Thursday, September 20, 2012

Class Is In Session: Cloth Diapering 101

Posted by Unknown On 5:11 PM | 6 comments

My first big leap into the world of green was deciding to cloth diaper my oldest son. He was about a year old and I heard other mom's buzzing about the new styles of cloth diapers. They were throwing around words like pockets, stash, fitteds, longies. I was curious, but completely confused! It took me quite a while to decipher all of the abbreviations and slang terms and feel like I had a good base knowledge about cloth. So while on a trip to see my grandparents (sans Hubby) I started researching and purchased my first diaper set! It was called something different at the time, but it gave me the bug and I've been hooked ever since! I've cloth diapered all 4 of my kiddos, and its a passion, an obsession, and sure to empty your Paypal quick!

 So here is my gift to you. Cloth diapering 101. Everything you need to know if you're considering making the jump, or have already lept but feel like you're free falling. 


Hybrid gDiaper

What are my options?
  • All-in-one's - Also known as AIO. This is as close to a disposable diaper as you can get. They are full ready to go and have either snaps or velcro (aplix) to close. You just put it on, and take it off when it's dirty. Easy peasy.
  • Pockets - Similar to an AIO, but you select the type and amount of absorbency that you want. You choose the type of material that works best for you and can add more inserts to bulk up for nighttime, or slim it down and decrease the amount of inserts for a slimmer daytime fit what you baby will be changed more often.
  • Fitteds & Covers - Fitted diapers are similar to an AIO in that you don't have to stuff them, they are all ready to go in the absorbency department, but you do have to use a waterproof cover with these. That can be either PUL (polyurethane laminate - used when talking about the fabric that has been backed with PUL to make it waterproof), fleece covers, or wool. We'll get into the specifics of covers in a bit.
  • Flats, Contours, & Prefolds (PFs) - These are similar to the diapers that our mom's and our mom's mom's used. Flat and prefolds are rectangular cloths that you fasten with pins or a snappi (a modern answer to all the thumb sticking that diaper pins caused in years gone by). These obviously need covers as well, and your options are the same as with a fitted.
  • Hybrid - No, not a Prius, a diaper. A Hybrid has a waterproof washable shell with either disposable or washable inserts. You lay the insert in the shell, when baby goes to the bathroom you flush, compost, or trash the disposable inserts, or put the washable ones in your pail. Then add a new clean insert to the shell and you're ready to go again, until the shell becomes soiled. 
  • Covering options - There are several options here. You have PUL covers that snap or velcro, fleece made into soakers (underwear shaped), shorties (shorts), or longies (pants), or wool made into the same. 
If I'm going to cloth diaper, what do I need?

  • Diaper Pins/Snappi - If you're going to use flats, contours, prefolds, or some fitteds you will need a way to fasten them. I think everyone knows what a diaper pin is, but if you haven't delved very far into the world of cloth you're probably not familiar with snappis. It is a pinless diaper fastener that is made of non-toxic stretchy material. There are teeth on each of the 3 ends and these teeth grab hold of the diaper fabric and hold it in place.
  • Diaper Sprayer - No matter what phase of diapering you are in, a diaper sprayer makes life so much easier! It looks like the same sprayer you use in your kitchen, and it acts much the same, but this one attaches to the plumbing for your toilet. Instead of the old method of sloshing, dunking, and swirling poopy diapers you simply spray them and be done!
  • Wet Bags/Pail Liners - For disposables you use something like a diaper genie to contain the never ending stream of dirty diapers. When you use cloth you need either a hanging wetbag or a diaper pail with a liner. These are made of the same waterproof materials that pocket diapers are, and are tossed in with your regular diaper loads. There are small wetbags to go in your diaper bag, large ones for daycare or babysitting situations, and hanging bags for... well... hanging. LOL
  • Inserts & Doublers - If you plan to use pockets or AI2s you will need something to stuff them with. These are called inserts. They are made of microfiber, bamboo, or hemp. Microfiber is the most common, the cheapest, the quickest absorbing, but also holds the least amount of liquid and tends to harbor more bacteria. Bamboo and hemp are woven with cotton or terry and are more trim and absorbent than microfiber, but they absorb slower. I like to combine a hemp or bamboo insert with a microfiber for the best of both worlds. Doublers are added to the inside of a diaper to boost absorbency. They are usually very trim 
  • Cloth Wipes - You're saving money, lessening waste, and using materials that are better for your baby when you cloth diaper. So why not take that a step further and use cloth wipes right along side. It's really simple to make your own wipe solutions, you control the ingredients, and you NEVER have to send your husband to CVS at bedtime because you just used your last wipe and someone has a poopy diaper. Not that I've ever had to do that or anything. Not me. Nu uh. And as a little bonus, they are really cute! Look at THESE from Frog Loves Monkey on Etsy.Wouldn't it be fantastic if cloth wipes teamed up with burp cloths at baby showers?
Look at these adorable GREEN wipes!!
                                                            What if I have a problem?

