I get asked every day what the best brand of cloth diapers are, or what my top recommendations for beginners are. I get it; with so many brands and so many options, it’s no wonder people are looking for some expert recommendations. I was asking those same questions when I began looking for cloth diapers too.
So what the best cloth diapers for beginners? The best cloth diapers can be broken down into __ sub-categories:
- The best cloth diapers for tight-budgets
- The best cloth diapers for heavy-wetters
- The best cloth diapers for newborns
- The best cloth diapers for toddlers
What I won’t cover here are the best cloth diaper accessories, which I list separately in this post:
Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a qualifying purchase through one of those links (at no additional cost to you).
Read the full disclosure.
Cloth Diaper Inserts
With the exception of all-in-one cloth diapers, where all the absorbency you need is hopefully already sewn into the diaper, cloth diaper inserts are arguably the most important part of any diaper. While many diapers sold today come with microfiber inserts, most of the time these are not enough for baby past the five or six months of age, and more, better absorbing inserts are needed.
Here are my recommendations, in order:
Hemp and Bamboo
Without a doubt, the types of inserts I recommend most often are hemp and bamboo. Hemp holds the most liquid per oz of any common insert fabric and bamboo is a VERY close second. These fabrics are incredibly trim for how much they hold when compared to cotton alone, and especially to microfiber and bamboo/charcoal (which is mostly microfiber really).
Both hemp and bamboo are slow absorbing, with hemp being the slowest, but pairing hemp or bamboo with a faster absorbing material like cotton or microfiber can work wonders.
AMP Flat Inserts
AMP inserts are both economical and REALLY absorbent. I like to think of them as the basics of your cloth diaper wardrobe. They are the LBD’s of diapering.
AMP inserts are color coded, so you can tell what they are just by looking at the seam:
- Blue = Two Layers of Hemp (55% Hemp 45%Organic Cotton)
- Green = Two Layers of Bamboo (Rayon Derived from Bamboo)
- Red = Three Layers of Hemp
Unfortunately, because APM is made in Canada, it is generally just available in small cloth diaper shops and not in any big-box stores or Amazon. AMP is available at one of our preferred North American Retailers, Cloth Diaper Kids.
Best Widely Available:
Thirsties Hemp Inserts
Unlike AMP, Thirsties, an American brand, is widely available at cloth diaper shops, and on Amazon. While it is a bit less customizable than AMP as it comes in two insert sizes (vs a flat that can be folded multiple ways), it is a bit softer since it’s a cotton knit jersey blend, though AMP does get soft with many washes. Like AMP it is made from 55% Hemp and 45% Organic Cotton though it is six layers (again cotton knit jersey blend).
Very much like AMP, it is super absorbent and an awesome addition to any diaper, especially when leaks are a problem.
Cloth Diaper Creams
|Organic Diaper Balm by Earth Mama||Burt’s Bees Baby Multipurpose Ointment||LIVE CLEAN Non-Petroleum Jelly|
|See Price & Details |
|See Price & Details on Amazon||See Price & Details on Amazon|
When it comes to cloth diaper creams, there are two ingredients you want to avoid: petroleum (Vaseline) and zinc.
These three diaper creams don’t contain either of those ingredients but are still effective at creating a barrier against moisture, ammonia and milder food-related sensitivities that can irritate skin when waste touches it.
My own daughter had a sensitivity to yogurt that would give her rashes if waste touched her sensitive skin for more than a few moments. One of my favorite combinations that ended these rashes (which were sometimes so quick to develop she would go from fine to bleeding sores in two diaper changes) was the Live Clean Non-Petroleum Jelly with cornstarch layered on top of it (I’ve written a full post about cornstarch, which you can read here).
Since those bad rash days, and after hearing a lot of feedback from the thousands of moms on the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook Group, I’ve tried and loved both the Earth Mama Diaper Balm and the Burt’s Bee’s Ointment and loved both of them both with and without cornstarch.
Diaper Pail (and Liner)
Dekor Plus Pail and Cloth Diaper Liners
This is the one recommendation that I haven’t actually owned myself. I did, however, recommend the Dekor diaper pail to a friend after hearing such good reviews from the moms on the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook page, and after getting the chance to play with it and hearing her feedback, it is definitely on my list of things to get for my next baby (if there is one).
