Organic Cloth Diapering: Getting Started

Exciting as it may be, getting started with cloth can be quite overwhelming.  The variety that exists is exhausting.   If you are familiar with our store, you probably already know how selective we are about our offering of cloth diapers.

We feel so strongly about the importance of natural & organic fibers touching your baby’s skin that we have chosen to offer only cloth diapers made from organic, natural fibers.  This eliminates any concern for artificial materials such as polyester will be in close contact with your baby’s skin.

The best part about all of this is that it makes your cloth diapering decisions much, much easier!  Once you cut out all of the choices that include polyester, the number of choices that remain is substantially smaller and not nearly as overwhelming.  Not only that, but the factors such as quality and health for your baby means that any choice is a good choice.   Now it’s just a matter of narrowing it down to what style you like best, how each diaper fits your baby, and your budget.

The beauty of cloth diapers made from natural fibers is that they are extremely absorbent- each diaper, be it a flat, tie nappy, or fitted, is 100% organic cotton and/or hemp, all of which are incredibly absorbent materials.

Organic Cotton Flats, Prefolds, and Tie Nappies

This category is important because not only is it the most simple and traditional method of cloth diapering, but it is also the most affordable.  As long as you don’t mind spending a little time learning the various folds and styles for using these diapers, you will find that they are easy to use and do the job well.

Flats, prefolds, and tie nappies all have one thing in common: they are comprised of one, flat piece of cotton (or other natural fiber).  This piece of fabric can vary in thickness and layers.  It becomes a diaper when folded directly inside of a diaper cover, folded and fastened with a pin or snappy, or tied onto your baby.  These diapers all require a diaper cover to become waterproof.

Flats are gaining popularity these days, and for good reason.  Flats have been around for years but have been overshadowed by new trendy styles of diapers.  As many parents are realizing the benefits of a completely organic cloth diapering solution, flats are making a comeback and have taken their rightful place in the spotlight once again.

There is a multitude of ways to fold a flat, and we will be featuring an article on folding flats on our blog soon!  The benefit of a flat is that it can last from the newborn stage through the toddler stage.  That’s right- one diaper, one size, cost between $3-$7 per diaper, that will have your baby covered for 2 years.   It’s hard to beat.

A flat will need a cover, of course, and our favorite cover to use with a flat is a wool soaker, wool shorts, or a wool wraparound cover.  At night time you can ‘stuff’ a flat with extra doublers, and you can even layer two flats together, fold and stuff them to increase absorbency at night.

Prefolds are similar to flats, but they can have up to eight layers or cotton sewn together with stitching throughout the diaper and around the edge  that creates absorbent pillows within the diaper.  Prefolds, like flats, require a bit of a learning curve to get down all of the folds, but once you’ve got it, it’s a wonderful diapering solution.  Prefolds are typically sized, so you will need to size up as your baby grows.

Tie nappies are a popular concept in Europe and are gaining popularity in the US these days as well.  Tie nappies are a bit more tricky to get on your baby than a flat or prefold, but once you have the hang of it, you can do it with your eyes closed.  Or in the dark, at 4 am, on a squirming toddler.  It can be done!

Tie nappies are wonderful because they require no snappior pin at all (this makes life a lot easier if your snappis have a tendency to run off and hide at that exact moment when you need them).  You simply fold, wrap around your baby, and tie with the cotton strings.  These diapers are as absorbent as you want them to be- to make them more absorbent, you simply stuff them with extra layers, which can be a prefold, a brushed cotton liner, any type of doubler, or combination of any of these.

The cuteness factor of the tie nappy tempts many a mama, and most mamas fall in love all too quickly with the tie nappy.  A favorite in our household, we use tie nappies on our son day and night.

Organic Fitted Diapers

The fitted diaper resembles a disposable diaper more, as it has been sewn into the shape of a diaper, typically featuring gussets around the legs and waist, hidden elastic at the waist, and some type of closure, usually either snaps, Velcro, or nothing at all (requiring the use of pins or snappis).

Many fitted diapers consist of multiple absorbent layers of fabric as well as extra inserts or doublers either sewn or snapped in, giving you the option of adding or removing absorbency as needed.   Fitted diapers are available in various sizes or one-size.    All fitted diapers require a cover to become waterproof.

Both convenience and absorbency are the main benefits of fitted diaper.  Fitted diapers can be quite thick, and since the entire diaper is made from an absorbent, natural fiber, every inch of the diaper will absorb moisture.  Fitted diapers paired with a wool soaker are an excellent night time diapering solution.  

How many cloth diapers to buy?

Generally speaking, you will need around 12-24 cloth diapers (depending on the age of your baby and frequency of changing) and 3-4 wool covers (if you’re planning to use only wool).   A good rule of thumb when you’re just getting started is to purchase a small sampling of various types of diapers so that you can get a good feel for what works best on your baby before investing in an entire stash of just one style of diaper.

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