We are pleased to announce that we are expecting another blessing around Father’s Day! So, in honor of the upcoming event, I thought this might be a good time to give a run-down of the various choices available these days in cloth diapers.
The “Old-Fashioned Kind”
If you were cloth diapered as a baby, most likely your mother use the kind most often referred to as “prefolds.” They were rectangular pieces of quilted fabric with a double thickness in the middle. They were held on with big diaper pins and then usually covered with plastic pants. Prefolds are still available in big box stores (though the plastic pants are getting hard to find). Most people use these as burp cloths rather than diapers nowadays.
Prefolds are one of the most economical choices in cloth diapers and have been updated in some online stores to be sized for babies for a better fit. In addition to the old diaper pin method of using them, they can now be folded and placed inside an easy-to-use diaper cover that snaps or Velcros onto the baby- no pins necessary.
Beyond the old prefolds, there are now all kinds of diapers. I originally sewed my own fitted ones using a pattern from Backwoods Home Magazine. (Here is an additional resource). For purchase, there are choices made of all cotton, microfiber, bamboo, hemp, and blends. If you look online at these links and others, you will see that everyone has an opinion about why their particular choice is best, whether it is the insecticide-free production of the plant material or the softness of the fabric or durability in washing. One recurring theme though is that synthetic fibers tend to stink over time because they are harder to get clean.
If I was going to invest in a set of cloth diapers now, I would get adjustable “all-in-ones” (this is one of several brands- notice the picture at the bottom of the page). These are most like disposables in how they work. They are pretty easy to use and economical considering that one size diaper (adjusted by how they are snapped onto the baby) can fit them from newborn up to potty-training. They are basically a waterproof cover with an absorbent layer inside. They fit the baby in much the same way as a disposable, but they will can be purchased in cute colors and patterns.
Why should I buy cloth diapers?
You may be wondering why you ought to have cloth diapers on-hand since your children are potty-trained or you have no plans to have children. That is a valid question. But consider a few things:
- You can’t be sure who will come to you for help or refuge in times of trouble and who they may bring along.
- Babies tend to show up when there is no birth control available.
- Diapers will be a hot barter item. It is said that 95% of babies (in the U.S. at least) use disposable diapers. Those will run out quickly if shipments to stores should stop. Every parent of a baby in disposables will need an alternative quickly.
For these reasons, I think every serious prepper should store cloth diapers. They are available in many online stores, on Amazon, and even eBay. The prices are all over the board, so do your research and make sure you know what you are getting. In addition, you may be able to find some gently used ones on Craigslist.
How many should I buy?
If funds allow, I would buy at least 48. The reasons behind that are threef0ld. First, babies go through a lot of cloth diapers. Cloth has to be changed more frequently than disposables. Newborns especially have small bladders and colons so diapering an infant can seem like a full time job. They will need a diaper change with every feeding, plus a few in between. Let’s say 10 a day!
Second, having spares delays wash day a bit. You wont’ want them sitting around too long, but you’ll have other things to do besides wash diapers every single day in a less than ideal world.
Third, having several dozen will allow you to use a set for your own child and still have some to loan or barter.
In future pieces, I will share how cloth diapers can be effectively washed and some diaper rash prevention and cures. After that, I will try to tackle alternatives to disposable baby wipes.
Do you have a favorite brand or style of cloth diaper? Please tell why in the comments section.