Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of cloth diaper should I use?
2. How many diapers do I need?
3. How do I convince my husband to use cloth diapers?
4. Help...My pocket diapers are leaking!

Q What type of cloth diaper should I use?

A:  Ahh...the million dollar question. Unfortunately, there is no black and white answer to that question. Fortunately, the cloth diapering industry has entirely redefined itself over the past 20 years. Parents are now offered the flexibility of choosing from a plethora of options to meet their cloth diapering needs. 

One thing I have noticed as a mom and a retailer is that no two moms (and dads) have the same cloth diapering preferences. While one person likes a particular type for one reason, another prefers another kind for another reason.  We suggest trying a variety of cloth diapers, at first, to experiment with all the industry has to offer and to discover what works best for you.
I have set out to attempt to simplify the choosing process. Below, I have rated the various types of diapers based on 6 factors: Affordability, Ease of Cleaning, Degree of Bulk, Absorption, Durability, and Ease of Use.

Keep in mind that this isn't an exact science. You may decide that Prefolds are best for you for most of the time but prefer to have some All-In-Ones on hand for Grandma or for day trips. Your choice ultimately depends on your family's lifestyle and your family's needs.

Diaper Comparison Chart  
Highest Rating ******  Lowest Rating *
Flat
Prefolds
Contours
Fitted
Pocket
All-In-Ones
Economic
******
*****
****
***
*
**
Ease of
Cleaning
******
*****
****
**
***
*
Minimizes
Bulk
*
**
****
****
*****
*****
Absorption
***
******

Depends on brand

Depends on brand

******

Depends on brand

Durability
 * ******
****
***
*****
***
Ease of Use
*
**
***
****
*****
******

Q How Many Diapers Do I Need?

The number of diapers that will suite your needs depends on 3 factors:
  • The age of your baby
  • How often you wish to do laundry
  • Whether you'll be cloth diapering full-time or part-time
Generally, your baby will start out at birth needing highest frequency of diaper changes. As your baby matures and begins solids, pees and poops will be less frequent necessitating less changes. Fewer changes means you will not need as many on hand. 

Diaper Quantity Chart

The chart below shows the preferred number of diapers you'll need at any age based on full-time cloth diapering. 

Frequency of Laundering

Everyday
Every 2 days
Every 3 days
0 - 6 mo.
10-12 Diapers
20-24 Diapers
30-36 Diapers
6-12 mo.
8-10 Diapers
16-20 Diapers
24-30 Diapers
12-24+ mo.
6-8 Diapers
12-16 Diapers
18-24 Diapers
Potty Training
2-4 Diapers
4-6 Diapers
6-8 Diapers

How Many Covers Do I Need?

This question also depends on a few factors:
  • How many diapers you'll have on hand in rotation
  • What type of cloth diapers you will be using
Generally speaking, most parents prefer to have on hand 1 diaper cover for every 4-6 diapers. So if you plan to have 24 diapers on hand, you will want to have between 4 and 6 covers.  The covers themselves will not be soiled enough between every use to necessitate laundering after each time. Most parents find they are able to use one cover up to six times before they need to be washed.

The number of covers may also vary depending on the type of cloth diaper you will be using. Diaper covers are not needed for All-In-Ones or for Pocket Diapers. You will only need covers based on the number of flats, prefolds, fitted, or contoured diapers you will be using.

Q Why Use Cloth?

Listening to Grandma’s story of washing her old-fashioned cloth diapers in the bathtub by stomping on them did not exactly convince me to choose cloth.  In fact, upon learning of our decision to hop on board the ‘cloth diaper wagon’ we received a ‘fair warning’ from Grandma against the tribulations we were about to encounter.  But back in Grandma’s child-bearing years, hand-washing of flat diapers, cumbersome pins, and the inhumanely non-breathable rubber pants were the only option.  It’s no wonder the movement towards disposable diapers caught on so quickly after its introduction in the 1960s.
The good news is that the cloth diaper has been completely revolutionized over the past 20 years!  The cloth diapers of today are dramatically different than the cloth diapers of even your parent’s generation.  Fitted diapers featuring elastic, built-in fasteners, and waterproof (yet breathable) exteriors have transformed cloth diapering into a convenient option for today’s busy mom.  Even so, the question remains: Why would you even consider a washable diaper when you could use a disposable?  A few good reasons to consider cloth diapers follow below:  


Monetary Savings

Your baby will go through about 8 -12 diapers a day ~ or about 6000 diaper changes by the time he/she is potty trained.  At $0.24 a diaper, that adds up to about $1,440!   By using disposable wipes, it will cost at least another $400.  In contrast, purchasing your own cloth diapers and cloth wipes to wash them at home will cost somewhere between $250 and $750.  Considering your laundering costs (about $.50 a load or $120 over the course of 30 months) you will still save about $1000 - $1,500 over this 2 - 3 year period!  Translated into an hourly wage, you will earn over $20 an hour with the additional time cloth diaper laundering will take.  


