Diapering at Home & On The Go


Diaper ChangeWhen I told my mother that I wanted to cloth diaper, she looked at me like I had grown a second head.  Why on earth would I ever do that? The days after having a baby are hard enough dealing with sore swollen breasts, painful lady parts, and a torrent of emotions without adding twelve dirty diapers!

She did not realize how amazing cloth diapers are these days; that the days of plastic vinyl pants are long gone with the pins.  Now there are cloth diapers that are daddy and babysitter friendly.  Aside from the fantastic new diapers available choosing cloth over paper diapers is the eco-friendly choice as well the most cost effective choice.

The easiest way for me to do this was to tell her and then show her the wonderful diapering options available these days.  Below are a few of the types available.  There are others but these are the types that are most common.

Pre-Fold Diapers

Pre-folds- there are still pre-folds available.  They are of better quality than the Gerber diapers that she is familiar with (I prefer Indian Pre-folds).  Snappis are used instead of pins.  They prevent you from sticking yourself or your baby accidentally.  Pre-folds are not water proof and require the use of a cover.  Because they are inexpensive and newborns go through several diapers a day- these are great for the first few days and weeks.  As a bonus, after diapering days, they double nicely as dusting clothes or burpers.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Diapers are my favorite kinds of cloth diapers as I can add more stuffing to increase the absorbency.  So for overnight I can add an extra liner and allow my super soaker baby to stay leak free.  There are pocket diapers that can also be used as a hybrid system with a disposable liner for times when you do not want to carry a bunch of wet or dirty diapers around.

Pocket diapers come in different sizes or one size variety that can be adjusted to fit different size babies.   Despite the adjustability they are often too big for newborn infants.  These diaper also use Velcro like closures or snaps to close.  Additionally, different babies are different shapes, so different brand of diapers may work for one child but not so well for another.  There are stores that have trial packages available so you can see which is best.


All-in- one diapers are the most expensive variety of cloth diapers.  They also function the most like disposable diapers.  No stuffing, no snappis, just put it on, just like a disposable.  These are often one-sized diapers but they also can be too large to fit newborn infants.  These diapers use Velcro like closures or snaps to close.

Another new development is the use of a diaper sprayer, as an alternative to soaking soiled diapers.  It is similar to a kitchen sink sprayer but it attaches to a toilet.  Using this piece of equipment solid waste can be rinsed directly in the potty easily and quickly.

In terms of financial savings the initial outlay for cloth diapers is daunting.  Over a child’s total time in diapers disposable diapers can cost $2500.  Using a combination of different types of cloth diapers (some pre-fold, some fitted, some pocket, some All in One) the cost is about $1500.  Also these diapers can be re-used with other children or sold to re-coup some of the costs.

As a new mother, packing to leave the house even for a fast errand can require as much preparation as a military invasion.  At first there seems to be so much to pack so many things your infant could need and no way to predict exactly what would happen.  After a while new parents get this down.  Two things that new parents will almost certainly need are diapers and wipes (and a bag of some sort to carry wet and/or dirty diapers in).  Personally, I have a wet bag (a zippered water proof bag designed for carrying wet or diapers/clothes home) as well as a few extra plastic grocery bags for carrying messy pants/clothes.  Not everyone needs a stink bomb in their garbage.

How Many To Bring

Simple answer? For a newborn? A lot. Assume that you will need to change a newborn baby at least once an hour, and there very well may be some amount of leakage, so bring some extra clothes as well.  If you have a diaper bag, it likely came with a changing pad- if you lose it or you opt to use a standard tote- put a towel in it.  Messy pants are messy.

At home

Keep your diapers and your wipes together along with anything else your little one needs at diaper time, cream, a special toy, whatever.  You will learn more about what works for your baby as you go along.  Keeping a ‘station’ on each level of your home makes a lot less work, particularly if you have other children or are still recovering.  A changing table is not necessary.  Babies wiggle a lot, especially as they grow, changing a baby on the floor (with a changing pad or towel) is a perfectly acceptable option.

Like nearly everything with parenting, you can change your mind.  If you start with disposable and opt to switch to cloth? Go ahead.  Want to use cloth at home and disposable out of the home or at night? That’s fine.  Do what works for you.

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