Cloth Diapering 101: All You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers

cloth-diapering-101Being a parent means that you have to do everything right when it comes to taking care of your newborn baby, or at least try your very best. There will always be choices that you have to make. What colors do you use to decorate the room? When will be the best time to potty train? What is the right type of crib to purchase? The list can go on and on.  Check out this Udemy course, Bringing Baby Home to get a few hints and tips in regards to taking care of your little one as soon as they get home.

Your little bundle of joy will run through several diapers throughout the course of their development. There’s a good chance that you will end up buying hundreds of them. There’s an alternative to the disposable type of diapers that have become so popular. Cloth diapers have become a cost efficient alternative to diapers and although they are a bit more old-fashioned, they have several pros over their disposable counterparts.

The following will tell you all you need to know about cloth diapers, but they aren’t the only thing you will need as a new parent. In fact, you should check out this list of essentials for caring for your newborn. Of course, one of the most important things you will need, without even having to check the list, is diapers.

What Are Cloth Diapers? 

Just as the name suggests, a cloth diaper is a diaper made out of cloth. More specifically a cloth diaper is made out of man-made materials, natural fibers, or some sort of mixture of both. Cloth diapers come in various shapes and sizes. There are cloth diapers that have waterproof exteriors, diapers with pockets, and there are even those that have been made to help separate water from skin in order to prevent rashes.

Various Types of Cloth Diapers 

Prefolds – Prefolds are a form of cloth diaper that has absorbent fabric, which is layered, folded, and sewn in a way where the center of the diaper has more absorbent material than the material on the side. This type of diaper reduces the amount of bulk in the overall shape while also providing enough absorbency for the diaper as well.

Contours – These diapers are commonly used today. Folded and cut into in an hourglass shape, these diapers are also made in a way to cut down on bulkiness while also not needing to be folded before being ready to use.

Pocket Diapers – A Pocket diaper is a contour shaped diaper that has closures attached to help secure them onto the baby. The closures used to help keep these diapers attached are usually different types of Velcro or snaps, and they help make the diapering process a lot easier, and safer without the use of safety pins. Unlike the previous types of cloth diapers mentioned, these diapers have a waterproof outer layer in addition to an absorbent inner layer.

All-in-one Diaper – The all-in-one diaper has all over the features of the previously mentioned diapers rolled up into one. It has a waterproof outer layer similar to the pocket diapers, and it has the absorbent material sewn into it similar to the contour diapers.

Pros of Cloth Diapers 

There are always debates over which type of diaper is better, disposable or cloth. Below you will find some of the cons of cloth diapers and what separates them from their counterpart.

Cost – If you’re using disposable diapers, Consumer Reports say that you can spend anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 before your baby gets out of them. This can increase anywhere from $100 to $500 if you’re using more “eco-friendly” types of disposable diapers. On the other hand, cloth diapers can be used repeatedly. If you buy several cloth diapers, you never have to purchase diapers again, but instead you can reuse the same ones over and over.

Environment – If you care about the environment, then cloth diapers are definitely the way to go. These diapers don’t add to the landfill, and they can be reused as much as you want. Even if you find yourself no longer needing to use the diaper, they can be recycled as rags and other helpful household items.

Convenience – Imagine never having to go on a midnight run to get diapers again when you suddenly run out. With cloth diapers, you have the luxury of always having a diaper on hand without the need to purchase new ones. Just keep the ones you have clean, and you will always be good to go.

Health – Of course as a parent you always want to keep your baby healthy. Many disposable diapers have been found to contain various toxins. These toxins can make your baby feel uncomfortable, especially if they have sensitive skin, so a cotton-based cloth alternative may be the best way to keep your child feeling comfy.

In fact, keeping your child comfortable with the right diaper is an important tool in keeping your child calm. When you get your baby home, you will find that there will be more than a few moments where the baby feels uncomfortable or upset. Check out the Udemy course Calming Your Baby to learn about the various methods and things that you can do to keep your little one calm throughout the day.

Cons of Cloth Diapers

Of course neither type of diaper is perfect, and there have been negative reports about cloth diapers and some of the setbacks that come with using them. For example, despite you not needing to purchase several disposable diapers, you will have to do a great deal of laundry. In fact, you will have to factor in the cost of using your washing machine, water, electricity, and buying detergent to see if you’re really saving in the long by sticking with cloth diapers.

In terms of being environmentally friendly, there are still many areas where cloth diapers come out on top, but you also have to remember that it takes a lot more water and electricity to keep them clean. Studies have been done to find out whether cloth diapers or disposable diapers are more environmentally friendly, but so far there is no definitive evidence that one is truly better than the other.

Another thing to remember is that although cloth diapers are convenient at home, they are not so convenient when you’re out. If you and your baby are out for the day and the cloth diaper gets soiled, you must take it home and you can’t simply dump it out. This is especially noticeable during long car trips. In these instances disposable diapers are far more convenient as you can just throw them away and then replace them immediately.

In addition to having to bring the cloth diapers with you when they’re soiled, you must also clean them regularly, as opposed to disposable diapers where you can just throw them away. This can become a much more time consuming task that some parents simply cannot do.

Finally in terms of health, there are various types of diapers both disposable and cloth. Just as there are disposable diapers that can cause rashes on your child, there is cloth ones that can do the same. One thing to remember about cloth diapers is that there are versions where the barrier between the moisture and skin doesn’t exist. The lack of a moisture barrier can increase the chances of your child getting a rash.

Tips for Using Cloth Diapers 

If you want to use cloth diapers, then there are a few tips that you can use to help make things easier. These tips will help you reduce on the amount of washing you will have to do, as well as avoiding things such as diaper rash.

You may be wondering exactly how many cloth diapers you will need with your newborn baby. It’s a proven fact that newborn babies tend to soil their diapers less often as they get older, but as they get older they fill their diapers with much more waste. When your baby is a newborn, you will need around 18 diapers, since a baby will need roughly 10 – 12 diaper changes in a given day. If you don’t want to wash daily, then you will need to double that number to 36 cloth diapers. Don’t let your washing days go beyond two or three as you will need to keep the cloth diapers clean constantly if you want to keep using them.

Another good tip for using cloth diapers is how to avoid diaper rash. Diaper rashes are commonly associated with cloth diapers, but they can happen no matter what type of diaper you use. There are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of your child getting diaper rash.

Remember that diaper rashes are commonly caused by wet skin, and more importantly when the chemicals in urine are left against it. Make sure that you clean your diapers regularly and thoroughly. It’s also a good idea to give your baby a bit of time outside of the diaper in order to cut down on the possibility of them getting a rash.

A great final tip is the inevitable moment when the diaper gets stained or starts to smell. There are various ways you can deal with this. For example, if your baby’s diaper gets stained with waste, you can hang the diaper out in the sun. There’s also the option of using regular soap and rubbing the stain away. For urine smells things will get a bit trickier. You can either put the cloth diaper in the wash for a few cycles using hot water and no detergent, or you can add a bit of tea tree oil during the rinse cycle.

Being Prepared 

Cloth diapers can be a cost effective and useful way for parents to take care of their child. Although there are some downsides to having them, there are ways to work around them. In fact, many parents use a combination of both cloth and disposable diapers to make use of both of their benefits.

If you’re expecting soon, then check out this Newborn Checklist Udemy course that gives you a list of everything you will need to be a prepared parent. Also check out the Parenting Udemy course that teaches you some of the fundamentals about taking care of your little one.