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No Crunch, No Fluff; Here's the Real Deal with Cloth Diapers

If you're thinking about using cloth diapers on your newborn, baby, or toddler but don't know where to start, you're in the right place. If you've bought or been given some cloth diapers, this is also the place for help to figure out what the heck to do with them, but first, we're going to get real, and talk about why in the world you would even want to consider doing this cloth diaper thing.

Why Choosing Cloth Diapers Can be Difficult

Choosing cloth diapers is becoming more common, but it's still a difficult choice. Most of us can't call on our "village" for advice because our mom's didn't cloth diaper, and even if our grandmothers cloth diapered they aren't enthusiastic about it because they used olden-day cloth diapers that were loose, had to be covered in rubber pants, and soaked in weird blue liquid before washing (so gross).

So on one hand we have our mom's and our consumer culture telling us that disposables are convenient way to diaper, but on the other we have a growing movement of new mom's who are choosing cloth diapers anyway.

Here's what the people choosing cloth diapers have figured out:

Why Cloth Might be the Right Choice for You

  • They save you money! With water, energy and soap factored in cloth diapers save a ton of money, even if only used on one child (though they can of course be used on multiple kids).
  • They respect your children's future. There's many things you want to leave your children with; but a pile of dirty diapers that won't break down in that child's lifetime probably isn't on that list. Not only are cloth diapers responsible when it comes to the environment, they are financially responsible in that they lengthen the life of your local landfill, saving you tax dollars as well.
  • They reduce your child's exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • They completely eliminate the dreaded "blow-out." Yes, cloth diapers can actually prevent the poop messes that come with the territory of disposables.
  • They save money.
  • They make your baby more comfortable (would you like wearing plastic and paper underwear?)
  • They can make potty training easier. Without all that "dry-core, stay-dry, pee-disappearing layer technology" of disposables, your toddler can feel when they wet, which can make it easier for them to figure out their body's bathroom signals.
  • They can make you friends; because cloth diaper people love talking about using cloth diapers.
  • Oh, and did I mention you'll save money!

So if you're still reading, and all of that sounds good to you, let's just jump right into how to find the right cloth diapers for you and your family.

The Six Different Types of Cloth Diapers:


All-in-one diapers get their name from the fact that all the pieces of the diaper—the waterproof shell, and the absorbent center—completely stitched together into one piece.

All-in-two Diaper

This diaper comes in two pieces: the waterproof or water-resistant cover, and an absorbent insert that attaches to the cover.

Pocket Diaper

The cover of this diaper is sewn to a soft "stay dry" layer of fabric. Together those two layers form a pocket to hold absorbent inserts.


Though they may look the most like disposables, fitteds do not have a waterproof layer and are meant to be worn underneath a completely separate diaper cover.

flat diapers

Large squares of single-layer material, typically cotton, that can be folded several ways to fit and protect, and must be paired with a stand-alone diaper cover.

Prefold Diaper

Sectioned into three parts lengthwise, these rectangular diapers contain several layers of absorbent material sewn together, with additional layers in the middle. These are also folded and paired with a diaper cover.

Now that you know the basic differences between the different types of cloth diapers, let's compare them a bit closer: