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Beginner's Guide to Cloth Diapers

Wading through all the choices of cloth diapers available? Not sure where to begin? This guide is for you!

The Parts of a DiaperPrefold Diapers and Waterproof Covers Package
Most cloth diapering systems include two parts - the first part is the absorbent fabric and the second part is a wetness barrier to keep clothes dry. Some diapers also include an optional third part, which is a inner liner of synthetic fleece or suede which keeps baby's skin dry.

Types of Diapers
Some cloth diapering methods require that you put these parts on your baby as seperate pieces,Rumpsters All-In-One style diaper with Aplix closure for example, the traditional Prefolds with Waterproof Covers. On the other end of the spectrum, All-in-Ones have all the pieces sewn together in the diaper so that there is nothingbumGenius! pocket style diaper to assemble. Pocket Diapers fall somewhere in between - you need to place a separate absorbent piece inside the pocket formed by a waterproof outer layer and a fleece or suede stay-dry inner layer. Once assembled, a pocket diaper goes onto your baby as one piece. The pieces of a pocket diaper come apart for better washing and drying.

Fleece Diaper Covers If you want a highly breathable diapering system, you may prefer a Fleece Cover or Wool Cover in place of a waterproof cover. These types of covers may sound hot, but they are actually great for hot weather climates where it is not desirable to trap wetness in. However, be aware that neither fleece nor wool will perform well on long car rides. A properly tightened car seat harness will compress the fibers and squeeze dampness out onto clothes.

Fitted Diaper Fitted Diapers are an easy-to-use alternative to prefolds. They are shaped like your baby, no folding required. Many people swear by these for containing newborn poo. A cover is required over a fitted diaper. They only provide the absorbent part of the diapering system.

How Many Diapers Will We Need?
The number of diapers you will need depends on the age of your child, how often you want to do laundry, and whether the diapers you are using have a stay-dry lining. If you have more than one child in diapers, you will obviously need more, but not necessarily double.

Parents who use Prefolds or Fitteds with Covers like to have at least 3 dozen Prefold or Fitted Diapers and 6 Covers to cloth diaper full time. We prefer to have 4-5 dozen diapers so that you can run larger loads, fewer times a week. Covers can be washed easily in a sink and dried quickly, so it isn't necessary to buy such a large quantity of covers.

18-24 Pocket Diapers, Stay-Dry All-In-Ones, or Stay-Dry Fitted Diapers should be enough to use these types of diapers full time. Because these diapers have a stay-dry feature, they do not require as frequent changes as ordinary prefolds or fitted diapers. The only diaper in this list that requires a separate cover is the Stay-Dry Fitted. Six covers is still a good number.

If you want to use a combination of Prefolds and Covers during the day and Pocket Diapers at night, we recommend a minimum of 2-3 Dozen Prefolds, 5 Covers, and 4-6 Pocket Diapers. We used this combination diapering system on our own daughter from newborn through about 5 months.

4-6 All-In-Ones are great for throwing into the diaper bag for changes on the go.

How Much Will It Cost?
Cloth diapers initially cost more than disposables. The savings come when you pass up the diaper aisle at the supermarket week after week. Compare the start-up cost of cloth diapering with a yearly amount of approximately $1,000 for disposables and you will see the cost savings of going cloth.

Prefolds and Covers will cost $150-$200 for the supplies to cloth diaper full-time. If you choose a One-Size Diaper, such as bumGenius!, it will cost about $280 for enough to cloth diaper 'round the clock. Other Pocket Diapers will cost more, depending on how many sizes your baby goes through. The most expensive system would be to use All-In-Ones exclusively. Many people use more than one style of diaper - Prefolds and Covers for home and Pockets or All-In-Ones for outings or overnight.

Please Click Here to Learn How to Store and Launder Cloth Diapers
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