I was first introduced to the concept of cloth diapers by a coworker in Chicago, years before I was pregnant myself. She was telling me how great it was that there were several babies at her daughter’s daycare that were cloth diapered. I nodded along as if I was following, but the truth is I had no idea what a modern cloth diaper looked like. Then I started noticing other friends, coworkers and bloggers mention cloth diapers. When I found out I was pregnant, that was one of the first things my husband and I discussed when it came to parenting.
The reasons I love cloth diapering my daughter are simple: It’s easier on my wallet, on the earth, it’s not hard to do, they are really effective, and they are cuter than many disposable diapers. Truth be told, the first two on that list were my reasons before my daughter was born. The others have been a lovely bonus.
My #1 piece of advice for anyone thinking of cloth diapering their child is to do their research to understand the different styles out there, but then just DIVE IN. I was overwhelmed and felt anxious at the prospect of finding the “perfect” system. The truth is, there are many perfect systems. I’ll say it again: There are many good ways to cloth diaper! If you ask a bunch of cloth diapering parents a question, you may get several different answers, but all might be great. There are so many great ways to do the same thing. Try out different things if you want, but it was helpful for me to keep that in mind as I first did research and felt confused by how similar many diapers seemed, and how passionate parents were about “the best” solutions. There are many “best” options.
Another option if you’re curious about different brands and styles, you can also sign up for a cloth diaper trial to test out specific diapers with your baby.
We have a variety of styles and brands and my favorites aren’t necessarily my husband’s. That being said, I like all of the diapers we own because they do their job well. That’s the bottom line – even if you prefer one brand/style/system over another, if they do their job…great!
Here’s the set-up that works for us! My daughter is a year and a half old. I’ll do a follow-up if things change.
When my daughter was a newborn, we used Green Mountain Diapers ClothEze prefolds + a snappi + a waterproof cover. We had two popular, high quality brands of covers: Rumparooz* newborn covers and Thirsties* Duo Wrap Size 1 covers. We liked them pretty equally, but my husband preferred the Thirsties while I preferred the Rumparooz.
We also have a couple of all-in-ones and all-in-twos from smaller brands. I like them, but many smaller diaper makers can only create a few diapers at a time and it can be a little more difficult to buy them. It is pretty fun to “stalk” a site or maker you love to try and snag a diaper you want during their stocking (a pre-determined day/time when you know the diapers will become available for sale) but since my collection (often referred to as “stash” in the cloth diapering world) was a good size, I stopped hunting for hard-to-score diapers.
The microfiber inserts that come with most diapers are not very absorbent in my opinion. We grew out of them very quickly, when my daughter was a few months old. We started stuffing the pocket diapers with prefolds, and slowly upgraded to better inserts, typically made of hemp/bamboo/cotton.
We stuff our pockets with an assortment of things, but primarily:
- Geffen Baby Super Absorbers Plus*
- Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefolds* (<—–my husband’s favorite, hands down)
- When my daughter was smaller, we also folded in our smaller-sized cotton prefolds*
We use super-absorbent “fitteds” with a cover at night. They are basically a diaper where the entire diaper is made from an absorbent material. The fitteds we like most are by Twinkie Tush, called FUSION Hybrid Fitteds. I think the “fusion” and “hybrid” words in there make it a little confusing, but basically they are really absorbent and have worked well for us for a long time, so hopefully that’s all you need to know.
Another brand we like, but find it to be bulkier is Truly Charis nighttime fitted. (Note: I no longer recommend Truly Charis as our fitteds have ripped and look terrible, and Twinkie Tush fitteds we bought at the same time are still in excellent condition.)
Really good, effective fitteds for nighttime use can be expensive, but you shouldn’t need very many. The sticker shock is enough to make most parents try to make other systems work, but you might just come right back to dropping serious cash on a good fitted. Most cloth diaper users do diaper laundry every 2-3 days, which is true for us as well. We only have a few “top of the line” fitteds and a few others that are also good but work less well for a heavy wetter like our daughter. We either just use those for naptime or boost up the absorbency by laying in a Geffen Baby Super Absorbers Plus insert.
Most fitteds are not fully waterproof and require a cover. We use a cover over them to make them fully waterproof so there’s no leaking overnight onto pjs or sheets, but some people use them without covers, they just might be a little damp when baby wakes up. We typically use wool covers* (<— click for one of my favorite affordable brands of wool). Sloomb/Sustainablebabyish and Yooki Wool are also great. But expensive! Wool keeps up really well so buying from B/S/T pages on Facebook or local cloth diapering parents is a good idea. We also like Blueberry Coveralls* because they are really roomy to grow with baby and cover a bulkier fitted. We have a few other ‘back up’ covers from smaller makers and larger companies, but those are our favorites.
We store our diapers in a dresser. One drawer has all the stuffed pockets, one has the fitteds and other miscellaneous inserts, and one has extra wet bags, cloth wipes* and then some other random accessories for our daughter like hair clips and socks. Not diaper related, but necessary, plus you might see a peek in the photos so I wanted to explain 😉
My fitteds drawer is not usually this tidy … but I’d love it to be this way all the time!
You may be thinking… what about poop? If you weren’t… you are now! There are a few different ways to deal with it but we’ve found the “dunk and swish” method or using a diaper sprayer* to be the easiest. We keep a wet bag in the bathroom for diapers that we cleaned off in the toilet.
What about our wash routine? We keep it simple:
- RINSE: Warm light wash without detergent (many people do a cold wash, we find a warm wash is a little more effective for us)
- WASH: Hot, heavy/longest setting on your washer with detergent (there are lots of detergents that work)
- EXTRA RINSE: Optional. Some people also do an extra rinse but we dropped it and haven’t seen a difference in our diaper cleanliness/smell so we don’t do it anymore
p.s. I find this site (and it’s corresponding Facebook group) to be overwhelming and sometimes quite negative, but the truth is that when we got our new washer/dryer, we looked to this site for our washing routine. It works well. They know what they’re talking about 🙂
RECAP (TL; DR):
- Favorite pocket diapers: bumGenius 4.0s* (Note: the brand has since updated to a slightly different design called bumGenius 5.0s – currently on SALE at Sweetbottoms Baby)
- Favorite absorbent insert for pockets: Thirsties Hemp Prefolds* (Size 1 for smaller babies and Size 2 for larger babies)
- Favorite booster/versatile insert: Geffen Baby Super Absorbers Plus
- Favorite cloth wipes: TooshieWipes* (or these are nice* and not too overpriced)
- Favorite Nighttime diaper: Twinkie Tush FUSION Hybrid Fitted + Wool cover OR Blueberry Coveralls
- Favorite pail liner: Kanga Care or Monkey Foot Designs
- Favorite hanging wet bag: Planet Wise Large
- Favorite smaller wet bag for diaper bag: Logan & Lenora
- Get a diaper sprayer* – they are all pretty similar, honestly
I could talk about cloth diapers all day. I’m no expert but I’d definitely say I am a cloth diaper enthusiast. If you have questions or want to know more about my set up, leave a comment below or get in touch with me on Instagram.
p.s. I’d love your support! Here’s my affiliate link for where I get most of my cloth diapers and diapering supplies: SweetbottomsBaby.com*
What questions do you have? What do you want more information on? Leave me a comment below!
*Hi friends, this post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links are indicated with an asterisk. If you click, a shark will EAT YOU. Just kidding! Your shopping or browsing experience doesn’t change, but I might get a teeny tiny commission.