Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Types of Diapers

These are normally made out of cotton($1.50 - 3.00 a piece) , or out of hemp or bamboo velour (those last two are more expensive). They require some folding and fastening, with either traditional pins ($0.50 to 1.50 for a set) or with a snappi. (comes in many colors, about $3) Typical prefolds are either Chinese (longer-lasting) or Indian (softer) cotton, and either bleached or unbleached. is considered one of the best place to buy prefolds, but there are many good sites, and buying used (such as on is not a problem, either. When you get brand new prefolds, you need to prep them by either boiling them for a while, then washing and drying, or washing and drying them about 3-6 times. After this, they become absorbent and are ready to use. I use these (and Thirsties covers) mostly with Jaina. She's better at sitting still while I get them on right. Below you can see Reilly in a not-so-well-snappied prefold and the progression from prefold (unbleached Indian - I love these!) to cover on Jaina.Fitteds
Fitteds also need a cover to be waterproof. They are shaped like babies (and like disposables) and often use snaps or velcro to attach. Tons of moms like to use fitteds (and covers, under clothes, or when they're out) rather than prefolds, even though they're a lot more expensive. I'm beginning to see why. Tthey are definitely simpler, though many moms prefer prefolds. They are usually made out of cotton and/or hemp, or bamboo velour. You can find them for anywhere between $8 and over $40... (Yes, there are quite a few people will pay $30-40 for certain custom or premium types of fitteds...) Most mass-produced fitteds are between $10 and $18. We have mostly plain colors, but you can get fitteds in all kinds of prints and several kinds of fabric. Below, Reilly is modeling a BumGenius Egyptian Cotton fitted. These are very cool, but they may or may not be making anymore...

When you need to keep prefolds or fitteds from wicking moisture onto clothes or furniture, you put a cover on. You can keep it simple, with whites, clear, or solids or get lots of fun prints. Instead of PUL (polyurethane laminate), lots of people also use fleece or wool covers; both "breathe" better than PUL, which is kind of plasticky. We haven't tried any, but we'd like to. They say wool is warm when it's cold and cool when it's warm. It's pretty pricey though, even for homemade stuff. We're talking $20 - 50 per item. (covers, shorts, long wool pants, etc). I don't know too much about fleece.
Pockets are my favorite for naps, outings, and for Reilly. They usually have some kind of stay-dry liner on the inside, waterproof PUL on the outside. You stuff inserts (or even prefolds) in the pocket for absorbency. They're nice because you can leave them on a little longer without worrying about them feeling "wet," because they're easy to put on (they have velcro-type closures or snaps), and because you can stuff them with whatever you need for different situations. Without stuffing, they also make good swim diapers. (I hear). We have several BumGeniuses that we like, and a couple of Happy Heinys, which we also like. Below, Reilly models a BG on the stairs.

An all-in-one (AIO) is a cloth diaper with the absorbent layer integrated into the waterproof outer layer. It goes on in one step. No stuffing, no diaper cover and no folding means that this is the easiest-to-use and quite possibly, the most convenient diapering system you can buy. They tend to fit very trimly. The main reason we don't have any is that they take quite a while to dry. They're also slightly more expensive. People that do daycare often use a lot of these. They're also great for dads and babysitters. Here are some pictures of AIO diapers: (they basically look like pockets on the outside)

Where to Buy
It's hard to find actual cloth diaper stores, but there are lots of online places, and many of them offer free (and fairly fast) shipping, especially if you buy a certain amount. There are quite a few links on the sidebar, several of which we've shopped at ourselves. You can also get stuff used - cloth diapers have a pretty good re-sell value, and there is a very busy website that does a lot of person-to-person sales, with transaction feedback, paypal and everything. You can find it (the FSOT threads) at It's kind of nice to get involved there, because you can re-sell the things that aren't working for you, or try different types of diapers more cheaply than buying new. You can also find a lot of WAHM (Work at Home Mom) wares there. For everthing you can buy in "stores" there's usually a WAHM counterpart. Some of these products are a bit cheaper than the mass-produced ones, and many are more expensive (nicer, more customizable). For many people, diapers are as much art as they are functional. I don't have any WAHM products at this time.

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