I knew once January got here it would feel like time was flying by.  Now that little Hunter will be arriving in a little more than 4 months, I really want to start getting things ready.  Taking classes, getting ready for birth, prepping the nursery, registering for baby… those types of things.  Hopefully my cleaning instinct kicks in too… FYI, it has not yet.  I blame my non-cleaning self on both being busy and well, cleaning just isn’t very fun, although the reward sure is wonderful.

So while cleaning really isn’t happening by me (luckily Jacob’s better at it), we did start on some of the fun stuff.  Two funs things actually: the nursery and classes.  Today I’m going to share how our first baby related class went on cloth diapering.

We’re so lucky to have a Cotton Babies store about 5 minutes from our house.  I was surprised to see that they only have 3 locations throughout the US, and one just happens to be near us.  They are the creators of Bum Genius (a cloth diaper brand), so just about every 2 weeks they offer a free and extensive class on cloth diapering.  A month or so before we had gone into the store and had the options explained to us, but I honestly felt like I learned nothing until taking the actual class.

Since not everyone has access to such a great class, I’m going to cover as much as I can remember here.  It’s going to be pretty lengthy, but I’m hoping it’s a helpful tool for parents or parents-to-be out there considering cloth diapers.

Why cloth diaper?

In the class they talked about all the reason to cloth diaper… cost, environmental issues, concerns about natural fibers and much more.  I won’t go into all the reasons here, but I’ll tell you why I want to use cloth diapers.


While it is an initial big investment for cloth diapers (anywhere from $100-500), we won’t have to buy any disposable diapers which aren’t cheap.  They said on average disposable diapers cost around $2,000 for 2 years (but my brother who has a 1.5 year old estimated something closer to $500/year).  Where the real savings comes in though is cloth diapering over multiple kids.  Cloth diapers are meant to be used for 2-3 kids (depending on how well you care for them), so basically once you’ve paid for that initial investment on the first kids, it’s all savings from there.


Cloth diapers are so not what they used to be.  No longer are the days of white pieces of cloth being wrapped around the babies bum and pinned on (which I totally remember my mom using).  Wait and see how cute they are!


Cloth materials have got to feel better than disposable diapers right?  Plus, I read (and heard during the class) that babies potty train faster on cloth diapers because they feel the wetness more than with disposable which absorbs all the liquid and hold it in better.

Options, options, so many cloth diaper options

I’m going to cover all the options we were told about in class, in the same order they did.  The most basic and affordable, to the easiest to use and expensive.  In general you’ll need 18-24 cloth diapers if you plan to do laundry every 2 days, which is what’s recommended.


The name prefold is kind of deceiving.  You actually have to fold these cloth diapers.

You get the cloth (in varying sizes like shown above) that you fold along the lines, put on your baby, and attach with either plastic snappi clip or pins.  Then to add waterproof barrier place a cover over top.

Now I don’t’ remember my mom ever using covers when she cloth diapered, so they must be kind of new to the cloth diapering world.

Here’s a video of how to put a prefold diaper on: Using a prefold diaper.  I find it makes more sense seeing it in action then me trying to explain it since I’ve really only watched, not done it.

Notes: When you change the baby you can reuse the cover as long as nothing is on it (pee or poo), which means you don’t have to have as many covers as prefolds.

Average cost for each: for prefolds $1.00-7.95 and for covers $13.95-17.95

My thoughts: I don’t think is going to be the route we’ll go.  It’s a little more work than I think we’re ready for, but they really are very affordable.

Fitted diapers

Fitted diapers are just as they sound, they are fitted to go on the baby instead of having to fold the cloth.

They either snap, velcro or tie on instead of using snappis/pins.

Then once you put the fitted diaper onto your baby, you need a cover just like with the prefolds.  And the covers get pretty cute!

Notes: again you can re-use the cover if nothing is on it, which can mean savings since you don’t have to have as many covers as fitted diapers.

Average cost: for fitted diapers $5.95-25.95 and for covers $13.95-17.95

My thoughts: While this is getting easier than prefolds, still not where we were thinking of going.

Flip system

Now we get into a different style of diapers.  No more pieces of cloth that you put around your baby, then add the cover over top.  It’s getting simpler.  The flip system is basically where you use a prefold that instead of putting on the baby, you insert in to the diaper.

It has ends on both sides you tuck the insert into.  Once you have the insert in, you put it on baby.

Options for the insert: You can use a prefold cloth like shown in the first flip system picture, or you can get smaller insert that remind me of a huge pad that slides into the ends.  The pads are adjustable based on the size of your baby.  Another option for this system is a disposable insert that would be great for traveling.

Notes: Instead of having to put on the cloth diaper, then a cover, here you only have one thing to put on your baby, which to me seems easier and faster.  Again, a money saver since you can reuse the cover if there is nothing on it.

Average cost: for inserts $4.95-7.95 and for covers $13.95-19.95

My thoughts: This was the first diaper option we thought would work for us as she was showing the diapers.  It’s pretty simple, especially with the pads you don’t have to fold and the option to have a disposable pad if you’re traveling and don’t have easy access to a washer/dryer.

Pocket style

The pocket style is similar to the flip system. but instead of laying the insert on top of the cover, you’re inserting in into a built in pocket.

Like shown below.

