My official guide to cloth diapering

This post is brought to you by a comment on a friend’s blog, and postings on 2 bulletin boards. The three conspired to create, with some editing, a comprehensive posting on Cloth Diapering…AKA my new obsession. I am too lazy to do links, you can easily find any of the diapers I discuss on google.

Here it goes, the diapers I use, and when I use them:

1) Pockets.  There are a cover with a pocket in it, that you stuff with an absorbant insert. Mine are BumGenius 3.0, I use these at night only, with a superdo insert.  Other popular pocket brands are Fuzzibuns, Happy Heineys and Haute Pockets.  Many pockets come in one size, so they adjust for about 8-35lb babies, which is very conveneint.

2) AIOs. All In One’s.  A diaper that has it all…use it like a sposie, then throw it in the laundry. I use these for going out and to keep in my diaper bag, since they are easy to use, waterproof and all one piece.  These are also all the man will use. I like Drybees, Swaddlebees, BumGenius Organics, Piddles Poddles (these are all in twos, since the soaker snaps in), and Mommy’s Touch. Many of thsde have a pocket under the absorbant part so you can add an extra insert for added absorbancy if needed.  Here are some AIO reviews.

3) Fitteds. These look kinda like an AIO, but not water-proof. Very absorbant. I use them at home and for short outtings-with covers, of course.  Some of my favorites are GoodMama, Muttaquin Baby, Bububebe, Northern Baby, and Bagshot Row Bamboo. The adorable dipe in the post two down is a fitted, from Northern Baby. OK, here is is again:


4) Pre-folds. These are like flat diapers but have a thicker more absorbant part in the center, and need a cover. They can be folded and laid right in the cover, or folded around the baby in a diaper shape  (like old school diapers), fastened with a pin or snappi (google it) and covered.   I only have a few pre-folds I got when swapping diapers with someone, and I usually use them for short periods-for example if I get the  dressed shortly before we are going out, and she needs a fresh diaper.  I always change her diaper right before we go out, so I put on a pre-fold for that short time period.

Now, a bit about covers:

I use 3 types of covers over my fitteds and pre-folds:

1) PUL. These are waterproof covers that snap or velcro on. Thirsties, Gen-y and Bummis are good ones. They work well, but look…like a cover. I do not use them out of the house much since it is too mcuh effort; to change a diaper with this sort of cover you need to take off the pants, take off the cover, change the diaper, and replace cover than pants. At home, I just use the cover.

2) Fleece. Fleece is naturally water-repellant. They make nice covers since they are cute enough to wear as bottoms. They can be a soaker (covers just the diaper) shorties (like shorts) or longies (like pants). The colourful striped pants most of you have seen here are fleece longies. Yeah, these:

april30, 08 009

3) Wool. Wool is a my favorite. Like fleece, they can be soakers, shorties or longies. They are absolutely adorable,  and naturally absorbant and waterproof.  They can be expensive (Luve, Wild Child Woolies, Sustainable Babyish) but ETSY has a lot of fabulous crafty people (I hate craftly people) that recyle wool sweaters into affordable and adorable wool covers.

I use wool mostly over fitted diapes. The fitted absorbs the liquid and then the wool absorbs it once it starts coming out of the fitted, and then the wool holds onto it due to lanolin. How bullet-proof a wool cover is depends on the wool. Interlock or thick tightly knit (or felted) wool is great. Looser knit lighter wool needs to be kept a better eye on, but I still find it as leakproof as pockets. When it gets too full, I can feel that it is damp through the outside, but it doesn’t really leak or get onto anything (though I guess at this point it would if I did not change it soon).

I do need to lanolize every few weeks to keep them working. I just soak them in a sink full of warm water, with a bit of baby wash and a drop of melted lanolin, then wring lightly, and lay flat to dry. The amazing thing  about wool is, because wool is naturally anti-bacterial, I only need to wash every few weeks (unless poop gets on them!). When it feels damp I just hang it up, and when it drys, no smell!

I use mostly wool and fleece covers.  I use them over fitteds at home, and then when I go out I usually change to an AIO. and use the wool or fleece over top. I like the extra protection of a waterproof AIO, out of the house, and the wool or fleece looks great AND ensures that even if the AIO leaks or wicks, it will not be a problem. The blue pants with the flowers I recently posted are wool longies. Yeah, these:


Here is a wool soaker:


People always want to know how gross cloth diapering is

Not so much.  Reality is, if you are dealing with a baby, you are dealing with baby shit. Pee too. I have far less blow outs with cloth than I did with sposies though, and I do not find it gross at all .  But I also do not find the diva cup (google it) gross, so maybe I am just wierd.

I can  honestly say that  in 5 months of 100% cloth diapering, home and out, I have NEVER had a bad leak. I have had a bit of wicking or leaking around the legs when the diaper is too loose, or too full, or the material pulled the liquid out…but I have never had clothing or anything else soaked.

Trouble-shooting a leaky Diaper, particularily a pocket or AIO

I am c&ping this directly from the blog comment, since I think it might be helpful to those that end up here via google and have cloth diaper problems:

Make sure the dipes have been washed and dried, in additive free detergent, several times before using. No matter the material, this should fluff up the absorbant layers. Make sure there are no soap bubbles in the last rinse cycle. DO NOT put fabric softener (sheets or liquid) anywhere near your diapers! It can coat the fibres and make them repel instead of absorb liquid.

