When I was pregnant with my first child, 7 years ago, I knew I wanted to cloth diaper.
I didn’t know much about cloth diapering…Heck, I didn’t really know anything about it. I just knew I wanted to do it.
Since then we’ve tried a couple different variations on the same style, and I feel like we’ve finally hit our slam dunk with baby number three, Freja.
Oh man. It’s simple. It’s basic. It’s cheap. Most importantly, it works really well for us!
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So how do we cloth diaper?
I’m so glad you asked friend!
First, we start with “Flats” or “Flat Diapers.
At around $3-$4 each where I live in Canada (depending on whether you choose organic or not) or $2-$3 each in you’re in the USA.
These are a one size fits all diaper! Specifically, these are OsoCozy Unbleached Organic Birds Eye Cotton Flat Diapers.
No need to buy different sizes as your baby grows, these will do your baby from birth to potty training. You may need to double them up as they get older, but that’s just fine!
You’ll need 24 of them, and when you get them, wash them three times on a hot cycle, using detergent every time. If you don’t, they won’t be at their maximum absorbency yet and you may experience leaks.
Next, get yourself some covers.
Don’t skimp here. You’ll regret it.
Good covers can make or break your diapering system.
First of all, choose snaps, not velcro, as they’ll stay in better condition longer. We’ve used multiple different brands of covers and these two are our favourites!
On the left is a Best Bottoms cover. These are the creme de la creme of diaper covers. They’re double layered, thus much more durable. They’ve got snaps! Just like we want!
And most importantly, they’ve got these nifty snaps up the front so that you can adjust the rise of the cover. Why is this important? Well, it means that your baby can wear this cover from birth to potty training.
Best bottoms will run you about $20 a cover, but you’ll need just 6-8 of them, and you’ll just buy one set!
On the right is a Thirsties Duo Wrap. We’ve had two sets of these and they’re our second favourite. They fall second for a couple reasons. First being because you need a set of Size Ones, and a set of Size Twos. So while they’re cheaper, at roughly $15 a cover, you’ll need two sets, making them more expensive in the long run.
The other reason, is that they’re just single layered, so they don’t last as well. We had a set of Size Two’s for the last half of Mac’s diapering, and when we started using them with Hamish, they just weren’t as good anymore. They ‘delaminated’ making them prone to leaking, as well as the velcro was pretty shot.
The reason we still use Thirsties at all is because when Hamish was born we bought a set of Size One’s with snaps, before we found out about Best Bottoms covers, and the Size Ones’ with snaps seem to be holding up better than the Size Two’s with velcro did. We figure we’ll use them until she grows out of them to lessen the wear and tear on the Best Bottoms, as she’ll be wearing them a whole lot longer.
(She’s at the top end of the Size One Thirsties right now)
Now for the fun part!
So you get this package of diapers in the mail, you wash them three times, then you look at this giant kite of a diaper and think “My Goodness…what did Kate talk me into?! How do I use this diaper?!” Lucky for you, I came across the simplest way to use them that also allows for excellent absorbency.
I do this holding the diaper up between two hands, but for the sake of the photo, I’m showing you on the table. Start with your diaper flat like this;
Next, fold it together in a hot dog fold;
Then we fold it in half again, bringing top and bottom together;
Last but not least! Another hot dog fold. You’ve now got your diaper folded, with 8 layers for absorbency.
We tuck it in the cover like so;
Tuck it under the babies bottom like you would any other diaper, and fold the long end up over them;
Now, you can leave it like that, or you can do what’s call the “Bikini Twist” which makes it slimmer around the legs and easier to get the cover on snug. Simply twist and lay it down against the baby;
Now pull the cover up over top, and snap it up! You can see the snaps for the rise here in front, and if the baby seems to be swimming in the cover, adjust it down with these. It works the same on the Thirsties Duo Wraps and the Best Bottoms Covers.
Now you’ve got a diapered baby!
And She’s pretty happy about that…
So let’s do a bit of math here…
- 24 Flat diapers, ranging from $2-$4 makes your diapers cost anywhere from $48 to $96.
- 6-8 Best Bottoms covers, at $20 each, makes that $120-$160 depending on on how many you decide to get (We have 6).
Depending on where you live and how many covers you decide, it will cost you as little as $168, up to $256 to diaper your baby from newborn to potty training. Which, if you’ve looked at some of the costs of All in One’s and Fitted diapers these days…it’ll make a girl sweat just seeing those price tags of $20+ a diaper!
So not only are you going to spend a lot less than you would on multiple sets of diapers or disposables, you’ll have just one set of diapers to keep track of. No switching over as they grow. No storing diapers they grow out of.
As the Official Manager of Stuff in our house…that makes me pretty happy. And when your baby is finally potty trained? You’ve got yourself a kickin’ set of rags for cleaning! Or save them for the next baby 🙂
I’m thinking next month, I might let you in on my secrets of how I’ve made washing diapers streamlined as well as economical so they can easily fit into our life as a busy family of 5, what do you think about that?
For our family, this has ended up being a really frugal, economical and eco friendly way to diaper our babies. Have you used cloth diapers before? What did or didn’t work for you?
Kate is a crunchy mama kickin’ it old school. She’s a stay at home Mom of 3, living a homemade life on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada. She enjoys cooking and baking food from scratch, as well as any other DIY food project she can get her hands on. Through hunting and homesteading, her family produces more than enough to fill their own meat needs, happily helping others start their own homesteading journey along the way.