This article was originally posted on AwesomeBeginnings4Children.com on July 21, 2011
If you haven’t seen the revolutionary cloth diapers that have been introduced in the last 5-10 years you will be surprised at how the cloth diaper has evolved. Today’s cloth diaper is easy to wash and as simple to use as a disposable. The more you learn about cloth diapers and about the impact of using disposable diapers, the more you will be convinced that cloth diapering is the best method for your baby and your family. Using disposable diapers has a huge impact on your baby’s health, your finances, and the environment. Once you try today’s modern cloth diaper, you’ll be hooked!
Why Are Cloth Diapers Becoming So Popular Again?
- The last 5-10 years have produced many choices in cloth diapers that are cute and are as simple to use as a disposable diaper.
- Many parents are choosing to use cloth diapers for the benefits to their baby’s health. Disposable diapers contain many harmful chemicals and are linked to a significant amount of health problems.
- Many are choosing cloth diapers to do their part for the environment since about 18 billion disposable diapers enter our landfills each and every year and it is estimated that they will take 500+ years to decompose.
- Many parents are choosing to use cloth diapers because of the savings. Using cloth diapers, instead of disposables, will save you about $4104.40 for a family of two children. Laundering these diapers are factored into the cost and the savings. This is a substantial amount of money! Read more…
- In addition to health, environment and economic reasons, the very cute designs and simplicity of use are attracting many moms to cloth.
- Many parents are taking on that extra load of laundry – and loving it. They’re hooked!
The Old-fashioned Cloth Diaper of the Past
When you think of cloth diapers you may think of the old-fashioned diapers that your mom or grandma used. You may think of the plain white, large flat Birdseye cloth diapers (flats) or the prefolds that are smaller with layered cloth sewn into the center of the diaper. You may remember the stories of the “toilet dunking” that your mom or grandma did to preclean the diapers before they put them into the diaper pail.
Your mom or grandma’s cloth diapers required dangerous sharp pins to secure them, they were bulky, they leaked, they were difficult to wash, they needed to be folded, and they required non-breathable rubber pants over them. Grandma’s story about toilet dunking her old-fashioned cloth diapers and scrubbing and hand-washing them would deter anyone from using them. It’s understandable that the disposable diaper quickly became popular when it came onto the scene in the 1960s.
Diaper rash was a huge problem with the old-fashioned diaper. It was mainly caused by the non-breathable, old-fashioned rubber pants. Heat and moisture built up inside the diaper and caused bacteria to grow and multiply. The non-breathable rubber pants also prevented the ammonia, from baby’s urine, from evaporating.
The Modern Cloth Diaper of Today
The cloth diapers of today aren’t what they were 5, 10 and 20 years ago. They are NOT your mother’s or grandmother’s cloth diapers. They have soured in popularity over the past few years. Today’s cloth diapers have changed dramatically from the diapers of past generations and are suited for the modern parent’s needs. They have transformed into a very convenient option for today’s busy mom. Cloth diapers are making a huge comeback due to considerations for baby’s health, finances, the environment and the fact that they are now so easy to use and cute.
Modern Cloth Diapers Are Convenient and Easy to Use
- They are as easy to use and as easy to change as a disposable.
- They are healthier for your baby.
- They are very cute and fashionable and come in many styles, colors, designs and fabrics (including organic).
- Fitted diapers are elasticized so they are fitted and snug, yet comfortable.
- No need for safety pins. They fasten with built-in fasteners (Velcro or snaps).
- The diaper covers are waterproof and breathable. All-in-ones have the covers built-in/attached. No more rubber pants that cause heat and moisture to build up inside of the diaper which results in diaper rashes and other health problems.
- Modern diapers are contoured to fit just like a disposable. No folding is required.
- They are easy to wash. Washing cloth diapers is not the tedious and messy job that our parents and grandparents generations had – no more “toilet dunking”, stinky “wet pail”, soaking, scrubbing, and folding.
- Today’s modern cloth diapers come in “diaper systems”. Some have a cover with an inner liner (covers don’t need to be washed after each use). Others are all-in-one diapers. Whatever the style, they’re all reusable.
- They are convenient. You don’t have to make any special or late night trips to the grocery store for disposable diapers.
- You have two bags less of garbage to haul to the curb each week.
- You don’t have to change cloth diapers any more often than disposables should be changed.
- Many moms say that the disposable diaper pails smell worse than cloth diaper pails.
- Even the old-fashioned flat and prefold diapers have changed. Prefolds now come in different designs and colors and Snappis ™ have replaced diaper pins.
