A Complete Guide To Cloth Diapers, And The Best Brands!
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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 of cloth diapers 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 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.
- 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.
- 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. However, many cloth diaper brands recommend about:
- 24-26 diapers for a newborn
- 20-22 diapers for a 3-12 month old
- 16-18 diapers for a 12-24 month old
- 12-14 for an older toddler who is potty training
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?
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.
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.
With that said, below are our favorite cloth diaper brands. And if you’d like some advice on how to wash cloth diapers, check out the video below by Farmhouse On Boone.
Best Reusable Diapers For A Sustainable Changing Routine
1. Mama Koala 2.0 Cloth Diapers
Size Range | 8-40 Pounds
Mama Koala is an environmentally conscious cloth diaper company that uses sustainable and non-toxic material to create the softest and most absorbent diapers with beautiful aesthetics.
- The 2.0 diaper contains a bamboo interior lining that wicks moisture away from your child’s skin and keeps them dry.
- Contains a wing snap to prevent wing droop.
- Contains cross-over snaps for new born fit as well as a wrap and snap feature for soiled diapers, and rise snaps for customized fit.
- Contains a water-resistant belly band.
2. Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers
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 varieties. Charlie Banana is Climate Neutral and a member of 1% for the Planet.
- Contains edge to edge soft fleece lining.
- Contains a pocket for reusable inserts.
- Contains leakproof leg casing.
- Contains adjustable leg elastic and snaps.
- Contains a wide back elastic.
3. Kanga Care Rumparooz Cloth Diapers
Size Range | 6-40 Pounds
The hypoallergenic Rumparooz One Size Cloth Diaper is a pocket diaper system that grows with your child. They are designed with a patented leak protection technology and each diaper comes with a free set of microfiber absorbent pads called the 6r Soaker.
- Outer layer: 100% Waterproof TPU polyester, Inner layer: 100% Microchamois stay dry polyester.
- Insert is made from 100% Polyester Microfiber.
- Contains 4 size settings.
- Patented double inner gusset leak prevention technology.
4. AlvaBaby Cloth Diapers
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 fun 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.
- Contain hip snaps and crossover snaps to prevent wing droop.
- Washable, waterproof and breathable.
- Comfortable elastic legging area to prevent leaking.
- Can be used as nappy cover.
5. Thirsties Cloth Diapers
Size Range | 8-40 Pounds
The Thirsties All-In-One cloth diapers are great for babies and toddlers who like to unfasten their diapers. These diapers contain a built-in 3 layer microfiber terry soaker that absorbs an incredible seven times its weight in liquid, and the soaker is topped with a stay-dry micro fleece which keeps your baby feeling dry.
- 100% polyester outer layer with waterproof TPU laminate.
- 100% organic cotton inner layers.
- Hook and loop snap closures.
- Grows with your baby.
- Gentle elastic around legs and waist provide protection against leaks.
6. Bambino Mio Cloth Diapers
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 hypoallergenic and safe to use on baby’s sensitive skin.
- Each set contains 6 diapers and starter accessories.
- The size of the diaper can be changed using the adjustable snaps and hook and loop fastenings to suit the shape of your little one.
- Super stay soft fabric remains soft wash after wash, providing the softest and most comfortable diaper for your baby’s bottom.
7. Nora’s Nursery
Size Range | 10-33 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 in whimsical earthy color palettes.
- Contains super absorbent 4-layer bamboo polyester inserts.
- Adjustable snap layout fits babies and toddlers from 10 to 33 pounds.
- Snug leg openings and waterproof cover.
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