So you are expecting your baby and you want to make sure you make the best choices. As a frugal mama I get you. The benefits to cloth diapers are endless. But are there any downsides? That’s what we will explore in this post.
Firstly let me just tell you that I tried about any cloth diaper under the sun as my passion for them started after watching a video about how this can save you lots of money and give your baby this beautiful natural start in life. After watching just about all the you-tube videos that exist, and reading everything that the internet has to offer, I made my list with what I though at that time was the right thing.
After watching just about all the you-tube videos that exist, and reading everything that the internet has to offer, I made my list with what I thought at that time was the right thing.
Here is where I would like to come in helpful and give you a good understanding of the good and the bad about different cloth diapers that are on the market so you can make an informed decision if you consider that cloth diaper will be appropriate for you and your family.
The good things:
Good for you, good for the environment, good for your baby’s bottom. There is no doubt that disposal nappies contain harmful chemicals that come in direct contact with your babies genitals. Your child will be wearing diapers from the the day he is born until potty training (18 months – 3 years) 24 hours per day.
The type of diapers you choose will determine what, if any, harmful chemicals your baby is exposed to through skin absorption and breathing. Disposable diapers contain toxic chemicals, drying agents, dyes, and fragrances. This can irritate your babies skin and cause allergic reactions.
Disposable diapers take about 500 years to decompose and when each baby could use more than 4,000 nappies before they are potty trained this can quickly add up.
Cloth diapers can be cheap! You will have to spend a bit up front, but we are talking about the rest of your child’s nappy life.
Types of cloth diapers
Now let’s have a look at our choices.
PREFOLDS (£3 each)
It’s made of several layers of an absorbent material, usually cotton or hemp. This is one of the most economical way to cloth nappy your child.
There are multiple sizes from newborn to toddler. Some of them have different color stitching so you can distinguish them easily. There are several extra layers in the middle. You will need to make several washes before using them as it becomes more absorbent and they will start to quilt up. You will need a cover and a snappy for this ones.
FLATS (£2.50 each)
This is the old fashion method that probably our grandmas were using. They are a large square of cotton which you will need to fold around your baby. This nappy is not waterproof by itself. For this method, you will need the pre folds, a snappy and a wrap.
WRAPS (from £10 each)
This is a wrap. It’s made of PUL which is a waterproof material ironed onto the fabric. This material is breathable, unlike the vinyl, but still able to contain all the poo and pee. These wraps come in different patterns, colors, and sizes as well as with Velcro or snaps.
You can also use wool. Wool is naturally self-cleaning, the outer surfaces of the fiber pushing dirt down and off itself. It’s naturally anti-bacterial and neutralizes smells too… so after wearing, the best thing to do is to hang your wool to air. Wool is a good choice for overnight as it can absorb a bit as well.
In general, you need as many covers as diapers as you can air dry or spot clean with a damp cloth the dirty covers.
CONTOUR/ SHAPED diapers (from £6 each)
Contour diapers do not require folding, and they most commonly come with velcro or snaps. You will need to purchase the right size for your baby unlike the flats but use a wrap. The fabric can be anything from cotton, bamboo or hemp as well as mixed with synthetic fabrics.
It is very easy to use and you can get an excellent fit for your baby with these.
ALL IN ONE (from £16 each)
This is an all in one diaper and the most convenient one on the market by far as well as the most expensive.
It’s got the PUL on the outside which is waterproof, inside has got a polyester liner which is an excellent absorbent material (stay dry) and the absorbent material is sewn right into the nappy.
It is the closest to a disposal and is a good choice for babysitters, grandparent or people who still want the benefits of a cloth nappy but without the fuss.
The absorbent material it is synthetic but that’s why is so efficient in keeping babies bum dry, something which a natural material can’t provide that’s why some children can get rashes as the cotton or bamboo diaper keeps their bottoms wet.
The downside is that because the absorbent layer is sewn on it, can take longer to wash and to get the stains out as well as to dry it. After some time, you will be hit with the “funk”, a nasty smell that your nappies will have even after numerous washes. So the second most convenient and my most favorite is:
POCKET (from £16 each)
This diaper is made of two parts. The pocket with the wrap, and the absorbent material. You can purchase this in single sizes or from birth to potty one size. The way this works is, the absorbent material can be washed and dried separately and before you need to change your baby you can add it in the pocket. When you need a fresh diaper you will need to remove the absorbent layer and put it separate in your wet bag.
ALL IN TWO (from £14 each)
These come with a wrap and an absorbent insert. The insert goes directly against the baby skin, unlike the pocket nappy. If the insert is wet, you can change just the insert and reuse the cover. You can purchase special inserts or use your flats and pre-folds.
HYBRID (from £10 each)
These are similar to all in two’s only that you can use them with cloth and disposal and are great for traveling. The cover can be used until it gets soiled. Just replace de disposal like a with a usual diaper and you are good to go.
You can also use a diaper liner.
When my child started eating solids at 6 months I had to invest even more money in a bidet spray, so I can spray out all the poop that now can no longer go into the washing machine. After installing that, I realized that it sprays it around the whole toilet, including the seat, even reaching the sink no matter how careful or how deep you put your hand and that sucker in. When you finish spraying it you still need to transport it to the wet bag, dragging that soaking wet diaper across the bathroom. So I gave up this system pretty quick and found out about liners.
Liners are thin sheets of fabric made from viscose or other material which can be chucked in the loo together with all the poo.
Now some reality checks: Cloth diapers stink.
After 2-3 months of constant use, there was no way I could get the funk out of them. It is suggested that you would strip them, different manufacturers give their own way of doing so (please read carefully on their website before doing it yourself and invalidating the warranty). It can be anything from bleaching them, to washing them in dish soap, to boil them the ways are endless.
The problem is that when the funk is so deep in the texture, they will leak. You will find yourself changing every single outfit with every single nappy. Even a clean diaper make the clothes smell bad.
I remember just spending time researching about ways to get this funk out and for most of the time, when I used cloth nappies, my baby was wet and smelly.
I was afraid to go to disposals because I had invested quite a lot of money to built my stash thinking that I will be using them until potty training.
The best way to take the funk out of the diaper and the poop stains is to hang them to dry. The sun will bleach them making them look like new!
Don’t be afraid to give up if it gets overwhelming.
It can be a bit daunting and you can ran out of patience and realize that you spend more time changing your baby and the outfits rather enjoying your baby.
Check out some of my other articles:
- Turn your picky eater around once and for all
- Do you get frustrated with your children? 10 tips to help you with this today!
- How to beat the stay-at-home mum blues