Volume 1: Issue 1

Sage Parenting

Newbie Guide to Cloth Diapering


We hope you enjoy your time spent here.
We recommend starting with the Helpful Terminology page if you are new to Cloth Diapering.

There are many many wonderful Cloth Diapering sites out there, it can be overwhelming. So we've designed this towards the complete newbie. We hope you find some information here which helps give you the push into cloth diapering.

Sage Parenting Cloth Diapering Resource

Helpful Terminology
Frequently Asked Questions
Buying Cloth Diapers
Tricks of the Trade
Personal Experiences with Cloth Diapering
Final thoughts

Other Valuable Cloth Diapering Resources

Why Cloth Diaper?
Cloth Diaper Info
Company Reviews by Diaper Pin
Cloth Diaper Consumer Report Card
Washing your Cloth Diapers


*You should use your own judgment when purchasing anything over the Internet.

Every baby is different, and that's also how the diapers will fit them.

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Cloth Diapering Terms





All-In-Ones, similiar to disposables, except, of course, you don't throw them away and they're much nicer on your baby. These are a one-piece diaper, but some people will still add a doubler for added absorbancy. These are generally trimmer than other types of Cloth Diapers
Bleached White fabric, obtained by a bleaching process, sometimes natural.
CD Cloth Diapering or Diapers
Contour Diapers These take the place of a prefold for absorbancy, but they are more contoured to your baby's shape, instead of folding it.
Cover To be worn over Prefolds, Contours or Fitted diapers. They can be made of wool, fleece, PUL (Polyurethane Laminate), plastic or nylon. They will fasten with snaps or Aplix.
CPF Chinese Prefolds
Doubler An additional piece of fabric(s) that you insert into the diaper for more absorbancy
DSQ Diaper Service Quality (Prefolds)
Fitteds A fitted diaper is usually fastened with touch-tape or snaps. They will have absorbent material either imbedded in the diaper, or in a snap-in piece. You will need a waterproof cover over this style.
Flat Folds Just like our Grandmother's used! A large piece of gauze-like material that you fold to the thickness you want. The benefit is a short drying time.
Pocket Diapers This style is similar to an All-In-One, except the diaper has a pocket where you can stuff it with the amount of absorbency that your child needs.
Prefolds Just like our mother used! The rectangular fabric with the thicker quilting in the center. Can be pinned, Snappied, or simply lain into some covers. These require a waterproof cover to be worn.
A fastener for prefolds or flat folds or other diapers which do not have their own system. Used in the place of pins.
Soaker The portion of the diaper which does the brunt of the absorption or a Knit Wool Cover.
Touch Tape Generic term for Velcro or Aplix
Unbleached Some diapers come in unbleached fabrics. Generally these are softer, but require more washing prior to first use to remove natural wax in the fibers.
WAHM Work-At-Home-Mother. Many wonderful quality diapers are made by WAHMs, and you're helping keep another mom at home with her babies. Some WAHMs also run more of a 'general' store for diapering and natural products.
Wet Bag Waterproof bag used for storage of dirty diapers.
Wick This can be a good thing, when a fabric such as microfleece wicks moisture away from baby's skin into the absorbent layer. Or this can be a bad thing, when a cotton outer wicks moisture from inside an AIO or Cover on to baby's clothing.

Please email the administrator if you have more terms you would like to see defined and/or added.

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Cloth Diapering FAQ


Here are some questions that many have when first embarking upon Cloth Diapering.

Q. I've browsed around the Internet, and Cloth Diapers seem expensive. Can I really save money when they are $2/$10/$15/$25/etc. each?

A. Yes you can! Your disposables are costing you around 25 cents per diaper, plus tax, gasoline to the store and you know you never buy JUST diapers. Not only will they pay for themselves in a surprisingly short amount of time, but you can use them for your next baby or sell them used. There is quite a market for used Cloth Diapers. Here is a well-written article on the costs of Cloth Vs. Disposable Diapering.

Q. My mom used cloth diapers and said it was such a nuisance. Thank Goodness for Disposables or I would have SO much extra work to do.

A. Well, it's not all flat folds, plastic pants and pins anymore. All-In-One diapers are just like disposables in that you just put them on, they even come in styles with Velcro tabs similar to the disposables. Washers and detergent are so good these days, you don't even need to use a wet pail or do any diaper-dunking. Throwing a load of diapers into the washer every couple of days can be much more convenient than packing up the little one and dragging him into a store. There are no midnight emergency runs to pay extra at the grocery store, either.

