An Expectant Mom’s Guide to Cloth Diapers

Are you looking for an eco-friendly diaper that won’t break the bank and will be gentle on your babies delicate skin?  Have you considered cloth diapering?

Is this the image that just entered your mind?

cloth diapers

Perhaps I should share with you some more modern photos of babies in cloth diapers.  This is my daughter in modern cloth diapers.

cloth diapers


bumGenius cloth diapers

Cloth diapers have changed quite a bit and are much more modern, easy to use, and fun.  I’m sure you may have a few questions, including the most common one, “What about the poop?”

What about the poop


There are 4 basic types of cloth diapers (and several variations of each) that you should be familiar with; pockets, all-in-ones, pre-folds or flats, and fitteds.

Source: Kelly's Closet
Source: Kelly’s Closet

The most popular style is the pocket diaper.  You stuff an absorbent insert into a waterproof pocket before you place the diaper on your baby.  You can adjust the absorbency by placing extra inserts into the pocket.  Popular pocket diapers include the bumGenius 4.0, FuzziBunz Elite, and Rumparooz G2.

The easiest style of diaper is the all-in-one (AIO) style.  With an AIO, the waterproof cover and inserts are all connected.  There are no extra pieces, making this the most like a disposable diaper.  Popular AIO diapers include the GroVia AIO, bumGenius Freetime, and Thirsties AIO.

Prefold diapers are often referred to as “old fashioned” diapers because they are what most of us remember from the past.  An absorbent piece of fabric (much like what we use as burp rags today) can be layed inside a waterproof diaper cover (more modern than plastic pants) and easily secured to your baby with aplix (Velcro) or snaps.  Prefold diapers and covers remain one the most economical diapering options and is still quite popular.

Fitted diapers are a combination of a prefold and an AIO or pocket.  They can be secured to your baby with aplix or snaps but require a waterproof cover.  Many families prefer fitted diapers for nighttime use, when your baby pees the most.  Popular fitted diapers include the Sustainablebabyish fitted diapers, GroVia Kiwi Pie, and Thirsties Fab Fitted diapers.

cloth diaper terms and abbreviations

Once you start doing a little more research you might be confused with all the terms and abbreviations.  These are just a few of the most commonly used terms, for a complete list you can check out The Eco Chic’s Cloth Diaper Terms & Definitions, or Dirty Diaper Laundry’s Cloth Diaper Terms & Definitions.

AIO: All-in-one style of diaper.  In an AIO, the diaper cover and absrobent inserts are all one piece.

Aplix: The hook & loop closure on some diapers, much like Velcro (which is a brand name).

CD: Cloth diaper, cloth diapering, cloth diapers

Cover: A waterproof layer that surrounds prefolds, flats, or fitted diapers to keep your babies clothes dry.

Doubler: A thin, absorbent layer of fabric that can be added to a cloth diaper for more absorbency.

Flat: A large, single layer of fabric that can be folded and used in a diaper cover for the absorbent layer.  Flats are very economical and may be handwashed if needed while traveling or when a washing machine isn’t available.

Fluff Mail:  Since many cloth diaper retailers are online, when your diapers are shipped to you many parents refer to their packages as fluffy mail.

Microfiber: The most common type of fabric used for the absorbent inserts in diapers is made from a synthetic material known as microfiber.  May also be referred to as microfleece or microterry depending on the texture of the fabric.

One-size:  Many popular cloth diapers are sized to fit a baby from birth through potty training.  Generally speaking they should fit from around 8-40lbs.

PUL/TPU: Plyurethane laminate or thermoplastic urethane.  Both are the waterproof layer that is applied to the fabric on the diaper cover.

Stay dry:  A layer of fabric that is placed next to the babies skin to pull the moisutre away from your baby and into the absorbent material of the diaper.  Most stay dry fabrics are polyester.

WAHM:  Work-at-home-mom.  This may refer to a small business owner who makes and/or sells a product from their home.  Tampa Bay is home of many WAHM companies in the cloth diaper industry, such as Tushie Ties and Molly’s Suds.

what do i need to get started with cloth diapers

It really depends on your budget and the style of diapers that fit your lifestyle best, but generally speaking you’ll need diapers, wipes, a diaper pail, a wet bag, and some cloth diaper friendly laundry detergent to get started with cloth diapering.

Cloth diapers:  With cloth diapers you may need to change your babies diaper as often as every 1-3 hours.  You’ll need enough diapers to change our baby about 8-12 times a day.  If you want to wash every other day, you might need as few as 15+ diapers so you never run out. Double that if you have twins, triple that for triplets.

Wipes:  You’re already going to be doing diaper laundry so many parents decide to use reusable cloth wipes as well.  You’ll need around 12-24 wipes if you plan on washing every other day.  Wipes can be moistened with warm water or a cloth wipe solution.  To learn more, read my guide to How to Use Cloth Wipes.

