A Guide To Eco-Friendly Cloth Diaper Brands For Babies
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Aside from being totally adorable and wallet friendly, cloth diapers can be very intimidating for many curious parents who are considering switching over from disposables.
After all, there are about 8 different cloth diaper styles on the market right now (possibly more), and each design has a different fit. So how do you know which cloth diaper will work best for your baby?
First, let’s go over all the different styles that are available to you.
What Are The Different Styles Of Cloth Diapers?
Flat diapers predate all diapers. They are a single layer of cloth (typically cotton or bamboo), and they need to be folded into multiple layers for absorbency. They are economical, but the downside to flat diapers is that they can leak without a cover, and they require safety pins to secure them in place.
Prefold diapers are rectangular pieces of cloth with multiple layers of fabric for absorption, and can be used inside pocket diapers or reusable covers. Prefolds are economical, versatile, flexible and easy to wash. However, they can be bulky, inconvenient, and must be upgraded in size as baby grows.
Fitted Cloth Diapers
Fitted cloth diapers resemble a disposable diaper in that they have an hourglass shape, leg elastics to keep messes contained, and they are easy to fasten. The downside to fitted cloth diapers is that they are not waterproof, and you need to purchase covers; they are also more expensive than prefold diapers.
Pocket diapers are cloth diapers that contain a waterproof cover and inner pocket that can be stuffed with absorbency layers—like prefolds or inserts. They can grow with your baby and come in really cute designs. The downside to pocket diapers is that they can leak, they tend to be bulky, and stuffing/removing inserts can be inconvenient.
All-In-One Diapers (AIO)
All-In-One diapers have a simple design with a trim fit that prevents leaks, and they are made with several absorbency layers along with a waterproof outer shell. They are considered the most convenient reusable diapers for daycares, and can be used throughout the potty training stage as well. The downside to All-In-One diapers is that they are expensive and take longer to dry.
All-In-2 Diapers (AI2)
All-In-2 cloth diapers are very similar to pocket diapers. They contain a waterproof outer shell, but the inserts snap inside of the diaper instead of getting placed inside of a pocket. Parents love these reusable diapers because most of the time (unless there’s a blow out, you only need to swap out the insert.
Hybrid Cloth Diapers
Hybrids are a cross between disposable and cloth diapers. They have a flexible design, a waterproof shell, and can use any absorbency layer (cloth or disposable). These cloth diapers are also cost-effective, daycare friendly, and travel-friendly. The downside to hybrid cloth diapers is that some designs can leak, and beginners might find them a bit complicating.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Cloth Diapers
Cloth Diapers Save Money
Cloth diapers are reusable, which means that while you may fork up a descent amount of money in the beginning, you’ll actually end up saving money in the long run. Depending on the brand, the average household spends between $600-$900 a year on disposable diapers—and you’ll keep spending this amount yearly until they are potty trained.
So if you’re buying premium disposable diapers and your little one is a stubborn potty trainer like mine were, you’ll waste thousands of dollars on single-use diapers throughout the years that you’re just going to throw out. Investing in a $300 cloth diaper stash sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?
Cloth Diapers Are Non-Toxic
Cloth diapers are hypoallergenic and don’t cause skin issues such as chemical burns, rashes or dermatitis. A majority of disposable diapers are packed full of toxic chemicals (including fragrance) that are actually harmful to your baby and their sensitive skin. Cloth diapers are breathable and lined with gentle and non-toxic fabric such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo.
Cloth Diapers Are Zero Waste
While they do use up much more water due to laundering, cloth diapers are zero-waste because they do not need to be discarded like disposable diapers, and can be reused for many years if cared for properly.
How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
The amount of cloth diapers that you will need depends on the age of your baby and how often you plan on doing laundry.
Many cloth diaper brands recommend about 24-26 diapers for a newborn, 20-22 diapers for a baby who is 3-12 months, 16-18 diapers for a 12-24 month old, and 12-14 for an older toddler who is potty training. This is based on an “every other day” laundry routine.
