Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cloth Diaper 101 : Are you ready? Is Cloth Diapering for you?

Occasionally, I do get questions from first time cloth diaper mom, unsure about whether cloth diapering is for them or not.  I hope this will help some of clarify some of their doubts.  Please note that this is just from my personal advise as well as close friends.

Why I choose to cloth diaper?  First of all, I grew up in them, so, I
already had a feel when I was a little girl.  Of course, 30 years ago, the
cloth diapers were nothing like what we have today.  It is not as convenient as what we have today.

So, you are considering Cloth Diapering but not sure if it is for you or not.  But before you move on further, maybe you should ask yourself why are you considering cloth diapering?  Is it because of cost, your baby's health condition, you are worried about environment or do you like your baby to have a cute diaper? 

Though, it is definitely not easy, I have to admit myself.  It could be frustrating at first.  At least for us, the first time wasn't the best.  But after trying out a few system, we found the best for us and that's how we came out with the BubuBibi Cloth Diapers.  Different things works for different people.  Different people have different preferences and likes of dislikes.  I personally think that it is best to try several types to see which one works best for you. 

  1. What system to use?
    There are many different types of cloth diaper system out there. 

    (Yes... there are many out there!) 
    Types of Cloth Diapers:
    Fitted Diaper - A fitted diaper is shaped to fit the baby and typically uses velcro or snaps as a closure. It closely resembles disposable diapers. They are contoured and fitted with elastics around the legs and back. This type of diaper requires a cover. Since it requires a cover, some say that it is not as convenient compared to the AIO but the good thing is that it can be washed at high temperatures, separate from covers. Fitted comes in a variety of materials, such as cotton, flannel, bamboo, terry cloth, hemp, bamboo and velour. According to most, fitted diapers are one step up from the prefolds used many years ago.

    Pocket Diaper – A pocket diaper is a diaper with a waterproof outer layer (PUL) and an inner layer of a stay dry material such as microfleece, suedecloth or bamboo. They come with a pocket (mostly at the back but some could be at the front), for the absorbent inner layer to be stuffed in the pocket during use and then to be removed for laundering. This makes them really versatile and also less bulky than some other type of cloth diapers. Most say that they are very similar to the AIO or AI2. Good thing about the pocket diaper is that you choose what you want to “stuff” into the pocket so that you can find the right absorbency level. On the other hand, the disadvantage of using the pocket diaper is that it requires a separate stuffer and sometimes, it could be a little too bulky if too many inserts are stuffed.

    Pre-Fold –
    A rectangular of cloth that is thicker in the middle third than on the sides. The pre-folds are most commonly made from cotton. The fabric is folded in the middle so that the middle is more absorbent. The pre-fold can also be used as burp cloth. It can be folded and pinned or snappied into place or simply laid into a waterproof cover. Pre-fold are the cheapest cloth diaper options but it will require a diaper cover. The prefolds require a diaper pin or snappi to close. Some also say that the pre-fold can also be used as inserts or doublers. The advantage of using the pre-fold is that it is very economical, easy to launder and very fast to dry. The down side to it is that it requires a diaper cover or pin/ snappy to work.

    Diaper Liners – Diaper liners are added to a diaper next to the child’s skin. Liners are thin layers of cloth or paper that is placed inside the diaper to aid in the cleaning of solid waste. They usually come in a roll or boxes of 100 or 120. It is not used for absorbency but instead as a barrier that allows the transfer of liquids through it. A flushable liner for instance is used to keep solids off the diaper easily. They also helps prevents stains on cloth diapers. Most common fabric liners are made out of silk, micro fleece and flannel but the lately, bamboo has been a hit as well.

    AIO – Known as the All-In-One Cloth Diapers. This diaper contains the waterproof outer layer (PUL) and the absorbent middle layer and the stay dry inner layer in one piece. Most say that it is the closest to disposables diapers since it is a one cloth diapering system. The absorbent soaker is sewn onto the diaper.

    AI2 – Known as the All-In-Two Cloth Diapers. The AI2s are very similar to the AIOs with the exception that the absorbent soakers are not attached to the diapers all the way. These diapers have a snap in the soaker layer so that it can be detached. The advantage of the AI2s over the AIOs is that the AI2s dries faster since the soaker can dried and wash separately. Some AI2s work more like Pocket diapers.

