If you are having multiples or just looking to save some money on diapers, cloth diapers are a great option. Cloth diapering may not necessarily be easier, but it is certainly more friendly on the environment and your budget. Even though it is a bit more laundry and a few extra steps to care for them, once you find the easiest cloth diaper system you may enjoy it!
Cloth Diaper Fabric Types & Variations
Cloth diapers can either come in two parts or one, depending on which system you choose. Some have inserts with a a cover, and some are all one piece. The inside fabric can vary from microfleece, suedecloth, bamboo, cotton, velour, athletic wicking fabric, and minky.
If you aren’t sure which fabric is best, consider that microfleece, suedecloth, and athletic wicking fabric keep baby feeling dry by drawing the moisture away from them.
Many parents start out with this type of cloth diaper. They come in various fabrics and styles, such as with snaps or Velcro. All-in-Ones (AIOs) are the most similar to disposable diapers, but they may take longer to dry since the fabric in the middle will be very thick.
Pocket diapers are different than AIOs in that they have a removable insert for faster drying. There are also all-in-twos (AI2s) which has a waterproof shell so that you could reuse the shell more than once (until it gets wet) with different inserts as your child wears it.
Fitted Cloth Diapers
Fitted cloth diapers are essentially a fitted piece of fabric with no waterproof cover or outer layer. They look similar to AIOs or pocket diapers, the difference being that the entire diaper is absorbent. You can add a waterproof cover if you like.
These are the cloth diapers our parents or grandparents probably used. They are a rectangular piece of layered fabric divided into three sections, with the middle section being the thickest. You can pin or snap them, use them with a cover, or just keep them handy as extra inserts.
The Easiest Cloth Diaper System
If you are looking for the easiest cloth diaper system, you might want to start with a set of about 24 pocket diapers. You can always try another type once you’ve gotten into the washing and drying routine. Pick the type that seems easiest to you so you are motivated to use it and don’t give up while you are still getting used to it.
Keep in mind that some pocket diapers may be too bulky for newborns, especially if your baby is a preemie. There are some preemie size prefolds which are reasonably priced. You could use them as burp cloths or extra inserts after your baby outgrows them.
Top Cloth Diaper Brands
When looking into cheap cloth diaper brands, Cloth-eez has relatively reasonable fitted style diapers. You can buy one or two waterproof covers to save your furniture or for going out.
Many moms swear by AI2 style cloth diapers since they save a bit of laundry. Thirsties makes top quality AI2 style diapers with many cute patterns to choose from. They also sell inserts to pair them with.
If you prefer prefolds or just want some as backup, Humble Bebe makes unbleached cotton prefolds. If you don’t like the idea of using sharp pins on your baby, you can use these fasteners by Snappi. Here’s a video on how to use Snappis with your diapers.
Diaper Pail for Cloth Diapers
Having a designated diaper pail for cloth diapers with a liner is ideal to make laundry day easy when you wash your cloth diapers. Consider getting a pail with a hands-free lid to make it extra simple and contain any odor.
Having one or two reusable diaper pail liners will make your life extra easy. When you are ready to do laundry, just take out the whole bag full of diapers and toss them into the washer. They are typically washable right alongside your diapers.
Also see: The Best Diaper Pail for Cloth Diapers
Cloth Diaper Detergent
Choosing the right detergent is one of the most important aspects of washing your cloth diapers. There is designated cloth diaper detergent, or you can ask the manufacturer which detergent is best for that brand. Here is a guide on cloth diaper detergents which you may find useful.
Keep in mind that pre-rinsing is recommended for all soiled diapers and required for diapers soiled with solids (poo). For washing off solids quickly and efficiently, you can attach a sprayer to your toilet’s water system to make it extra easy!
If it seems overwhelming, don’t worry, it can be a lot to think about! Thankfully it gets easier with time and practice.
When going out or with other caregivers who are not as familiar with cloth diapers, you may want to get a travel wet bag and/or disposable liners. The best disposable cloth diaper liners have similar qualities to reusable liners such as being unbleached, unscented, and made of gentle materials like bamboo. Remember, you don’t have to use cloth diapers 24/7 and can always use disposables as a backup, overnight, or on outings.
For extra budget saving and environmental considerations, you can use reusable wipes, which can be washed right alongside your cloth diapers. Some parents make their own reusable wipe dispensers to keep them moist or keep a spray bottle handy.
Some cities even have cloth diaper services to rent cloth diapers and even have them washed for you. This may not be as budget friendly as washing them yourself, but you still help them environment. However, you don’t get as many fun patterns and styles to choose from!
If you still feel overwhelmed or unsure about how to cloth diaper, check out Mama Natural’s video below on the entire cloth diapering process from start to finish.
Like most things in parenting, you often figure out what is easiest through trial and error. Even though cloth diapering is a bit more work than using disposable diapers, you might feel good about reducing your environmental impact, reducing your child’s exposure to harmful chemicals, and saving yourself some money by using cloth diapers. We hope this guide was helpful for determining the easiest cloth diaper system for you and your family!