I do intend to add pictures of the diapers Mom and I have made to this page at some point. I’m apparently very hard on cameras, though. Meanwhile, enjoy the links!
About the time Noodle Girl was starting to use the potty, we discovered gDiapers, which are reusable shells that hold (biodegradable and supposedly flushable) disposable soaker inserts. At the time, it seemed silly to invest in a new diapering system with our only child getting ready to leave diapers behind, but when I found out were were finally expecting our second one I started looked at the gDiapers again. The gDiaper disposable inserts cost as much as disposable diapers! But they also had cloth inserts, which started me off on research into cloth diapers.
I immediately discovered that there were a lot more hybrid and cloth choices than there are disposable choices! In the hybrids, Flip and GroBaby/Grovia also have disposable inserts with reusable washable covers, plus I found disposable diaper doublers that are a similar size to the brand name inserts. There are all-in-ones, all-in-twos, pockets, and fitteds. There are wrap covers that look like disposable diapers but cuter, and pull-on covers with and without legs and skirts. Then there’s the actual cloth – everything from old fashioned cotton flats and prefolds to specially shaped microfiber inserts.
We picked AI2 for ease of diaper changes, quicker laundering, and the flexibility of using different inserts with whatever covers we liked. With lots of help from Mom, I chose to make some of our covers and lots of soaker inserts from recycled and thrifted materials: flannel sheets, t-shirts, microfiber towels, wool sweaters, and old poly fleece pullovers. We also bought some PUL, suedecloth, and some commercial diapers: AI2 (all-in-two) and Wonder Wrap covers from GroBaby/Grovia to use with my inserts and fitteds.
All our newborn covers were made from old poly fleece pullovers covered on the outside with vintage polyester knits from my mom’s stash, and finished with reclaimed FOE (fold-over elastic).
I made tiny fitted diapers from old t-shirts and old flannel sheets. Even though she could only wear these tiny diapers for about six weeks, it was worth it! No runny newborn poop blowouts. Very few leaks of any kind, actually, and that was only when my faulty Velcro placement made it hard to get the legs snug.
I felted wool sweaters and skirts to make wrap covers that can be machine washed. I’m also making some longies – basically wool pants that function as pull-on diaper covers – with unfelted or gently felted wool sweaters, because a pull-on cover needs stretch. Wool should have a lanolin rinse to be waterproof, but will absorb up to 40% of its weight in moisture without lanolin and works pretty well as a diaper cover either way. I lanolize with the Lansinoh I got for breastfeeding.
One surprise about cloth diapering: it’s way less smelly than disposables! We have an open pail, and even if I end up going three days between washes, it only smells bad if you are standing right over the pail. We do spray off the poop, and sprinkle baking soda in the pail to cut down on ammonia, which also helps in the wash.
I would say that we are not using noticeably more water or electricity to wash the diapers. I only do one extra load a week, even though I wash diapers about every two days, because I wash socks, underwear, and towels with the diapers whenever possible. What, you think your socks and underwear don’t have as much bacteria as diapers? Wrong. It’s just less visible. Have you smelled some people’s socks?! That’s bacteria, and your washer gets it out with the help of detergent and hot water.
Here are links to the sites that were the most helpful during my cloth diapering research:
- Pinstripes and Polka Dots cloth diapering basics – especially useful for comparisons
- Diaper Junction’s cloth diaper articles
- State by state daycare regulations, if you need to use daycare and still want to use cloth. So many daycares don’t know that cloth diapers are perfectly legal!
- Karen’s Cloth Diapering Site – this one documents a family’s cloth diaper experiments and has links to and images of different prefold folds
- Fern and Faerie’s Frugal Diaper Sewing – upcycling and reclaiming materials for cloth diapers
- A very good set of photos showing prefold folds at The Eco-Friendly Family
- Sewing your own Diapers at Diaper Jungle – a list of diaper sewing resources with pattern links
- Zany Zebra’s list of free diaper sewing patterns
- A very good explanation of the different types of fleece in diaper sewing at BabyCenter’s diaper sewing board
- Chloe Toes has a pattern I like and a good FOE tutorial. Site currently disabled But here’s a link to the archived file and the instructions in case it’s gone for good.
- The Nappy Network’s list of patterns. I like the Wee Weka with gussets and FOE with upcycled wool sweaters as the fabric.
- The Quick Snap Flat Wrap is a fast, easy to make and use diaper that I currently love for overnight. It dries faster than fitteds, but can still be used under pull-on covers.
- TuTu MaFiA’s Cloth Revolution pattern – the instructions include good info about absorbent materials
- Good photo tutorial at the Cloth Diaper Foundation
- Sprout Snap one size diaper pattern at Doddlebee
- Little Comet Tails’ tutorial for adding a cotton fabric to the outside of a PUL cover – they have diaper patterns both free and for sale as well. I like the Not So Flat Wrap and Tighty Whitey Hipster.
- A similar tutorial for making pocket diapers with cute outer fabric.
- Another method of adding cotton fabric to the outside of a PUL cover at Uber Domestic
- Adjustable leg elastic tutorial
- And, in a pinch, the no sew t-shirt diaper!