Cloth Diapering 101


Cloth diapers versus disposable- the epic diapering decision of mamas to be, new mamas, mamas to potty training kiddos, or anywhere in between. If you are not sure what goes into cloth diapering, debating cloth vs disposable, or just need some basic info – check out this 101 guide!

I began looking into cloth in 2013 when I was pregnant with my oldest, Palmer. The top three things that stood out to me the most about diapers in general were:

  1. An average child uses 6-10,000 diapers before being potty trained.
  2. A family spends on average $2-3,000 per child on diapers.
  3. 20 million disposable diapers enter landfills every year, and it takes 500 years for diapers to decompose entirely.

I quickly calculated the astronomic amount we would spend on diapers since we were planning on having three maybe four kids. 12-15,000 on diapers? Wow, that’s a used car or a year of college! I became intrigued…I also really liked the idea of reducing landfill use. I am a big recycle lover and want to compost (one day!) so saving landfills new diapers is in line with my save the world a little at a time mentality!

When I began talking to others about my quest for cloth diaper vs. disposable here were typical responses to cloth: “That’s gross, That takes too much time, That’s too much laundry.” Older family members were concerned about the baby “Getting stuck with pins and needles” and wondering if diaper services even exist anymore.   FYI – they do if you want to go the route of cloth and don’t want to deal with washing!

I had my work cut out for me. I spent hours reading blogs, talking to the one mom at the time I knew who used cloth, and scouring Facebook groups with opinions of other moms on the topic. I am pretty darn detailed when I want to figure something out, and I took my investigative task seriously.

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I decided I wanted to go the cloth route and honestly, the most difficult part of this journey was finding which kind of diaper and which brand. There are SO many choices, and I didn’t want to waste money in this area.

If you decide cloth is for you, I would recommend selecting a type of cloth diaper you want to try first. The common types are pre-fold, fitted, pocket, all in one, and hybrid.  I have linked a good explanation of these so I don’t ramble on for hours.  I bought the pocket diaper in a one size option.  The plus for me with one size was knowing that more than one kid could be wearing the diapers at one time and I didn’t have to buy different diapers.  Having diapers that my babies could wear from 8 weeks until potty training is over was a big sell.

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The next intimidating part of my quest for cloth was finding the brand!  Diaper Junction is another great resource with more information and the various brands.  I use bumGenius, Fuzzibunz, Awesome Blossom & Little Monsters. Zulily is another great site to find excellent cloth diaper deals as well.  The best part of cloth is that you can buy a few and try them. It’s not all in or bust.  I slowly accumulated more and have now amassed 40 total. They have the cutest prints and colors.

I purchased a wet pail and bag at the beginning, and while I like them, they are not mandatory.  You could use any sealed bag for wet diapers when you are out and about. Sometimes, I use freezer bags if I leave the wet bag at home!  The diaper pail is ideal for soaking the yuckier diapers before washing if needed!  Again, not mandatory, you could use a cheap plastic trash can!  A diaper sprayer can come in handy for rinsing the #2 diapers into the toilet when you have little ones who do not eat solids yet.  Drum roll please —- Grand total for Smith family? 450$ total and have two kiddos in diapers.  I have no recurring costs for diapers and can have ten more kids and never purchase another diaper!  I will take $450 over $15,000 any day.

Check out Jenny’s 10 cloth diaper benefits that every parent should know for additional info!

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Cloth is not for everyone, but I have found it much easier than I ever imagined. Hope this helps! I would love to hear whether you use cloth or disposable and what you like / dislike about either!





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