Monday, July 4, 2011

Try It, You'll Like It- Finding Your Cloth Style

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.

Before I stepped into the world of fluffy bums the idea of using cloth was quite intimidating.  The wash routines, the clean up but mostly the plethora of styles and options available. There was OS (one size), Fitted, AIO (all-in-ones), AI2 (all-in-2's), Hybrids, Pockets, Flushable Liners, Hemp Inserts, Cotton Inserts, Microfiber Inserts, Organic Cotton, Non-Organic Cotton, Bleached, Unbleached, Wool, Fleece, PUL, Prefolds, Flats, Big Name Brands, Small WAHM (work at home mamas), Solids, Patterns, it just went on and on.  A mama could easily get confused and lost in all of the options that are out there.

In the end I went with prefolds and covers because, well, that's what was given to me by a good friend.  I think prefolds and covers are a great "stash starter" because you can get a lot more bang for your buck out of them.  You can easily diaper 1 baby with 4 covers and 8-12 prefolds (as long as you wash everyday). 
At the same time, for me anyways, I think this option is the "hardest" and most time consuming of all of the cloth diapering styles out there.  As a busy mama of 3 active little girls all in cloth, anything that cuts down a diaper change by even a few seconds is a huge help to me.  I know many mamas absolutely love and adore their prefolds and covers and would never even consider another diaper style.  Its really about what you want/need in a diaper.

Once I had the base of my stash established I was able to sample other styles out there.  I tried a few pockets, a few AIOs, fleece covers, hybrid diapers, fitteds and even Flats.  I must say, having tried the flats I would advise new moms to get Flats and covers to start out with instead of prefolds if they are interested in that route.  I liked the flats much more and think they are far superior in performance over prefolds.

I am also very spoiled with my AIO diapers now.  I can see why many mamas set out to establish an entire stash of these diapers from the start.  If you have unlimited money to spend, then this would be my suggestion for you.  Most of us do not have unlimited money though.  I do suggest you buy at least 1 AIO diaper to try out.  They are VERY user friendly aka they are daddy, grandma, and babysitter friendly.  The go on and off just like a disposable.

Pockets are also much more user friendly than Flats/Prefolds with covers.  A pocket diaper has a shell with an opening near the back and come with inserts that you stuff inside.  Unlike the PUL covers you use with flats/prefolds the pocket shell is not reusable so you will need more of these to get started.  Most Pockets feature some sort of "stay-dry" lining to sit between baby's tush and the soaker insert inside.  Often the material used for this is suede cloth.  I do like the pockets I have for this very reason.

No matter what style you decide to go with I also now suggest every mama get at least 1 fleece cover/soaker per child.  I was truly shocked at just how water-proof fleece can be.  It is a must have in my book for a successful nighttime diaper.  You can even put it over an AIO or Pocket diaper at bedtime. 

Once you have picked a style to start out with then you have to decide if you want to go the Big Name Brand or WAHM  route.  I have both in my diaper stash and must say I love the satisfaction that comes with supporting a WAHM over buying from a big national brand.  Many cloth mamas see the big brands like wearing name brand clothes though.  Once again its all about your personal preferences.  I for one enjoy supporting the little guy and Made in America options whenever possible.

My personal stash is very eclectic, just like my life.  I think it represents my personality well.  I have a little of this, a little of that and an entire hodge podge of fluffy goodies to cover my girls bums.  Each day I choose the diaper that fits my mood.  If I am feeling particularly lazy or tired then the girls will be in AIO, if we want to feel a little fun then a cute pattern is in order.
In my personal stash I have:
1 Hybrid (its an AIO with a pocket that you can add an insert for extra absorption)
Pockets-both Big Name Brand and WAHM
PUL Covers
Fleece Covers
and 1 Best Bottom Diaper that I am not sure where to classify it at?  Possibly Hybrid as it is a sort of cross between a Cover/Prefold and a Pocket.  It has snap in inserts that snap into place on the PUL cover.  As long as no poo gets on the cover it is reusable.  The inserts also work great stuffed into a pocket.  This is also a great suggestion for mamas just starting out.  It is very user friendly like pockets but very budget friendly like prefolds/flats and a cover. 

