Before the invention of disposable diapers in 1948, cloth nappies were the only available option. Our mums (and mum’s mums) still swear by them, and for good reasons. Nothing works better than the soft, natural feeling of cloth to the uber-sensitive baby skin. Then came modern cloth diapers (for the sake of simplicity, I will from here on refer to them as MCD) to the rescue, combining the goodness of cloth with the convenience of disposables.
For most new mom’s the idea of reusable diapers can be daunting because they’ve heard horror stories about washing and drying 20 nappies a day. But the truth is, it’s not at like that – not anymore. MCDs are friendly on the pocket and easy to use, and better still you only need a fraction of these compared to disposable diapers. At the end of it all, your baby benefits and so does the environment.
To get you started, we’ve put together a small primer on MCDs. This should hopefully give you the basic information you need to feel more comfortable, and start your journey.
Let’s get started.
There are 6 types of reusable diapers. The traditional Flats and Prefolds, and the newer Pocket, All in One, All in Two, and Fitted. Let’s take a look at these one by one. Of course all of these are cheap cloth diapers that are a good alternative for the expensive diapers that get used up by the hour.
The traditional options
New age reusable diapers
The new types of reusable cloth diapers essentially have two parts to them, An outer cover, and highly absorbent inserts. The outer cover comes in various forms, and vibrant designs using fabrics that are comfortable, sturdy, yet soft for babies. An insert is really the workhorse of a cloth diaper and determines how long a diaper lasts. They are specially designed to soak up a lot, while keeping a baby dry. Therefore, they come in many synthetic and natural fabric options, the common ones being microfiber, charcoal bamboo, bamboo,and hemp to name a few (in increasing order of soaking capacity and cost as well)
With the basics out of the way, let’s now take a look at the various types of reusable cloth diapers.
Pocket: An absorbent insert is put into the pocket created between a stay dry inner layer and a leak-proof outer layer, and put on the baby. These are easy to put on, are leak proof and keep the baby dry.
All in One: As the name suggests, All in One clot diapers have an stitched insert and needs to be put on just like a disposable diaper. Some All in One’s come with a pocket for an extra insert, for added absorbency. These are easy to use, and wash (can be put into the laundry with all other clothes) are leak proof and keep a baby comfortable and dry for long periods of time. They are also less bulky and a lot trimmer than the Pocket reusables. The only potential drawback is that they take longer to dry than others, because of the added insert.
All in Two’s: An All in Two is basically a cloth diaper into which an insert is snapped on, instead of being stitched in. In addition to all the features of the Pocket and All in One, with All In Two’s you also have the option of using flushable inserts, which are great for traveling. The downside? The flushable inserts can be expensive.
Fitted: A fitted cloth diaper looks like a disposable diaper but is made of layers of absorbent fabric. It’s highly absorbent, has a snug fit, and very breathable. You can also add an insert for extra protection. The downside is that it is not leak proof and needs a cover to protect your linen and your baby, can feel a little bulky and takes time to dry.
So once you get a little confident on how the CDs work, the next thing that hit you is the variety of fabric options available. As a mom, my biggest concern was regarding ‘what touches my baby’s skin’. All of the new varieties of cloth diapers come in a variety of comfortable fabrics including Microsuede, Microfleece, Charcoal Bamboo and Bamboo. All of these options are soft on your baby’s skin, easy to clean and maintain. All of them except those made of Bamboo fibers (you may need stay dry liners with them) keep the baby dry. Bamboo is a natural fabric, with anti-bacterial properties.
For most busy modern moms with a conscience, the new type of cloth diapers are a great way to give your baby a special touch, while doing your bit for the environment. And, there doesn’t have to be a one size fits all approach. You can go with one type, or try a combination depending on when you need to use it. The only rule here, is that you should use one. With the quality of products now available out there, there is no need to spend thousands on disposable diapers every month.
Go ahead, and try them out. You will not regret it!