So you’ve decided to give cloth diapers a try! You’re really excited about learning more about what's involved, how many diaper you are going to need, how much it’s going to cost and what type of cute little diapers you are going to use on your baby’s bottom! You sit down at your computer and type in cloth diapers on google. Suddenly you’re faced with all these strange terms like AIO, pocket, AI2, prefold, cover, fitted, flat and you’re wondering what in the world is all this mumbo jumbo? What does it mean?
You spend several hours trying to determine what each of these terms means but you end up shutting down your computer much more confused or in the very least much more frustrated than when you started.
This was my experience when I first decided to look into cloth diapering. The more I read the more confused I became by it all. Why were there so many options and what did they all mean? How was I supposed to know what to try? Was one option better than another? What was the most cost efficient? What was the easiest?
In all truthfulness the cloth diaper world can be a bit of a scary one to those just peeking in trying to determine if it’s the right fit. So to help ease the pain (a little) I’ve created a mini series of posts to help you understand Cloth Diapering Basics as well as explanations for most of the different terminology that you may come across as you look into the world of cloth.
To start off we must go to the very beginning and develop a very basic of understanding how a cloth diaper works. A cloth diaper is essentially made up of two parts that work together to make a complete whole.
Part A: An absorbent material.
Part B: A waterproof cover.
Ok now that seems simple enough right?
Yes, in essence it is pretty simple, so we won’t get into the complexities of it just yet! In order for a cloth diaper to work it’s important to have both of these parts functioning and working well together. Part A- an absorbent material is critical because obviously the cloth diaper has to be able to absorb pee and any other unfortunate liquids that may escape your baby's bottom. Part A would be what is most commonly referred to as the inner part of the diaper or the diaper insert. There are many options for absorbent inners in the form of various materials including- cotton, hemp, bamboo, organic cotton and microfiber (to name a few!) There are also a lot of different varieties in the way that these absorbent inners can be used and are structured into different types of diapers (more on that in our next post!)
Part B- a waterproof cover is also very important because you don’t want to end up with baby’s wetness all over you, the carseat, the couch or anything really! Having a good quality diaper cover is important as this it what locks the wetness in. As with diaper inserts there are a few different types of material that a waterproof cover can be made of and a several different forms that this outer cover can take when used as a cloth diaper.
So there you have it the very simplest basics of how a cloth diaper works! Put a good absorbent insert with a well fitted and waterproof cover and you have a functioning cloth diaper! Now if only the rest were so simple!
Join us for Part 2 in the Cloth Diapering Basics series to learn about the different types and styles of cloth diapers and all the fancy names that are used to describe them!
Happy Cloth Diapering!