Okay. You’ve chosen between using hook-and-loop or snap closures on your diapers, or even a mixture of both. No more closure issues to deal with, right? Well, guess what—not all snap closures are the same, and different snap configurations can be the difference between you being able to use a diaper on your child or not!
I don’t mean to depress you, or send cloth diaper newbies away screaming at all the choices they have to make. But more than once, I have heard stories about parents buying a big-brand diaper that others rave about, only to discover that the snaps are too low or too far apart to get a good fit on their child, and they sadly return the diaper. Unfortunately, you won’t know what snap styles will fit your child until you are actually putting the diaper on him or her. Luckily, you can make most diapers work, but it can be frustrating when one just won’t fit properly and you know it’s because of snap placements. Let’s look at some snap styles below.
A colorful collection of snap diapers. I even use some of them.
One of the things on every new cloth diapering family’s to-get list is a wetbag. What is a wetbag? For one, it is not a bag that is wet; though it is a bag that will potentially be wet (I guess the name Potentially Wet Bag didn’t really catch on). Wetbags are waterproof bags about the size of a sheet of printer paper, give or take a couple of inches depending on the brand, that close with a zipper. You know how baby stores sell little disposable bags to hook onto a diaper bag or stroller that are meant to store a disposable diaper until you can get to a trashcan? Wetbags are the cloth diaperer’s version of that.
From that basic description, wetbags can really differ from each other depending on the manufacturer. Some have extra zippered pockets on the sides, so you can store dry diapers, wipes, and other supplies apart from the dirty diapers on the inside. Some have loops on one corner so you can hang the wetbag from a hook or doorknob, and there are a surprising number of varieties these loops come in. Some are a simple loop of elastic, others are made of thick fabric and have snaps so you can snap them on and off whatever hook or knob you have.
Wetbags: Made in as many prints and designs as cloth diapers.
I made the decision to cloth diaper long before my son was born in 2010. Okay, maybe not long before. In truth, I belonged to a due date group, and a couple of the women started talking about how to find inexpensive cloth diapers. Of course, they brought up DiaperSwappers. In curiosity, I hopped over here, and lurked for a while before signing up.
We all know there are many benefits to cloth diapering. It’s gentler on baby’s bottom. It’s greener. It saves money. But what got me were the colors. There are so many pretty colors and prints!!! I’m a now-recovering shop-a-holic, and so I started to look into it. My husband thought I was crazy. My mother thought I was crazier. But I started buying them.
My first purchase were Kawaiis. The thrifty shop-a-holic came out in me, and these were pretty colors, one-size, cheap, and they looked just like the big expensive brands! When they came, I was so disappointed – they looked ginormous! No way would these fit a newborn (little did I know my newborn would be born into 0-3 month clothes and skip right over newborn!). For some reason, I was expecting teeny tiny newborn diapers. So I bought a few newborn diapers that were handmade and embroidered just for me off Etsy. Then I bought some Mutts, and of course I needed covers to go with that. I bought some mother ease, then I bought a few good mamas, some bum genius, and many other brands. Pretty soon I had 72 diapers and a baby in my belly.
My husband was finally used to changing a disposable diaper. He could roll it up and dispose of it. He knew which side was the front and how to unfold the diaper. Then we switched to cloth diapers and daddy had to beat the learning curve of diapers all over again.
I’m a stay at home mom and the main diaper changer in the home, but on the weekends I let my husband take over a little bit in that department. It didn’t take long to notice that he wasn’t comfortable with cloth diapers at all.
Don’t Expect Him To Know
I needed to sit down with him over a loaded diaper and teach him how we change diapers all over again. For example, we didn’t just roll them up and toss them away anymore. If they have solid waste it needs to be disposed of in the toilet as much as possible after the changing. We use inserts. It was important to know how to place them and which side of the diaper was the front and which snaps wrapped around.
What was even more important than all the diapering logistics was not making my husband feel like an idiot for not knowing how these new diapers worked. I asked questions and demonstrated. The next opportunity came to him.
The diaper sprayer as a tool in cloth diapering is very much an American standard. It is not as commonly used worldwide and in some cases even prohibited. There are many situations in which you may find yourself unable to use a diaper sprayer, be it short or long term in nature. From camping trips to travel, dispoable diaper liners are an answer to this dilema.
What exactly is a disposable liner?
A disposable diaper liner is a thin barrier that is laid between your baby and their diaper. Is catches physical waste while allowing liquids to pass through. They come in a variety of materials ranging from vicose to bamboo and with a variety of attributes including some that are flushable or biodegradable.
How do I use them?
They are actually quiet simple-
I don’t regret my decision to use cloth diapers on my child. He has gone from problematic diaper rashes to none at all. He’s happy to come running when it’s time for a diaper change as opposed to crying through a change because it hurts. Instead of bringing me the diaper rash cream he now brings me the inserts when he is helping me get diaper supplies. For my child cloth diapers have been wonderful. That makes them well worth the extra work for me.