But, because of the overwhelming number of diaper changes in the newborn stage, many parents postpone switching over to cloth diapers until their baby is around 4-6 months old—and that’s understandable.
Do Daycare Centers Allow Cloth Diapers?
When it comes to cloth diapers and childcare facilities, each daycare center is different. Most daycare centers in the United States allow cloth diapers, and there aren’t any state or federal rules that prohibit daycares from allowing cloth diapers.
When it comes to diaper style, if your little one is attending daycare and the facility does indeed allow cloth diapers, then the all-in-one style is the easiest reusable style for daycare workers to manage (they won’t need to struggle with inserts and diaper changes will be quick and easy).
What Type Of Cloth Diaper Is Best Overall?
Cloth diapers are like infant formula—not all brands will work for your baby and you’ll most likely need to try a few different styles before you find one that works best.
I will recommend, however, that it’s best to choose brands that strive to make their cloth diapers as non-toxic, eco-friendly and hypoallergenic as possible—because babies have sensitive skin.
Cost-Effective & Eco-Friendly Reusable Diaper Brands
Size Range | 6-35 Pounds
The GroVia cloth diaper brand offers almost every type of cloth diaper imaginable. From prefolds to the all-in-one design and everything in between (including cloth trainers for toddlers who are starting potty training). GroVia also strives to be as eco-friendly as possible—lining their diapers and trainers with absorbable layers made of hemp, bamboo and organic cotton.
Size Range | 6-35 Pounds
Charlie Banana is a 2-in-1 reusable fleece cloth diapering system that grows with your baby. In other words, it’s a one size diaper with adjustable sizing straps and snug fit straps. Inserts can be placed inside or over the pocket, and the brand offers inserts made of fleece, cotton, bamboo and disposable. Charlie Banana is Climate Neutral and a member of 1% for the Planet.
Size Range | 6-35 Pounds
The Lil Helper cloth diapers are perhaps the best for beginners. While most cloth diaper companies upsell their inserts, you’ll be ecstatic to know that Lil Helper includes inserts with every diaper, and they’re absorbent straight out of the box. These diapers contain 2 guide snaps for a good fit, a stain-free diaper cover lining, and dark colored anti-microbial inserts that snap right in. Lastly, the Lil Helper cloth diapers contain a PUL belly band to prevent wicking, which is perfect for belly sleepers.
Size Range | 6-33 Pounds
The AlvaBaby brand is a nice budget-friendly alternative to most other cloth diaper brands, and there are a ton of fabric designs to choose from. The “one-size”pocket diapers come with (2) 3-layer microfiber inserts that draw moisture away from baby’s skin, and the adjustable snaps allow the diapers to grow with your baby.
Size Range | 8-40 Pounds
The Thirsties [one size] All-In-One cloth diapers are great for babies and toddlers who like to unfasten their diapers thanks to a combination of hook & loop and snap closures! These diapers contain a built-in 3 layer microfiber terry soaker that absorbs an incredible seven times its weight in liquid. The soaker is topped with a stay-dry microfleece which keeps your baby feeling dry, and an additional layer of terry lies between the microfleece and TPU body of the diaper providing a last line of defense.
Size Range | 8-35 Pounds
The eco-chíc looking Bambino Mio Miosolo All-In-One Reusable Cloth Diapers are super soft and the one-size design means it will grow with your little one from baby to toddler. It also contains an inner pocket for inserts to maximize absorbency for heavy wetters. The material is OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified which ensure that they are safe to use on baby’s sensitive skin.
Size Range | 8-35 Pounds
This hidden gem is not as well known as the brands above, but it is well worth the buy for many reasons. They are a small family-owned business, and all of their diapers come with 4-layer bamboo viscose inserts and wet bags. Bamboo inserts absorb more than microfiber and do not cause compression leaks. You can get a 7 cloth diaper bundle for under $70, making these the most affordable cloth diapers on this list. They have a ton of different fun fabric designs, and are available on Amazon.