Cloth Diapers For Beginners – The Basics

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Part 1: The Basics

Informed Decision

Make an informed decision! This is extremely important in finding the system that works for you. Your initial investment for cloth diapers is going to be between $200 and $500, however, after that, you will have no monthly diaper expenses. When compared to disposables, you will cover the initial start-up cost of a quality cloth system in less that one year.

  Cloth  Disposables  Diaper
First Year $500 $1000 $1000
Second Year $200 $1000 $500
Third Year $200 $1000 $350
Total $900 $3000 $1850


To start you will need about 2 ½ dozen cloth diapers and about 5 diaper covers (maybe more for ages 0 – 3 months). – If you only use the All-In-One diapers, you’ll need about 2-dozen. Then you will need washcloths or wipes, a diaper pail, diaper pail liners and detergent.

In addition to the above, I suggest owning some of the following:

Diaper liners are the most effective way to increase the absorbency of your diapers – I believe that at night and when you go out they are essential! I suggest owning between 1 and 2-dozen liners, especially if you have a heavy wetter. I do recommend a wet washcloth or cloth wipe to clean your baby between diaper changes instead of using regular diaper wipes. I keep a small squirt bottle in my diaper bag and changing table filled with baby oil and warm water. Three-dozen wipes are plenty. Simply wash those with your diapers. Please visit “Cheap Cloth Diapers” for a detailed shopping list options! It’s more of a Step-by-Step guide for beginners looking to buy cloth diapers.

Why should I consider cloth diapers?

There are three main reasons that I believe parents should consider cloth diapers for their child(ren). The first reason one might consider cloth is that cloth diapers are better for the environment. Cloth diapers are better for the environment because they use fewer chemicals, use less water, and create less waste. For more information about the environmental impact of disposable diapers see the Real Diaper Association.

The second reason one might consider cloth is that cloth diapers are the financial savings. Depending on how you crunch the numbers, disposable diapers will cost a family approximately $1000 per child per year. In comparison, cloth diapers will cost a family between $200 and $650 per child the first year of use and around $100 per child for any additional years use.

The third reason one might consider cloth is that babies are less likely to experience diaper rashes with cloth diapers. I am honestly not sure why this is the case; maybe it has something to do with less exposure to chemicals, or maybe the natural fibers of cloth diapers are better on a baby’s skin. Nevertheless, I have personally seen a great reduction in diaper rashes since switching to disposables. I do want to mention that anytime your child has a diaper rash it is a good idea to consult a physician. Some diaper rashes are nothing to worry about, and they will likely clear up in a few days, but other diaper rashes can signal an infection or more serious problem. Thus, it is always important to talk to your baby’s doctor when a rash appears.

You can also check out my post about why I choose cloth diapers.

Are cloth diapers hard to use?

No, cloth diapers are not hard to use. That being said, there may be a bit of a learning curve. Most of us grew up around disposables and so that is what we know. It is just like anything new; it takes a little time to learn. When I first started using cloth diapers with Jocelyn, it took me a little while to get the hang of exactly how it should be done. For example, my FuzziBunz diapers have two rows of snaps. When I first started using them, I always snapped the top row first. However, experimentation and a little searching on the internet showed me that snapping the lower row first results in a better fitting diaper.

If you have chosen to use cloth for your child, congratulations on the good choice! As you begin to use cloth diapers, I would highly suggest talking to a friend who uses cloth, searching the web for advice, or contacting a consultant at a local cloth diaper company. By talking to someone who is successfully using cloth, you will be able to hear what has worked well for them and what has not. If you do not know anyone who is using cloth and you would like my advice, please feel free to leave me a comment below, and I will help you to the best of my ability.

Do I have to completely switch to only cloth diapers?

You certainly do not have to switch completely to cloth diapers. If you are not ready to completely make the switch to cloth diapers, you can buy a small stash of cloth diapers and use them when it is most convenient.

What will I need to use cloth on my child?

If you would like to use cloth full time on your child, you will need a variety of things to include: the diapers themselves, a dirty diaper bag, a small wet bag, and cloth diaper approved laundry detergent. You may also want to consider purchasing a diaper sprayer, extra inserts/doublers, and cloth wipes.

First, and most importantly, you will need to purchase enough diapers for approximately 24 diaper changes. This number is assuming that you will be doing laundry once every two days. If you are planning on using pocket diapers or all-in-ones, this will mean you want 24 individual diapers. If you are planning on using a hybrid system or standard diaper cover system, this will mean you will want six covers and 24 inserts.

Second, it is important to consider how you will store your dirty diapers while they are awaiting washing. In my opinion, the best way to store dirty diapers is in a cloth laundry bag with a waterproof lamination. With these bags, you simply throw in the dirty diapers until they are ready for washing.

Third, you will definitely want a small wet bag if you ever plan to leave the house. A wet bag is a small cloth bag with a waterproof lamination which can be put in a diaper bag to store dirty diapers while out of the house. I have found my wet bag extremely useful and would highly suggest getting one.

Fourth, you will need to purchase a laundry detergent which is approved for use on cloth diapers. Generally, this means that the detergent does not have any dyes, perfumes, or other additives. Each diaper manufacturer has their own recommendations which should be consulted.

Finally, you will want to look into purchasing a diaper sprayer to remove solids from soiled diapers, extra inserts to provide extra protection for times of heavy wetting, and cloth wipes.

Get a detailed cloth diaper shopping list here.


Part 2:  Cloth Diapers Best Brands – Getting Started with Cloth

I have included several links to the Basics section. Web addresses can change, and I am not always immediately aware of the change. If you have found a broken link, please let me know in the comments below, and I will try to fix the problem. Thanks!

PS. I am always here to help! If you need help or have questions, please reach out to me – I would love to help you. I do not know everything there is to know about cloth diapers, but if I don’t have the answer, I’ll help you find someone who does or I’ll research it for you until we find the answers together.



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