There are a few things I didn’t anticipate with the change from disposables to cloth, but I have learned to adjust to the changes that I have needed to make to help my little guy be happy.
When starting out with cloth diapers, you will have more laundry. As you try out different types of diapers, absorbing materials and experiment with the number of inserts you need during a diaper change, you will also increase you amount of wet sheets and soiled clothes.
Once upon a time, there were pins. Not even safety pins, just pins. American women folded up cotton flat diapers and then wished strongly for the invention of “paper diapers,” which I would have as well if I had to pin diapers like this:
Image courtesy of the US Department of Labor Infant Care pamphlet from 1914, hosted at Georgetown University’s Maternal and Health Library website. Click on the picture to go there. Seriously, visit their website, those pamphlets are awesome to look through.
If you choose to go the route of diapers that need to be fastened (as opposed to, say, an all-in-one), you thankfully have many more choices these days.
I admit, I’m kind of a disaster freak.
Not like, “Oh no, the apocalypse is coming, gotta store 500 lbs of wheat in my cellar” type of disaster freak (mostly because we live in a top floor apartment in the middle of a large metropolitan city). But, you know, I live in the Pacific Rim of Fire and that top floor apartment gives me a dead on view of a volcano that’s been overdue for an eruption for a few hundred years now. I will at least get a National Geographicesque high-resolution closeup view of a volcanic eruption before I die a terrible, burning death.
Mountains: A pretty sight, until they blow up on you
However, more realistically, my decision to live a life on top of the area where two giant continental plates smash against one another means I’ll probably get caught up in an earthquake one of these days. The county has a suggested disaster preparation list of things that every family should have on hand in case of a disaster, tailored slightly to earthquakes for the area. You’ve got your usual water bottles and emergency blankets and ponchos, emergency food bars (have you ever actually eaten those? They’re, uh…definitely only something I’d eat in an absolute emergency), and then, almost as an afterthought, the list adds “specialty items for kids and pets.” This is important, but it begs the question of what the absolute essentials are for children in a time of disaster.
I was a little worried when I decided to try cloth diapers for the first time. They look complicated. Especially the ones that I got. Mine were of the snapping variety that have removable pads. I was worried about how my son would deal with the new feel of cloth rather than disposable diaper on his rump. I was even worried about not being able to snap them properly and them falling off of my son. I shouldn’t have worries.
Why Snap Diapers
I chose snaps for one reason. I wanted to save money, so I wanted to know that the diaper would grow with my child. I didn’t want to use the most basic cloth diapers because I had no desire to use safety pins that near my child’s skin. Although the velcro diapers may have been able to adjust in the same way, I could see it with the snapping diapers. They looked like they could adjust from our second child being a newborn all the way through the toddler years when it was time to potty train. There were snaps to fold the diapers to the proper size as well as snaps to make the leg holes and waist smaller. Also, they were visually appealing.
The pads that came with the diapers were made of bamboo microfibers. They were much softer than I expected. I was relieved about that. A child goes through about six to eight diapers a day. I only had the six inserts that came with the diapers. I ordered thirty more so that when my second child came I would have enough for both of them. It would be enough for me to rotate in the laundry without an interruption in my diapering.
My Child’s Reaction
My son loved the diapers and would actually hold still for a diaper change. I know that this may seem like a small thing, but he usually tried to squirm away from a changing as soon as the old diaper was off. He had endured some skin irritation due to his disposables in the past, and wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of having another diaper put on him. I liked the way that they breathed. I noticed that he didn’t try to take it off. I also liked that he would immediately come to me when he needed changing because, while absorbent, the removable pads still felt wet. This was ideal for preparing him to potty train. In fact, the only thing he seemed to miss was the sound that his diaper made when he was walking. He got over that fast.
The Down Side
I noticed that my son was getting a little red down below. It may have been because he was having stomach issues that week. It may also have been because he was chafing. Either way I would recommend stocking up on your favorite diaper rash remedy, just in case. That is the only down side that I experienced. All in all I enjoy our new cloth diapers, and so does my little one.
So you have decided to go with a diaper that needs a cover—fitteds, flats, or prefolds. You’ve decided between pins, Snappis, and Boingos. You have precisely plotted out the exact day and time your child will hit the next size up and stored your stash accordingly (note to first time parents: good luck with that). Now you just need to pick a cover to go over the diapers. But what to get?
There is an exponentially large number of combinations of covers, possibly somewhere in the vicinity of the number of stars in the universe. You can choose from a gigantic rainbow of solid colors, a plethora of prints, hook and loop closures, snap closures, one sized covers, sized covers, cheaper covers made overseas, expensive covers made in the USA, nylon covers, PUL covers, wool covers, and, finally, either pull-on covers or wrap-style covers. Let’s explore the differences between those last two choices.
Vintage style diaper cover vs. modern style diaper cover. How times have changed!