Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cloth Diapering 101

Parents love cloth diapering! Cloth diapers are ecologically friendly, healthy, inexpensive and in many cases, fun! There are lots of options available & most parents have a few questions before getting started. Here are the ones most frequently asked.

How many cloth diapers do I need?

This depends on how frequently you want to do laundry! Count on 8-12 diaper changes per day. 24 diapers would mean washing every 2 days or so, 18 diapers a bit more frequently than that, 30 a bit less often. Most families who cloth diaper full time (or nearly that) use between 24 & 36 diapers.

How should I wash them?

Washing cloth diapers is simple. Each brand will have specific instructions, which we recommend you follow, but there are a few rules that usually apply. They should not be soaked in water while waiting to be laundered; using a dry pail or a hanging bag is recommended . Soiled diapers can be shaken out into the toilet before being put in the laundry bag.
Detergents with optical brighteners, scents, bleaches & other additives can damage cloth diapers so should be avoided. We like Country Save detergent, available inexpensively at London Drugs.
Most importantly, a very small amount of detergent should be used- 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount recommended on the box.

Tell me about the different types of diaper?

Prefold (aka flat) diapers are typically inexpensive & easy to use. Made of natural fibres, they no longer requiring pinning thanks to Snappi diaper fasteners. They are ideal for practicing elimination communication or for potty learning, as the baby feels wet when they pee. They are usually used with a waterproof cover.

Fitted diapers come in a range of natural & man made fibres and vary greatly in price. They are shaped diapers designed to fit your baby's body. They have either snap or velcro closures. Velcro is ideal for speed, snaps have better longevity. They are usually used with a waterproof cover as well.

All In One diapers include the absorbent fabric & the cover together in one piece. This makes a one step process that is easy for outings, fast changes or for caregivers who aren't familiar with cloth diapering.

Pocket diapers have quickly become most people's favourite! They consist of an outer cover/soft inner layer sewn together into a pocket that is then stuffed with an absorbent insert.
The absorbency of the diaper can be adjusted by adding inserts, or using a different type of inserts.
The layer next to baby's skin is usally water resistant, meaning that the liquid is absorbed through to the insert, where it stays, leaving the baby's skin dry even when the diaper is wet!

Do I have to choose just one kind?

Not at all! While some families like to load up on one diapering system & stick with it, others like to create a collection of different types and brands to be used at different times. We recommend trying a few (6 is good) of each kind if you aren't sure what might work best for you.

Stay tuned for Cloth Diapering 201, with more detail about sizing, diapering accesories & more! Send me your questions for inclusion in our FAQ.

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