The Often Overlooked Health Reason

Most people underestimate the ability of the skin to absorb all with which it comes in contact.  There is a reason pharmacologists created a birth control patch that adheses to your skin and releases chemicals that alter the hormonal functions of your internal system:  Your skin is like a sponge.  Consider what you will be putting against your baby's vunerable skin for the next 2 - 3 years, 24 hours a day. 

With the exception of the pricy natural disposables available at your local health food store, disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate which absorbs liquid and turns it into gel.   Many parents who use disposable diapers will recognize the polymer as the shiny gel-like crystals that often make their way onto your baby’s bum.  Sodium polyacrylate works well to absorb and contain baby messes but is commonly linked to allergic reactions, skin irritations, and possible reproductive organ dysfunction.  It was banned from use in tampons in 1985 after it was linked to toxic shock syndrome and caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death in rats who were injected with the gel.  Ingested, sodium polyacrylate is deadly to children in amounts as little as 5 grams.  Cloth diapers are inexpensive and gel free!    


In addition, the dangerous chemical dioxin is reported by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals, and is a byproduct of the paper bleaching that is used in disposable diapers.  Whitening through the use of dioxin has been banned in most countries…but not in the U.S.   

With the toxic chemical exposure of disposable diapers, it is no shock that a study by a major disposable diaper manufacturer shows that the incidence of diaper rash rose from 7.1% to 61% between 1970 & 1995, coinciding with the increase in disposable diaper use.

Have you ever read the following warning on a package of disposable diapers?  IMPORTANT:  When disposing of soiled diaper, empty contents into toilet.  I did not realize myself that disposable diapers should be emptied into the toilet before being discarded…but as inconvenient as it may seem it does makes sense.  The diapers end up at the landfill, containing viruses from human feces (including live vaccines from routine childhood immunizations) that can leak into the Earth and pollute underground water supplies.  In addition to the potential of groundwater contamination, air-borne viruses carried by flies and other insects contribute to an unhealthy and unsanitary situation. One way or another, the waste caught by cloth diapers is likely to enter our sewer systems and is properly treated before re-entering our water. 

The solution saturated by most disposable wipes is also toxic.  In contrast, reusable cloth wipes can be used and laundered alongside cloth diapers and are a great alternative to disposable wipes.  Cloth wipes allow the flexibility for you to use plain water to cleanse your baby’s bum or for you to mix up your own chemical-free brew.


Ah yes…The Environment

As mentioned before, a single baby goes through about 6,000 diaper changes before they are potty trained.  That adds up to about 2 tons of used, non-biodegradable waste per baby when disposable diapers are used!  In addition, estimates suggest that 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.8 million tons of wood pulp (1/4 million trees) are consumed each year in the production of disposable diapers.  In contrast, you will only need about 50-60 cloth diapers for the entire diapering period!  What a difference!


In Sum…

The truth of the value of cloth diapers is self-evident upon inspection of the facts.  Your child’s health is so important to you; so too is the health of the planet upon which he or she will depend; and hopefully generations will carry on this Earth with the respect, economy, and healthfulness of your choice of cloth diapers today.

Q. Help! My pocket diapers are leaking.
I have a heavy wetter. I use a pocket diaper at night with two microterry
inserts. every morning my daughter's clothes and sheet are wet. Can you advise on what you would try to keep her dry?

A. The microterry is likely providing enough absorbency, but not the right type of absorbency.  Microterry is a fast absorber and will absorb A LOT.  But it also acts like a sponge.  So that if you put compression on it the liquid will squish out the sides. This is likely causing your leaks.

Hemp is a slow and stable absorber.  Meaning, it takes a bit to soak in but once it does, its not going anywhere else, even under pressure.

So my suggestion is to continue using a single microterry insert in your pocket diaper closest to your daughter's skin.  Add a hemp insert or a hemp doubler behind the microterry.  This should do the trick. 

If you are still having leaks, and the inserts are seemingly not fully soaked, then I would suspect your diapers need to be stripped of residue build-up.