Thursday, May 5

the basics about cloth diapers

If you've explored the internet for information on cloth diapers, chances are you were totally overwhelmed with information. AIOs, AI2s, pockets, hybrids, prefolds, soakers... poop in the washing machine?! It's gibberish at first glance and it can be a real turn off - I know it was for me! In this series of posts I will attempt to break down the types of cloth diapers available today. They've come a long, long way since pins and rubber pants! Before I go into the different styles and systems available, you should know that there are two main groups of modern cloth diapers - sized and one size.

Sized or perfect fit diapers are designed to fit babies in certain weight groups as they grow. As your baby grows out of one size, you must then purchase the next size up. It is more expensive to cloth diaper this way for obvious  reasons, but many people make it work for them by reselling the used diapers to fund part of the next size purchase. Sized diapers may fit your child's waist and legs much more specifically and they tend to be trimmer under clothing.
Example of FuzziBunz perfect size diaper specifications. Click to view larger.

OS (one size) diapers are designed with rise snaps and/or adjustable leg elastics to adjust to fit babies from birth to potty training. Rise snaps adjust the size of the diaper measured between the legs from the lower back to right underneath the bellybutton. Adjustable leg elastics do the same but are not visible on the outside of the diaper. This method of diapering is less expensive because once you purchase your stash of diapers, they will last for as long as your child needs them! They are also great if you have more than one child, but the down side is they don't always fit perfectly.
Example of a Rumparooz one size diaper. Click to view larger. 

Some people choose to purchase newborn diapers for the first few weeks. They are much smaller than regular small sized diapers or the smallest setting on an OS diaper. They fit small babies and preemies very well and are less bulky, but can also be an expensive as you will only need them for a short time. Then again, you can always resell them - there is a huge cloth diapering community and a lot of interest in gently used diapers! I purchased some myself to save money and they are wonderful!
Example of Rumparooz newborn diaper. Click to view larger.

Every brand, style and system of modern cloth diapers have one of two different types of waist closures - snaps or hook and loop (velcro). Snaps are strong, don't wear out and don't allow for toddlers to pull their diapers off. Hook and loop closure is a less cluttered looking diaper (ie no unused snaps showing) and also make the waist endlessly adjustable instead of being reliant on predetermined snap settings that may not be tight or loose enough. The downside is your toddler can figure out how to take the diaper off and they can also wear out in the laundry after a few years of use. You can see examples of each in the pictures above. The old fashioned pins are still available, as well as a new invention called a 'snappi', but they are not applicable for the kinds of diapers mentioned here.

Next up, I'll talk about some of the different styles of cloth diapers along with their pros and cons. I'm sure you're wondering, "how do you wash them?" I will get to that soon, until then I'll enjoy keeping the suspense going! 

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