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Cloth Diapering 101

Contrary to popular belief, cloth diapering is pretty easy to do. It’s also a mega money-saver compared to disposable diapers. If you’ve wanted to give cloth diapering a go, this post will tell you everything you need to know!

Cloth diapering for beginners.

Benefits of Cloth Diapering

You may have grandma’s cloth diapers in mind and not see the true benefits of giving them a try. Thank goodness for their evolution because today’s cloth diapers are much easier to use. In addition to the better function ability, here are a few other benefits:

  • You will save a significant amount of money.
  • Using cloth diapers could aid in easier potty training.
  • Cloth diapers can reduce diaper rash.
  • They have less harmful chemicals.
  • You won’t contribute to landfill waste.
  • Cloth diapers have multiple uses.

Types of Cloth Diapers

Do one quick “cloth diaper” search and you’ll quickly find there are many different types. So, how do you know which is which and what to pick? Below are the different cloth diapers explained.


These may look a little old-fashioned but once you learn how to fold them, you’ll see that they are the most customizable. You can fold them to contour your baby and are adjustable depending on the gender of your baby.

You may want it thicker in the front for boys and thicker in the back for overnight. See what flats look like and buy them here.


Prefolds are rectangular-shaped fabric that is extra thick in the center. Since these are already built-in with absorbency, they only require minimal folding. Here are what prefolds look like and where you can purchase some.


These begin to resemble what disposable diapers look like; however, they are the fabric only and will typically need a waterproof covering. T

hey have buttons for adjusting the size to fit your baby along with elastic at the legs – hence, where the word “fitted” comes from. Check out these fitted cloth diapers.


Contour are similar to prefolds except there is no folding involved. They are already “contoured” to fit through the leg area, but they don’t have their own closures.

Without closures, you’ll have to find a way to pin them down. There are also a variety of fabric types to choose from: PUL (polyurethane laminate), wool, and/or fleece. Here is a good look at contour diapers.

A baby wearing a cloth diaper.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket diapers will resemble disposable diapers in shape; however, they are made up of two parts. It has a waterproof shell on the outside and a pocket on the inside along with an absorbent insert to put on the inside.

Most moms purchase extra inserts since they can be changed out. See what pocket diapers look like and purchase some here.


These are often a first-time cloth diapering mom’s go-to when starting the journey. They are the most like disposables because there is nothing to fold, insert, and so on.

Everything is already put together for you and it comes in different adjustable sizes (and colors). Here is a good selection of all-in-one cloth diapers.


The biggest difference with this cloth diaper is the absorbent insert will right up against the baby’s skin. It has an outer waterproof shell and typically dries faster than the AOIs. Check out the AITs here.


Hybrid diapers are a lot like the all-in-twos except the insert can be disposable or cloth. They usually have Velcro fastenings at the waist and buttons for the inserts to stay in place.

They can be more on the expensive end, but worth it. Here is what hybrid cloth diapers look like and where to buy them.

How to Start Cloth Diapering

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of cloth diapers available. It’s time to look at how to get the actual process started.

Start small.

As tempting as it may be, don’t think you need to buy 20 cloth diapers of all types. Start with one or two types to try out and then decide if those are the types for you.

You’ll also want to look at different detergent options as there are specific types that work best for cloth diapering. Try a few samples of those as well.

Stock up on what you like.

Once you’ve found the type of cloth diaper you prefer to use, now it’s time to stock up on them. You’ll notice that there are all types of designs, colors, and brands to choose from. Some moms like to color coordinate with their baby’s outfits. Also be sure to keep enough extra on hand as you would disposable diapers (for the diaper bag, traveling, just-in-case, etc.).

Join a community/support group.

There are tons of these types of groups on Facebook and they come in handy should you have cloth diapering questions. Veteran moms are always eager to help new moms out and often have lots of advice to give. These groups are also perfect for finding hand-me-down cloth diapers, especially if you’re not looking to pay full price.

A basket of cloth diapers.

Final Thoughts on Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating. Give yourself time and grace to work through any learning curves to help you get to your sweet spot. Before you know it, you will get the hang of it and be able to help other moms start their cloth diapering journey!