Notes: As compared to the flip system, you wouldn’t have to worry about the insert moving around as you put the diaper on baby.  The down side – you need just as many pocket diapers as inserts since the diaper gets wet along with the insert.  You’ll have to pull the used insert out of the pocket for washing too.

Average cost: $17.95-21.95

My thoughts: I know these are a step up from the flip system, but they seem like more work to me.  The inserting and pulling out part.  You could have all your diapers ready to go and stuffed, which would speed up the process.  They were nice looking and an option we are considering.


If you’re looking for easy, then all-in-ones are the way to go.  There’s no messing with inserts or folding, it’s all ready to go.

The diaper comes with the absorbent material attached to the cover as part of the diaper.  They look like disposable diapers, because it’s just one piece that you put on the baby.

There are a few different options within all-in-ones.  This one has 2 layers of absorbent material sewn on top.  I guess that middle layer can be tricky to get material off of sometimes.  With all the layers they can take a longer time to dry as well.

This next option has 2 long absorbent ends that you fold into the center.  You also have the option to stuff them with extra inserts.  This type dries a little faster than the one above because it opens up more.

Lastly you’ve got a diaper with the absorbent material sewn inside the cover.  No extra layers to worry about material getting stuck on, but they do take longer to dry as well.

Notes: The cool thing about that second all-in-one options is if your baby is a front soaker (usually boys or belly sleepers) or back soaker (usually girls), you can fold the absorbent ends to add extra layers to the front or back instead of having to add in extra pads for overnight.

Average cost: $17.95-35.95

My thoughts: These are cool, and we definitely want some of these for simple nighttime changes and maybe for people who watch our little one that aren’t too excited about changing cloth diapers.

The verdict

See, there are a lot of cloth diaper options, and I didn’t even talk about brands!  Obviously the store we went to carry a ton of Bum Genius since they created it, but they also carried FuzziBunz which looks like a great option.  I haven’t read much about other brands, so if there are cloth diapering mamas out there who use other brands, please leave a comment about your experience with them!

Another thing to note is they have one size fits all diapers, and also sized diapers (xs-xl).  So, if you go with the sized diapers, you’d have to buy more once the new born outgrows the smaller size.

Here’s what we want to do: a combo of all-in-ones (the second and third all-in-ones options), the flip system and possibly a few pocket diapers as well.  While all-in-ones would be the easiest option out there, we also have a budget to consider.  Plus I don’t want to just go with one option since I really don’t know what’s going to work best for us.

And we’ve already got a start on our all-in-one diapers – we won one at the class!  We were soooooooooo excited to be the only ones who won the cloth diaper!!! Woohoo!

Since this post is already incredibly long, I’ll cover more of what we learned in my next cloth diapering 101 post. There sure is more!

I hope this was helpful to all you mamas out there thinking about cloth diapering.

If you’re looking for another post to read on a real life cloth diapering mama, check out Ashley’s post on how cloth diapering is going for her.



18 thoughts on “cloth diapering 101: the options”

  1. Both my SIL & I used cloth diapers on our combined 9 kids. We both used the diaper service as well as washing the diapers ourselves when the service wasn’t available where we lived. I could never get the hang of the wraps (although my last one is now 7 so I know things have changed!) so just stuck with the pin & plastic pants which worked just fine 🙂 To prevent diaper rash I’d slather their bums in good ole vaseline & then fill a powdered sugar shaker with pure cornstarch & shake the cornstarch on top of the vaseline for a nice pasty barrier that absorbed the wetness while leaving their skin dry. Sooo much cheaper then diaper creams & not all the extra unneeded ingredients!

      1. A quick thing about vaseline: you have to be careful what diaper creams you use with cloth (if you ever have to use them). Petroleum products can especially build up on the cotton and start to repel fluids…Same goes with certain brands of detergents. Original tide works great. We love cloth diapering, been doing it for 2 and a half years now to save money- and it does. So glad to see it catching on! Good luck.

        p.s. I prefer prefolds and thirsties covers. They are the very simplest to launder and the most affordable.

  2. I’ve been cloth diapering my 3 for the last 2 1/2 years. I have used pre-folds and thirsties covers in the beginning when my oldest was 18 months and my twins were about 7 1/2 months. I also used fleece covers as well as wool covers. About 8 months later I tried the Thirsties pocket diapers and liked those. A couple of months later I got some hand me down fuzz bunz and those have been our favorites. We have moved on to potty training our oldest and hopefully the twins will be soon. There are also some great training pants when you get to that time. I am so happy to have cloth diapered and wish I had done it from the beginning with my oldest instead of listening to others who said how difficult it was. I have done my own laundry the whole time and I do about a load a day for 3 kids. It’s not too bad when you consider how much money I have saved, how much I have hopefully impacted the environment is a positive way, and how much I didn’t have to worry about using the last diaper in the house, all I had to do was wash diapers if I ran out!

  3. Wow! This is so interesting. I work at an elementary school, a large portion of my day is spent working with infants and little toddlers. I’ve never seen any of them use cloth diapers. It really does make so much sense! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. This looks soooooooooo much easier than the cloth diapers I used on my daughter 27 years ago. I would like to ask a question. It that velcro on that one diaper? I don’t think I would like velcro, it sticks to everything!!!

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