So, you want to cloth diaper, but all you’ve heard are stories from the prior generation that are somewhat reminiscent of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The “horror” stories of diaper pins, pricked fingers and rubber pants are enough to make anyone question their sanity when exploring cloth diapers. Well, we’re here to make it easy for you! Allen’s Naturally is a preferred detergent for some of the top brands of modern cloth diapers: AMP, BottomBumpers, bumGenius, Bumkins, FuzziBunz, Kissaluvs, and more! But, before we talk brands, let’s talk basics.
2 Step Systems:
A two-step system is the most basic form of cloth diapering. Prefolds, contours and fitted diapers fall into this category because the diaper in and of itself is not waterproof. So you’ll need the aforementioned absorbent part as well as a waterproof cover.
A prefold is as “old school” as it gets. It’s layers upon layers of cotton or hemp (typically) that need to be folded to fit your baby. YouTube has TONS of tutorials on how to fold these, or many of you could even ask you parents/grandparents how to fold these! Sure, you can still find the classic pointy diaper pins to go with your prefolds, but many families have moved towards products like Snappi or Boingo to fasten their prefolds. They are easy to use, won’t draw blood, and come in tons of fun colors! Once you have your prefold folded and on your baby, you’ll put a waterproof cover over it.
A contour is a “step-up” from a prefold in that you won’t need a Snappi or Boingo, the diaper itself is contoured already so you won’t even need to fold it! This is however, still well within the 2 step system category, so you will still need a cover. The cover in this scenario not only acts as the waterproof barrier, but also helps to keep the contour in place.
A fitted diaper is essentially a prefold and contour, combined into one diaper. Fitteds typically have snaps or aplix closures as well so they’re quick and easy to get on and don’t need anything else to keep them in place. With the exception of a hybrid fitted diaper (to be discussed later), fitted diapers will still need a waterproof cover as well.
Given that we’re based out of Michigan, let’s use some car scenarios to catch us up to speed (pun intended!)
Prefolds = Chevy Cruz-reliable, practical and affordable
Contours= Chevy Malibu-reliable, functional, a few “options” but the paint job (cover) is the most appealing part
Fitteds= Chrysler Town and Country, yes the fitteds are the mini-van. Appealing to most, plenty of options, and some have amazing designs/colors to choose from!
Pockets= A Chevy Tahoe. This is in the SUV category because you get more bonus points from others because pockets are so similar to disposable diapers. More people can use them/relate to them, so you’re easily accepted into the cool crowd.
All in Ones (AIO)= Cadillac. ‘Nuff said
Integrated diapers are great because the waterproof and absorbent pieces are attached! These types of diapers will function more like a disposable in terms of ease, so they’re a great way to “dip your toe in” the world of cloth diapers without jumping completely in the deep end.
There are two main types of integrated diapers: Pockets and All In Ones (AIO). We’ll start with pockets.
Pockets are super easy to identify because somewhere on the inside of the diaper is a pocket. Some brands have them at both the front and back, others just pick one spot. Many pocket diapers come with an insert or two. These inserts are what make the diapers absorbent. You’ll stuff your insert of choice inside the pocket and voila! You’ve got a diaper! Pockets are great because they’re easy to customize absorbency and once they’re stuffed, they function just like a disposable, so middle of the night diaper changes or daycare/caregiver changes are exponentially easier because you’re just changing a diaper!
If you love the idea and ease of pocket diapers, be prepared to have your mind blown. Enter, the All In One (AIO) diaper. No folding, no pinning, no stuffing AND no chemicals! Yes, this is quite possibly diaper nirvana. It’s absorbency and waterproofing combined into one diaper that’s all attached. This style of diaper will be your best friend at 2 in the morning, especially if you get it in an aplix closure. There’s nothing to think about, just put it on and you’re done. This diaper is the over-achieving older sibling of the disposable diaper. No chemicals and no fuss, and instead of throwing it away, you wash it and use it again…and again and again and…well you get the point!