Q. My baby is already X months old, is it still worth it?

A. Of course! Every disposable diaper you put on them is another one in the landfill, more trees cut down, and what about the chemicals on their tush? Besides that, it is rumored that cloth-diapered babies potty train sooner. Just tell that to your husband, and he'll be hooked!

Q. Why not just sew my own diapers?

A. If you can sew go ahead! There are lots of patterns out there. Then you can pick & choose the fabrics that work best for your baby.

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Places to Buy Cloth Diapers

As you may know by now, there's no point to checking your local mega baby warehouse store, because if they carry cloth diapers at all, it is a very skimpy selection, and most likely poor quality.
Luckily us mom's of the 21st Century have the Internet to help us as parents. Below, you will find a list of links to get you started. There are also many cloth diapering discussion forums devoted entirely to just this subject, on the internet, which you will find helpful mamas ready to answer your every question.

AP-Biz Director of Attachment Parent-owned businesses
Bumkins – Fitted & All In One diapers
Cloth Diaper Mama – a very complete directory of WAHMs who make diapering-related products.
eBay – always a great resource for New & Second-Hand Diapers
Fuzzi Bunz - pocket diapers
Kissaluvs – Fitted Diapers
Motherease – All In One, Fitted & Covers
WahMall – Collection of WAHM businesses & auctions
WAHMAuctions - Collection of WAHM businesses & auctions

You should use your own judgment when purchasing anything over the Internet.
Every baby is different, and that's also how the diapers will fit them.
If a company is not listed here, it's simply because we have not had the pleasure of trying out their product.

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Tricks of the Trade

  • If your diapers are a natural fabric like unbleached cotton or hemp, you will want to pre-wash them in hot water, and possibly vinegar several times to remove the natural waxy covering of the fibers which will repel the urine instead of allowing for absorption.
  • Sometimes your fleece might get "gunked" up by detergent build-up or other accidental laundry additives. If this happens it will no longer perform as intended. There are several methods to remedy the situation. You could use RLR Laundry Treatment, Sportwash/Sensiclean, Calgon Water Softener or just hot water. Several hot washes can help to remove residue from your diapers. This is also helpful if you find them smelling not-so-fresh.
  • Always fasten your Velcro/Aplix/Touch Tape closed or to the special washing tabs (some have) to keep them from snagging up your other diapers or filling with fuz. If your diaper or cover doesn't have washing tabs then fasten it closed - inside - out so the dirty part gets the most washing.
  • If your diapers/covers have PUL in them, do not use vinegar as it may cause the waterproof layers to break down. Also, limiting the amount of time they spend in the dryer will also help to lengthen their lives. I wash PUL covers in warm with my son's clothing, if they're not soiled, and hang them to dry. All In Ones containing PUL are washed in HOT with my other diapers, and hung to dry, whenever possible.

    Expensive velour/sherpa/terry fleece/etc. WAHM-made cloth wipes are wonderful, but cheap baby washcloths work well, too!
  • If your baby is a prolific pooper and you have several between washings...keep them in a separate pail, or just a separate bag in your regular dirty pail. This will keep them from getting poop on the exterior of other diapers. Plus then you can just put those in for the cold pre-soak/-wash.

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Personal Experiences with Cloth Diapering


To some people, cloth diapering might have been a given. However, to those of us raised outside of the granola, the question is often posed: "Why?" Or more likely, "WHAT! WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU...?"

I can only speak for my family, but if we can do it, you can to! You would probably be hard-pressed to find a lazier housekeeper than I or my husband. That is just not what we want to do with our time, yet I find time to wash diapers without fail. One, because you have to, and two because I actually enjoy it. That's right, I enjoy it. There's something about folding those cute little diapers knowing they'll be all soft and comfortable against your baby's perfect little body.

I knew people online who cloth diapered, but I found the subject to be overwhelming with all of the choices, so I had turned a blind eye to it until my son was about 13 months old. At that point I figured out that one of the reasons that our budget wasn't balancing was because I didn't have disposable wipes and diapers on the list and they were $40 & up per month. At the same time, my son developed eczema and while it can be attributed to diet, it also can be chemical. So off I leapt into the world of cloth diapering.

