Like adults, babies come in different shapes and sizes. This means that a certain design of reusable cloth diaper that works very well for your sister or friend, might not be the best for your baby. The design or type that is best for you will also depend on your lifestyle and budget. All diapering systems need an absorbent cloth inner and a moisture resistant or waterproof outer.
Guide To Reusable Cloth Diapers
These are some of the options that are available:
Flat Fold Cloth Diapers or Terry Cloth
These are the old-fashioned cloth diapers that have been used for many centuries around the world. It is a single layer of cotton cloth that is folded.
Flat cloth diapers are folded according to the size of the baby so one size fits all.
It is the cheapest option of cloth diapering and is still used in many parts of the world where there is limited access to a washing machine and modern facilities.
They can be hand washed and dry very quickly. They have many other uses like burping cloths or used for cleaning.
These are made from multiple layers of lightweight woven fabric. They have 3 panels and the center panel have extra layers for more absorbency. Most people consider that prefold diapers, together with diaper covers, are the most economical diaper system to use.
There are different types of material (unbleached or bleached cotton, organic cotton or bamboo cotton mix), sizes and layering available when choosing prefolds.
Fitted Cloth Diaper
A fitted cloth diaper is shaped to the baby’s body, with elastic at the waist and the legs. It is made from absorbent cloth and can come in a range of sizes to fit different aged babies, or it can be a one-size diaper.
A contour diaper is normally shaped like an hourglass, but it doesn’t have elastic at the waist or legs. Because a fitted cloth diaper is just absorbent cloth without a waterproof cover, it is easy to wash and get it spotlessly clean.
Cloth Diaper Covers
You need a waterproof cover that goes over the absorbent cloth diaper. It is made from a safe plastic covering which is attached to an absorbent lining, normally cotton.
Diaper covers can either be a wrap which is shaped, similar to the fitted cloth diaper, or it can be a pull-up. The wrap covers can be fastened with snaps or a hook and loop like Velcro.
They can be adjusted and fit snug round the legs and waist. Pull-ups are very quick and easy to put on. But has the disadvantage that it can become very messy if it is a poohy nappy that you are changing.
All In One Diaper
An All in One diaper has the multi layered absorbent cloth attached to the waterproof outer cover to form one integral unit.
The diaper is closed with snaps or a hook and loop system, so can be fitted to the size and shape of the baby.
For extra absorbency additional inserts can be added. Since everything your baby needs is wrapped up in this one diaper, they are extremely easy to use.
They are the first choice for parents on the go and carers. They act in the same way as disposable diapers in the sense that everything is one integral piece.
One Size Diapers
One size diapers are adjustable to fit any size child, with perhaps the exception of premature babies and toddlers that are ready for potty training. So as the baby grows, you can adjust the settings to make it longer and wider.
If your baby has chubby thighs or a very skinny waist or a big tummy you need to go around, a one-size diaper allows you to customise the fit to create a diaper that is just right.
Some brands will call these one size diapers Birth to Potty. If you are looking for a nappy that will fit your baby from birth until you start potty training, then this is the one.
Some people do find them quite bulky on a newborn baby, specially if your baby is very small. Most will be the best, once your baby is about 8 to 10 pounds/ 3.6 to 4.5 kg or more.
Having only one set of nappies will certainly save you money over the roughly 2 years that your baby will be using them. Some designs can be folded down to make it smaller for a newborn baby.
A Pocket Diaper is shaped and has a moisture resistant outer and an opening where the absorbent inner cloth can be slipped in.
Because you add the absorbent cloth to the diaper, it can be customised to your baby’s needs and time of the day.
Extra layers can be added for nighttime or for heavy wetters. The inserts can also be washed separately from the outer.
All In Two Diapers
All in Two diapers reusable baby diapers are also from birth to potty, but they have an absorbent insert that can be removed and washed separately. They are very similar to a Pocket diaper but don’t have an opening for the insert.
Instead, the insert can normally be snapped onto the outer. There are different inserts available ranging from organic cotton to bamboo. A thicker more absorbent insert is also available for nighttime use, although it is bulkier than the daytime ones.
Newborn: If your baby is very small at birth (less than about 3.5 kg or 8 lbs) or premature, you can also look out for newborn diapers that are available from certain brands.
Reusable swimming diapers have either snap down sides for easy removal or are pull-ups that will hold solids in. But, they allow liquids to pass through. Reusable swim diapers can either be worn under a swimsuit or in their own.
If you would like to know more about sustainable swim diapers, then please please visit this
Related post: What is reusable swim diapers?
Many parents say that using reusable baby diapers encourages early potty training.
Training pants can easily and quickly be pulled up or down. They give a toddler independence because they can learn to take them on and off on their own.
Training pants are somewhere between the absorbency of a cloth diaper and the freedom of underwear. The absorbent cotton in training pants is next to the toddler’s skin, making them aware of when they are wet.
Many parents find that letting a toddler feel wet is a great motivator for using the potty or toilet. They don’t like feeling wet, so they are eager to avoid wetness and use the toilet.
Disposable products pull moisture away from the toddler’s skin and essentially remove this motivating factor.