Chances are, you will. But that's ok, because there are solutions!

  • Diaper Rash - Even cloth covered bums get rashes, but you do need to be mindful of the creams you use. You don't want buildup on your diapers that will repel, because then you will end up needing to strip your diapers. Speaking of stripping

  • Stripping - No, no, no. Not that kind. But man alive... look at those... ahem, back to diapers ladies. Periodically through your cloth diapering career you will need to strip your diapers. If they start to repel, get any sort of buildup on them, smell of ammonia - these are all signs they need a good stripping. Many a mom has given up cloth because of stripping woes, but with Dawn dish soap, oxygen cleaner, bleach, and vinegar thrown in my rinse cycle I haven't had a problem yet!
  • Yeast - This is probably the worst problem to have with cloth diapers. Yeast infects your baby and it infects the diapers. Step 1 is to treat your little one both topically and dietary, as yeast originates from their body. Then you have to get the yeast out of the diapers or they will reinfect your baby. I use the same routine as for stripping, but with some tea tree oil thrown in the wash for good measure. Make sure to wash with HOT water!

Say Whaaaaa?!

 Cloth diaper speak can sound akin to pig latin, so here's a guide, courtesy of Diaper Swappers, to help you through. If you're searching for dipes and stumble on a word or anonym you don't know, come to this post, push ctrl + f, and type it in. If it's not in this post either comment and ask me, or EMAIL ME! I would love to help!

3SR: 3 Step Rise

AI2: all in two , usually has a snap in liner
AIO: all in one diaper
AP: Attachment Parenting
APLIX: brand of hook and loop similar to velcro

BOV: bamboo organic velour
BKT: burly knit terry
BN: Brand New
Bump: Putting “bump” into a post is a way to move the thread back up to the top of a forum
BV: bamboo velour

CBOS: Cotton Babies One Size insert
CD: cloth diaper
CM: chubby medium
Colorway: The color of the yarn
Contour Diaper: Contour diapers are usually hourglass shaped with no folding necessary. Just lay them in a wrap or diaper cover
CPF: Chinese prefolds
Crunchy: is like super nutty...not what our modern day society considers normal. It's like an alternative to saying you're nuts! It's kind of used for natural, earthy, or renounced lifestyles, because these kind of things seem so strange in a modern world full of 'conveniences'

DSQ: diaper service quality
DWR: Durable Water Repellent (a brand of spray used to re-waterproof diapers)

EBF: exclusively breastfed (you’ll see in reference to how a diaper holds EBF poo)
EC: Elimination communication:[/b] it is where babies don't wear diapers and the parents watch for cues that they are about to pee or poop and take them to the restroom. Lots of mamas swear by it (and it is practiced exclusively in many third world countries).
EO: essential oil
ETA: edited to add
EUC: excellent used condition

