They say babies are not cheap and we're sure no one will object if we say diapers are one of the most expensive item you will spend on your baby. The average age a baby is potty trained is between 22 and 30 months of age (of course, each child differs) so up till then, you will need to spend on countless bags of diapers and they all add up, don't they?
What if we now tell you there is an alternative that will cut your diaper expense tremendously? And no, it is not some new invention (though we wish there is!) but rather, it is the Cloth Diaper which has been around for some time.
Now before you groan and turn your back away - trust us, we'd be too when we think of one more added chore (cleaning and washing used diapers) to the endless list of daily parenting things to do- read on to find out why switching to cloth diapers may be one of the best decision you have made in life. And it won't be just for economical reasons, we promise!
There are several types of cloth diapers but we'd recommend the Pocket type due to its ease of use and the lack of need for a diaper cover. Our reviews on cloth diapers is focused on finding the best pocket diaper for you.
In short, pocket diapers are made of a waterproof shell and an inner liner, with a "pocket" in between the two layers to fit an absorbent pad. The absorbent pad is where all the mess go to while the waterproof shell prevents any leakage from it (which is why it is one of the best solution for poop explosion).
1. Top 5 Best Cloth Diapers
Comes in 7 packs with 7 inserts and 1 wet bag, this 15-piece set of baby cloth pocket diapers is the best cloth diapers among all competitions. This is not surprising, considering it comes from the best brand of cloth diapers.
While it is understood that cloth diapers are generally less absorbent than disposable ones due to the lack of sodium polyacrylate, the Nora's Nursery Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers have overcome this with its insert design.
The two outside layers are made from Bamboo (which is the best cloth diaper covers, especially for newborns) to maintain comfort against your babies bottom while the 2 inner layers are microfiber to absorb moisture and maintain dryness. What's brilliant about this design is that other than being eco-friendly, these inserts get softer and more absorbent with every wash.
The leg gusset prevents any leaks or stains and the adjustable snap layout fits babies and toddlers from 10 to 33 pounds. This means you do not have to look for different sizes of diapers anymore as your baby grows, which is a significant amount of time and money saved.
The design of the waterproof shell is unisex so you can use it on both boys and girls, and because it is waterproof, as long as you maintain it well, you can use it for as long as your baby needs a diaper and even pass it down to your next baby. All you have to do is just replace the inserts, which you can buy separately, once they worn out.
The Nora's Nursery Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers also come with 1 wet bag which has two compartments - the outside for storing fresh, clean diapers while the soiled, wet ones can be zipped up in the waterproof main compartment for days when you need to be outside the house.
There are not many cloth diaper brands that use bamboo in its diaper manufacturing anymore and this is why we love and think the Nora's Nursery Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers is the best reusable diapers for newborns. We know how delicate and soft a newborn's skin is so the bamboo layers of this cloth diaper is the best as it is the gentlest out of all materials against your baby's bottom.
ALVABABY is another best rated reusable baby cloth diaper brand and its pocket diapers do not disappoint.
Also a one-size-fit-all, you can reuse this baby cloth diaper from newborn up till toddler stage when baby is potty-trained. What we like about the ALVABABY is that it comes with double rows of snaps which can fit better for baby.
The reason we rate this a second to the Nory's Nursery is that it is made of 100% microfiber terry cloth while the latter has two layers of bamboo material which is gentler on baby's skin and is more environmental friendly. Nonetheless, 100% microfiber makes the ALVABABY more absorbent than regular flannel and it also dries much faster after being washed. Because of this, one can say it is the best washable diapers.
The ALVABABY is machine-washable but we'd strongly recommend you to follow the care instructions given, such as adhering to the washing temperature and no bleach, no softener restrictions so that your baby can get the longest wear from your cloth diapers .
Compare to the Nory's Nursery and ALVABABY which fit babies from 3lbs, Mama Koala Pocket Cloth Diapers are more well suited for bigger babies as its ideal weight starts from 8lbs. As such, you may say this is not one of the best cloth nappies for newborns.
Nevertheless, it is still a one-size-fits-all cloth diapers that grows with your baby until they are 35lbs. The outer of this diaper is made from breathable, waterproof TPU while the inserts are made from 3 layers of microfibre so this is one absorbent cloth diaper for the bigger wetters.
One may think the Mama Koala Pocket Cloth Diapers is the best cloth diapers for boys due to its more boyish design but really, we think it suits girls perfectly well nonetheless.
As with all cloth diapers, you should adhere to the washing and caring instruction provided to ensure your diapers remain the their best cloth condition. If you cannot find any instruction, follow these and you will be in safe hands.
If you are looking for the best affordable cloth diapers in the market, look no further - the LBB Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers Set is your answer.
Although it is almost half the price of the Nory's Nursery, the quality of this cloth diaper is not to be underestimated. In fact, we are pleased to discover that it also has bamboo fibre on its surface (the best cloth diaper covers for newborns), and that it has a 3-layer microfibre insert which makes it ultra-absorbent.
Another amazing feature is that it has three rows of adjustable snaps which makes it one of the best adjustable cloth diaper in the market. It fits even the smallest newborn, as the waist tabs can overlap for extra small waist size.
The LBB Baby Cloth Diapers Set has everything you need and for the cheap price you are paying for 1 set, there really isn't much to complain about this cloth diaper. It is the best inexpensive cloth diapers you can score in the market to date.
