Modern Cloth Diapering - The Bare Basics
Cloth diapers in India were a very common scene in Indian households a few generations ago. That ubiquitous piece of cloth folded in a triangle and held in place with a pin. Think about it, it was an ultimate exercise in sustainability. That piece of cloth in an earlier life could have been a shirt/sari or even an old towel.
Then, came the upward mobility of the middle class and being constantly bombarded by the convenience and the affluence argument of the diaper brands, multiple generations of babies don land-fill clogging diapers that are doomed to be there forever.
Flash forward to now, cloth diapers are making a comeback in all the right ways. They are "new and improved" as the saying goes. So much so, that Vogue magazine has called it one of the latest trends in millennial parenting.
Modern Cloth Diapers address almost all the problems that the old school cloth diapers presented in comparison with the disposable cloth diapers.
As a new parent, we want to do the right thing.
Hence, at The Nestery, we are really going to break it down for you. This is part-1 of a series on cloth diapering in India. Over the course of some more blogs, we will cover diapering basics around:
- Cloth diapering 101: The Bare Basics (Pun intended)
- Is cloth diapering for me? A checklist for the Indian parent
- Common cloth diapering mistakes
- Prepping diapers
- Diapering fit
- Different types on inserts and best combos for cloth diapering
- Diapering through the seasons (Cloth Diapering in monsoons, winter, summer etc.)
- Diapering through a vacation/outing
- Wash routines for cloth diapers and common mistakes and how to avoid them
- Troubleshooting problems with cloth diapering
- Bleaching/stripping cloth diapers: A how-to guide in India
- Convincing schools and daycares to use daycares: A primer
In Part-1, Our "bare" basics, we cover the following:
- What are the different parts of the diaper?
- What are the different types of cloth diapers available in the Indian market?
- What are the different types of inserts?
- How do I size the diaper?
What constitutes an advanced cloth diaper? What are the components?
- Water-proof outer cover: This forms the outer structure of the diaper. It provides the leak-proofing and sizing, and shape to the diaper. Their outer layer is made of PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) or TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane Laminate). This forms an effective water-proof barrier to prevent messes from leaking outside.
- Insert: This is the part of the diaper that actually absorbs the pees and contains the poopsplosions. Inserts are basically any absorbent cloth pads. They can be made of multiple materials like cotton/organic cotton, bamboo cotton, charcoal bamboo, hemp or a combination of these. Each of these can be used alone or a combination to bolster the absorbency of the diaper.
- Feel-dry fabric: They are an inner lining to the outer water-proof layer. This is the layer that touches the baby's bum. The lining is made of a material like fleece or microsuede. These are materials that are feel-dry to the skin but allow all the liquids to pass through directly to the insert/soaker.
What are the different types of cloth diapers available in the Indian market?
The advanced cloth diapers landed in the Indian market around 2014 and were initially limited to imports from other countries.
- Flats: These are the old-school diapers, a square piece of absorbent cloth that is pinned together. They are gentle on the baby skin and are used for keeping messes in rather than for their water proofing abilities. They used to be made of old towels, saris and dhoties. Now, they are made of soft cotton cloth. The advances in this type are limited to using Snappis/Boingos. They are essentially safe fasteners instead of a safety pin which always runs the risk of poking the child. There are many ways a flat can be folded to create multiple layers that increase absorption abilities.
- Pre-folds: These are an evolution of the flat diapers. They are essentially multiple layers of soft-absorbent cloth stitched one on top of the other for maximum absorption. They are held in place around the baby's bum using a fastener like Snappi, Boingo, or a safety pin.
- Cover Diaper: These look like an underwear/diaper. Their outer layer is made of PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) or TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane Laminate). This forms an effective water-proof barrier to prevent messes from leaking outside. You can lay out any type of soaker (insert/prefold/flat) in the shape of a sanitary pad and lay it inside the cover diaper. The disadvantage of the cover diaper is that there is no water-proof barrier between the baby's bum and the soaker. This means that the baby will feel wet after a wee. The advantage of diaper covers is that the covers can be reused. This makes cover diapers the most economical of advanced cloth diapers.
- Pocket diapers: Pocket diapers are an evolution of the cover diapers. There is a pocket for holding the insert/soaker. The pocket is made of a material like fleece or microsuede. These are materials that are feel-dry to the skin but allow all the liquids to pass through directly to the insert/soaker.The insert goes into the pocket. This way it becomes one snug unit. Pocket diapers are both economical, easy-to-use. Pocket diapers are also great for places with a long monsoon as these dry quickly.
- AIO (All-in-one): As the name suggests, this is an all-in one diaper. All the components of the diaper are sewn together. There is no decision paralysis for the parent. These are highly absorbent after a couple of washes and can hold-out the night with some additional support.
What are the different types of inserts?
Like we said earlier, inserts are just absorbent pads of cloth. You use them as-is or in a combination to adjust for absorbency. They come in different materials and each has its pros and cons.
How do I size the diaper?
Advance cloth diapers come in two sizes; New born and One-size. One size refers to one-size fits most babies. The way these are made one-size is through snaps in the front side of the diaper. These snaps allow you to adjust the size of the diaper for the increasing height and girth of the growing child. Each diaper lasts the baby through the entire diapering years from 3-17 kgs.
This brings us to the close of the “cloth diapering for beginners” blog. Please watch this space for the next parts on cloth diapering.
If you would like to shop for cloth diapers, please look at our collection here - https://thenestery.in/collections/wear-cloth-diapers