when the babysitter is over.

What are the different types of Diapers out there?

If you're on a tight budget or if you have twins for instance and need to cut costs and aren't afraid to do a little folding, then prefolds are the diaper for you!  A prefold system is a very economical practical type of diaper to use and would be a very good option if the thought of the initial expense of cloth Diapering bothers you. Prefolds require a waterproof diaper cover to keep things dry. You can either choose to use the traditional Terry Towelling squares and a Snappi with a waterproof or a more advanced System like Bambino Mio, Or Econobum which are both available on this website.  With the introduction of the One size fits all Econobum system there is no longer a need to buy different sizes of prefolds and covers which makes this a truly affordable and economical option.  For a more luxurious prefold option you may consider the Flip diaper system with an organic cotton prefold.

A cross between an all-in-one nappy and a two-part system, the inner soaker poppers inside the outer shell so that it comes apart for easy washing and drying and cleverly goes back together again ready to simply fasten around your baby. bam+Boo Baby is a hybrid diaper.

Pocket diapers are a two-piece diapering system typically with a piece of fleece or hemp or Bamboo fabric that makes up the inner portion of fabric, and a waterproof outer layer. An absorbent material is placed inside of the pocket, making the whole system act as an all-in-one system that keeps your baby dry.  Duki , Earthbabies , Bam+Boo, Cherub Tree & Bumbeetles have Pocket Diapers.

Also known as AIO's, all-in-ones are fitted diapers that have an outer waterproof layer already attached. These diapers are ideal for out-of-home use, as they are very similar to disposables. You could add extra absorbency via a doubler at night. The Kushies or Earthbabies pocket diaper are the ones for you. A point to remember is that these diapers will need to be bought according to your babies size requirement as they come in different sizes and so quanitites of each size are needed to see you through to potty training and they cannot be used from the Newborn stage.

They're economical, as you don't need to buy different sizes of each diaper as they typically have snaps which adjust to fit your baby from birth to potty training. The one downside of all-in-ones is that they tend to be a little bulky on newborns but work well from about 4Kg's. Mother Nature products, BumGenius, Flip, Econobums, Earthbabies, Bumbeetles, Cherub Tree, Bam+Boo, Bumbeetles & Biobaba have One size nappies. Most One Size fits all nappies have AIO covers but some have seperate waterproofs like the Econobum & Mother Nature nature nappy.

Some accessories are must-haves, while others are nice-to-haves. Here is a list:

  • A diaper sprayer(currently only available overseas) or a regular handshower for rinsing poop off of your diapers into a bucket or the toilet (once your baby starts solids).
  • If not using a diaper sprayer,flushable liners are another way of easily removing poop from your diapers as the majority will be flushed with the liner leaving little to spray off.

Washing Instructions

There are many opinions about diaper washing, but this is what has worked for us:

  • Prior to starting solids, there is no need to rinse poop off of the diaper. Just place it straight into the pail after you have discarded the paper liner.
  • Once your baby has started solids, use a diaper sprayer to remove the poop from the diaper. Then place it into the pail.
  • Use your washer's highest water level. Sometimes front-loaders will also have an "extra water" setting which you should select. Always try and was a full load.  Do not use water higher than 60 degrees celcius.
  • A rinse cycle with half a cup of white spirit vinegar and a dash of Lavender oil makes a great natural softener which smells great. 
  • Dry the Diapers in the Tumble Dryer or hang out to dry in the sun or on a clothes horse. Tip. The sun is a good natural disinfectant and whitener.

Keep these in mind:

  • No chlorine bleach. It will break down fibers and noticeably shorten the life of your diapers. In addition, it will most likely irritate your baby's skin.
  • No fabric softeners - these will cause your diapers to repel. However, Tumble Dryer sheets are a good alternative.
  • Stick to Soap free detergents.  Use brands like Enchantrix, Blou Blommetjies, Tripple Orange or Earthsap.
  • If ordinary detergent is used then use only half the recommended dose.  Use a solution of Bicarbonate of Soda and White Spirit vinegar in your rinse cycle every few weeks to strip the nappies of any soap residue as this can lead to very smelly nappies.

Keywords: cloth diaper, Cloth Diapering, Cloth Diapers, Nappies,

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