How to Cloth Diaper- a beginners guide

Sure, it’s something that our moms and grandmas used to do and tell us stories about. “Back in my day we used cloth and rubber pants.” But did you know in the past decade there has been a resurgence in the popularity for cloth diapering. Some ladies want to “reduce their carbon footprint”, others want to save money (unless you buy a HUGE stash, you CAN save money cloth diapering), others like them just because they’re pretty, and some families switch to cloth because their babies are allergic to “sposies” (disposables). Whatever your reason is for switching you quickly turn to the internet to get some answers and have some myths debunked. I’m here to help! I’ve cloth diapered all 5 of my kids at some point in their childhood, and I’ve learned a thing or too. So, here’s a little guide on how to cloth diaper, for total beginners.

First off, you don’t have to be a hippie to cloth diaper!

But it couldn’t hurt. 😉

There are several different ways to cloth diaper. For convenience sake, we’re just going to separate them into 3 categories. I don’t want to scare off all you beginners.

There are…

  1. All in Ones
  2. Pockets/All in Twos
  3. Flats/Folded/Fitted (all of these need a cover)


  1. All in Ones…are exactly what they sound like. The soaker pad is attached to the diaper cover. If baby gets this wet or dirty you just shake off the nasties and toss this into a diaper bin. Put a new one on baby, done.

They are easy to use, you just snap or velcro it on and you’re done. No stuffing, no wiping it off, no pinning. But they take the longest to dry, because off all the layers. They are more expensive, but a perfect option for daycare or family members that are reluctant to cloth.

Example would be:

Bum Genius Elemental-One Size, All-inOne (limited edition “Love” print shown) $26.95


       2. Pockets/All in Twos… you put an insert in them. For the Pocket diapers you put the insert in between the cover and a polyester liner. For All-in-Twos the liner goes next to the baby. Don’t get your inserts confused though. Pockets usually come with microfiber inserts that are too wicking to go against skin, hence the pocket liner.

These are convenient once stuffed, just grab and go. But you do have to sit down and stuff them all. I like to stuff them while watching a tv show. They dry pretty fast if you shake the inserts out before washing. They’re also in the middle price range. I like them. You can also add extra inserts for nap-time, bedtime and long road trips.

PERFECT for beginners!! AND the one-size diapers will fit from birth to potty-training just by changing the snap rise. Very awesome.

Pocket example would be:

Bum Genius- One size, pocket diaper (shown in Armadillo)$17.95


   3. Flats/ Folded/ Fitted & Covers … these will get you the most street cred with your grandma and mothers. These are like the ones that graced your bum “back in the day” just a little more updated. These are also intermediate/advanced when it comes to dedication to cloth diapering. I consider you to be hard-core if you are using prefolds and a cover. You’re in it for the long haul. Not really for beginners, unless you’re the type to throw caution to the wind and dive in head first.

For flats, prefolds and fitteds you need about 3 dipes per cover. And if you’re cloth diapering full-time it’s recommended to have at least 6 covers and 24 prefolds/flats/fitteds. You can use the same cover for 3 diaper changes until you need to change to a fresh cover, if the prefolds are only wet. Just wipe off the cover, replace with a fresh prefold/flat and go about your day. If it’s soiled you’ll need to change to a fresh cover.

A flat is a just a big piece of cotton birdseye/cotton bamboo/hemp/etc. You have to do all the folding and get it around your baby, then put a cover over it so the babe isn’t leaking everywhere. $24-30 per dozen, depending on color

A folded/prefold is stitched so you know where to fold it. It’s like the cliff notes version of flats. Fold it in thirds, and then insert in the cover or use Snappis to hold it onto baby. These are good transitions to potty training because it lets baby feel wet. Be sure to change often so they don’t get rashes though. $24-45 per dozen, depending on size and materials

Fitteds are just like the old skool ones, but cuter. You use pins or Snappis to hold these together. They’re like if an all-in-one and prefold had a baby…minus the PUL cover. $5.95 each

COVERS!! This is where you can get into trouble buying all the cute covers. If you have self-restraint to just buy what you need, then you’ll totally make up your initial investment on cloth diapers. Otherwise, don’t forget you can always resell these later to other mamas when you’re done. $9-15 each, depending on the brand you pick

Cotton Babies figured it out. They released limited edition prints. Like this Harper Flip diaper cover, inspired by Nelle Harper Lee. Ahhh adorbs! They had a whole Genius series of cute prints inspired by Jules Verne, Albert Einstein, Louis Armstrong, Audrey Hepburn, Lewis Carroll, Ada Lovelace and nine other inspiring people.  #BuyAllTheDiapers !!! 😉

And don’t forget the Snappis, Boingos, or diaper pins to hold the prefolds together!

With $100 you can have everything you need to cloth diaper  (if you go the prefold and cover route). Even if you go with pockets and spend $300-500 on diapers you still come out ahead. Did you know it costs on average $2444.70 to diaper a baby from birth to potty training with disposables. Ouch.

Imagine buying diapers once and not having to worry about midnight runs out to get a diaper, wipes, or having to spend more money on diapers every week. You can actually buy that peace of mind.

I can’t even tell you how many times we’ve pulled out a Fuzzibunz in the middle of the night and didn’t have to worry if Target was still open to get more disposables. It’s nice. Really nice.

Anyways, this is your little intro into cloth diapering. I have some friends that were wondering about cloth and didn’t know where to start.

There ya go!

I would LOVE to answer any questions you have. I’m also really excited to share some tutorials to aid in your venture into cloth diapering and going green in general!!

Big thanks to Diaper Junction for letting me borrow their awesome pics. They have a 30 day trial program if you want to try out some brands to see what you like before getting a big Stash of them. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

So peeps, what do you think of cloth diapers nowadays? Would you do it?


Tell us what you think!