I wanted to make a type of cloth diapers post. But before that, I felt I should share how I felt when I received my first cloth diaper in my hands.
After weeks of research I placed my first order for a cover, a pocket and a fitted diaper. Yet when I received the diapers in hand, they felt alien, like something I had never seen or experienced before.
That’s why this post.. this is for all the new parents and care givers who wish to cloth diaper, but have no idea what a cloth diaper even looks like. Hopefully this post will familiarize you with the ins and outs of a CD and help you make a better, informed choice when buying them for your little ones.
So here is my first CD: a Pororo pocket diaper in owls print. Owls for some reasons are very popular on cloth diapers. Almost every brand has an owls diaper.
A cloth diaper is a modern cloth nappy. Unlike the erstwhile cloth nappies, modern cloth diapers are designed to hold much more matter read: pee and poop; prevent leakages and are waterproof. One major improvements is also that they don’t give baby a feeling of wetness, baby stays dry and happy for longer periods of time, even overnight. So basically, a modern cloth diaper imitates a disposable diaper in function, without any of the dangerous chemicals, bleach, paper and plastic. Wow, right!
Cloth diapers also make sense because they are size adjustable. They go right from the newborn stage to toddler-hood.
But how does it achieve this? Let’s look at this function by function.
A modern cloth diaper has a PUL exterior. PUL (polyurethane laminate) or TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) as some diapers have, is a laminate treatment applied to cloth (either cotton or polyester blends.) It is in essence a plastic layer added to cloth. This makes the cloth waterproof, while at the same retaining some amount of breath-ability. This does not mean that you can hold the laminated fabric to cover your face and breathe through it, like a mask. But it means that the fabric releases heat and water vapour thus keeping baby’s bottom comfortable.
Here is a closer look at PUL on a cloth diaper.
Cloth diapers are meant to fit on snugly on to baby. They should not be put on loose around the waist or thighs or at the crotch area. Unlike disposables which have liquid crystals which readily absorb any liquids, cloth diapers and their inserts absorb a little slowly. So things need to be snug and fit well, such that there are no leakages. Elastics around the thighs and at the back help achieve this. In fact in my experience, modern cloth diapers are so much better at containing new born pooplosions. These leg elastics and the inner double gusset created here, do that marvelously well.
Stay dry feel
The inner of a cloth diaper, or the lining inside is the fabric that touches baby’s bottom and is usually made of material which wicks moisture away from the source and take it down to the absorbent material which will hold it until changed. This material touching baby skin therefore needs to be safe and not cause rashes, or heat up irritating baby. Usually it is made of suede, fleece, cotton, velour, hemp, bamboo, charcoal bamboo. Not all of these are stay dry though.?
This owl diaper here is a pocket type, which means that it has a pocket in which you can stuff the absorbent material i.e. the inserts. Depending on your baby’s wetting pattern and your ability to change baby (example: is it for short periods, or for post lunch naps, nighttime, going out) you can add absorbent material into this pocket.
Once you feel the baby has peed enough to fill the diaper capacity, you need to change it. This is roughly between one to two hours for most diapers (or immediately in case of poop.) In the case of a pocket diaper, the entire diaper needs to be replaced. Other systems do allow you to change just the absorbent part i.e the insert and re-use the same shell (diaper outer)
Inserts come in a variety of types based on their material and their holding capacity. There are natural fibre inserts or synthetic ones. Each have their own set of advantages, there is no one insert which is better than the others. But I would say each serve a specific purpose and so it really depends on your baby’s wetting pattern and your convenience with respect to changing baby and doing laundry.
The wonder of wonders about modern cloth diapers is that they can last you right from the newborn stage to toddler hood. How? Because they come with snap adjustments to make the diaper smaller or bigger. Therefore there is no sizing depending on baby’s age or weight. (Most diapers do mention a general weight range, but it is more of an indicator than a hard and fast.) You do get sized diapers with certain brands, but most people prefer getting a one size diaper. The diaper has snaps, most usually on the front which can be closed down as per the baby’s size. So you start with the lowest and then work upwards as baby grows. This info-graphic is a commonly referred to indicator for sizing one-sized diapers.
We started using this pocket diaper around a few weeks old. BabyT was not very lean and we did not need to use the preemie or newborn sizing, but that is achieved by crossing over the tabs like so.
This is just an indicator, the waist can be adjusted at every setting to fit a range of baby sizes.
What did you expect when you ordered your first cloth diaper? Did it meet your expectations or you had some surprises? I’d love to hear your experiences.