Before you read about the best diapers for blowouts, you should take a look at the top reasons why blowouts happen here. The reason I say that is because there are a lot of things you can do for free to solve your problems. I want to make sure you have already tried all of them before jumping into the solution I laid out here for you.
If All Else Fails, Here’s The Final Solution
I am sure you have heard of this one already. If all else fails, maybe you will have to try cloth diapering for your baby. Obviously, cloth diapering is not the magical answer. There’s still a chance that your baby will have a blowout, but the chances will be a lot lower.
It is unclear as to why cloth diapering actually works to prevent blowouts. The most likely explanation is that the whole diaper itself is extremely flexible, and can really contour itself to your baby’s specific body shape. It is clothing after all, so it only makes sense that it wraps better than plastic disposables.
Personally, I have never used cloth diapers on my little Lilyanna because my wife does almost all the work when it comes to taking care of the baby. I know that cloth diapers is extra work on top of everything so I never got into it despite some of the benefits it has.
However, to personally investigate into how it work, we reached out to a friend who is a religious believer of cloth diapers. Through her, we got a thorough understanding of how cloth diaper works. She almost had my wife convinced into buying cloth diapers herself, but part of the cloth diapering process was still a deal breaker for my wife so we stuck to disposables. More on that later.
Many people are freaked out by cloth diapers because they seem to be high maintenance. The truth is, they are high maintenance. However, in the end of the day, it all depends on what your priorities are. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of cloth diapers below before you decide to jump into it.
Advantages of Cloth Diapering
First let’s talk about the good stuff. As mentioned earlier, cloth diapers contain blowouts better. I’ve seen how my friend has shown me her son’s poopy mess which was completely contained into the cloth diaper. He was using hybrids with prefold inserts (more on that later).
I have to admit that it does have slight better “custom fit” to his baby. Disposable diapers can’t really do that, because they are inflexible plastic designs based on the average shape of the baby.
Depending on how you do it, cloth diapering is theoretically cheaper than disposable diapers in the long run. However, this advantage disappears if you purchase mostly the “fancy” cloth diapers. If you choose the most economical cloth diapers (more about that later), you would roughly spend $100 – $200 max for the “diaperhood” of your baby.
However, If you are like me, use pampers, and huggies throughout the “diaperhood” of your baby, you would spend roughly $700 – $800 on disposable diapers if you potty train your child around two years old.
People on the internet might exaggerate and say that you need to spend couple of thousands of dollars on disposable diapers, but I don’t really think so unless you potty train your child really late. Nevertheless, cloth diapers (the economical type) is still a lot cheaper.
Cloth diapers also cause less diaper rashes. It is made of breathable cotton, so generally it causes less diaper rashes. However, this is also assuming that you did your laundry correctly. If you added softeners or some other weird laundry detergent to wash your cloth diapers, then this “no rash guarantee” officially disappears.
Another thing I have to point out is that you can not use diaper rash cream with cloth diapers. The reason is because you might damage the “absorbency” as the cream or ointment builds up.
Disadvantages of Cloth Diapering
The most obvious disadvantage is the fact that you have to do much more laundry. Even though using cloth diapers contain poopy blowouts better, you now have to do more laundry. This is why switching to cloth diapers really depends on your priorities.
Back then, my daughter had a blowout while dancing on my lap. My pants got stained with poopy mess. It wasn’t a big deal for me. I simply presoaked the stain on my pants with tide detergent, and washed it off the next day. I promise you that no stains were left behind. To me, that is only one wash. It is no big deal.
However, if you are the type of person who likes to wear nice clothing, or like to put nice clothing on your baby that requires delicate care, then having your baby deliver a blowout on you is most likely a no no. For you, doing the extra laundry is probably still worth it as long it doesn’t ruin the baby clothes.
Generally, cloth diapering requires you to wash the cloth diapers at least once every three days. If you don’t, the cloth diapers will get damaged by the bacteria, and ammonia build up. Not to mention it will get very smelly.