    CPF – Known as the Chinese Pre-fold diapers. These are high quality cotton diapers but most say that it is not as soft as the Indian Pre-fold diapers. They are often choice for embroidery and are very durable. Since they are cotton, you can sometimes find them in a wide variety of colors or tie dye.

    IPF – Known as the Indian Pre-fold diapers. These are very similar to the Chinese Pre-fold. They are soft, absorbent cotton pre-fold diapers made in either India or Pakistan.

    OS –
    Known as the One Size cloth diapers. It is a diaper that folds or snaps down to adjust the size to fit newborns all the way to toddlers.

    Material Used For Cloth Diapers:

    Hemp –
    The hemp is a fast growing plant that requires few chemicals than cotton. Hemp fiber is one of the strongest and most durable natural textile fibers. Not only is it strong, but it also holds its shape having one of the lowest percent elongation of any natural fiber. As a fabric, hemp provides all the warmth and softness of other natural textiles but with a superior durability seldom found in other materials. Natural organic hemp fiber ‘breathes’ and is biodegradable. Hemp blended with other fibers easily incorporate the desirable qualities of both textiles. When combined with the natural strength of hemp, the soft elasticity of cotton or the smooth texture of silk create a whole new genre of fashion design. While growing hemp is banned in the US due to an uniformed political situation, it was once grown freely in the US for making rope and other materials. Some may wonder if hemp is legal, yes, industrial hemp products such as clothing and food stuffs are completely legal in the U.S. but the cultivation of industrial hemp is not. Hemp is absorbent, durable, natural and has an anti-microbial quality.

    Bamboo – Bamboo is a fabric that is pretty popular for cloth diapers. According to most research, bamboo absorbs 3-4 times better than the cotton. They are really soft like silk. Bamboo is known for their antibacterial qualities, from the time they are grown to the process of being manufactured into cloth diapers, they have the natural qualities that repels and eliminate most forms of antibacterial. Bamboo is highly water absorbent. According to research, it is able to take 3 times more water weight. It retains this ability in some extent, pulling the moisture away from the skin so that it can evaporates. Bamboo can be worn all year round. It keeps babies cool during the summer time and warm during winter time. Babies who has sensitive skin or who are allergic to fabrics made from other materials find that they will have no problems with the bamboo. Bamboo has lots of micro holes, it makes breathability superior to that of cotton.

    Fleece – There are many different types of fleece but the two main types of fleece used for diapers. The most common one is cotton fleece. Both cotton and hemp fleece is absorbent and is used for the main part of the diaper or for inside soaker layers. Polyester fleece is not absorbent and is used for wicking layers (microfleece) or outer waterproof layers or diaper covers (polar fleece).

    Microfiber/ Microfleece – Microfiber is usually made out of 75% polyester and 25% polyamide. Microfleece is usually 100% polyester. Typically used next to baby’s skin to keep the baby feeling dry and even for wet diapers. Though, some people advise not to use microfiber next because it can dry out baby’s skin. One thing good about the microfleece is that it resists staining and most importantly, it does not hold solids like other diaper fabric can.

    Cotton – Cotton is a soft, fluffy, staple fiber that grows in a boll around the seeds of the cotton plant. It is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Pakistan, India and Africa. The fiber most often is spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile, which is the most widely used natural-fiber cloth in clothing today.

    Organic Cotton - Organic cotton is generally understood as cotton, from non genetically modified plants, that is certified to be grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides.[1] Its production also promotes and enhances biodiversity and biological cycles. In the United States cotton plantations must also meet the requirements enforced by the National Organic Program (NOP), from the USDA, in order to be considered organic. This institution determines the allowed practices for pest control, growing, fertilizing, and handling of organic crops.

    Sherpa – Sherpa is a super soft fabric that is perfect for cuddly diaper and absorbent soakers or inserts. It is made by brushing the loops of the terry cloth to make them even softer. It is soft even after several washes. Most Sherpa has at least some polyester to make it more durable. Sherpa is a favorite for cloth diapers as well as wipes.

    Suadecloth – Suadecloth is thinner than microfleece but shares many similarities and therefore makes it perfect for diaper inner lining in some pocket diapers. The moisture goes through the fabric to the soaker pad, allowing baby’s skin to dry longer.

