Cloth Diapering 101-Getting Started

This post may contain affiliate links. This means, if you make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive a very small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
As I was doing some research for this post I read on one site that “it is much harder to think about cloth diapering than to actually do it.”  And that is so true.  Before you learn to cook it is easy to take one look at a recipe book and think, “holy cow, there are so many ingredients!  So many things to buy; so much to do to prepare!”  Once you’ve cooked the meal a few times you’re a pro.  Well, cloth diapering is worlds easier than cooking, believe me, as much as I enjoy eating a delicious meal, I’d much rather wash and prep diapers than cook dinner.  With cloth diapering you’ll learn by doing.
In this post I’m going to give you some of the basics you’ll want to have when you start out.  You don’t need to have all of these.  Most people don’t have the funds to buy everything all at once, and there are benefits to building your stash gradually. For a refresher on the CD lingo and abbreviations see this post.
N=Newborn (0-4 months)
Always multiply by the number of days you’d like to go in between washing (2 or 3).
Prefolds:  Popular on newborns because you can achieve a customized fit thus preventing the dreaded blow-out.  Prefolds will cost between $1.50-$2 per prefold, making this a very inexpensive way to CD.
When purchasing prefolds make sure the prefold is diaper service quality…you’re not going to want to diaper your baby with Gerber prefolds.

How many you’ll need:

  • N=Plan on 12 changes per day
  • I/T=Plan on about 8 changes per day

When using prefolds you will also need 4-6 diaper covers.  Diaper covers can be wiped out and reused.

Pocket and AIO diapers: Many like these for their ease of use.  Many pocket diapers are now made so that the insert agitates out in the wash.  No getting your hands dirty.  If you are using sized (S,M,L) as opposed to One Size you will need the appropriate number of each size.

How many you’ll need:

  • N=About 12 per day
  • I/T=About 8 per day
Hybrid and AI2: Hybrids and AI2s are also good for their economy.  When using a hybrid or AI2 diaper you simply remove the wet insert and reuse the shell until it gets soiled (or until it starts to smell :).  AI2 are often lined with microfleece and I’ve noticed that they get smelly faster than my hybrid shells.  Hybrids have the option of using a cloth or a disposable insert.

How many you’ll need:

  • N=3-5 shells (remember that is per day) and 12 inserts
  • I/T=About 3 shells and 8 inserts
Wet Bag or Pail Liner (you’ll need a pail too if you use this method):

 How many wet bags you have is entirely up to you.  If you are using only hybrids and AI2 you will not need something as large as a diaper pail.  A large wetbag or hanging wet bag will suffice.  If your stash is comprised of AIO or pocket diapers you’ll probably need a pail and pail liner.

Cloth Wipes:

Again quantity is up to you on this one, but I’d say it is safe to plan on having at least one wipe per diaper. Tip: if you have a sewing machine wipes are super easy to make.  Buy some flannel, cut it 8 x 8 square, and serge the edges. There are lots of online tutorials you can google.

Other optional items include: diaper sprayer, fleece liners, disposable diaper liners, CD-friendly diaper cream/balm, and disposable inserts (for the hybrid diapers). 

What’s in my stash: 
Well, we started out with gDiaper hybrids so we have 8 covers (we don’t really need that many though) and 18 BabyKicks Joey Bunz hemp inserts (I love, love, love them).  Little Brother has extremely sensitive skin so I bought some fleece and cut him a bunch of fleece liners to go on top of the inserts (well, I use them in his pocket dipes now too for an extra layer of stay-dry).  I now have 5 pocket diapers–4 OS and 1 sized.  I have about 20 cloth wipes and would like to add at least 5 more.  

What diaper or diapering “accessory” is your favorite or what do you wish you had?


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.