When I first started cloth diapering I had no idea what I was doing, made some rookie mistakes and gave up for a while. After I got educated, the process of switching to cloth again was an absolute breeze. What made the biggest difference to me was talking to an experienced mom about my concerns and challenges. So today, I’m your experienced mama friend with information on cloth diapering and accessories.
Diaper Covers are a necessary part of several diaper systems. When using flats, prefolds, and fitteds you will need a cover to keep messes from escaping the diaper. The most widely used type of cover is made from PUL (Polyurethane laminate) or a coated waterproof fabric. PUL covers have a contour shape and can fasten with aplix (Velcro) or snaps. They are excellent at containing messes and are still breathable. Most are also safe to machine wash & dry. Vinyl covers are sometimes also referred to as “plastic pants.” These are the covers that my mother used. They are very low cost, but are not breathable. They are usually a pull-on style and the elastic has been known to squeeze the generously proportioned baby. Wool is another great cover option. Wool covers are lanolized (treated with liquid lanolin) to make them waterproof. They are the most breathable and are therefore surprisingly cool. Wool does require special care and most often must be hand washed and line dried. Fleece covers are often considered the vegan alternative to wool. They are made from polyester and are waterproof, breathable, but tend to be bulky and prone to compression leaks.
The original fastener, the diaper pin, is still in use today. They can be especially useful on finer weave fabrics like bamboo. Once the pin is in place, it stays put very well. The big drawback is obviously the sharp point. I used pins at the beginning and pricked myself several times and baby at least once. The Snappi diaper fastener has replaced pins for many a modern cloth diapering mama. They are “T” shaped and stretchy with little plastic teeth that grab the weave of your diaper, keeping it in place. The Boingo is another similar alternative that uses plastic teeth to grab the diaper. The Boingo comes in two separate pieces which allows for great adjustability, but also means you have to keep track of both pieces.
Liners and Inserts
Liners and inserts are two very different products that can sometimes be confused. Liners are meant to protect your cloth diapers from things like ointment or diaper cream or to help make cleaning up poopy diapers easier and more convenient. You can find cloth or all-natural, flushable liners. If you are using a flushable liner you simply gather and flush baby’s mess and there is no need to spray or dunk your diaper to remove poop. Inserts (also called “doublers”) are made to add absorbency to a diaper. They are commonly made of microfiber, but cotton, hemp, and other fabrics are available. If baby is a heavy wetter, extra inserts can be placed inside a pocket diaper or other type of diaper to hold more. Microfiber inserts should not be placed directly against baby’s skin (inside a pocket is fine), but other fabrics can lay right on top of whatever diaper you are using.
Diaper sprayers are designed to help make clean-up of your cloth diapers easier and less yucky. Diaper sprayers are similar to the dish sprayer you might have attached to your kitchen sink. They attach to your toilet (installation is simple) and allow you to spray off your poopy diapers directly into the toilet.
Pail Liners, Wet Bags, and Wet/Dry Bags
Pail Liners are large waterproof bags that fit perfectly over an under the sink trash can or 5 gallon bucket. Pail liners allow you to stow your diapers between washes and are washed right along with your diapers to help keep odors and messes to a minimum. Wet bags are also coated with a waterproof lining and are available in several sizes. Because they are often smaller in size and secured with a zipper they are perfect for helping take your cloth diapers on the road. Wet/Dry bags have the added benefit of an extra “dry pocket” so you can stash clean and dirty diapers separately in the same bag. Click on the images above to buy.
Not all of these are accessories are necessary to cloth diaper your baby, but some of them can most definitely make your life easier. If you have been used to the convenience of disposables, the switch to cloth can seem daunting. Some helpful accessories can make the adjustment not only easier, but actually kind of fun. Our next article covers how to launder your diapers and keep funky smells at bay. Happy Diapering!!!