Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

Babies leak. You’ve noticed? Cloth diapers provide a very simple, sustainable solution. Like breastfeeding, though, knowing how to diaper a baby is not automatic. You as a parent need to learn a few simple basics to get started cloth diapering. You need the right stuff, the right knowledge, and the right attitude.

The Right Stuff

What kind of diapers you need depends on your general approach. Anything absorbent will work. You can make your own cloth diapers. You can even use found objects. Some of my favorite diapers, flat terry nappies from the UK, resemble hand towels. Frankly, a hand towel will work just as well. If you are curious and don’t mind research and experimentation, the world is open to you.

If you prefer to get your hands on the diapers and get started, a cloth diaper package may be right for you. Add a diaper pail and a few baby wipes to any package, and you are ready to go.

The Practical Cloth Diaperer

Bummis cloth diaper starter kit

If you just want basic, time-tested cloth diapers that do the job so you can get on with life, the Bummis Complete Cloth Diapering Kit with organic cotton prefolds is for you. This kit has everything you need to cloth diaper full time, including a care guide with washing and folding instructions. I would call this no frills, but you do get cloth diaper covers in those cute Bummis prints. Let’s call it minimal frills.

The Experimental Cloth Diaperer

Cloth diaper sample package

If you like to try things out, collecting data before you make your decision, don’t buy a full set of diapers before you start. Just don’t! You’ll be sorry. Get one of each type of cloth diaper and see how it works for you and for your baby. Our Dazed & Confused Cloth Diaper Trial Kit includes a prefold diaper, a fitted diaper, a diaper cover, and two pocket diapers with inserts. Cloth diapering can be personalized to fit any family. This kit will help you do your own cloth diaper tests before you invest in full-time cloth diapering.

The Quick Cloth Diaperer

Happy Heinys cloth diaper starter kit

If you want what you want right away without any fuss, you might be a future pocket diapering parent. One-size pocket diapers are very easy to understand, so you will find yourself well up the learning curve on your first day. Happy Heiny’s starter package includes three diapers along with inserts in small and large. Three diapers is enough to get started with cloth diapers as you realize just how easy cloth diapering will be.

The Right Knowledge

Every diapering system needs to combine moisture absorbency with moisture resistance. This might mean a cloth diaper (absorbent) and a cloth diaper cover (resistant) or a pocket diaper (resistant) and an insert (absorbent).

As for the logistics of putting on a cloth diaper, you can often figure out the basics by experimenting with a doll or stuffed animal. I spend a good amount of time diapering and nursing a bear before my first baby arrived. Learning those basics before it counted helped me to be confident when I first diapered my baby.

If you need support or want to talk to an experienced parent about cloth diapers, look for a Real Diaper Circle. If there isn’t a Circle or other support group near you, call for pointers. We want you to be successful, and we will do our best to help.

The Right Attitude

First of all, how hard can it be to catch baby pee in a diaper? It is not hard, and you will be an expert in no time at all. Know that it’s going to be easy for you, and it will be. You will face issues. There are always issues whether it’s a stinky pail or a leaky leg opening. There are solutions to the issues you will face.

Like so much you do for your babies, cloth diapering is a loving act of helping your helpless, gorgeous little people do what they can’t do for themselves. Smile while you diaper your baby. Show your love so this is a happy time for you both.

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