Cloth Diapering 101

Cloth diapering is no longer a thing of the past.  Recent innovations have turned the old folded cloth with pins into the newest fashion frenzy for your baby.  Styles and cloth diapering options have expanded into a huge selection to allow each individual to find what works best for them.  Diaper Pin, the leading diaper review website, has broken down the many options into a easy to read table of Pros and Cons.  Please check through it and find what will work best for you.  Diaper Pin Pros & Cons List

Also please check out the following link for more information to help you decide what will work best for you.

Brookie-Lee’s Personal Preferences

Let me just start off by saying that I’m a ‘sized’ girl.  And by that, I just mean I like our diapers to fit baby now.  I don’t like any extra bulk and I especially don’t like red marks on baby’s legs.  I also like the flexibility of a pocket diaper for those moments when I need to cram it full of inserts when we want to sleep all night.  So keep in mind that these are my preferences and may not work for you.  I always suggest trying one diaper of a particular brand and style before investing in more.

Newborn: pocket diapers and/or wraps

…….my biggest concern is baby’s comfort.  A big plus for disposables is that they slimly fit newborns comfortably.  Pocket diapers serve this same purpose.  Wraps that are soft do as well.  I need to be able to put baby in a sitting position to burp and not feel that the wrap or diaper is pushing in baby’s stomach.  Although this choice is slightly more expensive than buying prefolds and covers, the results far out way the cost for us.  LOVE fleece covers for all ages!  It breathes but doesn’t leak!

Newborn/ Infant: pocket diapers

The micro fleece liner with the micro terry insert absorbs breastmilk poop and prevent blow outs.  It surprised me actually.  With disposables there would be times where we would have to change a whole outfit because poop was everywhere.  I haven’t had to do that while using cloth.  And the only time it leaks when he pees is when I haven’t changed it in too long of an interval.

Older Infant: pocket diapers with snaps

Although tough with a wriggling baby that doesn’t know how to sit still, I still prefer snaps over velcro.  Snaps hold their value and will last.  Velcro doesn’t make it through one kid most of the time.  I prefer the pocket diapers so that I can stuff them as needed.

Toddler: pocket diapers, and/or all-in-ones

……..great for a wiggly kiddo who isn’t thrilled with diaper changes. And 8-10 diapers can get you through about two days depending on your kid. You can also stuff the pockets for a heavy wetter at night time.

Side Note: WOOL!

If you’re up for it wool works amazingly well!  During those stages where no extreme amount of stuffing will save our bed sheets we slip on a wool cover and it gets the job done.  I’ve been thrilled with the wool.  Breathable, natural, and effective.  A bottle of Eucalan makes doing wool easy!

Diaper Laundry Wash: Charlie’s Soap!!!

It’s awesome!  I’m so excited to have found something that get’s my diapers super clean, doesn’t cause build up, and is gentle for baby and the environment.  I use it on all my clothes.  It’s amazing stuff!

Cloth Diapers Defined



Flat diapers refer to the single-ply square shaped diapers that resemble the diapers our mothers and grandmothers used. The types that you find in a store are not effective for use as cloth diapers but they make great liners, burp rags or cleaning rags.

Prefold Diapers:


Pre-fold diapers are rectangular shaped diapers that are divided lengthwise in 3 sections. The outer sections usually have a thickness of 4 layers. The middle section can have 6 or 8 layers. This gives pre-folds absorbancy where it is needed most, in the middle. You will often see prefolds defined as 4-6-4, 4-8-4 or more rarely 2-4-2. These numbers refer to the layers of cloth in each section from left to right. Pre-folds are the cheapest alternative in diapers. They can be enclosed in a velcro or snap fastened diaper or they can be pinned with safety pins or snappi fasteners.

Click HERE for the how to fold prefolds page.

Fitted Diapers:


Fitted diapers resemble disposable diapers. They have a contoured shape and have gathered edges around the legs. Instead of tape, they are fastened with either velcro or snaps. A waterproof diaper cover is necessary when using fitted.



Like diapers, covers come in many forms. Like fitted diapers they may be contoured shaped and can fasten with snaps or velcro. Some covers resemble underwear. Either are made of polyester or vinyl to prevent wetness from getting on baby’s clothing. These are ideal for covering your child’s diaper during the daytime.

For the baby with sensitive skin there are also wool and polar fleece diaper covers. These too may be contoured shaped with snap or velcro fasteners. Others come in “boxer-like” shape. Some prefer these covers for night-time use because they breathe.

