Cloth Diapering 101: A Quick Guide To Getting Started

Cloth diapering a baby may come across as a very new and overwhelming decision to parents who are used to disposable style diapers. It may sound very different from the disposable diapering system, but the truth is cloth diapers are not that different or difficult to switch to. In fact in the long run they are more budget-friendly and much better for the environment.

It’s not very well known that the first waterproof disposable diapers were created by a mother named Marion Donovan. She turned regular cloth diapers into waterproof ones by inserting them into a plastic shower curtain.

Cloth diapers are the best choice for your baby because they are more breathable, do not have any harsh chemicals and are biodegradable unlike the disposable ones.

As a parent looking to use cloth diapers, you probably have questions about the different types of cloth diapers, how to use them in the most effective way, and the best places to buy cloth diapers in India. This article will clear up some of those doubts.

In the long term, cloth diapers represent a saving over disposables. Image courtesy:  Superbottoms

In the long term, cloth diapers represent a saving over disposables. Image courtesy: Superbottoms

To begin with let’s take a look at the types of cloth diapers and how they can be used to better your cloth diapering journey.

Flats: A flat diaper is a wide piece of cloth made of cotton or similar thirsty materials. Flats are not waterproof so they require a cover over them to make them waterproof. Flats can be easily folded to suit the size of the diaper according to the age of your baby and fastened with a Snappi. Flats are the most budget-friendly kind of cloth diapers, and they can be used in all seasons because they can be air-dried indoors. 

Prefold diapers: A prefold is a rectangular cloth diaper that has an absorbent layer sewn into it. Prefolds come in a variety of sizes, fabrics and thickness. A prefold needs to be folded to fit into a waterproof cover. They can also be secured using safety pin or Snappi just like flat diapers. Prefolds take longer to dry that flat diapers due to the number of layers of fabric in them. They are slightly costlier than flat diapers.

Fitted diapers: Fitted diapers are a style of cloth diapers that have a shape as well as elastic and closure for easy diaper changes. They are made in a variety of fabrics from stretchy fleece knit to stay-dry suede. Fitted diapers take a long time to dry but to most parents, fitted diapers are one of the best night time cloth diapering solutions.

Cover diapers: A cover provides the waterproof layer needed to keep your child’s clothing dry when using cloth diapers. Covers come in both-sized and one-size variants. Covers can easily be wiped off and reused 1 or 2 times without having to wash them. Covers cannot stand alone and require an absorbent medium in them like a flat or a prefold.

Pocket diapers: A pocket style diaper has a pocket opening between the outer waterproof shell (or cover) and the inner layer that touches baby’s skin. You can place the absorbent material (insert) inside the pocket opening

All-in-one diapers: This is essentially a one-piece diapering system. The diaper has an inner absorbent layer attached to an outer waterproof layer with adjustable closures (either hook and loop or snaps) at the waist. These diapers are just like disposable diapers except you can wash, dry and reuse them.

All-in-two diapers: All-in-two or hybrid diapers are a two-part cloth diaper system. They consist of a waterproof outer shell and a detachable insert for absorbency.

I would suggest buying one of each type and seeing what works best for your child, as every baby is different. Cloth diapers are a very personal choice. Ideally,  if one is doing laundry every other day, it's better to have at least 15 diapers to begin with.

Image: Author

Image: Author

Four or five years ago there were hardly any Indian cloth diaper brands nor were there many authorised retailers for cloth diapers in India. Now that more parents are starting to show interest in cloth diapering, the Indian market has skyrocketed in the last 1-2 years, in turn giving rise to budding mom entrepreneurs. So many Indian mothers who cloth-diapered their children took the plunge and started their very own cloth diapering businesses. While some took inspiration from international brands and improvised their designs, others became authorised retailers for various cloth diaper brands across the world. 

These are a few cloth diaper brands currently available in India and some online stores where you can buy them:

Superbottoms - is an Indian brand started by a mom, Pallavi Utagi. Their products range from newborn diapers to all-in-one diapers to wet bags.

Cloth Diaper Shop - offers products including flats, all-in-one, all-in-two, pocket diapers and more. Almost all of their products are made in India.

Tushions - Previously Tushions sourced international cloth diaper brands like Smart Bottoms, and Grovia for sale in India. Now, they have started manufacturing their own cloth diapers in India. 

Bumpadum - is another Indian brand that makes cloth diapers. Their products include all-in-one, reusable cloth wipes, wet bags etc.

LaluBaby - If you are a fan of handmade fitted diapers, then this is your store. LaLuBaby offers handmade cloth diapers and reusable wipes. However due to popular demand their products get sold out very easily and are exclusive to LaluBaby’s webstore.

Image: Author

Image: Author

Cloth diapers require some special care. Here's how to keep you baby's diapers clean and make them last longer:

  • Always change the diaper once every 2-3 hours.
  • Shake the solids off of the diaper and store the diaper in a dry pail.
  • Try to line-dry your diapers in the sun at least thrice a week. Sunlight kills germs and helps remove stains from the diapers.
  • Use only laundry detergents that are cloth diaper friendly. Tide Original is a good option in case you cannot find Krya or a similar mild, natural detergent.
  • Never use any fabric softeners on cloth diapers.
  • In case of diaper rash, use only rash creams that are safe for cloth diapers. Coconut oil can help to a great extent.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

Haajra is a mom of three and the founder of The Mommy Blog. She is a teacher by profession and a blogger by passion. Follow her journey as a mom on Instagram @haajrafareen and on her website