My cloth philosophy is don't jump in head first and invest all of your money into 1 specific brand or style.  What works for 1 baby may not work for another.  Your BFF may swear by pocket diapers but you may end up loathing them.  I have read too many horror stories from other mamas about spending all of their money on 1 particular brand/style because of all the good reviews only to dislike that diaper and be stuck with it because they had no more money to purchase anything else. 

Buy a few diapers from various brands and in at least 2 styles to try as a starter stash.  Cloth diapering does not have to be an all or nothing adventure.  You can start out with a few diapers and just do it on a part time basis. Then, once you have a feel for what you like go ahead and purchase your full stash.  If you are anything like me, your full stash will be a rainbow of fluff.

Overall just try cloth diapers, don't be intimidated just jump on in.  Try it, You'll like it!

If you run into a few styles/brands that do not work for you consider donating them to mamas in need through Spreading the Fluffy Love, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope or The New Cloth Diaper Foundation

this cloth addicted mama,

freedom of cloth carnivalVisit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:
  • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
  • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents' individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering "style" that best suits their families.
  • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
  • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
  • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
  • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
  • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become "greener" overall.


  1. Some of the links aren't working for me :/

  2. We have a similar journey in our stash building. I too began with prefolds then started dabbling. I love my stash. I'm not entirely sure what it is about cloth diapers that engender such emotions in mamas, but most that I've spoken with feel love for their cloth diapers.

  3. There's definitely a common theme here! Like you and Zoie, I started with prefolds and covers (3 plain white covers only!) and have added over time. I love your philosophy, and totally identify. Aside from my prefolds, there are very few diapers that I have more than one or two of, because I love to give everything a try! I guess my point is that there is definitely some great advice here - thanks, Christy! :)

  4. Ha, your story could be mine as well. We did a lot of trial and error too. It's the way to go.

    Thank you for the information about donating cloth diapers though - I definitely have a few that we won't be using, but I've been reluctant to let them go because I want them to have a good home as they are still good diapers. I will get in touch with one of them. Thanks!

  5. Great post! It is definitely great advice to start simple and then to add what you think you want a little at a time. I love the idea of donating to those in need. Diapering is so hard but can be so daunting to new moms who think that it makes more sense to buy this inexpensive package of diapers now and not think about how that all adds up over time. Even using one prefolds and cover at a time and adding to it when you can saves so much money! Great share.

  6. thank you everyone for all of your positive feedback <3

    Zoie, it's crazy how much I love my cloth diapers, they are like 1 of my prized posessions I swear. I love to talk about them and show them off. Who would ever think something that's made to catch pee and poop could be so much fun.

    Mercedes, which links are not working? Are they links in the body of my actual post or are they links in the foot notes that include all of the posts for the carnival itself? If it's in the footnotes it could be that those links are not live yet because they are not scheduled to be up until later this week.

  7. I feel like I'm the only one who didn't start with prefolds here :) I guess that's why I love them so much!

    I think it was great how even though you shared your experience and your opinion, you always went back to the idea that every mom really needs to choose what works for her child or children and situation. Of course, that's what makes cloth diapering so daunting to so many people in the first place because you can get all the advice you want but in the end it might not mean zilch for your family. However, it's posts like this one that will hopefully inspire everyone to at least give it a try!

  8. Ugh. My comment just got deleted (by me - too quick with the mouse). I'll try again :)
    My biggest gripe with AIOs is the dry time - they take! But they are SO convenient, especially for alternative caregivers.
    Our preferred style is the pocket dipe - stuffable to your needs (day v. night), cute, and easy!

  9. Great post! Your Best Bottom diaper is an AI2 (all in 2). That's like a pocket without the pocket. My favorite diaper is an AI2--I love their versatility :)

    I started much the same way, only I started with pockets because someone was giving their stash away! Then, little by little, one diaper at a time, I built it into an ecclectic mix like yours!


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