It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money. ~Elinor Goulding Smith
Not all that long ago all diapers were cloth diapers. They were all reusable. There was no other choice. Disposable diapers came on to the market and reusable diapers were passé. No one was using them.
The cloth diapers that children of my generation were raised in bear little resemblance to the cloth diapers available now. Essentially, there were two main choices: prefolds and flat diapers. They needed to be secured with something (usually pins) and have a waterproof cover- commonly plastic pants or wool longies or shorties.
Flat diapers are essentially a large single ply layer of fabric that parents and caregivers would need to fold to fit the baby or child. My family referred to this as diaper origami.
Folding flat diapers to fit a baby really was not as difficult as it seemed. The hardest part about it was finding the way of folding that fit the baby the best. Because there are so many ways to fold a flat diaper, they are almost entirely customizable.
Pre-folds are simply pieces of fabric that have more layers in the middle than on the sides- essentially it is a flat diaper that has already been folded, and sewn into the most common flat diaper fold.
Even prefolds and flat diapers have come a long way since I was in diapers. Snappi’s have replaced pins and attractive diaper covers have replaced ugly, stifling white vinyl pants.
Modern Cloth Diapers
Babies of today make a fashion statement with their diapers. There are as many colors and patterns that naming them all would be impossible- but cloth diapers can be found for every taste, girly, masculine, solids, patterns, unisex- the options are seemingly limitless.
Is a common question. I always thought the answer was fairly elementary. You put the diaper on the baby, wait for them to fill it, change the baby, launder the diaper, and repeat… seemingly forever.
There are a few main kinds of cloth diapers All-In-One diapers, Pocket Diapers, Pre-Folds, Flat diapers, and hybrid diapers.
Fitted diapers, flat, and pre-fold diapers need to be worn with a waterproof cover.
All-in-One diapers function the most like disposables- as it is all one piece that is put on and taken off of the baby- with no fuss.
Pocket diapers have a pocket in them where a parent puts an insert or two to customize the absorbency of the diaper.
Fitted diapers are not waterproof and usually have some kind of closure, snaps or hook and loops, but function much like a prefold/flat diaper without the folding- a waterproof cover needs to be used in conjunction with these diapers.
So Why Bother With Reusable Diapers?
There are two basic schools of thought on this they often have some overlap. There are the people who use cloth diapers primarily to save money and those who use cloth diapers primarily to protect the environment.
Cloth diapers do have a fairly significant initial investment. A full cloth diaper set up can cost several hundred dollars. However, these diapers can be used again and again, passed down to siblings and then resold. Making the cost per diaper change only a few cents.
After the diapering years, prefolds and flat diapers often become dusting rags and find endless uses around the home.
Disposable diapers typically cost between .15 and .50 per diaper depending on brand and size. It is not farfetched to estimate that it costs between $3,000 and $4,000 to diaper a child in disposable diapers. All of that money is just thrown in the trash.
Environmentalists opt for reusable diapers as a way to be eco-friendly. Simply put, most disposable diapers are not readily biodegradable- those that are, also cost significantly more. This means that most diapers just sit in landfills taking up space not decomposing.
There are also serious concerns about the chemicals used in the manufacture of disposable diapers and potential toxicity.
Obviously, there is a significant amount of overlap between the two most common philosophies that lead to cloth diapering.
About Christobel- A London resident and entrepreneur knows diapering inside and out, as a mother and grandmother. She is familiar with many different kinds of cloth diapers and the essential items that parents need to successfully use cloth diapers such as diaper cans and sprayers. She is eager to leave her grandchildren a better and healthier planet than is around today