FFS: free for shipping
Fitted: Fitted diapers are used in place of prefolds or contours. They require a diaper cover or wrap, however they are cut in an hourglass shape and have elastic around the legs and waist and have either snaps or hook and loop fasteners
FL: front loader (washing machine)
FLAG: fits like a glove
FLAM: fits like a mitten
Flat: a diaper that is typically 27"x27" square, single ply diaper to fold
FMFM - For Munky From Mommy
FOE: fold over elastic
FPP: funded PayPal
FRB: Flat Rate Box
FBE: Flat Rate Envelope
FS: for sale
FS: front snapping
FSOT: for sale or trade
FT: for trade
FUC: fair used condition

GN: gender neutral
GUC: good used condition

HC: Hyena Cart an online store “A collection of earth-friendly shops”
Hemp: hemp is made from the inner bark of the hemp plant. It is becoming increasingly popular for use in diapers because of its durability, absorbency and natural anti-microbial properties
HTF: Hard to find
Hyena: term for hard to get, popular diapers that are stalked by diaper hungry moms

IDNO: in desperate need of
IDSO: in desperate search of
IHA: I have available
IPF: indian prefold
ISO: in search of

LN: like new

M/L or ML: medium long (size usually the same as a medium except for the rise
MM: Malden Mills (Brand of fleece)

NB: newborn

OC: organic cotton
OCV: organic cotton velour
OS: one size - a diaper that usually fits a child from birth up until about 35 lbs
OV: organic velour

PF: prefold - diapers with a center strip thickness - they still need to be folded to fit the baby
PL’ed: Potty Learned or Learning
PP: PayPal
PPD: postage paid (you'll see this when a price listed includes shipping)
PSA: public service announcement
PUL: polyurethane laminate, a material used to make diaper covers/wraps, the outer of many pocket diapers or AIOs

QD: quick dry

RLR: is a laundry additive that softens the water and helps remove/prevent build for people who have hard water.
RME: Revolution Money Exchange A new company that is competition for Paypal.

SAHD: stay at home dad
SAHM: stay at home mom
SC: suedecloth (stay dry inner folds)
SS: side snapping
Stalking: is waiting around for a product to stock. People ask for stalking help to have better odds at scoring items on HC
STM: ship to me, as used during co-ops and presales where you have to pay to have your item shipped to the person running the sale and then again to have it shipped to you.
Stripping: this is when you have detergent buildup in your diapers and you must run multiple hot rinses until the bubbles are gone

TBW: The BabyWearer
TDF: to die for
T&T :Turned and Topstitched (some people prefer this as opposed to serged edges on fitteds)
TTO: tea tree oil

UBCPF: unbleached chinese prefolds
UBIPF: unbleached Indian prefolds
UC: used condition

VGUC: very good used condition
VHTF: Very hard to find

WAHD: work at home dad
WAHM: work at home mom
Wagon: Going on the wagon is choosing (or being forced to choose) to not buy anymore diapers. It is a term used often with drinking alcohol. If you have been drinking a lot, you say that you are “going on the wagon” and then you stop for a while
WIO: wool in one -AIO with a wool cover rather than fleece or cotton
WOHD: work out of home dad
WOHM: work out of home mom
Wool Soaker: A wool soaker is basically a diaper cover made exclusively of wool.

YPA: you pick all
YYMN: Your yarn my needles

Great, now I want fluffy mail.

Fantastic! You can go to any number of sites to buy new diapers or you can hit up Diaperswappers for some quality used diapers at a bargain price. If there is something you want to know about that wasn't covered here, ask away. Happy diapering!


  1. This was great! I wish I would have read something like this a week ago! haha

  2. Wow, great post!! We switched to cloth finally when my son (now 2.5 years) was 8 months old... part of the reason we didn't switch sooner was because it was just all SO confusing! This post would have helped me :) Going to share it!

    1. Thank you! I try to spread the word about how easy cloth is to do now, as much as possible!

  3. I love AIOs. Great info here. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Never used cloth diapers, but a lot of people seem to be using them lately. julieann r


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