>a guest post by Jenn of Organic-Mama.ca
Cloth diapering an infant until potty training can cost anywhere from as little as $200 up to $700, depending on the type of diapers, the brand of diapers and the accessories you purchase along with them. Before we compare the differences in value between cloth and disposables (we’ll save that for another day), today we will first take a look at the different types of cloth diapers currently available on the market:
TYPES OF CLOTH DIAPERS
Flats are the “old fashioned” cloth diaper. A rectangular or square piece of fabric is folded into the myriad of “diaper folds” and is pinned closed. Flats require a cover, but dry very quickly. Not as common of a cloth diapering system today, the main advantage of flats is still the price, seeing as they are by far the cheapest form of cloth diapering.
Pre-folds are multi-layered rectangular pieces of fabric, sewn into three panels with extra layers in the middle panel for more absorbency. They tend to intimidate prospective cloth diapering parents because they require folding prior to use. Parents, be assured: learning how to fold them is easy and with a tiny bit of practice, you’ll be in the swing of things and will think it was silly that you were ever intimidated in the first place! Prefolds are very versatile, absorbent, fast-drying, durable, and–without a doubt–an inexpensive cloth diapering option for parents. Should you be concerned about the prefold unfolding while still on your baby, you can use pins or a Snappi fastener to secure the diaper. Prefolds are considered a two-part diapering system and will need a waterproof diaper cover (I recommend 3-4 covers per dozen of prefolds because you can reuse the covers if left unsoiled) to keep moisture and messes in.
Fitted diapers, unlike prefolds, do not need to be folded. They instead have elastic around the waist and legs and are fastened with snaps or hook and loop (Velcro or Aplix) closures. Organic cotton and bamboo fitteds are a popular choice amongst cloth diapering families. Fitteds, like prefolds, are a two-part diapering system and require diaper covers. Again, I recommend 3-4 covers per dozen of fitted diapers.
Diaper covers are waterproof covers used over flats, prefolds and fitted diapers and have snaps or Velcro fasteners. Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) covers are a favourite amongst cloth diapering families because they are waterproof, semi-breathable, mildew resistant and do not yellow or crack from the laundering process. Other available cover options include the less-popular rubber or plastic pants of yesteryear as well as all-natural wool covers, which are quickly gaining popularity due to their natural waterproof and antibacterial properties.
Pocket diapers are made up of 2 parts: a waterproof outer layer with an inner layer of microfleece or suedecloth. An “insert” (highly absorbent layers of sewn-together material) slips underneath the inner lining, resting (or is snapped in place) against the inside of the cover, in a “pocket”. Urine travels through the lining (which has wicking and “stay-dry” properties) and is absorbed by the insert, keeping baby’s bottom drier than prefolds and fitteds. Unlike prefolds and fitteds, the cover is built into the diaper (and fastens with either snaps or Velcro-type closures); however, inserts are still necessary to complete the diaper and add proper absorbency. Prior to laundering, the insert must be separated from the rest of the diaper to ensure an adequate amount of water runs through to thoroughly clean the diaper. Pocket diapers are very popular but are more expensive than prefolds and fitteds. Additionally the outer covers (“shells”) cannot be reused because the attached inner fabric touching the baby is soiled or wet during each use.
All in Two (AI2) cloth diapers are a cross between the fitted diapering system and pocket diapers. The insert (absorbent layers of sewn material) is placed directly against baby’s skin, therefore once it is soiled the insert is laundered and the cover (if left unsoiled) may be reused with a new insert. In reusing the diaper covers (“shells”), it is a less expensive diapering system than pocket diapers. Again, I recommend 3-4 shells per dozen inserts.
All in One (AIO) cloth diapers are hands-down the most similar to disposable diapers. The absorbent material and waterproof cover are built directly into the diaper. Like disposables, once soiled, the entire diaper must be taken off. The diaper is fastened with either snaps or Velcro-type closures and, like pocket diapers, absolutely no folding (or diaper pins!) of any kind is required. AIOs are known to take longer (much longer) to dry, but the ease of use is second to none. These are the most expensive type of cloth diapers.
Jenn is a Natural Parenting advocate who enjoys blogging about her family’s journey to creating and sustaining a healthier, greener life. You can read more from Jenn on her website, http://www.Organic-Mama.ca