Cloth Diaper Guide

What Do I Need To Know About Cloth Diapers

Todays cloth diapers are modern, stylish and sophisticated. No more pins or bulky cloth with sticky elastic covers. Instead you will find cotton, organic cotton, hemp or bamboo blends of material that have an outer protective shell and are trim fitting and beautifully designed.

Understanding Cloth Diaper Options

All In Ones (AIO):  All In One Diapers have an absorbent liner and a protective outer layer integrated into a single diaper. The best way to describe a AIO is that it is a basically like a disposable diaper (it has everything you need). The only difference is that instead of throwing the diaper in the trash you simply remove any solids from the diaper and then store the cloth diaper in a pail or dry bag until you are ready to launder them. At first you will need to wash your organic diapers every day or two but as your child grows, and uses fewer diapers, you may get into a 3-4 day washing pattern.

Pocket Diapers:  Pocket cloth diapers have a protective outer shell and a stuffer that inserts into the protective diaper shell. Depending on what brand you choose there may be different stuffers for daytime or nighttime use. With pocket diapers you can usually use the shell for a longer period while only having to wash the stuffers. With pocket diapers, if the shell is still clean, you remove any solids from the stuffer and store your diaper in a pail or dry bag until you are ready to wash. At first you will need to wash your organic diapers every day or two but as your child grows, and uses fewer diapers, you may get into a 3-4 day washing pattern.

One Size:  A one size cloth diaper is a diaper that can be used from infant through the toddler age. Most one size diapers fit from around 7-35 lbs. If a diaper is not a one size usually the options will range from newborn, 7-20 lbs and/or 17-30 lbs, depending on the diaper manufacturer. Some parents prefer the convenience and cost savings of the one size while others prefer the trimmer fit of diapers specifically designed for a certain age.

NOTE: Both Pocket and AIO’s are sometimes offered in a One Size option.

Keep in mind that all babies are different and one cloth diaper might suit your needs better than another. When choosing a diaper we recommend trying a couple different types at first to see what will best meet your needs.

How Many Cloth Diapers Does My Baby Need?

Refer to the following chart to estimate how many diapers you will need per 24 hour period.

Diapers per 24 Hours
10-12 diapers
6 months and up
6-9 diapers
6 diapers

So, if using a All In One Diaper and you are washing your diapers at first every two days, you would want to buy about 24 diapers. In some cases AIO’s come with a pocket to insert a stuffer in for extra nighttime protection. Usually, a stuffer will be included with the purchase of the diaper, but sometimes it is nice to buy a couple extra stuffers for just-in-case situations.

Diapering Choices

When choosing an organic cloth diaper, these are the basic decisions you'll have to make...

  • Style of diaper: AIO or Pocket
  • Size Options: One size or sized according to weight
  • Fastener Options: Snaps or Aplix (velcro)
  • Colors: there will be a number of color options

Cost of Organic Diapering

Organic cloth diapers tend to be slightly more expensive than regular cloth diapers. For example the bumGenius One Size costs about $17.95, while the bumGenius Organic AIO One size costs about $24.95. Keep in mind that depending on the manufacturer if you buy in quanties (usually 3, 6, or 12) the price of the organic cloth diapers will decrease usually by 10-15%. The savings will add up over time versus disposables.

Forty infant size disposable diapers usually cost around $10.99 -- about a 4-day supply for a newborn. Therefore, in the course of a month you would spend about $87 on disposables. A 6-month supply would cost $522. Your entire organic diaper stash would cost $530. If you are using a One Size Organic Cloth Diaper you will be able to continue using the same diapers for the next 2 ½ years, whereas if you where using disposables you will keep having to pay for them.

What Else Do I Need to Buy With My Cloth Diapers

You might want to purchase a diaper sprayer which can easily be attached to your toilet to flush the solids out of a dirty diaper.

Other good investments include:

  • Diaper Pail AIO or Pocket
  • Diaper Pail Liner One size or sized according to weight
  • Travel Dry Bag
  • Wipes Reusable or Disposable

Diaper Resources:

Our Disposable Diaper Comparison Guide is a great resource that compares diaper brands for things like cost, latex, fragrance, and even wetness indicators.

If you are considering switching to a cloth diaper head over to our Cloth Diaper Guide.


Additional Resources