Why cloth diapering?

In the beginning

I was newly married, in the middle of nursing school and barely 21 when I found out I was pregnant with my son.  My husband and I were in no shape or form trying for a baby.  Sure, we’d kind of talked about having a baby, but certainly had no intentions of trying for one until I was at least done with school.  Obviously, God, the universe, whoever, had other plans for us.  It was early October and something was just different.  I hadn’t missed a period yet, but I had a sneaky suspicion.  Just what if?  My husband and I were watching a movie, glass of wine in hand, when I first mentioned something was going on with me.  Could it be pregnancy?  We talked about what it would mean for us if I were actually in fact pregnant.  I don’t know that my husband really believe me when I said I thought I was pregnant.  He may have thought I was just under stress from nursing school.  I’m not sure.  I opted to not drink my freshly poured glass of white wine, just in case.

The next day, after work, I bought a pregnancy test.  Boom.  Instant plus sign.  I cried.  Happily cried, jumped around thanking God.  Then I waited for my husband to get home.  I sat in our tiny little one bed room apartment for what seemed like forever.  Of course, when he got home, he was on the phone with his grandparents, and it was the conversation that just would not end.  I sat in front of him, positive pregnancy test hidden in my hands just waiting to show him.  I couldn’t help but smile.  Finally, he got off the phone and I could share our good news.  He was nothing but thrilled and insisted we went to each of our parents houses to share the news that night.  It was just before nine.

Reality sunk in a few days later as I got pukier and pukier.  We were still extremely excited, and most of our family and friends shared our excitement.  As my belly grew, we had more and more things to address.  First picking an OB.  Getting a bigger apartment.  Breast or bottle feed?  Natural child birth vs epidural?  Nursery themes?  Names?  Disposable or cloth diapering?

Let’s talk about that cloth diapering…

Initially, I was opposed.  As much as I love planet earth and what to do as much as I can in making the planet a better place, cloth diapering was not something I had any desire to do.  I had visions of the pins, the big square pieces of cotton, leaky kids, and the daunting task of cleaning up.  Ew.

But my husband was a little persistent.  We had a friend who was using 100% cloth diapers and had nothing but good things to say about them.  So, I started investigating and consented to given them a try.

And I loved cloth diapers.

Why go cloth?

Money saver:  Everyone talks about how much money you can save with cloth diapering, but how much money are we really talking about? Let me start out by saying that you can make cloth diapering as expensive or as inexpensive as you want to. As with all things, there are the Cadillacs of the cloth diaper industry and the Pintos of the industry.  Your savings will be different depending on what you have decided to purchase.

For disposable diapers, the average cost per diaper nationwide is $0.28 per diaper.  If your child is not potty-trained until 3 ½ and you change your child every two hours, for fifteen hours (not changing during the time they are sleeping), you will average approximately eight diapers per day. Eight diapers per day would not be accurate when they are a newborn, but this is probably the average amount of diapers you would use on any given day. The total cost for this figure (3 ½ years, 8 diaper changes per day) would be $2,862.72.

For cloth diapering, the costs range widely and it is hard to give exact figures on how much these cost. Cloth diapering (including the cost of cloth wipes & laundering) can range between $400-1300 dollars. This figure ultimately depends on whether or not you choose the Cadillac diapers or the Pintos.  Regardless of the style that you chose, you still come out financially ahead by using the cloth versus the disposable.

Help save the environment

Disposables contain very harmful chemicals that allow them to absorb massive amounts of pee.  Sodium Polyacrylate is super absorbent and can also cause health problems to your little one.  Also, Dioxin, used to bleach the cotton, is a known possible carcinogen.

Disposables= huge landfills, millions of trees destroyed, huge waste of non-renewable resources.  It’s really a no-brainer that disposable diapers are bad for the environment.

Types of cloth diapers


Prefolds are the types of diapers you probably think of when you are considering cloth diapering.  They are a traditional cloth diaper with a thick strip down the middle. These are typically worn with a diaper cover and are one of the least expensive options for cloth diapering.  They come in three sizes- Preemie (4-10 pounds), Infant (newborn to 15 pounds) & Premium (15-30 pounds).

There are different types of prefolds out there and many abbreviations for them. A DSQ Prefold, simply means that it is Diaper Service Quality versus the type of diaper you would find in your discount store. They are more absorbent than the Gerber brand and are the type that you would pay money for from a diaper service company.  CPF stands for Chinese Prefold and it is the most popular type of prefold on the market. It has heavy-duty stitching, is usually made of twill, and washes up extremely well. Another option for prefolds are Indian Prefolds which are softer than the CPF and are made of gauze rather than twill. They are more absorbent, but do wear out a little faster than the Chinese Prefolds.

I gave prefolds are try.  They were cheap.  I ended up using the prefolds as extra “stuffing” for my all in one and contoured diapers, which you’ll read about below.

Diaper Covers:

If you are interested in using the prefolds, you will probably want to purchase waterproof diaper covers too.  A prefold can be folded inside of the diaper cover and the diaper cover simply covers the prefold and acts as a waterproof barrier.

Fitted Diapers:

Fitted diapers can also be used with Diaper Covers. Instead of using a prefold, you can use a fitted diaper, which has elastic gathering around the legs and usually has snaps or a Velcro closure to keep the diaper together.  Place the diaper cover over the fitted diaper, and you are ready to go. These types of diapers are less expensive than other options, however, they are more expensive then using prefolds. Despite the cost, these got the thumbs up from my husband who found them to be much easier to use than the prefolds (particularly in the middle of the night).

Contoured Diapers:

These diapers are very similar to the fitted, but are missing the elastic gatherings around the legs and waist. The diaper has wings that need to be fastened. These also require a diaper cover.  I used these some with my son.  Not my favorite option.  There are some super cute diaper covers out there.  We have several very vibrant colors, and I will use these diapers and covers in a pinch.  They certainly aren’t my top choice.

Pocket Diapers:

Pocket diapers are usually made with two layers of fabric sewn together to form a pocket for an absorbent insert. This type of diaper just fastens on and does not need a diaper cover over it.


Inserts are used for pocket diapers. They can be made of a variety of materials- micro-terrycloth, regular terry cloth, hemp, or you can just use prefolds as inserts. “Doubling up” just means using more than one insert, which you could do if you were away for an extended amount of time or at nighttime before bed, to discourage leaking.

All In One:

You will often see this term abbreviated to AIO. An All In One is a cloth diaper that has a waterproof cover and an absorbent inner liner that is all in one piece, thus the name. These diapers fasten usually with a hook/loop or snap fasteners. The choice fabric for these is usually wool, for the outer layer. This is what I prefer.

One Size Diaper:

You will often see this term abbreviated to OS. A one size diaper usually fits the child from the day they are born until they are thirty to thirty-five pounds. These diapers usually have snaps that go across the diaper (making it smaller or bigger) and they can be folded over to create smaller sizes.  As the child grows, the snaps on the legs can become larger.

Wool Soaker:

A wool soaker is a diaper cover that is made exclusively of wool. This type of fabric has a high lanolin content, so it works well as a diaper cover. It can hold up to forty percent of its weight in moisture and can be used with fitted, contour, or prefold cloth diapers.

I have two wool soakers.  There were big and bulky, but they work.  I used them with my son, but not so much with my daughter.

My diaper of choice

Hands down, my favorite cloth diaper is the BumGenius 4.0 AIO OS.  Easy and cute.


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