- Many moms report having to change disposables in the middle of the night or they will leak. Today’s modern cloth diapers are leak-free and very absorbent.
- Moms also report that “blowouts” occur with disposable diapers and not with today’s cloth diapers.
- The simplicity of today’s cloth diapers is attracting many moms to cloth.
How to Use Cloth Diapers
How to use a cloth diaper depends on which style you have decided on. There are many different types of cloth diapers available. Everyone has their own preferences. You need to decide what cloth diaper type (or types) works best for you and your family. Using today’s modern cloth diapers eliminates the need for folding the diaper and using diaper pins. They are used and fit much like disposable diapers.
Using Traditional Cloth Diapers
The “Flats” and “Prefolds” that your mother and grandmother used are still available. These two diaper choices do not have Velcro or snap closures. They require pins or Snappis™ to fasten them or they can be left unfastened, held in place by the diaper cover.
Flat diapers (“Flats”) are a large, single layer of fabric that must be folded to the correct size. The manufacturing of these diapers started back in the early 1900s. They require a separate cover to be waterproof.
Prefold diapers (“Prefolds”)are smaller and rectangular. They are made with extra cotton layers in the center of the diaper. They require minimal folding (the center part of the diaper is folded in to fit between baby’s thighs). The manufacturing of these diapers began in the 1950s. Prefolds are now available in different colors and prints. They require a separate cover to be waterproof.
Using the Modern Cloth Diapers of Today
Most modern diapers are fastened using the built-in Velcro or snaps and are contoured to fit your baby just like a disposable diaper.
Fitted diapers come in “diaper systems”. The fitted cloth diapering systems consist of three components: a fitted cloth diaper, an absorbent liner for additional protection at night or whenever needed, and a breathable, waterproof diaper cover. Fitted diapers are available in several sizes to provide a custom fit as your baby grows or in One Size™ that grows with your child (adjusts) and fits from newborn to potty training. The breathable, waterproof cover can be used several times before washing if it hasn’t become soiled.
Pocket diapers consist of a stay-dry, moisture-wicking inner layer (diaper) and a waterproof outer layer (built-in cover) that are sewn together on two or three sides to create a pocket. The pocket is stuffed with an absorbent liner. The absorbent liner is removed from the diaper before washing, therefore pocket diapers dry quicker than all-in-one diapers. Pocket diapers are a perfect choice for the new cloth diapering mom.
All-In-One diapers are as handy as any disposable diaper but are much more leak-proof. The diaper and extra absorbent layer is sewn to the breathable cover. They are the most convenient to use because all the components are combined into a single piece. There is only one item to put on your baby. Since they are “all-in-one” they do take longer to dry.
All-In-Two diapers are the same as all-in-one diapers but the absorbent liner isn’t sewn into the diaper.
See photos of the different types of modern diapers and read the entire article here: “How to Use Cloth Diapers – The Types of Modern Cloth Diapers”
How to Wash Cloth Diapers
Forget everything that you have heard about washing cloth diapers. “Toilet dunking” and “swishing” is a thing of the past. The modern cloth diaper fabrics and modern washing machines have made toilet dunking completely unnecessary. It shouldn’t be a complicated ordeal. Keep it simple!
Don’t be worried about washing cloth diapers. When you have a baby you are going to be doing your share of laundry. Babies spit up, breast milk leaks, etc. Washing cloth diapers isn’t any more difficult than any other load of laundry. The extra load of laundry every 2-3 days is easy. Just dump it into the washer, add the detergent and turn the machine on. It probably takes longer to empty a diaper pail full of disposables and take it out to the trash can.
Today, it isn’t recommended that you use the “Wet Pail Method” like they used to use back in the day. They used to recommend that you use a “wet pail” filled with water and bleach. This method was common in the days before modern washing machines and it is not necessary anymore. It’s messy, hard to carry, and can be a hazard to children. Using the “Dry Pail Method” is now recommended.
The dry pail method is simple. You can use a mesh bag diaper pail liner to line your diaper pail. A breathable, mesh bag, made for diaper pails, contains both the smell and the wet. When it’s time to wash you just throw the diapers and the bag into the washing machine.
Many parents seem to have missed the evolution of the cloth diaper. This is probably due to the experience of their mothers and grandmothers and not yet learning how easy the modern diapers are to use and wash. All the new options in cloth diapers are making cloth diapers popular once again and an increasing number of parents are reconsidering whether disposable diapers are the best choice.
Cloth diapers are a healthier choice for babies. They are simple, convenient, cost effective and better for the environment.
The real question that we should be asking ourselves is: why use disposable diapers?
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