Cloth diapering 101: Everything you need to know to get started

Cloth diapering 101: Everything you need to know to get started

Whether your a mom or expecting, it's never too late to invest in cloth diapers.

The most common question from all times has always been – "Which is the best and cheaper brand?", followed by "But how many will I need?".

So if your part of the many lost mammas and mom-to-be in this cloth world, this post is for YOU!

The first things everyone will tell you are that you need multiple diaper types and that you may need to buy different ones until you find – The one.  This isn't 100% true, yet not far from it!

To start with, nobody is expecting to give birth to a premature baby (except in special cases).

And this changes a lot, not only you may have your baby connected to a machine as the hospital may also not allow cloth diapers.

In my case, my daughter was born by induction at 36 weeks + 4 days with only 44 cm and 2.384 kg,  can you imagine how tiny she was? Needless to say not even newborn size would fit her!

Something else to have in mind is that one type of cloth diaper has also multiple type-of-type. Confused? I'll explain!

As an example, an All-in-two diaper style consists of a waterproof shell and attachable inserts, yet there are many types of shells, some are bigger in leg-to-leg area, some are shorter AND to make it even easier (NOP!) the same happens with their inserts, between trifold and booster, you'll get lost in this possibility world.

You're probably wondering – Then what the heck should I do? Do I need to buy newborn and one-size, should I wait and use compostable diapers for the first months?

This really is your personal choice. Some women find it too hard to start cloth right away, either because they're a single mother or perhaps because they prefer to only buy one-size and wait until it fits.

Example: I bought a newborn Alva-baby brand, their fairly small, I ended up with a premature baby. Those newborn diapers did not fit and are not good quality. These didn't hold her pee not even for 1 hour. So the first mistake I made was to buy the cheapest – cause, well… it was cheaper!.  And the second was to not be prepared for the eventual possibility of having a premature baby.

What would I had done differently:  I would've either searched good 100% compostable diapers or got the Eye of Shangrila diapers, made by a work-at-home mom with the best fibers: bamboo, hemp and organic cotton.

So let's start by mentioning that even with disposables it is fairly frequent for new parents to buy the newborn size and end up not using them because their baby was bigger, or actually smaller (like my case). This means they would also lose money and have to buy a bigger size.

I know in some countries you can change in the store for other size longer than a fixed amount of days, but at least in most European countries, this is only possible in a small period of time – such as 15 days or less.

So unless you already had one or two kids it will be hard to figure how your baby's body will look like and which type of diaper fits better.

So I made an easy way to figure how to choose the diaper fit for both new parents and second time parents.

See the first baby bum where the fabric between legs has a  larger length? That can easily happen with any diaper if your baby is tiny YET, there are some brands with smaller length between legs, and that's what you''ll want if your baby is chubby, in order to also avoid red marks and rashes, for example. Those work well with tiny babies too!

SO, double gusset for every baby and small leg length area for chubby and preemie babies.


These have the insert attached, so once used you can't reuse like with covers. Bamboo and hemp are the best for absorption.

Pocket Cloth Diaper

This diaper has different sizes (like the newborn size and up) but you can also find one size that fits till your baby is 2 -3 years and for that, you just need to use the buttons to adjust the size. The inserts go literally inside the diaper and retain very well the fluids even due when changing the diaper you still need to change the whole thing cause there still may be some fluid in the diaper itself.

One Size Cloth Diaper

Pre-fold Cloth diaper

Pre-fold diapers may look cheaper and easier to put on your baby since you easily adapt it to baby size every time you change the diaper, but you may end up super quick with a very wet diaper, and that may cause rashes in your baby's butt. (depends on the material and baby). When using pre-fold diaper you must then put on top a cover! Here's a picture of how pre-fold looks like, and also explaining one of the many ways to use it.

All in two Cloth Diaper

This cloth diaper is a two-part system made from a waterproof shell and then a detachable insert that you can snap or tuck in cover. Usually only needs to change the insert and keep using the same cover.

There's O.S for every type of cloth diapers, yet I cannot recommend enough the awesome covers from bare and boho and its inserts which there are large enough to cover all diaper area, allowing you to REUSE the cover for more than 1 single diaper change. Meaning, less laundry, less diapers needed!

Fitted Cloth Diaper

A fitted cloth diaper looks pretty much like a pre-fold one but instead, there's no folding need, you just have to put it on your baby and top it with a waterproof diaper cover! They have elastics around the legs to contain leaks, are much more absorbent, have snaps or hook & loop closures and are contoured in shape.

Choosing a Cloth Diaper VS Disposable diaper

  1. Cloth diapers are a long-term much cheaper than disposable diapers, for example, you can easily get 25 cloth pocket diapers in second hand for 60 – 70€!
  2. Cloth diapers have no harmful chemicals like disposable ones have that may give your baby diaper rashes, endocrine disruption, and even cancer!
  3. At least 27,4 billion disposable diapers (in the U.S) end up in landfills every year, where they will stay up to 500 years till they finally degrade.
  4. Since cloth diapers have no harmful chemicals, your baby will end up feeling uncomfortable when the diaper is wet (cause he can feel it !), in the long way this will help your baby when the time comes to potty training.

Brands I recommend and use: Bare and boho, Soft Bums, Eye of Shangrila, Gro Via, piriuki, rumparooz or Best Bottom.

Remember if you use velcro instead of buttons do not dry them in the washing machine because they will start to not work as well as they used too. This applies for every type of cloth diaper with velcro!

What cloth diaper system do you LOVE? Would you like to know more about "eco-disposable" diapers?

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