Cloth Diaper Recommendations for a Complete Novice

We love getting email here at the Green Baby Guide.  One of our readers is planning to switch over to cloth diapers and wrote in with the following questions:

I really want to switch to cloth diapers and have been doing a lot of research on the different kinds out there and it is really overwhelming!  I think I am leaning towards prefolds and/or flats with a Dappi cover for the most inexpensive option.  What kinds do you gals use?  Any specific brands of diapers and covers that you like?  Any helpful tips for someone just starting out??  Thanks for your time, I know you are busy mommies! -Amber

I wrote back to tell her about my experience.

Hi Amber,

Both Joy and I use prefolds with covers, although we have tried other types, too.  You are right that they are the least expensive option.  Starting out, I bought three dozen prefolds (the small size with green stitching) and about five newborn sized covers.  I have tried Proraps, Imse Vimse, and Diaperaps covers and they all work well.  You could get a couple different types, and then when it’s time to buy the next size up, you will know what types work for you and your baby.  I have actually gotten away with just one set of prefolds for over two years (my daughter is very small), so my cloth diaper supplies have cost me about $100 total!

Check out Sunshine Diapers for a Prefold Tutorial


So, all you cloth diapering parents out there–what would you recommend?  Does anyone have any experience with flat diapers?  I have never tried them myself, as they seem to require intricate folding and pinning.  With a prefold I can just fold a diaper in thirds and place on the diaper cover that has Velcro or snap closures (pictured).  Then I put it on as I would a disposable.

Thanks for writing in, Amber.  And thanks in advance to everyone who responds with tips, recommendations, or anti-recommendations for a first-time cloth diaper user!


  1. We use prefolds with wool diaper covers. The wool ones are more expensive per cover, but you don’t need as many because they can be used over and over (unless soiled), and you only wash them twice a week; as opposed to plastic covers which I understand you wash after each time you use them.

    For sleep we use Fuzzi Bunz and Bum Genius pocket diapers. We’ve been very happy with all these choices.

    Try for great info and selection.

  2. Thanks for this post! I wish I would have found the prefolds one year ago.
    We went wayyyy overboard, I wont even tell you how much our onesize diapers cost. Gulp. Just silly.
    This diapering option would have really worked for us too because my daughter is small and she was swimming in her onesize’s for months – so heads up on the onesize! I would grab a few small sizes for the newborn period.

  3. We have some prefolds and some pockets (one-size and fitted). I love the ease of the pockets. I stuff them after washing and then they are really easy to put on. My husband fought me about it for a while until he realized that they don’t take any extra effort on his part (with the velcro closure). My favorite brands (that we’ve tried anyway) are Bumgenius and Happy Heinys. As for prefolds, we use Chinese prefolds with both Proraps and Bummis super whisper; I don’t have a preference. I wouldn’t buy a lot of any one kind right away. I’d experiment with different brands until you find what works best for you.

  4. Okay, I don’t do cloth diapers but if I were going to….I’d have the same question. Super tutorial. My parents used cloth for my little sister and I was 14 when she was born. I hated the pin pricks. I think that’s why I don’t use them myself. It’s a mental thing and bad pokes, years and years ago! LOL! They used the flat ones and loved them. I don’t have any tips other than, I know where I will send people if they need some.

  5. We just had our first baby last month and started off with Thirsties All In Ones in size XS. These are super easy to use and clean not to mention they look really cute. They do take a little long to dry in the machine, but when we line dry in the sun it doesn’t take long at all. We chose these over prefolds because the fleese liner stays dry next to babies skin unlike how the prefolds stay feeling wet. We also purchased a few BumGenius one-sizes but because he was only 6.6lbs when born they still don’t fit. I’m sure in a few weeks we’ll be able to start using them. I hope this helps, Happy cloth diapering!

  6. Well I’m a fitted diaper devotee but I do have a few pre-folds. With the pre-folds I use what is called a Snappi – a three pronged plastic/rubber thing that grabs the diaper and holds it shut. No pins required.

    I guess flats would be quick drying. You could “save” some time by prefolding them as they come off the line so they were ready to go when needed.

    Like I say – I personally prefer the fitted diapers with covers. Pretty much anyone can work them out… even husbands.

  7. I have been cloth diapering my kids for a little over a year now. I use a combination of prefolds and pocket diapers. I tried the snappi but I did not like it. We just put the prefold in the cover.

    I posted about what I like and do not like on my blog.

  8. I have been using cloth diapers for four months or so and I use BumGenius one size pocket diapers with Babykick Hemp inserts at night.

    I really like the one size diapers, because of the one time cost and how easy they are to use. Anyone can use them, my husband, daycare, grandparents, ect…

    I too like the fleece lining that the pocket diapers have, so they stay dry next to babies skin.

    Hope this helps, happy cloth diapering!

  9. I would love to use cloth diapers but we live in an apartment complex with very few shared (and expensive) washers and dryers. To make matters worse, there is no diaper service in the city.

    Am I doomed to use disposable? Baby is on the way, and I’m nervous about investing in cloth.

    Thanks for your help!

  10. Mimi, your question is deserving of its own post, which I will work on and post soon! In the meantime, does anyone have personal experience with washing cloth diapers in an apartment? Please tell!

  11. Mimi, I haven’t started myself since the little one is still safetly inside the womb for another week or two but I’ve been reading for a while & I actually talked to my grandma & Husbands mom, they both used to wash the diapers by hand [soak a bit in cold water then wash with hot water.] Not sure how you’d feel about that but to me it sounded very do-able. Also, it is recommended by almost everyone I’ve talked to, to sun dry your clothes. If you have a balcony, let them get sunlight. It bleaches them naturally & kills bacteria, so I’ve heard. If not just hang them by a window (:
    Hope this helps!

  12. I love the BumGenius 3.0 pocket diaper, and so does my son’s rash-free tushy! The greatest feature about them is that they grow with the baby (unlike the 2.0), thanks to three levels of snaps and two sizes of inserts. These are also easy for grandparents and sitters to use because their design is straightforward: they more-or-less look like disposables, and once they’re stuffed, they’re ready to go (no folding skills required). Most Web sites recommend a starter set of about 24, but we could only afford 15 (@ $14-$18 each), and that is really working just fine. My husband and I just have to wash them every day, which is less exhausting than it sounds, AND a plus is that stinky diapers aren’t steeping for days. I would recommend 24 or more if you both work outside the home, however. These diapers are also durable enough to last years, I’ve read.

  13. I searched & searched for months trying to find the right cloth diapers, didn’t want to waste money with the wrong choice. Then I found which will let you try a sampling for $10 (you actually put a deposit down I think for $100 but if you don’t like them you get your money back less the $10 they let you try several different brands, styles, even organic! They also offer gently used diapers, I kept my sample and went to their sidewalk sale and bought the rest gently used from there and save a ton! Hope this helps!

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