LenaLoo:Looking at ADD Life Through a Creative Lens
 
Hi friends. I am going to be posting about many wonderful products on the Goore's blog! My first post on cloth diapering was published yesterday here! I will likely be posting about 3 times a week and I will re-post here for you to read! Thanks for the support!

Cloth Diapering 101: Part I - Choosing a System That Works for You *
Is it just me or is there an overwhelming amount of information out here about cloth diapers? When I was trying to choose, it took 12 months of agonizing over "which would be best" questions... I didn't start until I had a box of hand-me-downs given to us to try out. I figured out the pros and cons the hard way, by trial and error. Hope you can learn a bit from my mistakes.  My motto is to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetie), so I will only give you one brand example for each type of diaper. There are four basic types, and multiple variations on each: Flats, Prefolds, All-in-ones, and Hybrids. I will try to give you most of the pros and cons of each, but honestly the best way to see what works for you and your baby is to try each out for yourself with trial packs or by borrowing from a pal who uses cloth.
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Flats 
Kushies Washable Flat Diapers Flat diapers are large thin rectangles of absorbent fabric that are folded in a variety of ways to fit your baby. They must be secured with a Snappi or diaper pins and covered with a waterproof cover. These are the diapers that people have been using for centuries to cover babies bums so they are tries and true.

Pros:
  • easy to wash and dry (even without a washer and dryer, I just met someone who hand washes all of her diapers!)
  • fits well on small or premature babies
  • extremely adjustable
  • good for excessive amounts of newborn changes 
  • long lasting
  • least expensive option
Cons:
  • not as convenient to use and therefore less dad and daycare friendly
  • time consuming on changing table (you try to get a wiggly toddler to hold still and not pee while you fold laundry)
  • depending on fold, can be bulky under clothing and cause sizing issues with onesies and pants (have to go up a size)
  • pins can hurt! (try a Snappi if the thought of pins make your fingers ache)
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Prefolds
Bambino Mio Nappies Prefold diapers are smaller rectangular layered sheets of absorbent fabric sewn into three panels with the center panel being the thickest. Can be folded in a variety of ways, but many people simply fold in three along the lines and lay into the waterproof fitted cover

Pros: 
  • ultra portable
  • covers can be used for multiple changes as long as it is not soaked or soiled
  • simple, only two pieces required and can be mixed and matched 
  • washes easily
  • less folding required for absorbency
  • good for newborns, preemies, and smaller babies
  • long lasting
Cons: 
  • still a bit time consuming on the changing table
  • can have leak issues if prefold is not properly placed or gets bunched up
  • can be bulky and cause size issues with clothes
  • can have "old fashioned" bias by some dads and daycare
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All-In-Ones
bumGenius Cloth Diapers 4.0 All-In-Ones {link} are water proof covers with a "stay dry" liner sewn into it. The absorbent material is either sewn inside (a true All-in-One) or made into an insert that can go into a pocket opening (called Pocket Diapers) between the cover and the liner or snapped on top of the liner (Called and All-in-Two). These are a modern take on cloth diapering that mimic the ease of changing a disposable diaper. These diapers can be one size (with snaps to adjust the fit for smaller babies) or sized to fit.

Pros:
  • grab and go
  • quick changing 
  • many options and styles to suit your specific needs
  • very easy to use, dad and daycare friendly (check with your daycare first)
Cons: 
  • have to be pre-prepped on laundry day
  • can be harder to clean (some fibers hold onto "stink" more than others)
  • can take a longer time to dry (especially true All-In-Ones)
  • can be bulky and cause size issues with clothing
  • tend to wear out more quickly than covers and flats/prefolds (elastic, waterproof lining), so buy from a company with a good warranty
  • take up a lot of space in the diaper bag
  • so many options, it is hard to know which one to choose!
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Hybrids
gDiapers Little gPants Hybrid Diapers are some of the newest on the market. They consist of a reusable waterproof cover with both reusable snap in liners and disposable biodegradable tape in liners that can be used interchangeably throughout the day. 

Pros:
  •  still cuts down immensely on disposable diaper waste
  • has two options for liners
  • extremely portable and easy to use on the go
  • washes and dries easily
  • very day care and daddy friendly
  • a good balance between ease of use and "greenness" 
Cons:
  • some disposable liners still contain chlorine and other "harsh for baby" chemicals, so read labels carefully
  • can have leak issues if not properly prepped, follow all prepping instructions carefully
  • not quite as quick as All-in-Ones on the changing table, but pretty close
Feel free to choose a couple of systems that work for you, I know we do! We use mostly prefolds and covers at home (money savers!) and hybrids on the go with a few all-in-one pocket types mixed in. If you are in it for the money saving aspect, be careful not to get "hooked" on the cute factor (like I am). There are just so many adorable colors and patterns to choose from! 

