Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Simple cloth diapers (Part 1)

I love cloth diapers.  During my last pregnancy, I nested by sewing cloth diapers.  So naturally, my weaning, potty-training, last-baby, is-he-two-already hormones make me nostalgic over cloth diapers.  

I'm so happy that he's almost potty-trained even if the yuckiest diapers are the last to go.   It means he is still a baby.  Sweet.  He still wears a diaper for sleeping, and he brings a diaper for me to put on him for #2 because he's still unsure about using the potty for that.

We had friends over last night.  My friend knows just how much this house has tested my gratitude, and she laughed when I found something good about the old carpet ... that it is good for a potty-training toddler.  He does well, but it feels really nice not to fret about the rare accidents.  I just clean and move on.   (Why can't I just "move on" in all other thoughts I have about this house?!)

Gross ... and good.  Much praise for potty success, little angst over accidents.  Love it.

But back to my cloth diaper recommendations; I'll be splitting this topic into a few posts.  I do use a mix of the three options I'll be writing about, but they each work so well that you could simply follow one method to diaper your baby successfully.  

$4 per month
How does that sound for diapering a baby through potty-training at around age 3?  

My favorite cloth diapers are Green Mountain Diapers flats ($50 for 24 flats) with Flips covers ($84 for 6 covers) for a monthly cost of less than $4 over 36 months.

With my older children, I spent about $40 per month on disposable diapers, and the cost kept on going with each month until potty-training.  

It is the opposite with cloth --- the total cost keeps going down with each month until potty-training.

True, washing adds to that cost, and my last post of this little series will attempt to quantify that in order to get an accurate, total cost.  

Yes, I love vintage-style flats better than the fancy all-in-one diapers.  Single-layer cotton birdsye fabric cleans the best.  Folding a flat into a rectangle takes seconds, similar to stuffing a pocket diaper.

Buy high-quality flats from Green Mountain Diapers. Don't "try-it-out" with the cheap, big-box store variety; you won't feel the love.

I have two dozen of each size (so my cost doubled the minimum cost I wrote above). You don’t need small flats, but sometimes a better fit keeps you going with cloth in the early days.  The origami-fold holds even newborn poop, keeping it off the cover.  I don’t think we had any blowout diapers using cloth, like we frequently did when our newborns wore disposables.

Oh my goodness, look at my cute newborn with a tied-on flat.  I didn't need to tie it for the cover to hold it, but it was so fun to diaper him.

One pad-folded flat in a Flip cover is now our go-to for quick toddler changes.  When my son was younger, I used the origami-fold almost all the time.  Two flats folded together work for nighttime.

Another benefit --- flats dry quickly, either in the dryer or on a line.  I line-dry all of my laundry because my dryer is an old electricity hog and line-drying saves us a lot of money.

And flats will be used beyond the diapering years, as clean-up cloths around the house, so their usefulness just keeps on.

Truly, the modern covers (or is it elastic!? or snaps!?) changed cloth diapering.  Wrap-style covers hold an classic flat or prefold without pins.  I think at least six covers are needed. Finding the right cover for your baby's fit is key. 

Flips are my favorite because they are one-size and have stretchy tabs, similar to the way a disposable-diaper tab stretches.  They reliably fit newborn through toddler, and come in velcro or snap closures.  I prefer snaps because they fasten well.  Velcro provides a more custom fit, especially on a newborn, but older velcro loses its stick, and is easily undone by toddlers.  Gross, not good.  

Change is good
Using cloth is an adjustment.  It does take more time, but it can feel good too.  The money saved is really good.

Diaper changes happen a few times a day more frequently with cloth.  It is good for a baby's skin to be washed and aired often.  

It is bulkier, especially on a newborn. That can take some getting used to until your fashion eye adjusts to a new look. Not having diaper blow-outs is worth it.

But it is cuter too ... covers come in so many colors and prints.  

Diaper changes can get creative and fun.  I seriously felt like I was playing dolls with my last baby when he was brand-new, trying new folds and new covers. 

Next up ...
Next, I'll write about an economical DIY cloth diaper system.  My third post will review a one-size option.  The last part will detail my washing routine.  


  1. If The Lord blesses us with more babies, I'd like to try cloth again. I can't believe ur little guy is 2:)

  2. I decided I have to use all flats in my stash for the next baby instead of ready made because I can never get something that fits right and washes well. This post inspires me. I was going to do pull-on pants, but I might have to try some flips, the idea of no pins is very enticing.

  3. I decided I have to use all flats in my stash for the next baby instead of ready made because I can never get something that fits right and washes well. This post inspires me. I was going to do pull-on pants, but I might have to try some flips, the idea of no pins is very enticing.

    1. Hi Regina! I didn't plan on using mostly flats, but my well water kind of made that happen. I'm so glad because I love flats best of all of my diapers.

      It sounds like you already know how to pin ... you'll love the fit you get with flats. I think it is easier to get a nice fit around the legs with flats than it is with prefolds. I never got very good at pinning though (just did it for fun when I was playing at diapering with my newborn) since I liked the Flips fit so well.

      Have you ordered from Nicki's Diapers? They have free shipping on covers, so you can buy just one Flip cover to make sure you like it on your baby before buying several.

      Thanks for commenting, and blessings to you with your next baby. :)