Wool Info:

Lanolin is the natural waterproofing on sheep’s wool. This natural lanolin is what makes the wool “waterproof”. Wool absorbs about 30% of it’s weight without feeling wet, which means “overspill” gets absorbed by the wool and, ta da! No leaks. Just let the wool air dry between uses, and you can go for weeks between washings. Wool doesn’t get smelly like synthetics do. The lanolin on the wool cover gets used up by the urine as the cover air dries, so after a while you will need to restore lanolin to the cover to maintain the cover’s effectiveness. Getting lanolin back onto the wool is call Lanolizing. Some people do a short water-only soak or rinse prior to lanolizing to rinse out any residue first.

How to wash your wool coming soon!

Pocket diapers:


Pocket diapers are the newest type of diapers to hit the cloth diapering world. The first pocket diaper, Fuzzi Bunz created by Tereson of Mother of Eden in 1998. Pocket diapers are two piece diapering system typically with a piece of fleece that makes up the inner portion of fabric and a waterproof layer that makes up the outermost portion. An absorbent material is placed inside of the two pieces making the whole system act as an all in one system that keeps babies dry.

All in one diapers:


Also known as AIO’s, all-in-ones are fitted diapers that have an outer waterproof layer. Often they have fewer absorbant layers than their counterparts. These diapers are ideal for out of home use.

All in two diapers:


Also known as AI2′s, all-in-twos are a waterproof/water-resistant cloth diaper cover made of PUL and fleece with a snap-in soaker. AI2′s have the convenience of an AIO, and the flexibility of being able to pick your own absorbency (like a Pocket Diaper) BUT the economy of being able to re-use the cover.

One Size diapers:


One-size cloth diapers are great because they can adjust to fit almost any child.   This style aims to be convenient without being overly bulky.   With these diapers, there is no need to buy multiple sizes—they truly grow with your child.   And if you have more than one child in diapers, these can be used interchangeably among the children.

As these are adjustable in size, you are able to add many layers of liners and the diaper still fits.   One-size diapers truly are convenient for parents, and they are an investment you can use until your child is out of diapers. Versatile and comfortable, one-size cloth diapers are a no-brainer for parents looking to save money on their cloth diapering system.

Useful Links


Cloth Diaper Dictionary
Cloth Choices
Cloth Diapering
Washing Methods & How To’s

Washing Your Cloth Diapers


Soap Vs. Detergents

Baking Soda or Washing Soda?

Vinegar in your cloth diaper wash.  Two sides of the Coin.

Whitening Enzymes- Enemy to your Baby’s skin



Diaper Basics: Why Diapers Leak and What You Can Do to Control Leaks

Why Choose Cloth Diapers- Real Diaper Association

The cost of Cloth vs. Disposables

How to Wash Your Diapers


Flats, Pre-folds, Contours, Fitted Diapers, Inserts and Doublers: Wash on hot or warm with a mild detergent; tumble or line dry.

Organic diapers and doublers: Please wash before first use to remove natural oils and increase absorbency. Wash on hot or warm with a mild detergent; tumble or line dry.

PUL Covers: Wash on hot before first use; wash on warm or cool thereafter and tumble dry low or line dry.

Fleece Covers: Wash warm or cool, tumble dry low or line dry.

Wool Covers: Handwash or machine wash gentle cycle in cool water with a mild detergent; hang dry.   OR…..

Using a Wool Wash with lanolin to clean wool covers(Every two weeks if used daily):

By Machine: Fill with tepid water, add Eucalan, Stop Machine, Load Washables, Squeeze article gentlly, soak for 30 minutes, by-pass rinse cycle! Spin water out

By Hand: Fill basin with tepid water,add Eucalan, Squeeze article gently, Soak for 15 minutes(minimum), No need to rinse!

To Re-Lanolize(Every two months or when needed):

When your cover begins to lose some of its water resistance, you will need to re-lanolize it. You can do this by dissolving a small (pea-sized) amount of pure lanolin (such as Lansinoh cream) in tepid water and soaking your cover for about 15 minutes. Adding a drop of baby shampoo to the water may also help to dissolve the lanolin. After soaking, wrap your cover in a towel to squeeze out excess water and hang dry.

About Brookie-Lee

Brookie-Lee is the mother of four wonderful children and wife to her best friend. She is a La Leche League Leader, Hypnobabies instructor, and previous owner of Happybottomus. She gives birth at home, breastfeeds, co-sleeps, cloth diapers, baby-wears, non-vax, eats organically, uses natural remedies, does yoga, and now homeschools. She lives in Historic Northeast Kansas City and has an urban farm with a garden and chickens.
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One Response to Cloth Diapering 101

  1. OMG! Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the content home a bit, besides that, this is informative blog. A wonderful read. Ill certainly revisit again.