You will be sad by this, but cloth diapers can’t hold pee as well as diposables. This is why fans of cloth diapering eventually have to purchase extra disposable inserts to combat their growing “heavy wetters”.
The reason isn’t really because cloth diapering is no good. Disposables are simply too good at absorbing pee. Disposable diapers contains something known as SAP (super absorbent polymer) which has the ability to absorb pee that is 30 times its own weight as I explained here in my Huggies VS Pampers Review. Cloth diapers are simply made of cloth so they don’t have SAP.
The third disadvantage of cloth diapers is that they have more trade offs. What I mean by that is that if you want one thing, then you have to sacrifice something else for it.
For example, lets say you want to be economical (cheap) and use the cheapest types of cloth diapers. When we are talking about the cheapest cloth diapers, we are talking specifically about waterproof covers combined with prefolds.
If you go this route, then everytime you wrap your baby’s diaper, you have to literally wrap her twice so:
- Once is the with the prefold interior in which you have to clip it to prevent it from moving around.
- Second is the water cover in which you have to snap shut.
This might not sound like much, but you and I both know that squirmy babies make changing diapers extremely difficult, not to mention trying to wrap your baby twice while she is being squirmy. This also applies to fitted diapers which is almost the same thing as prefolds.
Of course, prefold cloth diapers aren’t the only options available. You can always use pocket, hybrid, or all-in-one cloth diapers instead which will get rid of the problem of wrapping your baby twice. The problem with relying on these alternative cloth diapers is that they are a lot more expensive. All-in-one diapers almost matches the price of disposable diapers if you potty train your child by two years of age.
The main selling point of cloth diapers is the fact that you can make a single purchase and they can “last a lifetime”. However, the truth is that it really depends.
Even if you take utmost care of your cloth diapers, there is one thing that will eventually break down no matter what you do. That is the “locks” of the cloth diapers, or the parts that keeps the diaper shut on your baby.
Cloth diapers typically comes in two types of “locks”. One is the velcro lock, which is this furry tab thing that sticks to each other. This is also what all disposable diapers use. Second type of lock are the snappy buttons.
As you can tell already, velcro locks can not last a lifetime. If you ever owned any bag or clothing that uses velcro, you would know that I am right. Since cloth diapers have to be washed at least once every three days, I would be surprised if the velcro doesn’t break down within a year. Not to mention, your baby eventually figures out how to pull off the weakened velcro easily as she gets smarter.
So why do people still choose velcro locks? It is because they are convenient. You don’t need to fumble with buttons, and you can finish a diaper change a lot quicker. Not to mention, they can literally grow with your baby as she gets bigger.
On the other hand, button snap locks seems to last much longer, however they have their own disadvantage. They are tricky to lock, especially when dealing with squirmy babies. For older people, people with big hands, or people with hand and wrist problems, these snappy buttons are a challenge to use.
Another problem with snappy buttons is that there are no “in between settings”. Velcro can be flexibly adjusted as your baby grows, but button snaps are in their preset locations. If your baby happens to be a size that is “in between” two buttons, then you can either only snap it too tight or too loose. Obviously, if the diapers are wrapped too loosely, then it will increase chances of a blowout which totally destroys the advantage of cloth diapers.
Brand new cloth diapers requires several washes before they can actually reach their full absorbency potential. The magic number is usually six washes. If you have bought the right number of cloth diapers, then this shouldn’t be a problem to you.
However, expect yourself to do laundry more frequently when you first purchased them. This can be also be seen as an advantage, because appparently absorbency can only increase as you wash it more.
This isn’t really a disadvantage compared to disposables, but I just want to make it clear here so that you don’t fall for a lie that’s been going around.
There’s been an ongoing myth that cloth diapers more “environmentally friendly” compared to disposable. The main reason for this claim is because diposables creates a bigger carbon footprint in the manufacturing process and they fill up the landfills. In other words, disposables creates more garbage for Mother Earth.
