When I decided to cloth diaper, I immediately started researching. I quickly found that there are tons of options and the costs can add up pretty quickly. In the end, I decided to go the economical route and chose prefolds as our primary diaper and pockets as our childcare diaper.
Prefolds are a square or retangular piece of cloth made up of multiple layers of cotton. There are various ways to put a prefold on a baby and they can be secured with pins or a snappi. Lately, I stick to the angel wing fold or a trifold which requires no snappi. With prefolds, you have to use some kind of waterproof cover. There are tons of covers to choose from made from a variety of materials – wool, polyester, cotton, nylon, etc.
I had to try a few different covers before I found my favorites: Bummis Super Lite and Thirsties Duo Wrap. Both of these covers wipe clean easily so they last a few wears before I need to throw them in the washer. The Bummis Super Lite covers were great when Charlotte was a tiny newborn. They’re inexpensive, trim and the newborn size has a nice dip for the umbilical cord. The Thirsties Duo covers are great because they’re trim and can be adjusted as Charlotte grows. Below is a photo of a prefold and snappi (left) and a Thirsties cover (right).
Prefolds are great but they can be a little tough to put on a squirmy or screaming baby. Folding a diaper, securing with a snappi and putting on a cover can be a bit time consuming when all your baby wants to do is eat.
As I mentioned above, originally I chose prefolds as our primary diaper but I soon found out that pockets are much more convenient. Pocket diapers are made up of a waterproof cover and a pocket that you stuff with an absorbant insert. If you stuff your pockets ahead of time, your diapers are all set to go. These are very similar to disposables in that you just grab one and put it on. No separate prefold, snappi and cover to deal with. Very easy, very convenient. We use two brands: Fuzzibunz and bumGenius One Size diapers. One size diapers are awesome because they can be adjusted as your baby grows. I love both of these brands but if I had to choose one it’d be Fuzzibunz. They are more adjustable than the bumGenius and a little trimmer. Below is a photo of a Fuzzibunz (left) and a bumGenius (right).
The downside to pockets is that they’re very expensive compared to prefolds. One pocket diaper can cost up to $20, just a little less than the cost of a dozen prefold diapers. The convenience and ease of pockets makes them worth it, in my opinion.
Even though pockets are easier and faster than prefolds, I still use prefolds pretty regularly. Since they’re 100% cotton, they breathe a lot better than the pockets. Charlie has never had a full blown rash (a benefit to using cloth) but if I notice any redness or small bumps, I put her in just a prefold so her bum can air out. The pockets I use have a stay dry liner so it’s not always easy to tell if they’re wet, it’s much more obvious with a prefold. I can stick a finger her diaper to check for wetness much easier because of this (whatever, dudes, I’m a mom and don’t want my daughter sitting in a wet diaper).
One last thing, cloth diapers are pretty freakin’ cute. This may not be the sole reason to get them (or hey, maybe it is) but it’s an added benefit. Covers and pocket diapers come in all sorts of colors and patterns. When I dress Charlotte, the diaper becomes a part of her outfit and I don’t have to deal with those diaper covers that baby girl outfits come with.