How To Get Started

What kind of diapers should I buy?

There is no one “best” kind of diaper for everyone. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be a bazillion different kinds! It’s kind of like buying a car–different things work for different families.

That said, if your baby is in daycare you will probably need pockets or AIO’s. I recommend the BumGenius pocket diaper. If you don’t like synthetics, I recommend the Bumkins AIO with a flat or a preemie prefold stuck under the airflow panel. There are lots of other quality diapers out there, but those worked well for us.

Outside of daycare, I recommend prefolds and snap wraps.

Why prefolds?!

I’ll be up front with you: Not everyone likes prefolds. Flats are cheaper and quicker to dry, fitteds are more leakproof, and pockets and AIO’s are considerably easier to use. But I can’t recommend any of those as a one-kind-satisfies-most solution, because flats are a big investment of time (folding), and all the other kinds are a big investment of money. I wouldn’t want you to spend a lot of money on something you didn’t end up absolutely loving. Plus, prefolds are extremely easy to care for if you have access to a regular washer and dryer, which is more than I can say about some of the other types.

Why snap wraps?

Again, I’ll be up front with you: All the different cover types have their pros and cons. Front-snapping covers win in my opinion because they allow you to lay the prefold in without fastening, which is the easiest way to use prefolds, without any risk of snagging, scratching, or unintentional naked baby that comes with Velcro.

What kinds of prefolds and snap wraps?

For simplicity’s sake, I recommend the Econobum, which comes in a money-saving package. Other good sources of prefolds are Green Mountain Diapers, Diaper Junction, and Clothdiaper.com. There are lots of brands of snap wrap on the market these days, unlike a few years ago when Bummis was the only game in town. My all-time favorite diaper cover (this is saying a lot!) is the Swaddlebees ABC Snap Wrap.

How many?

Three dozen diapers and 8 covers. (This is a fairly arbitrary number since some people get by on one dozen diapers and 2 covers, while other people have hundreds of diapers and covers; but I’m going on the logic of 10 diapers and 2 covers per day, washing every 3 days, with a few extras for the diaper bag.)

How do I use them?

I learned to pin by carefully studying the pictures on the Green Mountain Diapers site; check it out. Pinned prefolds are great during the day around the house for preventing diaper rash. Using a Snappi is easier than pinning but requires a cover if the baby is mobile; trust me on this one. Laying the prefold in the cover is the easiest method of all. Just fold the diaper in thirds or fourths, lay it in, slide it under the baby’s bottom, and fasten it like a disposable. The disadvantage to this method is that poop is more likely to get on the cover.

How do I wash them?

Wet and breastmilk-only-dirty diapers can go right into the pail liner. Rinse formula-or-solid-food-dirty diapers in the toilet with a Minishower or other diaper sprayer that minimizes the grossness, then put them in the pail liner. Wash every 2 to 3 days. Rinse or prewash the diapers on cold with no detergent, then wash them in a hot, heavy cycle with a normal amount of detergent and an extra rinse. THE KEY IS MAKING SURE EVERY BIT OF DETERGENT IS RINSED OUT. If the detergent doesn’t all come out, the dirt won’t all come out either. There is no one perfect kind of detergent. Optical brighteners are bad because they can break down the waterproofing in your covers and pocket and AIO outers, but other than that, there are no hard-and-fast rules. I use and like Sportwash, but it doesn’t work for everyone.

After washing, either dry them in the dryer on hot, or air fluff them in the dryer and then hang them outside on the line. Line drying is one of my favorite things to do, but apparently not everyone is as crazy about it as I am!

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