Diaper Pail & Wet Bag:  These are used for storing your dirty diapers until you do laundry.  They are lined with a waterproof material and can be washed and reused.  A diaper pail can be placed inside a small kitchen trashcan, while a wet bag may be preferred for traveling or day trips.

Cloth Diaper Friendly Detergent:  The only thing you need to be careful with when washing your cloth diapers is the type of detergent that you use.  You’ll want a detergent that does not contain enzymes, fragrances, dyes, fabric softeners, whiteners, and bleach.  These ingredients may harm your diapers and prevent them from functioning.  There are even detergents specifically formulated for use with cloth diapers like, Rockin Green, Tiny Bubbles, and EcoSprouts.

Accessories:  There may be other items that are nice to have around like a diaper sprayer, but most of these items are optional.  One of my favorite accessories is the disposable diaper liners.  These thin sheets of flushable material lay on top of the diaper and can catch most of the poop.  When you change the diaper, the liner goes right into the toilet and poop is flushed away.

what local mom's say about cloth diapers

“Having triples, cloth diapers have saved us tons of money!”  – Christina P., mom and independent distributor for It Works!

“As ‘Thee Baby Lady,’ I encourage parents to start cloth diapering their babies at any age, because: 1) babies before 1949 survived just fine without disposables, 2) one disposable diaper may take up to 500 years to break down in the environment, and 3) potty training means you will be washing lots of underwear, shorts, pants, socks, carpets, and furniture anyway, so consider cloth trainers as well.”  -Christy W., Thee Baby Lady, a baby professional.

“Cloth diapers not only saved us money, but they also helped our sensitive skinned babies be diapered comfortably.  Disposables would cause rashes and eczema within a couple of days of use.  Soft and antibacterial bamboo velour diapers kept my babies comfortable and made the terrible rashes a thing of the past.”  -Crystal C, mom and owner of Tushie Ties cloth diapers.

“Cloth has not only kept my kids butts fluffy, and amazingly cute, but saved us thousands of dollars, and even more space in landfills!  Having had 2 kids in cloth, twice, and the ease, lack of expense on sposies, and comfort knowing exactly what was in my diapers fiber wise, and lack of chemical wise, I would urge any parent to look at all of the amazing benefits of cloth, if nothing else they are uber cute.”  -Lauren J., mom of 3 (if you don’t include the hubby).

“Before I knew modern cloth diapers even existed the idea that the baby growing inside of me would be the cause of so much waste bothered me. Once I learned about the “new” cloth diapers on a mommy message board I was sold and knew it was the right thing to do for my baby and the environment. Cloth diapering was a gateway to other, greener, choices and continues to shape my decisions as a parent.”  -Kim Rosas, mom of 2, cloth diaper expert at Dirty Diaper Laundry blog and a new Tampa Bay Moms Blog contributor.

“It’s okay to do cloth on your own terms.  Some moms think it is all or nothing but using cloth at home and disposables in public is common.  There is still a sense of triumph every time you finish a box/roll of liners and you should be proud that you saved the environment from over a hundred diapers.  When you grow more confident in your cloth knowledge you may choose to use them in all situations—don’t let guilt or pressure stop you from trying cloth.” – EDC Johnson, new mom and author of Moonflower.

Tampa Bay Cloth Diapers

Kelly’s Closet: Online only. Carrying 100’s of different styles and varieties of cloth diapers.  Great deals and free shipping on all orders of $49 or more. A great company that teaches you everything you need to know about cloth diapers.  (Disclosure: I am employeed by Kelly’s Closet.)

Carter’s Cloth Diaper Service: A full-service cloth diaper service serving Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Hernando Counties. Let them wash your diapers for you!

[MOD] momma: A maternity consulting and concierge service (aka – baby planner) serving the Tampa Bay area. Jessica will provide private consulting for new parents and also teaches classes natural parenting (green birth) and cloth diapers.

Growing Up St. Pete: Located in St Pete, Growing Up offers Cloth Diaper 101 classes each month and stocks several different brands of cloth diapers and accessories.

Half Pint’s Baby Boutique: An online store with Diaper Parties and Consultations serving Plant City and surrounding areas.

Green Mommy Diapers: A cloth diaper store offering monthly classes in the Tampa area.

Thank You Mama: Located on 4th St in St. Pete, FL Thank You Mama offers an eco-friendly boutique and educational classes yoga, meditation, cloth diapers, and other natural parenting topics. Thank You Mama sells bumGenius cloth diapers, Ergo baby carriers, Earth Mama Angel Baby products, and other popular brands.

Pinellas Cloth Diaper Chatter: This is a Facebook Group that is closed – however if you are interested in joining you can send your request to the group. They offer monthly meet ups.

cloth diaper giveaway

Would you like to give cloth diapering a try?  Kelly’s Closet cloth diaper store would like to give one lucky winner a $50 gift certificate to spend online at their store.  To enter just follow the steps below.  Giveaway will close on Friday, September 6th at midnight ET.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


cloth diaper questions

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