When a mother begins to share her experiences with cloth diapering, she’s typically greeted with one of two things: intrigue or disgust. Many minds instantly fill with clothes line hangings, safety pins, and plastic covers. Cloth diapers have certainly come a long way since those days! While the pins and cover option is still around, cloth diapers have modernized to be just as trim, absorbent, and easy-to-use as their disposable counterparts. Because of their ease of use, adorable patterns, and environmental friendliness, their popularity has grown over the past few years. Yet many new mothers are still timid when it comes to deciding to make the switch. It’s a whole new world that can be extremely overwhelming for new cloth families. There are four main styles of cloth diapers to be familiar with: prefolds, hybrids, pockets, and all in ones. There is no “right” or “wrong” cloth diaper. What style works best for one family may not work for every family. If you’re like our family, you’ll find yourself switching styles as the needs of your baby change, and that’s okay! The wonderful world of cloth diapers has a fit for everyone in every season of life!
Prefolds are the closest to our mother’s (and grandmother’s) cloth. They come in packs ranging from three to twelve and are available in a variety of sizes. They do require a cover; however, most times the cover can be wiped off and reused in between changes—which also makes them one of the most economical choices. Prefolds can be used one of two ways with covers: (1) folded around baby and pinned in place using pins or a snappi or (2) folded in thirds and placed flat inside the cover. When my daughter was a newborn, we opted to go all the way and folded them around her skinny chicken legs to provide the most coverage and reduce leaks. Covers come in a nearly limitless variety of prints for both boys and girls. Prefolds are by far the most economical choice for diapering. A set of thirty prefolds and ten to fifteen covers costs less than $150!
Hybrid diapers are a cross (hybrid, get it?) between prefolds and all-in-one (we’ll get there) cloth diapers. These are usually made with a knit outer layer, a velour (or other soft material) inner, and an absorbent poly-fleece or bamboo layer sandwiched between. Most hybrids also sport snap in inserts to boost absorbency. Hybrids are not made to be waterproof, and they require a cover for extended use. Many cloth mommas love the hybrid world for their more custom and varied selection of prints and more flexible sizing. Most of your work-at-home moms in the diaper business make hybrid fitted diapers. We have a wide selection at home, and they are our favorite during the summer—because, I mean, hello? They’re adorable and easily replace pants. A cute diaper plus baby leggings are everything. However, they are on the pricier end of the budget. One diaper can average $35—with others actually ranging into the $80 realm.
These diapers are typically the gateway diaper. Their design is simple: a cotton inner and a PUL (waterproof) outer with a flap to stuff in your insert of choice—which can be hemp, bamboo, microfiber, or a mix of all of them. Many momma co-ops offer pocket diapers, so many can be bought at superb prices—making them just as budget-friendly as prefolds. They do require a bit more work, however. They must be unstuffed prior to washing, and then restuffed prior to wearing. I stuff all of ours straight out of the dryer so we can just grab and go. (Be sure to check diaper brands for care instructions—not all should be put in the dryer.) They are easy and convenient to use and very customizable with insert options!
This is the momma of all diaper hood!! Okay, I say that, but I don’t really mean it. All-in-one diapers are our current favorites because of the diaper-changing-hating-toddler and parent-friendly design. All-in-one diapers are exactly that: all in one. Inserts are stitched into the diapers themselves—primarily as flaps that lie flat within the diaper. You put it on— and go. That’s it! As our darling daughter has grown, all in ones have become our saving grace as we don’t have to mess with inserts or stuffing or any of the mess! They’re truly a lifesaver. Budget-wise, they’re in the middle of the spectrum, usually running around $15 to $25 retail.
There are many places here in Nashville that you can go to check out the varieties and see what will fit you and your baby and your lifestyle. Bump and Rump in Clarksville is amazing, and the owner is beyond fantastic and knowledgeable about the varying cloth styles and brands. There is also Green Pixie Baby in Franklin and Over the Moon Cloth Diapers in Germantown.