The Dekor Plus model is definitely the way to go because it’s nice and big and will hold as many diapers as you’d need it to before washing ( I recommend three days max between washings). It comes in a bunch of colours to match any nursery, and it not only fits it’s own cloth diaper pail liners (check those out on Amazon here), but it will also fit an AppleCheeks size 2 storage sac (you can check those out here).
Hanging Wet Bag
If you don’t have space for a cloth diaper pail and liner, if you plan on having several changing stations in your home or if you have other kids running around that might mean getting the dirty diapers off the floor is necessary, a hanging wet bag might be the best solution for your dirty diaper storage.
In another post about the
Travel Wet bag
Thirsties Wet Dry Bag
Wet bags are also essential for travelling with cloth diapers. They keep your clean diapers clean, and your dirty diapers contained until you get home. The best travel wet bags have two pocket so they can do both, and carry your wipes, and other changing items too.
Quality PUL is also important for a travel wet bag, as it’s likely going to be crunched and munched inside your diaper bag or stroller while you’re running about.
You can read more about why I like the Thirsties Wet Dry bag best here, but suffice it to say it has some of the highest quality PUL, and a second dry pocket in the front (it’s mesh, which is just fine since you only need the dirty compartment to contain leaks).
Cloth Training Pants
Best: AppleCheeks Learning Pants
When your little one is showing the signs of potty training readiness, cloth training pants are an excellent way to keep the momentum for potty training up, while also allowing them to develop their ability to use the washroom on their own.
Cloth training pants offer a bit of leak protection while also being very easy to pull up and push down letting kiddo learn how to pull up and down their underwear to go potty. Unlike many diapers, they don’t have a “stay-dry” layer, so the child can feel the wetness right away.
I classify training pants as different from training underwear because they have more absorbency (though not enough for naps or anything) and a pul layer that will help catch enough that you won’t have to change clothes every time your little doesn’t catch the start of a pee. Training underwear on the other hand, have a few extra layers of fabric in the crotch area, but they aren’t going to do much in the way of keeping pants dry.
I choose AppleCheeks Learning pants as my absolute favorite training pants out of the many I tried for a few reasons: they have the most absorbency (and you really need it in those first few months of training), they still fit like real underwear (unlike my second choice, Thirsties, which are just huge), they fit a bigger weight range, and they come in a ton of cute prints just like diapers. They also happened to be the ones my daughter enjoys wearing the most.
Though they are a premium priced training pant, they are worth every penny and if I had bought them exclusively, they probably would have paid for themselves in laundry savings from accidents.
Because AppleCheeks is a Canadian brand, it can be a little more difficult to find, but many cloth diaper retailers carry them because they are so awesome. Here’s a link to them at one of my recommended cloth diaper retailers, or you can search through our cloth diaper directory to find a cloth retailer near you.
Nighttime Training Pants or Bedwetting Pants
With very forgiving sizes that will easily fit kiddos just shy of 30 lbs right up to 65 lbs, these bedwetting pants are the overnight diaper equivalent of a tank—they will literally hold everything! Even better they will stand the test of time and look brand new for years (if properly cared for of course)!
I can't recommend these enough for older kiddos struggling with bedwetting.
Cloth training pants like AppleCheeks Learning Pants and the Thirsties Training Pants are not going to hold a full accident, and the definitely will not do much of anything for overnight if you’re kiddo isn’t yet getting signals from their body to wake up when they are wet, or need to go.
Until these signals develop, which for many take until at least age five, and many times later, bedwetting will be common, and a bedwetting pant will be your best bet to keep from changing sheets regularly, while also allowing your little one to change themselves if necessary.
Of the many night time solutions I tested, one stood out above all the rest, the MotherEase Bedwetting Pant.
Baby Wipe Warmers
For a discussion of the best baby wipe warmers for travel, tight budgets, cloth wipes and water wipes, click here. But here are the two top picks for both cloth wipes and disposable wipes: