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Category Archives: Cloth 101

Cloth basics

All about Prefolds!

This is part two of a series on the different types of cloth diapering

Prefolds are a bit less complicated than flats. Essentially, they ARE a flat just folded and sewn into layers, with more layers through the center of the prefold. When tri-folded, prefold can be used inside a pocket diaper, or laid inside a cover to be used without pins/snappis. They can also be folded in a variety of different way, and used with pins/snappis for more protection.

Benefits: Still one of the cheaper options. Easier to wash/dry than some fancier cloth diapers. Not as high of a learning curve as using flat diapers. If choosing an organic cotton/bamboo/hemp material, and a wool cover, synthetic materials can be completely avoided. Are pretty flexible on sizes, and can fit a variety of different sized babies. Prefolds can be used for a variety of household purposes after they are done being used as a diaper!

Drawbacks: Most prefolds are sized, meaning a prefold that fits a newborn pinned around the waist will not fit through potty-training pinned in the same fashion… it may fit as a doubler, or tri-folded in a larger cover, though. Babies wearing just a prefold without some sort of stay-dry layer (like micro-fleece) between their bottom and the diaper will feel wet.

Different prefold sizes: Sizes and thickness vary between the brands.    Here are a few size charts for brands we carry!

Bummis Organic cotton prefolds

Weight range Measurements* Thickness
Preemie 4 – 9 lbs (2 – 4 kg) 9.5 x 13″ (24 x 33 cm) 2 x 6 x 2 ply
Infant 7 – 15 lbs (3 – 7 kg) 12 x 16″ (30 x 40 cm) 4 x 8 x 4 ply
Baby 15 – 30 lbs (7 – 14 kg) 14 x 21″ (35 x 53 cm) 4 x 8 x 4 ply
Unbleached Premium Indian Cotton prefolds

Size                    Weight Range                 Thickness

Premie                 <7                                      4x8x4 ply

1                           7-15                                     4x8x4 ply

2                         15-30 lbs                             4x8x4 ply

 

 

Different prefold folds: Video of 5 different ones here

 

Price range: Around a $1.60 each for organic cotton, up to $9.95 each for hemp prefolds.

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All about Flats

Flat diapers… I affectionately call them “Grandma’s diapers”. They’re probably what you imagine when you think of Grandma pinning a fancy-folded diaper on your parents. They’re scary. They’re intimidating… But only if you don’t know how to use them!

Benefits of flats: They’re one of the cheapest options out there. I’ve even used an old flannel receiving blanket as a flat, and I’ve heard of parents super strapped for cash using cut-up t-shirts as flats! They’re easy to clean since they only have one layer of fabric for dirties to get stuck in. They can be folded in different ways to customize the needs of your baby (for example more absorbency in the front for a boy). When using organic cotton, or bamboo flats with a wool cover, you can totally avoid any synthetic fibers or chemicals! They dry super fast… again because they’re only one layer of fabric.

Drawbacks of flats: They must be used in a 2-part system for effective diapering… meaning they need a cover over them to be waterproof. Depending on how you fold them, they most likely need to be pinned or snappi’d in place to keep them on your baby. Folding and pinning/snappi’ing takes more time than changing a disposable or even a pocket diaper… but it’s just a tiny bit more time when you get the hang of it!

Some folds and instructions on each:

“Neat Nappy” fold

“Pad” fold is perfect for just laying inside a cover

“Angel” fold is great for containing messes

“Kite” fold <— I used this one with my receiving blankets

“Origami” fold <— another one of my fav’s. Looks complicated, but it’s so worth it!

Fastening with a snappi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2cgzRbPKro so easy a kid can do it!

Fastening with a diaper pin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYCizHFCwwU

Cloth 101

So you’re interested in cloth! Wonderful! But you’re confused, you have lots of questions, and you’re not sure where to begin… What’s a fitted? How many diapers do I need? How do I convince my husband to use cloth? What’s PUL? Or an AIO?

First off, take a deeeeeeeep breath… it’s all going to be ok! Cloth diapers ARE just diapers, afterall. Yes, there is a learning curve to using cloth since our parents most likely used disposables on us (if you were born after the mid to late 70’s), so we were never taught how. Let’s start with the basics… A “Cloth Diapering 101” class if you will.

What are the point of diapers, anyway? Well, I think we’d all agree that a diaper needs to contain liquid waste and solid waste. How it’s done is not really important at this point. Let’s go with the REALLY BASIC basics… To prevent tons of icky messes in really inconvenient places, babies need something that 1) absorbs urine, 2) contains (sometimes explosive) fecal matter, and 3) has some sort of fastener to keep the diaper on the baby. Disposables do this… They have chemicals (SAP) that absorb urine, chemical perfumes to mask the smell of poop, elastic-y plastic stuff around the legs and across the back in attempt to contain the more explosive poops, and a plastic waterproof layer with some sort of sticky tabs to hold the whole thing together. With Cloth diapers it’s the same thing… a natural fiber or synthetic fiber layer (most common are cotton, bamboo, hemp, and microfiber), a waterproof outer-layer normally made of PUL,(Wool and fleece are other options) and elastic around the legs and back to contain the messiest of messes, and either snaps or some form of aplix (velcro) closure to fasten it around the baby. See how they aren’t so different?? The difference is in the materials that make up the diapers, not how they work!

So why should you choose cloth? I can’t really answer that question… cloth is not for everyone, just like a vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone! As parents, we weigh the benefits vs. the drawbacks. So I’ll list those here for you to decide:

Drawbacks first:

– Cloth diapers do need to be changed more often than disposable diapers. Usually every 2 hours… but there’s a hidden benefit here, since it’s been shown babies in cloth get less diaper rashes since they’re not sitting in their own waste for hours on end.

– Babies feel wet when they pee, which sometimes makes them cry… eh, crying isn’t great, but on the plus side, you’re alerted that they’re uncomfortable, and they’ll learn the correlation between peeing/pooping and feeling uncomfortable, and actually potty-train earlier.

– Cloth diapers will require doing more laundry, unless using a diaper service of course. Oh! But another hidden benefit here… Cloth diapers actually contain poopy leaks better, so you’ll be washing less dirty outfits!

– Cloth diapers are a bigger initial investment. Yep, this is true… you can buy a pack of 30+ diapers for around $15-$20, which is about the average price of a single cloth diaper… We’ll address cost later though.

– Sometimes it’s hard to find child care willing to use cloth diapers.

– Sometimes Dad’s/grandparents/family members refuse to use cloth diapers

– You can’t throw away poop! Well, that’s actually against the law anyway, you’ll just have to put it where it belongs and flush it.

– Cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables, so sometimes clothes (especially jeans) don’t fit properly

Benefits:

– Less Diaper Rashes – If any at all!

– No exposure to chemicals/perfumes

– Earlier Potty training

– Less waste in landfills (an estimated 2,000 lbs per child using disposables!)

-More money in your pocket! You can cloth diaper from birth to potty-training for under $200, there is NO WAY that’s possible with disposables! It’s estimated that a baby uses over $2,000 worth of disposables from birth to potty-training around 2 years old… if they potty-train by 2!

– Less leaks & ruined clothes

– No need to run to the corner store at 3 am when you realize you’re out of disposables

– Cloth diapers come in tons of fun prints and are super cute!

Only you can decide if the benefits out-weigh the drawbacks!

Over the next few days I’m going to write in-depth posts on the different types of cloth diapers, and I will link them here:

Flats

Prefolds

Fitteds

Covers

Pocket Diapers

Hybrid Diapers

All-In-One Diapers

Stains!

I get a lot of questions about stains. What foods make them? What detergent gets rid of them? Does using a wetpail prevent them? And (my favorite) How do you keep your diapers so white?!

As far as preventing stains, I personally don’t do too much… We use flushable liners, and I dunk and swish as necessary. I don’t pre-treat any stains before throwing them in the wash. Most of the time I don’t see any stains make it out of the washer, but I did earlier this week… I’m not sure what was different… maybe the blueberries she’s been eating? So this is how the diaper (a motherease one-size fitted with handmade insert) looked after coming out of the final rinse.

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My “special” treatment to get rid of this? Well, you can’t really buy it at the store… and I bet you already have the ingredients on hand. I simply dilute the juice from one lemon with about three cups of water in a spray bottle. Then spray the stained areas until they’re quite damp. Then hang the stained diapers in direct sunlight. A few hours later you should see improvement, if not complete stain removal… here are my diapers after:

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So easy, and the lemon juice and sun have lots of anti-bacterial benefits too!  For faint stains sometimes I even skip the lemon juice and let the sun do all the work on it’s own. Either way is cheap, easy, and cloth-diaper-friendly!