However, cloth diapers aren’t exactly any better for Mother Earth because they consume a lot of water and electricity to grow them and keep them clean. As mentioned earlier, you have to wash them at least once every three days. That’s a lot of water and electricity (which requires fossil fuels to produce by the way).
Not to mention, cloth diapers in general are made of cotton. Cotton requires a lot of water to grow. It takes precious energy and environmental resources to purify water, so that’s a gigantic hit to mother earth. If you are not convinced, read it here. If you are still not convinced after reading this article, then google it yourself.
At the end of the day, going for cloth diapering is literally just sacrificing convenience to lower the costs of diapering. If that is what you are going for then lets get into the different types of cloth diapers to see what works for you.
The Different Types of Cloth Diapers
Nowadays there are a whole variety of cloth diapers. Some of them are super cheap, and some of them are super expensive. If you go for the more expensive type, you will most likely pay even more than disposable diapers.
Cloth diapers can be categorized as:
Prefolds Cloth Diapers
This is a giant piece of square cloth made of absorbent cotton. You fold it into a diaper yourself. This cloth is the only the core of the cloth diaper. What I mean but that is that it only absorbs mess from the baby, but it doesn’t prevent the fluid from leaking outside. meaning that it does the absorbing.
This is why you need to purchase extra waterproof covering (or shell) to shield the core from the outside. This type of diapering is VERY cheap. When people are describing cloth diapering as being cheap, they are actually talking about this specific type of cloth diaper.
How cheap are we talking about here? You only need to pay $50 – $60 for 36-prefold diapers (which is all you will ever need for one baby). In addition to that, you still need a 10-18 waterproof covers which costs roughly $40 – $80. If prefold is the route you take, then you roughly only spend $140 max until your child completely potty trains.
Fitted Cloth Diapers
This is simply a fancy name for prefold diaper with a slight upgrade. This is no longer a piece of square cloth. It is shaped into an hourglass traditional diaper looking shape. There are also elastic gussets (stretchy openings) around the thigh areas.
However, you still need to purchase a water proof cover with these. These diapers are twice as expensive as prefolds. If you really hate folding your own diapers then get these. Fitted diapers costs around $120 for the 36 diapers itself. If you add the costs of the cover, then you have to pay $200 max.
Pocket Cloth Diapers
Personally, I call these “pillow case” diapers. These diapers consist of two parts:
- The water proof shell (like a pillow case)
- The insert (like the pillow itself).
The water proof shell has two sides:
- One side is waterproof
- The other side allows liquid to pass through.
In between two sides is an empty pocket (that’s why it is called pocket diapers) which you can put an insert. The insert is the material that does all the absorbing. The insert is a thin slice of absorbing material. It looks almost like a menstual pad.
You can add several inserts into one pocket diaper to strengthen absorption. Some people even use prefold diapers (the square shape cloth mentioned earlier) as inserts to increase absorption. You don’t have to purchase extra waterproof covers for these since that is part of the “pocket” itself. Depending on which brand you buy, 36 of these can cost roughly $200 to $300 max.
All-In-One Cloth Diapers
You can consider this to be a disposable diaper in cloth form. As mentioned earlier, pocket diapers require something called “insert” to be used in the center as absorbent. Unlike pocket diapers, you don’t have to “insert” it yourself.
This all-in-one diaper has the waterproof shell, and the insert sewn together. This diaper is very convenient but it is very expensive. It typically costs $20/diaper. If you bought 36 of these, then it will costs roughly $720. That is almost the same price as purchasing disposable diapers if you potty train your child by two years old.
These diapers are just like what they imply. They are hybrids. They are kind of a combination between disposables, cloth,and have little features of all-in-one and fitted diapers.
These diapers are similar to pocket cloth diapers in a sense that they have “removable inserts”. The difference between these and pocket diapers is that:
- Hybrid diapers have no pockets
- With no pockets, you simply lay the insert on top
- These can use disposable inserts
You might be thinking that these don’t seem any different compared to a regular watercover except for the higher price tag. It is true that these diapers can also use any kind of inserts like prefold diapers and bamboo inserts. However, they still have major differences compared to regular waterproof covers. That extra difference is the built-in, “microfleece layer”.
