4 October 2013

Cloth Diapers for Dummies ((Part One))

So you're pregnant and you want to cloth diaper. You're a smart mama, you know why you want to do it. It's good for your baby ((disposables = yucky stuff next to your babies bum)), it's more economical ((checkout this cloth diaper calculator)), and it's better for the environment ((check these stats out)). Like I said, you're smart, but then you start researching how to actually do it.... And whoa mama, it's all like

"I got my OS AIO BGs for my LO"
And you're like ???????? What?

I know you. Bleary eyed pregnant lady endlessly searching diaper brands and web forums just trying to find something to catch your baby's poop. I was you.

Search no more my friend. I've entered in to this weird and wonderful cloth diapering world and I would love to help you come along too!

First things first, let's clear up some of these crazy terms. You'll find these commonly on cloth diapering web forums.

((CD))- Cloth Diaper

((PUL))- Polyurethane Laminate. This is a type of fabric which is waterproof and commonly used to make diapers. It has a cloth like feel on the outside but a more plastic like feel inside.

((Pocket Diaper))- typically a type of diaper with a PUL (waterproof) outside, and an inner later of 'stay dry' material (against baby's bum) the outer and inner layer create a 'pocket that you 'stuff' an insert into.

((Insert))- an insert is what you will use inside of a pocket diaper. They are commonly microfibre but you can also buy microfibre/bamboo blends, bamboo inserts and hemp inserts. The insert is what absorbs the pee! Very important :)

((AIO))- All in One. Just as it says this diaper is all one piece. Unlike a pocket diaper which is considered two pieces (the 'shell' and the insert) an AIO has the insert attached to the shell outer. No stuffing required.

((AI2))- All in two. Sometimes referred to as 'hybrids'. This is basically an AIO except that the insert is not attached, and is laid on top of the diaper instead of stuffed inside a pocket.

((Flats))- This is you're old school type of diaper. Flats are basically a piece of fabric, usually cotton which you can fold in a variety of ways. They can be pinned, or you can use a 'snappi' to secure around baby.

((Prefold))- Usually folded In three, with the middle being the most absorbent, you must use a cover for this type of diaper. (People swear by these for the newborn stage)

((Hybrid))- Hybrids are a cross between a disposable and reusable diaper. They have a washable outside and a disposible inner.

((Fitted))- This type of diaper is not waterproof and will require a cover, or wool 'soaker' Many of these diapers have regular cotton outers (usually with some pretty cute prints) and cotton velour (CV) or organize bamboo velour (OBV) inners. And can also be made with fleece. Many moms use these around the house without a cover and change when they are damp. They are surprisingly absorbent.

((Cover))- sometimes referred to as a diaper 'wrap' this is a waterproof cover that you need to put over a prefold or fitted.

((OS))- One Size (a common type of diaper with snaps down the front to adjust the size, these diapers typically fit from 10lbs to potty trained). Pocket diapers are commonly one size, but there are some AIOs, AI2s, and Fitteds which are also one size.

Rather than list all of the brands out there and try to review them all I will refer you to this great video with a review on 23 different diapers, covering pockets, prefolds, AIOs, hybrids, and fitteds.

I will share though, the brands which I have personally tried and give you my own review of them.

((BG)) the Bum Genius brand has mostly, One size, pocket diapers. But they also sell some AIOs. Bum Genius was the first brand I bought, they are a pricier diaper, but in my opinion are worth it. They are my 'go to' diaper. Mine are Velcro (also called hook & loop, or aplix), and they have been great for grandparents and daddies who find snaps hard. I also have an AIO Bum Genius 'freetime' diaper which I like. The only downfall to these diapers has been that they didn't fit my skinny little girl as soon as I would have liked and they are on the 'bulkier' side.

Glowbugs are made here in Canada and have a lot of great features. The insert snaps in and out, so it stays in place. They have a gusset all the way around, which keeps in those newborn poops! They are a pocket one size and when Hazel was really little these were the only diaper that fit her well. The major downfall of Glowbugs is that you have to buy them in a pack of 6 or 12, so it's hard to get one or two just to try out.

I've heard Goodmamas referred to as the "hardcore CD mamas diaper of choice"... Guys, I'm not that hardcore... I promise. Goodmama are a fitted diaper which started out as a 'boutique' brand by one lady working from her home. Now it's HUGE I'm talking this lady has got to be a rich rich women, cause these little diapers are PRICY!! Can you imagine spending upwards of $30 on a used diaper.... Just pure crazy. But friends, I've done it. The thing I love about GMs is of course the cute prints ((that's what Hazel is wearing in the pic above)) I mean, dang, those are some cute diapers. I was "into" it for a while ((probably because I was nursing a baby for hours on end with nothing better to do)) Since then I have sold off a lot of my gms because really... Since they are a fitted diaper and you have to put a cover over them when you go out... It's not all that convenient. But Hazel does still rock a few faves around the house. If you are thinking about buying GMs, just be careful you don't spend all of your money. ((Ps. They are very soft and absorbent too))

