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Cloth Diapering 101 | Our how to get started with cloth diapers guide. Learn about the different types of cloth diapers, how to wash, what you need to get started with cloth diapers and buy them at Abby Sprouts in Victoria, BC, Canada

Cloth Diapering 101

So, you’re interested in trying cloth diapering but it seems like a foreign language with aplix, AIO, prefolds etc. Abby Sprouts’ cloth diapering 101 will explain all those, how to cloth diaper, the five main kinds of cloth diapers, how to wash cloth diapers, the benefits of cloth diapering and answer commonly asked questions!

If you're in Victoria, BC, Canada we offer cloth diapering workshops at our store and we will cover all the basics of how to cloth diaper along with showing hands on how they work. If you're not in our city or can't make the workshop we offer in person or phone/email one to one consultations to help you get started off right. Just email or call 250-294-8978 to set yours up.

The five main types of cloth diapers


 When you think old fashion cloth diapers with pins, you’re thinking of prefolds. Prefolds are the least expensive option. Prefolds are rectangular with a thicker layer in the middle. You can use folded up for infants and unfolded all the way to potty training. You can use snappies to fasten instead of pins too! No more pricking babies, please. Prefold cloth diapers require a diaper cover to be water proof. You can choose a PUL cover, fleece or wool co
vers too.  We find prefolds and covers are great for the newborn stage- they fit well and are economical.

Fitted Diapers: These generally have elasticized waist and legs to keep messes in. Fitted diapers are fastened with Velcro/Aplix or snaps. Fitted diapers are a big step up in convenience from prefolds if you have an active baby(like me!). I find fitted diapers to be great for everyday use at home. If you choose a one-size style (see bamboozle fitted diaper) it’s a great value but you will not have the trimmest fit for the early months. If you choose sized diapers you likely have to buy two sizes and this means a bigger investment. Some people prefer a more snug fit and find it worth the extra cost. Both styles are effective and the choice is personal preference. Fitted diapers also require a diaper cover. Many people use fitted diapers in combination with wool covers if they want an all natural fiber cloth diapering system or as an overnight solution.

Prefold Cloth Diapers and Fitted Cloth Diapers both require a diaper cover of your choice to be waterproof.

All in Two Diapers
All in two sounds a bit funny but all it means is you have a two piece system, where you can reuse your waterproof cover and replace the soiled insert with a clean one. So when buying this system, you'd get 24 inserts and about 8 covers or 3 inserts per 1 cover. It saves money and space in the diaper bag too. Peachy Baby, AMP Diapers, and BestBottom all offer an All in two (AI2) options.

Pocket Diapers
AMP Pocket Cloth Diaper
Pocket diapers are literally a diaper with a pocket. They consist of a waterproof PUL outer layer and a soft inner layer. There is a pocket opening, usually at the back where you stuff an insert for absorbency. Once the insert(s) is in this cloth diaper as easy to use as an All-in-One or disposable. The pocket diaper dries quickly and washes well. Simply remove the insert and place the diaper and inserts into your diaper pail. Drying is quick because the inserts are separated. I usually hang all pocket diapers/covers to dry but PUL covers and pockets can be dried on medium heat in the dryer. You can customize the amount of absorbency for night time or heavy wetters easily with pocket diapers. You can stuff the diaper with a prefold, a specially made insert(we will explain all the different inserts later on) or anything absorbent (towel on laundry day!). Grandparents, babysitters and dads can usually handle pocket diapers without much fuss.

All-in-One Diaper:
All in One Stay Dry Cloth Diaper
These are where the term AIO comes from. All-in-ones are a complete diaper with cover attached. These are basically the cloth equivalent to disposables. They fasten with Velcro or snaps. Some AIO’s come with snap-in or fold out liners to make for faster drying time. The PUL All in One Diapers can take longer to dry but are a very easy to use diaper. Some families choose to use AIO’s for daycare, outings, reluctant dads or babysitters instead of prefolds or fitted diapers. Another bonus, you can quickly grab an All in one (AIO) cloth diaper out of the dryer without needing to find an insert or cover too and put it on your baby.

The Benefits of Cloth Diapers for Baby

Cloth diapers are better for baby not just because they are so soft on baby's skin, comfortable and cute.
  • The Polymer gel(super absorbent) called sodium polyacrylate that used to be used in tampons but was banned due to toxic shock syndrome. It's still in disposable diapers. (we'll let you find the irony).
  • Cloth Diapers are better for the environment. Over 4,000,000 disposable diapers are discarded per day in Canada (Source: Environment Canada)
  • Cloth Diapers save you an average of $2000 or more per child and if you can reuse the same diapers for your next baby your savings just doubled. 
  • Babies experience less rash in cloth diapers than disposables
  • Cloth diapers with cotton, super soft fleece, or highly absorbent bamboo next to babies skin are much more comfortable than paper and plastic.
  • Parents actually report less leaks in properly fitted cloth diapers compared to disposable diapers. The mess stays contained inside cloth diapers because of the material and the customizable perfect fit where as disposables diapers let liquid and solids slide and slip out (making for more laundry and mess!).
  • Adorable prints and colours make cloth diapers fun too!
  • Cloth diapers are easy to use
  • It is the solids that are gross not the cloth diaper and you have to deal with poop in disposables too. Still worried? Get some Flushable liners, no mess with those.
  • Cloth Diapered babies potty train faster and you will actually change less diapers in the long run
  • You can use cloth diapers full or part time

In my own experience, I made the switch after being frustrated with reoccurring diaper rash. I was amazed that shortly after switching to cloth the rash was gone. At the first sign of rash and at night I use a bamboo diaper with a wool cover to be breathable and let the skin naturally heal. Many other parents report less diaper rash after switching to cloth.

Washing Cloth Diapers

  1. Before you place soil diapers into your diaper pail, Shake off solids into the toilet. Use a stay dry liner, flushable liner or diaper sprayer if you have problems with sticking solids and the poop will flick right off easily. (Breastfed baby poos can just be placed directly into the washer as it's water soluble.)
  2. Store your cloth diapers in a dry pail. I recommend using a machine washable pail liner or large hanging wet bag to avoid having to wash out your diaper pail by hand every time.
  3. Run a cold rinse cycle.
  4. For your wash cycle use about a quarter or a sixth the amount of laundry detergent recommend. We recommend using the number one recommended cloth diaper laundry detergent- Allen's Naturally and follow their directions for your washer. If not using a cloth diaper detergent you must check to make sure your laundry detergent is safe for cloth diapers.
  5. Wash your diapers in a hot wash cycle with detergent and follow with a cold rinse
  6. Hang dry or machine dry your diapers on medium or low heat.
  7. Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets on cloth diapers.
  8. That's it- you're done. It is really not hard at all and with a baby you're already doing laundry!

Things to avoid

  • Don't use chlorine bleach
  • No zinc diaper creams (trust us, it ruins diapers!)- we recommend Bottom Balm by Lalabee Bathworks instead
  • No dryer sheets or fabric softeners

More cloth diapering info coming soon! Got questions now? Email me