MooMooBaby's All In One Shell-Snap Cloth Pocket Diapers is another best baby reusable diapers for newborns that we would recommend for those looking for cheap cloth diapers.
This cloth diaper is an All-in-One diaper meaning that the microfibre insert is actually attached inside the pocket (sewn in completely and does not get twisted in the wash).
We are impressed with the thoughtfulness put into the design of this cloth nappy as it also caters room for an extra insert for the heavy wetters. If this is your situation, you will need to buy extra inserts as it does not come with it. We suggest these which are of the best quality.
It is waterproof, reusable, washable and antibacterial. The three rows of adjustable snaps enables you to adjust according to baby's best fit and it also comes with a detailed guide on how to adjust the size to ensure baby's comfort.
For those that want it fuss free, the MooMoobaby All-in-One Shell-Snap Cloth Pocket Diapers is the best cloth diaper for you because you do not have to separate the inserts from the outer shell (like most others do) before you wash it in the machine. More time saved!
2. Why you should use cloth diapers instead of disposables
* Health benefits
You may think that using cloth diapers is primarily for cost-saving reasons but do you know that cloth diapers pose more health benefits to babies compare to disposable diapers?
As opposed to disposable diapers which have a type of chemical (called sodium polyacrylate to make them more absorbent) that has been associated with toxic shock syndrome and skin irritation, cloth diapers are produced free of this chemical as well as other synthetic materials. Also, cloth diapers do not have dyeing agents which most disposable diapers employ to make them bleach white so the former has one less chemical irritant.
Not to mention waste will be properly disposed of in the toilet for cloth diapers hence they pose fewer health risk compare to that of their disposable counterparts, which unless you get a proper diaper pail, will stink up your whole place and thus spread germs and bacterias if you dispose used diapers into normal dustbins.
During infancy, babies go through an average of 12 disposable diapers a day which will reduce to 4-6 per day as they grow older, but still, that adds up to an average of 7300 diapers over 2.5 years until they are potty-trained!
With cloth diapers, you will only need 24 - 36 diapers (if you wash twice a week) and most of all, you do not have to worry about getting different sizes to accommodate baby's growth as most cloth diapers are a one-size-fits-all, given their plastic snaps / Velcro closure design.
Needless to say, reusable cloth diapers are definitely much cheaper than disposable ones in the long run for most families and you'll get the most cost benefits if you start using them early.
* No more poop explosion
In for a gross surprise when you see poop up your baby's back and everywhere when you change his/her diaper? This, my friend, is called the "poop explosion" and it couldn't be more frustrating and irritating for both parents and babies.
You may have heard of one solution - switching up a diaper size as poop explosion can be due to diapers being too small, but this may not work for everyone and you risk getting more leakage of both poo and pee if the diaper is too big.
With cloth diapers, you will not experience another leakage or poop explosion anymore and this is predominantly due to their design. There are two parts to a cloth diaper - outer "shell" that is water-resistant to stop leaks and never touches baby's skin, and inner "stuffing" which holds all the waste for you to dispose of into the toilet.
Many parents find that this is the only solution that works to get rid of poop explosion, and any leakage overall.
Cloth diapers are 40% less harmful to the environment compare to disposables as they can be used over and over again. Also, clothes diapers mean less waste and subsequently less environmental impact because of the vast reduction of diapers required.
Less materials are sourced to manufacture clothes diapers compare to that of disposables which are mainly made of wood pulp and synthetic materials. For the most environmentally friendly diapers, look for organic cotton and other unbleached natural fibres (like bamboo and hemp) ones.
3. How to wash cloth diapers?
You should always follow the instructions that come with your cloth diapers, but generally, these are the steps to follow when washing a cloth diaper:
- Dump all waste/solids into the toilet and rinse the diaper with cold water (we suggest using a combination of diaper sprayer + splatter shield to avoid nasty splatters) to keep stains from settling in;
- If you are not going to wash them immediately, ring out excess water from the diaper before storing them in a diaper pail (click to see our choice of best diaper pail for cloth diapers) to wait until washing time;
- Use hot water and wash with a mild detergent. We'd advise staying away from bleach as it will break down the materials of the diaper quickly, but if you must, make sure you use very mild bleach;
- Lastly, dry your cloth diapers by either hanging them up outside or on a drying rack (air-drying them outside is the best as the sun further helps kills germs).
Nowadays, most cloth diapers are machine-washable and many even survive a few accidental dryer cycles without any misshapes. And you can always buy diaper liners to lay over the absorbent layer of your cloth diaper to help keep solids contained for easy clean-up. Bioliners like these are breathable and flushable which means no more dunking or swishing of your cloth diapers! So really, there isn't that much extra or hard work involved with cloth diapers as you would have thought.
4. Are cloth diapers the same as swim diapers?
Even though both are made of cloth and are reusable, a swim diaper is different from a cloth diaper and you cannot substitute one for the other.
Unlike regular diapers (be it cloth or disposables), a swim diaper does not absorb when wet (otherwise, it will defeat its one main purpose - for swimming!) which means it does not absorb pee at all. It otherwise holds poo well to prevent any accidental mess in the pool for the benefit of all.
There are, of course, disposable swim diapers as well but we think the ones made from cloth are a better option as they are gentler on a baby's bottom and do not stretch out like plastic disposable.
Diapering does not stop just here. Do not think that there is no need for a diaper pail just because you are using cloth diapers, in fact, there are specific diaper pail for cloth diapers! Click here to check out our best diaper pail reviews.