When putting the diaper on, ensure no gaps, and that the inner material is all tucked in and only the outer waterproof cover is exposed.

If they are well washed, seem to be a good fit, and still leeak ing…you may want to try holding them under a slow flow (not just dripping, you need some force to the water to replicate a peeing baby) of water to see where the problem is.

-If the water is rolling off the diaper instead of absorbing into it, you’ve got repelling for some reason (usually detergent build-up or diaper cream or fabric softener on the diapers) and I would strip the diapers (wash them on hot with a couple drops of DAWN detergent, then rinse on hot until there are no bubbles left).

-If the diaper is filling then leaking, you probably need more absorbancy than your diapers offer. You can get “doublers” online, or try laying some thick soft bamboo or terry washclothes in them to increase the absorbancy. If you are using a pocket, play with adding inserts, folding long enserts differently. I find hemp/microfibre inserts to be the best. Loopydos and (at night) superdos are great.

-If they are absorbing but the water is soaking right through the waterproof layer, well, there is not much you can do but use covers over them.  I have some AIOs form independant diaper seller that should waterproof, but just leak right through anyways. I treat them like fitteds.


Another question I am always asked. I hate laundry, but it is not so bad. Since I love my dipes so much, it is almost….fun. Here is how I do it:

I do laundry every 1.5 to 2 days (I did a load yesterday morning, I am doing one tonight). Not a huge load, but not nothing either. That is usually about 15 diapers, which is just right. Too few is a waste of water and energy, too many and they don’t get as clean. 

I pre-set my machine: Hot soak, hot wash, cold rinse, second cold rinse. Most people use a cold soak, but I find hot soak works better for me. However, if I know there is no poop in the load (Charlotte only poos every 3rd day) I do all cold.  Still a soak, wash, rinse, extra rinse. The AIOs, fitteds and prefolds go in the dryer on medium high, as well as the inserts for pockets. The pocket shells and pul covers dry on the rack. Anything that comes out stained gets dried on a sunny window-sill (works great!). I use Purex Free dtergent, and about a 3rd of a capful, with a half scoop of oxi-clean.

Last but not least, the fun part!!!  I took pictures of my stash for a thread on a bulletin board today, and will share them here, with details (I am c&ping this directly from the board, which is a Cloth Diapering community where everyone knows that acronyms. If you look hard enough, you can figure out most of them from the information above! It is like a quiz):

The set-up. The wipes box has pre-wetted cloth wipes, with the dry wipes next to the box. Ointment is Granda El`s. There is a snappi and a couple diaper pins in the drawer (as well as 70o bibs):

005-1.jpg picture by botterflylover

Drawer number one holds AIOs, AI2s (BG organic, Mums Buns, Drybees, Swaddlbees, Piddles Poddles), extra inserts, night-time dipes (BGs stuffed with super-dos

006-1.jpg picture by botterflylover

Drawer number two hold covers,  fitteds, and Pre-folds. Top: Fleece longies, fleece soakers, PUL covers (2 flower patterned BSWW). Bottom: Pre-folds, fitteds (Wahm, BSRB, Bububebe, GM, Mutt) 

007-1.jpg picture by botterflylover

Wool, I have 1 sbish soaker, the rest are Etsy wahm

009-1.jpg picture by botterflylover

Here is my currently unused stash, in a plastic organizer:

Extra BGs. I use BGs at night, and am keeping these  for when my current ones die. Then I’ll switch to these. I may also start to use them again more when the nanny comes.

010-1.jpg picture by botterflylover

New OS Dipes, GM and MT AIOs, to add into my rotation as needed. Also one Stacinator cover.

011.jpg picture by botterflylover

New (to me) large size AIOs (snap-ez, Drybees, BGs). I am sizing up in AIOs for next year, when I go back to work. I just think it’ll be easier for the nanny than trying to deal with all my fitteds and covers…plus I want that fun for myself! If I don’t have enough AIOs for her, I’ll add in some of my saved BG 3.0s.

012.jpg picture by botterflylover


What’s missing:

I have some MT and Thirsties AIOs in the laundry and pail, as well as 2 MT  AIOs, and  2 Mutt AI2s in my diaper bag and 4 MT AIOs in my  emergencycar-stash. I think there is also a GM in the pail. And last nights BG and superdo.

Cranky-pants on on the way! Also some Large Swaddlebees AIOS from Swap. 

Phew, almost done here.

I know, I know…huge stash. I will say 2 things though

1) I use it all, except the unused stuff I am saving and will use

2) 75% of it was bought pre-loved, at very good prices.  I have also sold whatever I do not and likely will not use. This all has good re-sale value if I take care of it, which I do.

OK, this is way too long to edit. Deal with the typos, and feel free to ask any questions.



One thought on “My official guide to cloth diapering

  1. THANK YOU sooooooooooooo much for posting this!!! I’m bookmarking this post! BTW, those two cloth dipes you gave Little One fit very nicely and work well! I did notice that they are much thicker than the AIOs I have for her. Even though the AIOs have a waterproof outer layer, they’re still thin enough for any amount of pee to soak right through.

    Fantastic post!

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