The function of this microfleece layer is to allow you to maximize the absorption potential of your inserts. What it does is that when liquid flows from your baby’s butt towards this microfleece, it helps “spread” the absorbed liquid evenly over your insert by “reflecting” it back.
This reflecting ability is rather important when you are using inserts that absorbs liquid very slowly. An example of that are bamboo inserts. They hold a lot of liquid, but they have a horrible absorption rate.
Hybrid covers typically costs $270 for 18 of them. Their reusable inserts costs roughly $180 for 36 of them. That is a total of $450. If you want to cut corners, you can always combine these with prefold diapers instead of purchasing expensive inserts. If that is the case then you will roughly have to pay around $80 for 36 “prefold diaper inserts” instead of $180 which is very cheap as mentioned earlier.
Types of Cloth Diaper Inserts
As mentioned earlier, diapers like the pocket diapers, hybrid diapers, and all-in-one diapers uses inserts. This insert can literally be anything you want as long it is absorbent and chemical free.
Some people even uses their old shirts as inserts. Of course, don’t forget that prefold diapers are also good inserts since the newborn size eventually becomes too small to wrap your baby as she grows.
Other inserts you can purchase are microfiber inserts (meant for pocket diapers because they shouldn’t touch the baby), the bamboo inserts, or disposable inserts for the hybrids.
How To Get Poop Off Your Cloth Diapers
After your baby has ferociously delivered her blowout, it is time to scrape it into the toilet and flush it away. If you are dealing with a breastfed only newborn, then there is no need to do that. Just dump your diaper into the diaper pail and call it a day.
However, if your baby is drinking formula or eating anything solid (like puree fruits) then you have to flush that down the toilet, because solid wastes are toxic to the environment. You have to be too intimidated by the idea of scraping poop off your baby’s diapers.
There are “sprayers” being sold that allows you to do the scraping for you. This sprayer is a shower head looking thing in which you attach to your faucet and literally “spray” the poop off your diapers and into the toilet. This way you don’t have to “scrape” the poop off of your cloth diapers.
Another option is purchase disposable liners and lay them on top of the absorbent material (like the inserts for example). This is kind of like using tissue paper to wrap up poop and dumping it into the toilet. What this does is that you can conveniently “pick up” the poop without soiling your hands and dumping it into the trash. This way, the poop never literally touches the diaper.
Where Should You Store The Dirty Cloth Diapers?
Obviously, you can’t go to the washing machine everytime there’s a dirty diaper. You have to wash them in bulk for efficiency. However, if you just leave it around the house, it would eventually smell very bad.
There’s something called a “diaper pail” in which you can use to store your dirty cloth diapers. Diaper pail is just a fancy name for a can that looks nice. You can buy any trash can at the 99 cents store. Just purchase your own diaper pail “liner” to put into the trash can. The diaper pail liners is the actual thing that prevents the smell of used cloth diapers from leaking into the surrounding area.
When you are traveling, instead of using a diaper pail liner, you can use a “wet bag” which is smaller and has similar functions.
How To Wash Your Cloth Diapers
The ideal way to wash your cloth diapers is to give it a cold rinse for the first cycle without laundry detergent. Then add detergent for the next cycle using warm water.
If you want, you can also call cloth diaper washing services to pick up your cloth diapers and wash them. They aren’t cheap though. They roughly cost $25/ week, which comes out to be $100 per month, which is three times the costs of disposable diapers.
If baby is on breast milk, then simply dump the diaper into the wash. However, if the baby is taking formula or solid food like fruits or something, then spray them into the toilet first before you dump them into the wash.
As mentioned earlier, cloth diapering is more about saving money than anything else if you do it right. It sacrifices convenience, and time. When it comes to environmentally friendly, it is simply not even close to reaching that goal.
If you have any questions, please leave it in the comment section below.