What New Moms Need to Know About Cloth Diapering Systems

My daughter and her husband are part of a new generation of young parents who drive hybrids, recycle their garbage, grow organic veggies and use cloth diapers. Cloth diapers? Yes, they’re selecting simple, old-school, cloth diapers over convenient disposables? My daughter and her husband chose cloth for lots of reason, but mostly because single use diapers are made with chemicals and plastic. They may take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill. Cloth diapering is the green thing to do.

“Diapering systems”?

If you’ve been thinking about using cloth diapers for your new baby, you may already know they aren’t as simple as they used to be. There are traditional diapers as well as new “diapering systems.” They have brand names like Fuzzi Bums, Dappi, Thirsties and G. Some seem so complicated, stores offer classes to teach proper usage. Finding the right diaper brand for you and your baby can be confusing and costly, but my daughter has conducted some helpful research while trying to find the right diapering products for my new grandson.

She purchased cloth diapers and several diapering systems before she found a simple combination of products. She experimented with covers that had thick sewn-in terrycloth linings and removable bamboo inserts to absorb wetness. She tried covers with a variety of shapes, colors and closures and in a wide range of prices. In changing quite a few of my grandson’s diapers, I got a little practical experience myself.

Cloth Diapers

Standard pre-fold diapers are a natural diaper alternative. They’ve not changed at all since I used them years ago. They are constructed with several layers of 100% cotton fabric stitched together with extra layers in the center for greater absorbency. My daughter purchased unbleached diapers, an even greener option because they are not chemically whitened.

Diaper Service

Newborns go through nearly 100 cloth diapers a week. That’s a lot of laundry for a new mom, even with hubby’s help. My daughter and her husband decided on diaper service to get through the first few tough months of parenthood. A diaper service delivers clean diapers to your door once a week and carries away the soiled ones. All you have to do is put soiled diapers in a wet bag and sit them outside the door. The not-so-green drawback with diaper service is that they use bleach in their laundry process.

Diaper covers

Old school moms used pull-on plastic pants to keep wet cloth diapers from soaking through baby’s clothing. New moms use colorful diaper covers. They are sewn from solid or patterned fabric with a fused waterproof lining. Manufacturers make them with plastic or metal snaps or Velcro fasteners that open and close in the front. Covers can cost 10 dollars and up depending on the manufacturer. After experimenting with covers with sewn in terry linings and slip in liners, my daughter preferred unlined covers on top of traditional diapers.

For an economical alternative to diaper covers, search online for the updated version of plastic pants for about 1/3 of the cost.

Compostable disposable diapers

According to the National Association of Diaper Services, in 1955 virtually 100% of parents used cloth diapers. By 1991 over 90% of diaper consumers had made the switch to disposable. Convenience was a major factor. You use disposables once and simply throw them away. That’s the kind of convenience even a green parent can use while on the go, so my daughter found a disposable diaper manufactured with Ingeo, a compostable synthetic fiber made from corn. Compostable fibers don’t need light or air to degrade. They will decompose even if they are buried in a landfill.

Wet Bag

A wet bag is a cloth bag with a zipper closure and a waterproof lining. They are handy for holding dirty diapers when parents are away from home. Some diaper services supply extra large wet bags for your weekly dirty diaper return.

Snappis instead of diaper pins

New green mommies don’t use old school diaper pins. They use Snappis to hold cloth diapers in place. Snappis are T shaped reusable polyurethane devices that stretch across the front of the diaper. Small teeth grip the sides and center to hold the diaper in place.

Compostable wipes

Baby wipes contain oil-based fibers, so my daughter purchased machine washable wipes. She also searched online and found Elements compostable baby wipes made with Ingeo. they will easily degrade in a landfill without light and air.


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