Ironically the online group which really led me down that road, was a non-AP group. Of course then I found more and more websites and messages boards dedicated to cloth diapering. My head was spinning. AI-what? Why make a cute diaper if you cover it? Chinese Prefolds, Diaper Service Quality Prefolds, European Prefolds - what is the difference - it's a diaper!? Talk about information overload. There is a lot out there, and it can be daunting. To help organize my research, thoughts and because I'm a geek, I put it into a website which I've used to contribute to the Sage Parenting website

Has our budget improved? Probably not. However these are reusable through more than one child, and believe it or not, they have a good resale value on cloth diapering message boards or eBay.

Has my son's eczema improved? Greatly.

- Sage Parenting mama, Melaniee, who began cloth diapering her son when he was 13 months old at the prompting of the family budget, her son’s eczema and Mothering’s timely article on Cloth Diapering.

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When I was pregnant with my first child I never even considered cloth diapering. It wasn't until after he was born, when my great-aunt came to see him that I even remembered they existed! She asked "Are you using a diaper service or did you buy your own"? Was she serious! She said to me, "It will save you money, help the environment and is better for your baby."

It wasn't until my son was 10 months old that I decided to give cloth diapering a go. I was between jobs, my husband had just finished school, looking for work and we were poor. I figured since we finally had a washer and dryer, and no money, this was the perfect time. I went to our local Wal-mart and bought Gerber prefolds. I bought pins and I bought plastic pants. These worked for awhile, but I was pretty uneducated about cloth diapering! I did everything wrong! I used NON-flushable liners and flushed them! The city did not enjoy cleaning out our sewer. I used bleach just about every other wash and the prefolds began to fray and fall apart badly, so I kept buying more. The plastic pants kept ripping and leaking. At this point I would like to insert a "disclaimer" stating Gerber products will work for you if you treat them well.

So, I thought...there must be an easier way.

I had been posting at an online natural parenting community and knew alot of the mama's used cloth, I just wasn't paying attention to the details of their posts. If I had, I would have known how to wash diapers properly and more importantly that there is a better way to cloth diaper! There are high quality prefolds, there are pinless diapers, diapers with velcro, things called "snappis" that replace pins?, there are cute little covers, FLUSHABLE liners! And most important there are All-in-ones that don't require a cover or pins? I was amazed, happy and still completely confused.

By the time I was ready to change my system my son was about ready to potty train.

But then I became pregnant with my second child. I started my search right away, determined to cloth diaper her from the start. I really wanted to try all-in-ones, and get some cute little covers for the prefolds I already had. That led me to just about every kind of cloth diaper out there. I can't say I have tried them all, but maybe one day I will! I have discovered there is a whole world of Work-at-home moms that take great pride in making great diapers and I am happy to support them and rave about them!

My daughter is now almost a year old and I am happy to say only has worn disposables for 3 weeks total in her whole life. Now I am even confident enough to cloth diaper away from home and on vacation.

I have gotten alot of mixed reaction from family and friends regarding my cloth diapers. My great-aunt thinks it is absolutely wonderful and loves to see the different diapers that I try. My sister thinks I am nuts and that she would rather have the convienience of disposables. To me it is not convienient to run out of diapers, and since I love washing and folding them I always have a clean, fresh diaper on hand! I don't have to put them on my grocery list.

Am I saving money? I think so. I have spent a little more money on cloth diapers than most people probably need to. I love different fabrics and textures. I always have, so I have splurged on some diapers just as one would splurge on other nice quality clothing. Am I helping the environment? Maybe. I will admit that the environment is not my first excuse for using cloth diapers, but it is nice not to have a full diaper genie every week to haul out. I try to reuse what I can with other things too, so cloth diapering is a bonus. I also line dry all my diapers and clothing to help save money and power. Is it better for my baby? Most definitely. We have never had to deal with diaper rash, and I feel good knowing there are not chemicals next to my babys skin.

I love our cloth diapers and our baby does too!

--Sage Parenting member, ajstacy, mama to two diaper butts

Final Thoughts on Cloth Diapering

We've shown several of the various cloth diapering choices that are available to you. Once you take that tentative step off of the Baby Aisle at Target into the wonderful world of Cloth Diapering websites, some of the prices might be scary. It's important to remember that you don't need a wool appliquid cover or an $80 matching set to be a Cloth Diapering family.

Prefold diapers are better than ever and you can get them for less than $2 a piece. When I was using disposable diapers, they amounted to roughly 30 cents each. That means you only need to use a prefold diaper 7 times and it's paid for itself. The sooner you start, the more money you will save. Don't feel like you need anything fancy to do something wonderful for your baby's skin, checking account and the Earth.