How you diaper your baby is one of the most crucial choices you make as a parent. There are worrisome health risks involved in this personal choice. As a result, new parents can often get confused and stuck between choosing the benefits of cloth diapers and disposable diapers.
If you're the parent who wants to switch to cloth diapers, you've come to the right place! Here's a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about cloth diapers.
Types of cloth diapers
The cloth diapers in the modern world come in various designs. The traditional design has been modified into something parents can comfortably use. There are multitudes of fabric nappy pads available in the market.
Perfect Fitted Cloth Diapers
Prefolds and Flats
1. Perfect Fitted
Perfectly fitted cloth diapers are made out of highly absorbent material which also dries quickly. Most of the time these have velcro securing straps, combined with back and leg elastic for total coverage. The outer material is not waterproof, so you will need an additional layer of waterproof cloth to cover it. However sometimes the outer materials do have a PUL coating that makes them waterproof. These fitted diapers come in a one-size-fit-all model. They generally have the insert or soakers attached inside so you don't have the ability to change them when soiled. The entire diaper will need to be washed when soiled. However the advantage of fitted diapers is that they are generally made from natural materials ( like hemp , bamboo cotton ) so easy against the babys skin. Sometimes the outer covering comes in various sizes to keep up with your growing baby until he/she is potty trained.
2. Prefolds and Flats
These are the most budget-friendly nappies in the market. They're also called the humble 'langots'. These are the cheapest, easiest to find ( in the shop or online ) and generally used in the newborn stages. They are a bit cumbersome to use, as they are not waterproof and get soiled in 1 pee. But they are the airest, and healthiest nappies for newborns and small babies, as they allow for the passage of air and encourage "diaper free time" . Prefolds and flats can be a challenge to fold and need some preparation. It is a rectangular nappy, and you will have to fold it according to your baby's size. Most of the time, moms will have a stash of these , which the babies grow out of very soon. These nappies will have a string to tie, or generally will require diaper pins to hold. THese metal diaper pins pose a poking hazard to the newborn and small baby, hence it is always advisable to use silicone diaper clips to secure such langots and nappies. To further make these absorbent, you can attach a disposable nappy pad to these to prevent leaks and frequent changed.
3. Pocket diapers
Pocket diapers or Modern Cloth Diapers ( or MCDs as they are generally called ) are among the most innovative design in cloth diapers. These are considered the holy grail of diapering - bringing back the age old tradition with modern comforts. MCDs have all the vital features of a diaper - a waterproof layer on the outside, a highly absorbent yet stay dry layer on the inside and a 'pocket' to insert pads made of different materials mostly microfiber to make them more absorbent and easy to use. However these are not the most easy to use . A lot of times, they are a one-size-fit-all. And this is not good for the posture of a growing baby. Research says that babies in such bulky cloth diapers lead to delay in walking and other motor skills. Other issues are of the great piles of laundry these generate , as most of the time moms do not like to reuse the soiled diaper and put the entire covers for wash instead of just the inserts. MCDs are most cumbersome, and this is discussed in another post if you would like to learn more about it . However a hybrid diapering model, part of cloth and disposable is generally the easiest and convenient for mothers .
4. Hybrid Diapers
Hybrid cloth diaper covers are the best solution for healthy , rash free diapering. Generally a rash in a diaper happens mostly because of improper use of the diaper. It is either left on for too long, or properly tied. Hybrid diaper with the nappy pad and cloth covers - ensure that the diaper is not left on for too long. The cloth covers allow for the passage of air, reducing the heat and bacteria trapped making the diaper guaranteed rash free. The covers have soft leg elastics so they don't lead to marks and these diapers are made from thin materials , making them trim and not heavy on the babys legs. Overall the best diapering solution - inforporating the best of cloth and disposables is the hybrid diaper . You can learn more about this system in our next post .
5. Contour Diapers
Contoured diapers are not that popular and seldom used. They are a blend of prefold and fitted nappy pads. They are slightly more absorbent than a 'langot' and sometimes suitable to wear during nighttime for a baby that is not a heavy wetter. They fit snugly around the hips and the legs so a slightly better grip, though they are not waterproof and may lead to leaks. However, these cost-effective diapers require a clip or a pin to secure it tightly.
All in ones are basically the same as fitted diapers. They mimic a disposable diaper - a cloth diaper version of disposable diapers. They have features similar to pocket diapers and all-in-twos baby diapers hybrid diapers combined - they are also a one -size-fit-all and quiet bulky to use. From an efficient water repellent layer to numerous layers of absorbents, this diaper has got it all. Like all fitted , you can add additional absorbency layers as 'boosters' on the top of the attached inserts. These boosters have either a snap or velcro to secure them on the diaper. The entire diaper needs to be washed when soiled
How to start your journey with cloth diapering
Every parents diapering journey is very personal to them. What works for one may not work at all for another. Consequently, the diapering journey for every parent is always evolving. IN the newborn stage, our dispering needs are very different ( i.e. healthy ,rash free ) vs a toddler stage and beyond ( i.e. more leak proof , absorbency ). Either case in any stage the only common factor for every mother is to allow diaper free time , and encourage early potty training.
Our advise is to define your diapering goals early on, before the baby is born. These should factor in things like your ( primary care taker - generally mother ) health, your support system and your own personal goals. Some mothers prefer disposable diapers as they go back to work, and are able to afford the expense and manage the rash situation better. Some others swear by cloth and are geenrally very involved in the washing, drying and cleaning process - this is the way they also bond with the baby.
Here at Bdiapers, we always recommend mothers to follow their own diapering journey, which we are here to support. Our covers can be used with any inserts and our bamboo disposable inserts can be used with any cloth diapers.
Our goal as a brand is to give you the freedom of being what you want to be as a parent without guilt or judgements.
Happy diapering :)
Also read : My journey to Hybrid Diapers