Cloth diapering 101

    • Why would a parent choose to cloth diaper their baby?

    • Doublers, AIO, Pockets... help me with all this terminology!

    • How to wash cloth diapers?

    • So what is the deal with wool?

    • Some Night Time Tips and Tricks

    Why would a parent choose to cloth diaper their baby? top

    There are many reasons but here are the top 4 
    Cloth Diapers Save you money

    Anywhere from $800 - $1600 and if you choose to use them for more than one child that number can double.   To find out how to maximize your saving read the following article for tips.  Reducing cloth diapering costs.
    Cloth Diapers are Environmentally friendly
    In Canada 4 million disposable diapers are discarded per Day! No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years. Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR. Consider also that the waste from a cloth diaper is properly treated as sewage, instead of lying in a landfill become a breeding ground for viruses.  Instructions of disposable recommend the waste be flushed down the toilet to be properly treated as sewage yet most parents do not.
    Cloth Diapers are Good for your baby
    Many parents turn to cloth diapers because of diaper rash problems using disposables.  After having exhausted different treatments and having the problem persist they then move to cloth diapers as an alternative.  When you consider the amount of money parents are willing to spend on disposable diapers over the course of a few years, the competition is fearce to gain parents $$.  Manufacturers have to had to create thinner, more absorbent diapers to remain competitive.  However, you have to wonder what is in those diapers to make them so absorbent, what is that gel like substance, etc?  For one the bleaching process, creates it's own set of toxins.  The gel like substance in diapers is sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbancy tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome and was consquently banned from menstrual products.  Other research mentions dioxins and tributyltin (an endocrine disruptor).   When you consider that the skin is your baby's largest organ and it absorbs  much of the chemicals that it comes in contact with.  These chemicals could now be circulating through your baby's bloodstream at this vulnerable stage in his/her life.
    Cloth Diapers are Easy (and fun) to use
    If you are still using disposables, I am sure you never thought to see the word diaper and fun in the same sentence.  Diapers today have become easy to use.  Many of them go on much like a disposable with the help of velcro and snaps.  They are easy to launder (no wet pails!) simply toss in a dry pail until laundry day and then let the machine do the work.  You are no longer required to use pins.  Now the the fun part. Many parents enjoy choosing colors and styles.  Pink, bright orange, polka dots  you name it you can find it. Ordering online is very popular amongst cloth diapering families.  They enthusiastically check their mailbox for "fluffy mail".  The only thing you have to watch out for is that you don't enjoy it so much and buy more than you need. 

    Doublers, AIO, Pockets... help me with all this terminology! top

    Here is some basic cloth diaper terminology.
    All-in-One (AIO) - a cloth diaper with a moisture resistant backing and a moisture absorbent inner core built into a single piece.  These are great for babysitters, grandparents or anyone who may be intimidated by cloth diapers.  This cloth diaper goes on like a disposable.  On the downside they take a long time to dry when you wash them.

    Some of the brands that carry AIO: Monkey Doodlez, AMP, Bamboo Baby

    Pocket Diaper:  a moisture resistant cloth diaper with a pocket in which you can stuff an absorbent insert or prefold of your choice.  Once stuffed the diaper goes on in one piece much like a disposable.  For washing in drying, you can take it apart which greatly reduces drying time.  You also have flexibility in the amount of stuffing you put in the pocket.  You may choose less for daytime for a trimmer look and more for night time.  Inserts come in micro-fibre, hemp, bamboo and combinations of both.

    Some of the brands that carry pocket diapers: Monkey Doodlez, AMP, Fuzzi Bunz, Knickernappies, Mommy's Touch, Sweet Pea, Baby Kanga, bumGenius

    Fitted Diaper: an absorbent diaper that attaches with Velcro or snaps but needs a cover to provide moisture resistance. 

    Some of the brands that carry fitted diapers are: Thirsties, Sugar Peas, Happy Heinys

    Prefold: an absorbent rectangle-shaped diaper with three panels, the middle being the thickest.  They are folded and then attached with a Snappi or pins.  Some covers will allow you to simply fold in 3 and lay flat in the cover with no pins required. They require an cover to provide moisture resistance.  Prefolds can also be used as inserts in your pocket diapers.  Some people sometimes use their prefolds as soakers in their All in 2 systems. (like Flip, Gro Baby)

    Cover: a diaper cover can be made of PUL, woold or fleece and provides moisture resitance but no absorbency.  It is used with a prefold or fitted diaper.