Caring for your reusable baby diapers
Reusable baby diapers are washable. Remove any solid waste from the cloth or liner first. The diapers can then be put in a diaper pail or bucket and there is no need to add water to it. It is advisable to wash the used diapers 3 to 4 times per week to prevent odors.
The waterproof cover and the cloth diapers can be washed together. Turning an All in One diaper inside out before you wash it, often means that it is easier to get it clean and also dries quicker. Line drying is recommended by most suppliers, but if you do need to tumble dry it, use a low heat.
If you don’t have the time to wash and dry your reusable baby diapers, you could make use of a laundry service. In certain cities or areas there are baby nappy services that specialise in laundering cloth diapers. In some areas you can also make use of rental services.
By using reusable baby diapers you are reducing your carbon footprint. To lower the overall impact of your cloth diapering you can buy organic cotton cloth diapers. This way you are investing in a more sustainable future for your baby and our planet.
When you are finished using your cloth diapers, they can be donated to be used in orphanages around the world. The flat cloth diapers can be used as cleaning cloths and if there is really no longer a use for them, it can be recycled.
14 thoughts on “Reusable Baby Diapers – which one is right for me?”
Hello there, This is an amazing article you have got here. I haven’t heard about the one size diaper before now. The fact that they are adjustable to fit any size child and they can help save a lot of money. The one size diapers benefits mothers and removes the search for their baby diaper size.
Thanks for sharing this with me.
Hi there, Thank you for your kind comments. The one size diaper is also very economical that you do not need to buy different sizes, and will last for the time that the baby will be wearing diapers.
Hello there, thanks so much for this very detailed and informative post. I understand that for a post as comprehensive as this, a lot of conscious, calculated and deliberate effort have been put in bringing this together, I like the fact that you said in your conclusion that “When you are finished using your cloth diapers, they can be donated to be used in orphanages around the world. The flat cloth diapers can be used as cleaning cloths and if there is really no longer a use for them” I never knew that I could donate used clothes diapers to the orphanage, I have some at home, and I know friends that have also, I’m collecting an giving them to the orphanage, thank for sharing this.
Hi there, I am very pleased to hear that you enjoyed my post and that you have taken away some useful tips from it.
Hi there thanks for this informative review. It is always a tough one for me changing baby diapers. But then I haven’t come across such thing as reusable diapers as most of the ones I know are always one-time use. I think these are really nice diapers listed on your article and if I should make a choice I would go for the All In One diaper
Hi there, There is a good selection of reusable cloth diapers available that should fit all budgets and body shapes. All the best, Liné
Hey nice article you have there. Thanks for sharing such an awesome article. I have heard so much of the Reusable baby diapers, toe o think is more economical to use, it will definitely save cost of repurchase, limits the amount of dirty in the environment therby making the envy Eco friendly. This is indeed a good initiative.
Hi there, Thank you for your kind comments and I agree that it is an eco friendly options to use cloth diapers.
Is the only reason to use cloth diapers is to soften your carbon footprint? And of course the obvious one of being less expensive?
As the embattled survivor of not having access to disposable diapers because of cost, I am here to lodge my opinion about that carbon footprint reason. I’m not sure that is enough reason for me. We used both kinds and both had their place in the care and feeding of our children. Laundry services may or may not use a detergent that worked for our kids’ skin.
Then when I was the head laundry lady, there were the days the diapers froze on the line. The days they were blown off the line when the West Texas winds hit. The dryer helped, but getting a dryer was hardly an economical fix if we are still measuring only diaper care. I do understand the waste disposable diapers create. Similar to the waste created by plastic water bottles. Then we have pandemics- are diapers in short supply? I guess what I’m saying is that I would prefer doing my bit to save the world in other ways. Thanks for giving me a place to speak my opinion, Sami
Hi Sami, Reusable and disposable diapers both have a place. The lower carbon footprint is not the only reason to use reusable nappies. It is far more economical over the approximately two and a half years that a baby would be using diapers. You can read more about the benefits of cloth diapers in this post. https://ecoworldonline.com/cloth-diaper-review-the-better-choice-for-your-babys-skin/
Thanks for giving us your valid views, Liné
Hi Liné Cowley,
Thank You very much for sharing such an informative article with all the necessary information about “REUSABLE BABY DIAPERS – WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?”
Really this is an amazing article.I like the article very much.I was familiar with this reusable baby diapers that reusable diapers are great thing for uses.It can be used for more than one time.I was looking for a reusable diaper for my nephew but i couldn’t find the perfect one.But after reading your article i have found the best reusable diapers for my nephew which is Fitted cloth diaper.It has so many benefits and also it has different sizes which has impressed me the most.I am going to buy this diaper as you have highlighted the product so nicely and i have gained all the details of this Fitted cloth diaper.This article is very helpful for those people who are looking for a perfect reusable diaper as you have described perfectly about all these diapers.I will share this great article with my friends and relatives so that they can benefited from this.
I hope you will be very happy with your choice
This a very informative article I musy say. As a protective parent I want the best quality on all materials needed for my baby. Moreover babies are different in sizes so each of them needs different diapers that fit them. On addition this reusable baby diapers have a lot of variations to choose. I will be looking forward for more articles from you. Thank you very much for this article.
Hi there, There are indeed many options available when you have to choose cloth diapers, so there is a style for each baby shape.