Introduction to Cloth Diapers
Like many parents, you have probably contemplated whether to use cloth diapers or disposables. In our conversations with many new and busy parents, we have learned most of the parents who chose disposable diapers did so because they were unaware just how much cloth diapers have changed since former generations used them or were given wrong information or criticism.
Modern cloth diapers look and perform nothing like cloth diapers of yesteryear. Modern cloth diapers are durable, waterproof, stain resistant, and amazingly easy to use and care for. Not only will your baby feel better, but you will also minimize your impact on the environment and save some money along the way.
Several cloth diaper manufacturers have taken green and sustainability even further by offering choices including stringently certified organic cotton and hemp options for your natural baby. After making the switch to cloth diapers, most parents are astonished at how easy it is to use cloth diapers. Best of all, your baby's bottom will thank you for surrounding it in the softness of a cloth diaper.
At The Natural Baby, we offer a wide selections of cloth diapers and cloth diapering systems. We carry top-rated, real life and time-tested brands including bumGenius, Flip, Thirsties, Smart Bottoms, GroVia, Best Bottoms, OsoCozy & more! With such a wide selection of cloth diapers available, we know the decision as to which cloth diaper system to choose can be daunting. No matter which cloth diaper system you choose, be assured The Natural Baby will be here to support you every step of the way with expert advice.
Lower total cost. The significant cost savings is one of the main reasons many parents choose cloth diapers. You can save $1500-$2000 just in the first 2 years of cloth diapering for one child compared to using disposable diapers. Better yet, if you decide to use the same cloth diapers for a second child, you have just doubled your savings! Want to see exactly how much you can save using cloth diapers instead of disposables? Check out our infographics and resource page.
A healthier baby. The chemicals in the plastic liners, the ultra-absorbent gels, and the formation of ammonia are among the health concerns associated with disposable diapers. Claims of a higher incidence of diaper rash in babies who wear cloth diapers are completely unfounded. Research has shown it is the length of time the skin is in contact with urine as the most important factor associated with diaper or “nappy rash”. In fact, it may be that a baby in a disposable diaper has a greater chance of developing diaper rash as they are often changed less frequently than a baby in cloth diapers. We have met many moms who finally switched to cloth diapers expressly to help restore their baby's bottom to health. We recommend changing your baby's cloth diapers every 2 hours when awake. Linked below are just a few of the articles regarding health concerns and disposable diapers:
Diaper Dermatitis: A Review
Implications of Disposable Nappies
Scrotal Temperatures Increased in Disposable Plastic Lined Nappies
Acute Respiratory Effects of Diaper Emissions
Better for the environment. We are aware of some earlier studies indicating cloth diapers were no better for the environment than disposables. However, most of those studies were funded by disposable diaper manufacturers. One of the most common arguments we here against the use of cloth diapers is the high amount of water and energy needed to launder them. Recent independent studies address this misconception specifically and unequivocally support the fact that cloth diapers are better for the environment, even when accounting for the cost and impact of washing and drying. For further reading, you’ll find these articles and links of interest:
Real Diaper Association Diaper Facts
Cloth Diapering and Waste Water Treatment
Less leakage. Yes, it’s true, the old style cloth diapers and poorly designed covers leaked. The rubberized plastic covers were uncomfortable, too! But today’s cloth diapers actually leak less than disposables and modern covers are nothing like their predecessors! We know moms who actually switched to cloth diapers because they were fed up with disposables leaking. We can also speak from direct experience since our own little one started off with disposables that frequently leaked. Once we switched to cloth diapers, leaks became a thing of the past!
