I’m definitely not the definition of ‘crunchy mama’ by any means (you can find an over the top ‘lol’ definition here) BUT, I do tend to have a lot in common with crunchy mamas! I like to save money for my family, I prefer eco friendly products, and I’m partial to natural cleaners and toiletries (due to sensitive skin) – so one look at my ‘medicine’ cabinet full of essential oils and my bathroom vanity fully of paraben free products, and you might think “she’s one of ‘those’ moms” – maybe I am! Haha!
Either way, this is a ‘non crunchy mama’ guide to cloth diapering! Basically, if you’re not into ALL the hippy dippy mom things BUT you’d like to A) save money on diapers B) have less diaper waste or C) use cloth for the sake your little ones sensitive tushie, read on.
Below is a brief overall of the most popular cloth diapers and the definitions for all the weird jargon! This is just a basic overview, but you can find more detailed overviews here. Below the definitions I’ll share what diapers I use, and my opinion on what styles are easiest to use and easiest on your wallet, to give you a good idea of what your budget (both time and money) can afford!
All In One (AIO): this diaper is literally ALL in one, it’s one piece and one size with adjustable snaps and the absorbent part is attached to the water resistant outer shell
Pockets: these diapers have a pocket inside the waterproof shell to stuff an insert into, and can be One Size as well, or bought in single sizes
Prefolds and Flats: a thick rectangular piece of fabric that is more absorbent in the middle and does not need to be folded – flats however do need to be folded – and both need to be used with a waterproof diaper cover
One Size: meaning the diaper is ‘one size fits from birth to potty training’ because it has adjustable snaps / velcro to grow with the child. The opposite of this is a sized diaper, sized by weight, age, and measurements
- I wanted a very trim cloth diaper – I basically wanted it to look like my baby was wearing a disposable. This may or may not be important to you (some people love the ‘fluff butt’ look), but for some reason it was important to me! And the Elemental is one of the thinnest cloth diapers available.
- I wanted an EASY cloth diaper. I knew I didn’t want the work of stuffing a pocket diaper, using different covers (flats or pre-folds), or any extra work that comes with cloth except the obvious washing of the diapers.
Now, BumGenius diapers are EXPENSIVE, let’s just get that out of the way. But they were the only diapers I found that fulfilled my two requirements and that’s what sold me. Their resale is also fantastic, so I know I can make some of my money back when I’m done with them. I’ve calculated the cost of purchasing the diapers and washing vs. the estimated cost of using disposables for two years and I’ll basically only be saving money on diapers once my second kid is using my cloth diapers. So this is obviously not the cheapest route to go, but they are E A S Y to use, so cute, durable, and very thin.
The diapers I considered before getting my BumGenius were the AMP pocket diapers. The AMP have the bonus of being locally made, and slightly cheaper then the Bum Genius, but they just weren’t as easy to use or as slim as the Bum Genius. Also I really didn’t like the idea of taking the insert out when the diaper was wet/dirty – I had two of these style diapers for a few months and ended up selling them. I just love the ease of my Bum Genius! But, I have several friends who swear by their pocket diapers!
And then lastly there is the pre-fold with the cover, and frankly I never even considered these! Of the 3 I listed, these would be the most cost effective AND the most time consuming, so it really depends what you’re looking to accomplish with cloth diapering.
Some accessories you might find useful: cloth wipes (homemade or store bought), a diaper pail (just needs to have a lid), a diaper pail liner (goes right in the wash with your diapers), a cloth diaper safe detergent (Tide Original Powder is a great option), a diaper sprayer (attaches to your toilet and makes cleaning messy baby diapers easier before they’re solid poops), and a good wash routine (HOW you wash your diapers is the most important part of cloth diapering and you can find advice on the website you purchase your diapers from or from an experienced cloth diaper-er!). I have and use all of these items and I think it’s one of the reasons I find cloth diapering so easy! Having all the necessary tools makes the job much more manageable!
I’m always surprised, on cloth diapering sites and forums, how MANY diapers people say you need. One blog post I read said you’d need 2 to 3 DOZEN! Whoa. I have 18 diapers and that is plenty for me – and I wash about every 2.5 days or so. I also know lots of women who have much less (7-12 diapers) and they just don’t use cloth 100% of the time (cloth at home, disposables when out of the house), so that’s something to consider as well.
I always say, with things like cloth diapering, you shouldn’t do it if you don’t want to – cause then you’ll hate it! It’s not something anyone HAS TO DO, or should do because your mom said you should, or your husband thinks it’ll be great (but isn’t willing to change any cloth diapers), or you feel like it’s the ‘right’ thing to do – none of those reasons will help you stick to it when you have to change your kids clothes for the third time in a day because their diaper leaked and you need to work on sizing them better or your wash routine needs adjusting because your diapers have a stink to them. These things do happen! But I still say, cloth diapers ARE NOT THAT MUCH WORK. You just have to find what works for you 🙂
If you have any other questions, want other brand recommendations, or need help getting started – comment below!
Also, just for fun – you can find out how crunchy of a mama you are by doing the quiz here. You’re welcome LOL.