How many do I need?
Generally, the number of diapers you need decreases with the age of your baby. Decide if you intend to wash diapers daily or not and plan accordingly. Up to age six months you will be changing at least 10 to 12 diapers. From six to twelve months the changes decrease to 8 to 12 diapers. From twelve to twenty-four months you will change baby about 6 to 8 times a day. When they are potty learning (cloth diapered kiddos tend to train sooner) little ones are down to 2 to 4 changes a day in diapers (usually at nap time and overnight). It is a good idea to have three or four extras just in case. 

Other Items You'll Need: Cloth diapering can be an initially expensive endeavor, but you will save a lot of money in the long run and you will prolong the life of your diapers if you treat them well.


*Originally written for and published at Goore's Insider. I was compensated to write this post for Goore's Insider, however, compensation will never influance my opinion. I reviewed these items at our store in the show room and asked our trained baby basics experts any questions I had on the items. I also have used like items on my own child at home and have many friends who have cloth diapered their children using different systems.
 
 
Disposable diapers can cost a small fortune. Babies can use 8-10 diapers a day, it takes about 63 diapers (2 packages of 24-36 diaper ct per regular package at $.33 per diaper) per baby for a week, 252 per month, and 3286 per year! At an average of between $10 and $12 a package, that is about $22 a week, $88 a month, or $1085 a year! Multiply that by however many years it is till child is potty learned (2-3 years usually) and you pay over $3000 for diapers (more if you use Pull ups for some of the time)!

Now there are better ways of buying diapers than the smallest packs, however, when you are on a fixed or minimum income and living paycheck to paycheck or worse like many families in the US have to, you don't have the capital to spend $50 in one go on a box of diapers. But if you do have the extra money on hand, it is much less expensive to buy diapers in bulk. 

Believe it or not, at Costco, a box of Huggies ($49.99 for 228ct) and a box of Costco Brand ($47.99 for 212 ct) cost about the same when you divide number of diapers by cost of box. For size 3, you pay about $.22 per diaper. 

Smaller value boxes cost about $.30 per diaper (even bio-friendly Earth's Best brand at Babies R Us $22.99 for 76 ct), and Huggies Snug and Dry Mega Pack at Babies R Us $17.99 for 60ct). Store brand starts to pay off at this size, a Super Mega box of Babies R Us Supreme diapers ($24.99 for 116) comes in at $.22 per diaper.

Best value seems to be Babies R Us store brand Ultra Value Box of 144 diapers ($24.99) comes in at $.17 per diaper. But as I have not tried these diapers, I cannot speak to their quality or how they would hold up overnight. I just tried out CVS Supreme store brand of diapers (on sale $9.99 for pkg of 27, not the best value at $.27 per) and they held up during the day and at night with at least one change in the middle of the night. But last night my son slept through the night (can I get a hallelujah?) and when I changed his diaper, a flood of pee came out of either side from compression. His PJ's were soaked. I am a little more than worried about the flight home today with him sitting in my lap drinking juice or water the whole hour and a half! 

All of these costs (except CVS) are for non-sale, non-coupon costs. Coupons are money in your pocket. They do not take much time to cut out and bring with you. Get a coupon envelope and stick it in the bag you are most likely to take into the store with you. Be organized and only cut coupons for the brands you use. Make sure you understand the deal and if it is worth it or not (often times at Costco, you also have to buy the box of that brands wipes as well and they are not cheap). Combining an ad sale price with a coupon is pure gold and you will drop your per diaper price a lot. 

The absolute cheapest way to diaper your child is with cloth diapers (unless of course, you get hooked on the cute factor and start hoarding couture boutique cloth diapers like goodmama's at $30-40 per diaper). Using flat fold or pre-fold diapers and covers is the least expensive way to do it. You can even make these out of old clothing you have or thrift store finds! Cotton Babies has a great article about this. If the problem you have is the cost of washing diapers (like I did when I lived in an apartment and had to pay $3-$4 per load to wash and dry in the coin op facility in our building), Cloth Diapering Bloggers has an article on using flats (you know all those cute but seemingly useless receiving blankets your well meaning but cheap friends gave you at your baby shower? yup, those can actually be used as flats, as well as burp cloths, changing pads, wipes, and a plethora of other things) and hand washing. 

If you don't get caught up in the "green trend" of having to use only organic or natural fabrics, you can get started with very little to no cost out of pocket actually. If you have a pile of old t-shirts/flannel sheets/receiving blankets for the diapers; a couple wool/fleece sweaters or blankets to make covers from; safety pins/snappis/velcro (or snaps and snap pliers/press) for fastening; a pair of scissors; a needle and thread (or sewing machine); a trash can with a lid and trash bags or an old shower liner; a washing machine or bath tub/sink/bucket; and detergent or a bar of laundry soap you can cloth diaper your child. If you are using wool, lanolin is necessary to help clean, care for, and waterproof it. You can make fitted/contours, flats or prefolds, and velcro/snap or pull on covers. Let me point you to the forum where I have found a wealth of info for making cloth diapers: Diaper Sewing Divas. There are a million different patterns and fabrics they recommend. Don't get overwhelmed, just jump in using what you've got and sew up something! 

Hope this article helps someone get by during rough times! Best wishes and good luck! If you have questions or want some advice please feel free to drop me a line here or on facebook!