Easy to clean. Due to two fairly recent innovations, the diaper sprayer and disposable liners, cloth diapers are now easier than ever to clean. Exclusively breastfed babies have water-soluble waste that is easily removed during an initial rinse cycle in your washer. That means you can just drop your baby’s soiled diapers in a dry pail and let your washer do all the work for you! After your baby starts solid foods, flushable liners can be placed between the diaper and your baby's bottom. These liners will allow moisture to pass through to the diaper, but prevent solids from soaking into and sticking to the diaper itself. By just flushing away the soiled liners, it takes the mess out of washing your cloth diapers. An equally great alternative to liners is using a diaper sprayer that connects to your toilet’s water supply to pre-rinse the diapers. No dunking of diapers is required with one these sprayers.
No pins needed. None of the modern cloth diapers we offer require the use of safety pins. Modern cloth diapers use snaps, Velcro, Aplix or a combination of snaps and Velcro closures. For prefold cloth diapers, there is an ingenious pinless diaper fastener called the Snappi invented by a father who, himself, was frustrated by conventional pins.
Easy care. Granted, cloth diapers require slightly more work than disposables, but modern diapers are actually a breeze to care for. We recommend washing every 2-3 days. Using a dry pail and waterproof pail liners or wet bags to store wet and soiled diapers until wash day simplifies the process. Here is how easy it is: Just lift the bag out of the pail, invert the bag into the washer, run a rinse without detergent and then a full wash cycle with a small amount of detergent, toss them in the dryer and that’s it! No more running to the store in the middle of the night after realizing you only have 1 disposable left!
- Earlier and Easier Potty Learning. Many families believe that using cloth diapers rather than disposables means less struggling with potty learning. Because babies are familiar with the sensation of being wet after eliminating, they tend to be more aware of their need to use the bathroom - and attempt to communicate that need earlier than their disposable-diapered companions.
- Prefold Diapers Long considered the work-horse of the cloth diapering world, “prefolds” are the diapers you remember from childhood. Gone, however, are the scary diaper pins, so fear not - you needn't jab your little one unexpectedly! Prefold diapers are available in various sizes to accommodate babies from birth to potty training, and at less than $4 per diaper, are easily replaced when soiled or lost. The most economical of the cloth diapering choices, they also make great burp cloths and dusting rags when your little one moves on to the big potty!
- Fitted Diapers Fitted diapers are the most technically advanced diaper available without a built-in cover. Snaps and/or velcro make securing these diapers to your baby a breeze. Fitted diapers are especially known for their ability to contain even the runniest poops, so with a well-fitting cover, your little one's clothing should stay clean and fresh all day.
- Pocket Diapers Pocket diapers are designed for flexibility in absorbency while still maintaining a trim fit. These diapers are great for overnight because they can be stuffed with two- or three-times what your baby needs during the day, and with a stay-dry layer of soft fleece against your baby's skin, can significantly extend the (much-needed) sleep time between diaper changes. When the stuffing is removed, drying time is reduced dramatically.
- All-In-One Diapers The name says it all! All-in-One diapers (AIOs) are designed to go from the wash to baby's bum and back to the pail with no muss and no fuss. The outer layer of waterproof laminated polyester fabric (PUL) is soft and quiet, the inner layers of cotton or hemp absorb whatever your little one can dish up, and a layer of ultra-soft fleece keeps the baby's skin nice and dry. All-in-One diapers are great for daycare, Daddies, and even the occasional weekend at Grandma's!
We are creating an easy-to-use automated calculator to illustrate your potential savings when using cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. Stay Tuned!
Okay, so you have decided what style or combination of styles you want to use for your little one. Now what?
How Many Diapers Will I Need?
Newborns go through approximately 12 diapers/day. We realize that most new parents would rather not do laundry every day so 24 diapers is a great starting number for a full-time cloth diapered newborn. Don't want to wash every other day? Just wait a few months and your baby will be needing changed less frequently as he or she grows.
We generally recommend 24 diapers and washing every other day.
As your baby grows, he will need fewer and fewer diaper changes each day, so you may be comforted to know that by the time he is outgrowing those newborn diapers, around 6 months or so, you will most likely need only about 8-10 diapers per day.