The Best Cloth Diapers For Parents Sick of Disposables

They sound daunting. They're not, if you're prepared.

by Donna Freydkin
Originally Published: 

The best cloth diapers aren’t just a hit with ramp-eating, bone broth-brewing, matcha-drinking hipsters anymore. The diapers have gone mainstream in a big way. Yes, disposables still own the diaper market, but their reusable cloth brothers and sisters are making headway, appealing to eco-minded parents who don’t want to overload landfills with diapers that typically don’t biodegrade.

If you’re thinking of going the route of the cloth diaper, Liz Turrigiano, co-owner of the Brooklyn-based cloth diaper service Diaperkind has tips. Before you fully dive in, you’ll need to settle on a cloth diapering style. There are all-in-one cloth diapers, which are the easiest to use, as they feature an insert attached to a waterproof cover, and the whole thing is washable. If your child is a heavy wetter, you may be better off with the all-in-two cloth diapers, which have a removable insert. Prefold cloth diapers are fabric rectangles that go under a waterproof cover. When the baby goes potty, take out the liner and replace it with a clean one.

Fitted cloth diapers fit more snugly than prefolds, and are better for overnights. Like the prefolds, they need a waterproof cover. And lastly, just to complicate things even more, there are the hybrid cloth diapers, which, like cars, go the cloth and disposable route. You simply add whatever liner you prefer. Velcro closures are easier to use, because you don’t have to line anything up, but snaps or buttons give you more wiggle room for growth and can be adjusted for size.

Turrigiano suggests starting with 24 cotton inserts and six liners. That’s enough to get you through 2-3 days, doing laundry twice a week. Speaking of laundry, you want to use “a clean-rinsing detergent, which means it’s free of fabric softener, optical brighteners, and fragrance. You want to avoid those three ingredients because they live on the surface on the fabric. Oh, and you need to flush poops in the toilet — something you’re technically supposed to do for disposable diapers, but is absolutely necessary for cloth.

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