Alvas come in lots of different styles. They are a brand from China, but are known to have good labour practices so that's great. You can find pockets, AIO and AI2s at Alva. Guys, these diapers cost $4. It's kinda crazy how cheap they are. You'll find some reviews online saying that Alvas have leaked for them but I have the "J series" and I have never had a leak. I have absolutely no problem with these diapers whatsoever and the plus side is that the prints are cute too. What I like about Alvas is that I'm not really expecting them to last forever. I mean $4 is not a huge investment, so if these babies get put in the dryer, get a bit of bum cream on them or have some stains, I'm not too worried. I've used Alvas for a year with no trouble. If you are looking to try some cloth without investing too much, this is your diaper.

I have tried a few other smaller brands and WHAM ((work at home mom)) diapers. If you are interested in a certain kind that I haven't listed here leave me a comment and it's quite likely that I've tried it or know someone who has.

That's it for today. I hope you have found this helpful!! Come one back tomorrow for tips on washing and care and what you need to know before you buy! I will also be posting up some frequently asked questions and answers from my local cloth diaper group!

PART TWO IS NOW UP!! Thanks for visiting and check out part 2 HERE 


  1. This is a fantastic post! I gave it a go both cloths and mod cloths a go with Mr 4 when he was a bub, but he kept leaking through constantly and I ended up giving up. My sister uses them now and I am in awe of anyone that can make it work! Well done!

    1. Thanks Aanie! Yes I had a friend that this happened to as well. I am convinced that some babies are just heavier wetters! Ive found a bamboo insert to be a saviour for us!

  2. This is excellent! I would have loved to have found this when I was researching cloth! So many acronyms! I got so stressed about how to wash the different brands and use them I even made a spreadsheet (ugh! yeah I'm lame.) We love the BG because Ben has always been a chunk and have fit him great. Our FuzziBunz got too small for him around 6 months! Good post, Hannah!

    1. Thanks Andrea! :) haha I LOVE that you made a spreadsheet, you're hilarious. I got super stressed out too! Especially since Hazel ended up being so mini, i was scrambling to find something that worked and got a little obsessive! haha!

  3. Love this!! I was one of those overwhelmed pregnant mamas. We use Flips and love them!.

    1. Thanks Ileana! I used Flips early on too! forgot to include them. I really liked them too, but i sold them off to fund other diapers! haha im always trading and selling!

  4. Great post! Super helpful - I've been cloth diapering for 8 months and I learned some new stuff here!! I've heard of Alvas but was hesitant to try them given the fact that they're made in China and super cheap - thanks for the info - might have to try them out! Looking forward to your next CD post! :)

    1. Thanks Nancy! im so glad it was helpful for you! Lots of people have different opinions about Alvas but like I said they have worked really well for us. Next post will be up today or tomorrow, Ive had a sick baby :(

  5. I cannot wait to use cloth diapers, whenever we have our next little one! When Kaya was little we found some eco friendly disposable ones from Target in LA but soon they disappeared. We felt intimidated by cloth diapers and didn't know where to find them. Now thankfully there seem to be more and more stores carrying them, with more variations too. Great post, I am book marking this now for future reference!!

  6. Awesome post!
    I have been cloth diapering for just over one year. So far it is working out well. I am using both pockets and fitted.
    Stopping by from the "Raising Perfection" blog hop. Now following you via Bloglovin. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.
    Have a great day :)
    Bismah @
    Simple Mama

  7. I LOVE Alvas! For that price, you can't go wrong and they work great! We got bamboo inserts and have no problems.

  8. Congratulations Hannah ~

    I featured this post in today's features from Raising Imperfection's Sunday link party! Feel free to grab the button and place it on your blog should you choose to.
    Thank you for linking up with us.

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  9. Wow, great stuff here.. I'm going to bookmark this, because I'm pregnant and wanting to cloth diaper and I've done some research and I sort of have an idea, but this is really great!

  10. Hannah @ Joyful LifeOctober 16, 2013 9:10 pm

    Aw thanks Lauren! So glad this post was helpful for you! And congratulations! :)

  11. Hannah @ Joyful LifeOctober 16, 2013 9:11 pm

    Thanks for visiting Kim! I know right? the Alvas are amazing. Gotta have the bamboo inserts though!

  12. Hannah @ Joyful LifeOctober 16, 2013 9:11 pm

    Thats great Bismah! Thank you so much for stopping by! I'll be coming ove rto check out your blog shortly :)

  13. Amazing post! I just looking this type of post it is very useful for me.When looking for information about cloth diapering, there's no better source than a practiced parent. This is why I can offer my own advice regarding the pros and cons of cloth diapering.
    Baby cloth diapers

  14. The terminology alone is an awesome resource! I still remember googling CD terms when I was first learning about them. Great post and cute little model!


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