Choosing the Right Cloth Diapers for Me and My Baby

Choosing cloth diapers for your family may not yet be mainstream, but you won’t regret it! Cloth diapers are more sustainable, healthier for your baby and easier on the wallet. There are a few different diapering systems to choose from, depending on your particular needs as well as how often you plan to wash.

Here are a few diapering systems ideal for first time parents:

All AIO’s and Pocket Diapers – More expensive cloth diapering method, but also the most convenient and easiest to manage. AIO’s and Pocket Diapers work just like disposable diapers, and easy for day care, caregivers, and family members to use.

Pre-folds and diaper covers – Least expensive method of cloth diapering but requires a little bit more work since you need to fold the diaper, pin/Snappi together and place a cover over the pre-fold.

Mix of pre-folds, diaper covers and AIO’s/Pockets – Use pre-folds during the day when you’re at home with a diaper cover. Put in a doubler in with the pre-fold for extra absorbency. On overnight and day trips, use AIO’s/Pockets. Using a mix gives you options and makes sure to keep it simple for when you need to travel or work with care givers.

What do I need to get started?

Your diapering system should be geared towards the age of your child(ren) and how often you plan to wash. If you are just starting out with cloth diapers, purchase a system that includes a variety of brands and types. Try a mix of different pre-folds/covers and pockets, and once you find a system that works, purchase additional items.

We also recommend the following additional useful items for all diaper systems:

  • 2-3 dozen cloth wipes
  • 2-4 Snappis or Diaper Pins
  • 1-2 Diaper pails
  • 1-2 large nylon pail liners
  • 1-2 small/medium wet bags for outings/traveling
  • 6-12 doublers or extra inserts, even if you’re using pre-folds/fitted diapers. These are wonderful for using at nap and bed time.
  • Wool wash for wool covers

**You can substitute fitted/contoured diapers for pre-folds**

The chart below offers basic recommendations on cloth diapering systems based on washing every 3rd day.  You can get away with about 10 less diapers if you plan to wash every other day.  It’s best to start off with a minimum, and adjust according to the schedule and routine you and your baby naturally find.


Age Pocket/AIO’s

(most expensive method)

Pre-folds/Diaper Covers**

(most economical method)

Mix of both Pockets & Pre-folds**
Newborn 30-36 Diapers/Inserts 30-36 Pre-Folds/6-10 diaper covers 12 Pockets/AIO’s, 12 Pre-folds, 12 Fitted Diapers/4-6 diaper covers
Infant 24-30 Diapers/Inserts 24-30 Pre-Folds/6-8 diaper covers 12 Pockets/AIO’s, 6-8 Pre-folds, 6-8 Fitted/2-4 diaper covers
Toddler 18-24 Diapers/Inserts 18-24 Pre-Folds/4-6 diaper covers 8 Pockets/AIO’s, 6-8 Pre-Folds, 6-8 Fitted/2-4 diaper covers

Need some more information on diaper options? Our diaper definitions page goes into more detail to help you create the best diapering system based on your needs and budget. (There is a definitions page, which I think would be useful for parents looking to make a choice. It’s up to you if you want to include it or not. I will put it at the content end of this document to keep things easy. Perhaps it can open up into a new window). I like the idea of it opening in a new window.

Other Key Items and Tips for your Diapering System

Baby wipes are a must, and if you are already using cloth diapers, it’s easy to use cloth wipes made from cotton, fleece or a washcloth.

Wet them with plain water or make a wipe solution from water, olive oil, baby soap and essential oils. Here is a link to some baby wipe solution options. (link) Check out our selection of cloth wipes.

You will also need a diaper pail. Regular kitchen trash cans are an option, and you can use a diaper liner for the dry pails (check out  pail liners) that can be thrown in the laundry along with the diapers.

A wet bag or two for travel is very helpful – one in the diaper bag and another on the first floor of your home to store the wet/soiled diapers when on the go. They’re waterproof and convenient! Check out some of our wet bags.

Diaper Wash Spray – a convenient tool to clean the soiled diapers in the toilet.

Deodorizing Sprays – A deodorizing spray on the wet diapers helps with odors if you spray them before tossing them into the diaper pail or use baking soda in the diaper pail to absorb odors