    Polar Fleece – According to Wikipedkia, polar fleece is also known as microfleece but typically referred as “fleece”. Polyester fleece that is commonly used for the outer layer of pocket diapers or as a waterproof diaper cover. One of the first forms was Polar Fleece created in 1979 by Malden Mills. Malden fleece is sought after because it is the most reliable anti-pill fleece and it is also the most water resistant. Fleeces differ widely, even from one manufacturer so some fleeces are more water resistant than others. Polar fleece is also used for blankets, outdoor gear and winter wear.

    Yes.... there are tons of different types and materials used for Cloth
    Diapers, I personally prefer the One Size, Pocket Snaps bamboo diapers, at least
    it works perfect for my 2 boys.

  2. Accessories?

    Accessories??? Are these even necessary? What are they?
    • Wet Bags These comes really handy especially if you go out with your cloth diapers.  Or if you don't want to use the wet or dry pail, you can just use a wet bag, zip them up till your next diaper wash. The wet bags comes in various different sizes and variety.  Some even comes with the wet/ dry bag, the wet portion to put dirty diapers and the
      dry portion for clean ones!
    • Biodegradable Flushable Diaper Liners
      Again, this is not a must, it is perfect for mommy who hates dealing with poopy
      diapers.  All you do is to lay this flushable liner on the top and if there
      is a poopy diaper, just throw away the dirty liner but of course, if you have a
      major blow out, you will still get poopy on the cloth diaper but at least... it
      won't be as bad as nothing on it.  Also, we advise to not use rash cream or
      any cream while using cloth diapers but sometimes, you may need to, for example,
      my second son had his circumcision when he was 4 months old and we had to put
      lots of petroleum jelly to help heal, so, the liner was perfect for us.
    • Diaper Pail Liner
      This could be an alternative to the wet or dry pail.  Sometimes, I even use
      this as a laundry bag, it's big enough for us to put tons of cloth diapers and
      his clothes.
    • Diaper Sprayer
      We personally did not use this since I have a sink in my laundry room.  But
      for those who do not have them, then the diaper sprayer is good since it is
      attached to the toilet system where you can flush away the poopy diaper directly
      into the toilet bowl before putting the cloth diaper in a wet or dry pail or wet
  3. How to wash?
    I believe each diaper brand would have its recommendation on how to wash their
    diapers.  Like ours, especially for the first wash, since we mostly sell
    Bamboo Diapers, we really do recommend our customers to pre wash them 7-8 times
    before using the diaper.  Therefore, I strongly advise you to read the
    instruction or recommendation by the cloth diaper that you are using. 

    Then, you'd probably have question on which detergent to use?  Again like
    the cloth diaper, there are many different brands out there.  Though, we do
    carry 2 brands that works best with our diapers, Charlie's Soap as well as
    Rockin Green.  We have a post that tells the difference between them.

    Cloth Diaper Laundry Mistakes!!!
    The 2 biggest NO NO for washing cloth diapers is NO Bleach, NO Fabric

  4. Where to buy?
    Of course we would love for you to purchase our diapers BubuBibi from our website ( but again, like mentioned above, some people may like our diapers, some may not, so, if you do not, you can also purchase from
    , they sell various different top cloth diaper brands out there.

  5. Other considerations that a lot of time people miss:
    1. Diapering Services
      Should we use diapering services?  To be honest, I have never used one, my
      goal for cloth diapering is to save money and my kids have sensitive skin, and I
      use our BubuBibi Diapers, so, I did not opt for the diapering services since
      most of them handles the regular cotton diapers, which didn't work for me but if
      it works for you, the diapering service is a great option if you are all for "Go
      Green" and do not mind spending the extra money since you may not have time to
      do laundry.

    2. Day care that accepts Cloth Diapers
      For mom who works but love the idea of cloth diapering, make sure that you find
      a day care that would do cloth diapers.  A lot of them do not, one of my
      son's old pre school even specifically told us that they would throw away poopy
      underwear if my toddler has accidents.  Yes, so, if you plan to cloth
      diaper, make sure that you choose or talk to the day care to make sure that they
      will help you so that you can fully cloth diaper.  I do have friends that
      have to put their kids in disposables and only when the kid is at home or on the
      weekends, they get to use cloth diapers.

    3. Siblings
      If this is your first kid or if you plan to have more, cloth diapering is
      definitely a good option.  Research shows that people spend easily $2,000
      on disposables through out until the kid is potty trained, so, if you have 2 or
      more kids, you are looking at at least $4,000 above, but for me, I was able to
      reuse the cloth diapers from my 1st son to my second and now 3rd. 
      Definitely a money saving option!
Now, are you ready???

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