    These are the main categories but manufacturers are developing variations of these such as:

    All in Two:  A two part system, where a waterproof outer (cover or shell) and an absorbent inner material come apart and can be interchanged.

    GroVia, Berry Plush, Flip are examples of these.

    Inserts, doublers and liners.

    Insert:  a flat, rectangular piece of microfibre, terry cloth, cotton, hemp, bamboo etc. used to add absorbency to a diaper and can be stuffed in a pocket diaper.

    Doubler: A rectangular or contoured pad used to add extra absorbency can be used with most diapers.

    Liners: thin pieces of cloth or biodegradable which are meant to either keep baby dry (usually fleece), help make clean up easier and/or help prevent staining on diapers. They are also often used when using diaper creams to prevent build up from the cream on diapers.

    How to wash cloth diapers? top

    Washing cloth diapers is the number 1 question, we get asked about.

    Firstly, we do not recommend a wet pail.  For one, it can be a safety hazard if tipped over but also it is an unnecessary inconvenience.

    Pre-washing instructions New Diapers: Wash on HOT with 1/4 to 1/3 of recommended amount of detergent. Do extra rinse. Dry in dryer. Repeat as described above.


    Storing diapers: We recommend a dry pail system. This is basically a diaper pail or garbage pail with a tight fitting lid, lined with a pail liner.  When diapers are wet, simply throw them into the pail. If using a pocket diaper, shake out the insert into the pail and then throw the shell in. If babies are exclusively breastfed, poopy diapers can just get thrown in the pail like peed on diapers. If your baby is taking formula or solid foods, try to knock the solids into the toilet and then throw diaper into pail. Donít worry the washing machine will do the work! No more dunking or swishing (unless you want to of course). Two easy ways to deal with sticky poop is to use a flushable liner called a Bio-Soft Liner or to rinse off your diapers using a Diaper Sprayer. This sprayer attaches onto your toilet plumbing so that you can easily spray off the poop into the toilet.


    Laundry Day:

    1. Take tote or liner out of pail and dump diapers, inserts, covers and wipes into washer. Make sure to close the Velcro tabs.  Throw in laundry bag as well.
    2. Do cold rinse or soak cycle with NO detergent Ė ensure that the diapers are allowed to soak for 10-20 minutes.
    3. Do HOT wash with 1/2 the amount of recommended detergent for top loaders, 1/4 amount of detergent for front loaders/HE machines. Do extra rinse.
    4. Dry in dryer or line dry.

    Recommended Detergents by our Diaper and Cover manufacturers:


    AVOID detergents that contain soap, oils or additives that will coat the fibres of your diapers causing detergent build-up and can lead to moisture repelling, wicking of moisture, possible leaking and stinky diapers.

    AVOID detergents with whiteners and brighteners and enzymes. Enzymes are great for biological staining but if they are not completely rinsed out, the enzymes can start to work on your baby's bottom when your baby pees. And the result can be a very sore rash.

    AVOID fabric softeners as will leave residue and AVOID bleach as it is harsh on fabric and baby's skin. Oxygen Bleach is okay to use on occasion. (check with manufacturer guidelines before using any bleach in order to preserve warranty)


    So what is the deal with wool? top

    About wool covers:
    Wool has been used as a diaper cover for ages.  Wool has the ability to absorb 30% of its weight in liquid.  It is also highly breathable which makes it an ideal diapering choice.  When paired with a good quality bamboo or hemp fitted diaper you have winning night time solution.
    How to lanolize wool:
    1. First don't panic, it's really quite easy
    2. Handwash in warm water and let soak while you prepare you lanolin solution
    3. Mix 1 cup of hot water and add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of lanolin along with 1/2 tsp of wool wash or baby shampoo.
    4. Stir gently until disolved
    5. Add your wool cover to the mixture, ensuring that it is fully immersed
    6. Wait 20 -30 min (longer is fine too) to let the wool absorb the lanolin
    7. Gently squeeze out excess water and lay flat on a towel
    8.  Roll the towel to gently absorb water
    9.  Lay flat to dry.
    You will need to lanolize your diaper again in approximately 2 months or earlier if you find it starts to wick.
    When to wash:
    Wool covers do not need to be washed as often.  If they are not soiled you can just leave them airdry.  When soiled or if you find they are starting to smell simply handwash them with a gentle wool wash and lay flat to dry, you do not need to lanolize with each wash.
    About lanolin. You can purchase lanolin for this purpose but can also use Lansinoh (nipple ointment) it works just as well.


    Some Night Time Tips and Tricks top

    CLICK TO ==>See the printout on Cloth Diapering Overnight.