In this post, I will discuss what you need to buy in order to start cloth diapering. First, I will discuss the 2 major types of cloth diapers I use: prefolds & pocket diapers. Then I will talk about where to buy, what I have, and other important things to keep in mind.
Prefolds are what your grandmother probably used on her kids. Imagine a square cloth folded up and pinned on a baby. That's basically what a prefold is. Today, prefolds are very durable, come in a lot of sizes, are very absorbent, and even come in organic cotton.
Prefolds are great for everyday use. They are the cheapest type of cloth diapers, and are easy to wash, dry and fold! A prefold costs only $2-3.
Prefolds need to be paired with a waterproof cover. As you might expect, when baby pees, the prefold gets wet and any clothes touching the prefold would also get wet. There are many types of waterproof covers out there. Many of them are adjustable in size, so they grow with baby. For a stash of a couple dozen of prefolds, you only need a couple covers ($10-15 each).
Instead of using pins like grandma did, modern cloth diaperers will use "Snappis," a 3-pronged stretchy rubber grip that holds the diaper together. A Snappi costs around $3-5. See my links below for where to purchase.
When baby pees, you change the prefold as soon as possible, but unless the cover is soiled, you can reuse the cover.
A pocket diaper is a diaper that looks and acts more like a normal disposable. They have an outer cover, and inner lining, and space at the back to slide an absorbent insert (or two or three) in between. A pocket diaper is meant to be used once and then thrown in the diaper pail. Because baby pees on the pocket diaper lining and soaks through the liners, both must be washed.
Many people like pockets because they don't have to mess with folding and pinning a flat prefold on baby each diaper change. You can have the pocket diapers ready with the inserts in, and then you simply change baby the same as you would if you used a disposable.
They are quite a bit more expensive than prefolds. A decent pocket diaper with 2 liners can cost upwards of $18 each.
They make great night-time diapers though. Unlike prefolds that feel wet on baby's skin, pockets have a special lining that does a great job at wicking the moisture away.
They are also adjustable, and are meant to fit newborns and toddlers. A newborn might use a thin insert, whereas a toddler might use a couple larger ones.
My Cloth Diaper Stash
I'll explain what I have, how much it costs, where to buy, and my thoughts about each thing.
- Green Mountain Diapers Cloth-eez flat prefolds (36 small, 36 medium, 24 large, and I will need to get newborn/newbie ones for the next baby)
-I could probably get by with 2 dozen of each size. I would just need to do laundry more frequently. Read my post about washing diapers HERE. The Green Mountain prefolds are by far the most durable, cost effective, and high quality prefolds out there. I would recommend them to anyone! They are about $2-3 each.
- Thirsties Duo Wrap waterproof covers (6 size one, 6 size two)
I could probably get by with 4 covers of each size. It's nice to have extras though. I haven't tried any other covers, but I'm sure there are good ones out there. I hear you can even make your own! I've been very happy with these. I'd recommend the snaps on the diapers instead of velcro (because velcro loses its stickiness after lots of washes). These are typically $12-15.
- 3-4 Snappis
These are GREAT! I've never heard of any other brand or product like this. You could use pins if you want, but these are a couple bucks each, easy to use, and last a long time. The loops on the end break after repeated stretching, but they still work!
- 14 Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket Diapers
I have more than I need, but luckily, I haven't had to purchase many. We asked for diapers at our baby shower and always ask for them on holidays and birthdays! I could get by with 6 of them for nighttime use, but the extra a great for when we go out as well. With multiple children, a larger stash of these would be helpful for nights. I've been very happy with the Bum Genius brand, but there are lots of other brands of pockets or all-in-one diapers out there. The "Bum Genius 4.0" diaper has inserts that are detached from the diaper, and they come in snaps or Velcro.
- 2 dozen extra Bum Genius inserts
I purchased extra inserts for night time. Our daugher, at 11 months, will soak through 2 inserts each night. When she gets bigger, she may need 3! A Bum Genius pocket diaper comes with 1 large insert and 1 small newborn size. The inserts in this pack are the larger size.
- Dozens of Homemade Cloth Wipes (from old flannel receiving blankets I found at the thrift store for pennies)
I cut flannel into squares, folded over the sides, and sewed them up so they wouldn't fray. These will last a long time. By using cloth wipes and a spray bottle of homemade wipe solution, I cut down on 2/3 of my baby wipe cost.
- Baby Wipes (for poopy diapers)
Aldi has the cheapest ones I've ever seen! $0.85 for 56 wipes!
- California Baby Diaper Rash Cream (at Target)
There are lots of good diaper rash creams for cloth, and this is one a friend recommended and said could be found at Target. Most others can only be found online or in specialty stores. Do not use products like Desitin on cloth!
- 2 GroVia Wet Bags for traveling
A lot of people prefer the wet bags with zippers. I might get a larger one down the road if I have multiple children in diapers. I thought I could use these as mini trash can liners in the bathroom after I rinse off a dirty diaper. The great thing about wet bags: just throw them right in the wash with the diapers!
- 2 Planet Wise Waterproof Pail Liners
Throw these right in the wash with the diapers!
- Diaper Pail (Sterilite trash can from Target)
This is the perfect size for our waterproof pail liners. It holds the right amount of diapers suited for 1 load. Not too many, not too few diapers. I start a load of diaper laundry when the pail is full.
- OsoCozy Diaper Sprayer
This is a luxury, not a necessary. We didn't have a sprayer for 8 months, but now that we do, we find that it is really helpful for those stuck-on poops! It would be great on newborn poo too (if baby isn't solely breastfed). Who likes to stick their hand in the toilet!?!
I hope this list is helpful! This is what works for us. Remember, there are a million ways to cloth diaper.
Here are some other places to purchase cloth diapers:
- Hand-me-downs: If a friend is done with their stash, maybe they'll pass them along to you! They will also pass a lot of wisdom along, so ask questions! Be aware, if a mom still plans to have more children, don't be offended if they don't pass along diapers. They do wear out after they are used through the diaper lifetime of a couple children.
- Craigslist: many people sell their stash when they are done. Be careful that they aren't too worn, so examine carefully before buying. Be an informed shopping: many used diapers aren't much cheaper than new!
- Baby Showers: If you decide before baby comes along that you'll be cloth diapering, ask for your supplies at your baby shower! I was VERY grateful for family and friends' generosity in this regard!
- Buy Buy Baby: If you need a Bum Genius Pockets or All-in-One and don't want to pay full price, buy them at Buy Buy Baby with those 20% off coupons from Bed Bath & Beyond!
- Amazon: I noticed that Amazon had Bum Genius 4.0 (and I'm sure others) for CHEAP on Black Friday. Instead of $18, they were $12! Keep your eyes peeled for these deals!
For more information about cloth diapering, one of the best resources is the Green Mountain Diapers website. They have the best quality prefold diapers, and they are a wealth of information!
Let me know if you have any questions!