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Cloth Diapering and Family Cloth

Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapering is as simple or complicated, or as expensive as you want to make it. The premise is that instead of using paper/disposable diapers you buy and reuse their cloth counterpart. Many companies offer a package that includes different types to allow you to choose which combination works best for your family.

These come in many styles, sizes, and colors, including:

  • Flats: These are the thinnest diapers that wash and dry fastest. They are a large square of gauzy or twill material.
  • Prefolds: These come in your choice of fabric (i.e. bamboo, cotton twill, or hemp), multiple sizes, and are a rectangle of multiple layered cloth. They are the cheapest option and are folded to fit any size child. You will need a method for securing the diapers, either pins or a Snappi (our preferred choice). Indian are softer than Chinese but do not in my experience hold up well.
  • Fitteds: These are diapers that have the more typical disposable shape and size, closing either with snaps or Velcro, i.e. Happy Heiny’s sherpa fitted.
  • Doublers and inserts:  Adding a doubler increases  other diapers’ ability to absorb.  Inserts are added to pocket diapers.
  • Covers: Come in a variety of materials and closing options. These are used over your diaper to prevent leak through of urine or stool onto your child’s clothes, bedding, or your lap.
  • All-In-Ones (AIO’s): These are a diaper where the absorbent material and cover are sewn together. Great for those unfamiliar with cloth diapers but expensive and need a longer drying time. I.e. Mommy’s Touch.
  • Pockets: These are covers with openings for a stuffed in insert of absorbent material. They are not absorbent on their own. Many have a fleece lining that can have repelling issues. Ours repelled despite our efforts and my spouse banned them. I.e. BumGenius, FuzziBunz.
  • Hybrids: These are covers designed to be stuffed with a disposable absorbent pad that is then thrown away, composted, or sometimes flushed, i.e. Gdiapers.

Our family uses a combination of prefolds with Snappis and fitteds with polyurethane laminated fabric (PUL) and wool covers. The fitteds were bought second hand as they are substantially more expensive than prefolds. The absolute cheapest option is prefolds with PUL covers, or recycled wool covers (if you can sew and find inexpensive secondhand wool sweaters. Here is an easy pattern provided by Born To Love.

My favorite sources are Fairy Designs (soakers with cuffs), Mom’s Milk Boutique (free shipping!), Craigslist, and local consignment stores and sales.

A great site for reviews of various retailers and brands is Diaperpin.

Family Cloth

Family cloth refers to the use of cloth products in the stead of paper/disposable.  In our home, we use baby wash cloths in place of toilet paper and disposable baby wipes as well as dish towels in place of paper towels.  We do keep both toilet paper and paper towels in our home for guests.   I have a serger and sewed nearly half of our family cloth wipe stash of flannel.  I use cloth menstrual pads, custom ordered from The Homestead Emporium.  Although they no longer make the organic cotton sherpa and hemp contoured pads with snaps that make up most of my stash, their Ulti-Max Pad is wonderful postpartum.

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