The most basic form of cloth diapering is using prefolds with covers, with the next step up being fitteds with covers. Fitteds are similar in that they are diapers made of natural fibers, and you need to use a cover in order to prevent leaks….but unlike prefolds they are actually shaped like diapers.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Fitted Diaper
- Inserts (optional)
WHAT IS A FITTED?
In the most generic terms, a fitted is like a prefold diaper that is already cut and folded into the shape of a diaper. Snaps or velcro closures are usually added; however you can get them with no closures at all – this variety is called a contour diaper. Fitteds are usually made of cotton, hemp, bamboo, polyester or some combination of these fabrics. Many fitteds come with additional snap-in (or lay-in) inserts for added absorbency. Like prefolds, the fabrics can come in woven or knit.
The more layers of fabric a fitted has, the more absorbent it will be. It’s common to see the outer layer with fleece or velour with inner layers of cotton and/or fleece. Both velour and fleece are very soft against babies skin. I like to get the more natural fibers like bamboo and cotton as opposed to polyester. Polyester tends to hold stink moreso than natural fibers. I just also like the idea of using natural instead of synthetics whenever possible. You will find that fitteds made from all natural fibers (bamboo, hemp, cotton) are more expensive than those that include polyester, and those made with organic fibers cost even more.
Fitteds are great because you can get them sized (newborn, small, medium, large, etc) or one-sized (one size fits most). The one size option will fit your baby for much longer than some of the sized options. This helps save money, because fitteds tend to be a bit more expensive than prefolds. With the one-size variety, the diaper comes with either snaps along the rise that allow for an adjustable rise (like many diaper covers) OR they will come with snap closures on the outside of the diaper as well as on the inside – this allows for the rise to be folded down to make a smaller diaper.
Like prefolds, most fitteds need to be prepped. This means that they need to be washed a number of times before use in order to reach maximum absorbency. You’ll need to wash and dry the diapers about 5-6 times in order to get out all of the natural oils. I’ve found that they don’t necessarily have to be prepped…but the diaper won’t hold as much liquid until they are. Sometimes prepping can cause a bit of shrinkage, but most manufacturers (or work-at-home-moms) take this into account when making their diapers.
Fitteds can be used without covers; however, I wouldn’t recommend doing this for longer than 1-2 hours…and it’s not necessarily a good option if you are out and about. Depending on how heavy of a wetter your baby is, you may be able to get away with keeping them in a fitted without a cover – but know that the outside of the diaper will get wet as the diaper absorbs the liquid. Some choose this option; however, because many fitteds come in super cute prints and colors. If you have a pretty good idea of how much and how quickly your baby pees, this might work for you.
Having said that, I always use covers with my fitteds. The most common type of cover is made with PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric) – a waterproof material that prevents leaks. Alternately, you can get covers made from TPU laminate; TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) essentially works in the same manor as PUL, but it has a slightly different feel. I prefer the feel of TPU to PUL (although I couldn’t tell you why), but I find both work equally as well at keeping my baby’s diaper leak-proof.
My favorite types of covers have double gussets at the leg openings instead of single. This really helps to contain poops – especially newborn poops. Since fitteds usually have elastic around the legs, I don’t find that I get very many leaks at all outside of the fitted – therefore the covers almost never get dirty from poop (like they sometimes do with prefolds). Check out the picture below – the image shows where your little one’s leg would go through; do you see how there are two strips of elastic? That is what a double gusset looks like. Makes a tighter seal around the diaper. Again, I find this isn’t as much of a necessity as it is with prefolds.
Wool also makes a great diaper cover. Wool can hold an incredible amount liquid and is antimicrobial by nature. The problem with wool is that it can be costly (unless you can make it yourself!) – but I find that it makes a great option, especially for night time. Stay tuned for a post all about wool!
HOW TO USE
Fitteds require much less explanation than prefolds in the usage department. Since the diaper is already in the shape of…well…a diaper, all you need to do is lay your baby on the diaper, adjust the rise if necessary, and snap closed! Then, put a cover over the fitted and you’re good to go. That’s it. Easy peasy. When the diaper is wet and/or soiled, just remove the cover, set it aside, toss the dirty diaper in the diaper pail and put on a new diaper. Grab a new cover while the other one air dries, and you’re off and running!
Note – As I mentioned earlier, you do not have to use a cover if you know how much/how often your kid pees. If you don’t catch it right away; however, you might end up with the diaper soaking through onto the carpet, or whatever surface your child is playing on.
Inserts are optional. An insert is a small strip of fabric, usually made up of multiple layers. Like the fitted itself, inserts tend to be made from fleece or cotton. Bamboo and hemp seem to be the most absorbent in my experience, but cotton or polyester works well too. Many fitted diapers actually come with inserts that lay in or snap into the diaper, but you can also buy them separately. Inserts are great when you are using a fitted diaper for use as a night time diaper. The more you add, the greater absorbency you will get from your diaper!
HOW MANY SHOULD I BUY?
Just like with prefolds, my recommendation for this tends to be a bit on the smaller side. (I strive to be a minimalist, what can I say?) I was on a budget, so the majority of my stash is made up of prefolds, but to supplement those prefolds I had 3 newborn sized fitteds and am currently using 6 one-sized fitteds in my rotation. Now, if you wanted to skip prefolds all together and make a stash entirely of fitteds, here is what I would recommend:
With prefolds, I have found that 24 diapers of whatever size Monkey currently fits in, is plenty. This is with doing diaper laundry every other day. If you want to stretch out how often you launder, you’ll need more than that. I do want to note that with fitteds, I’ve found that one-sized diapers will not fit a newborn…so I would get 24 newborn sized and 24 one-sized fitteds if you want to diaper baby in fitteds starting from birth.
This is another recommendation that varies greatly across the web. We have had 6 covers in rotation at all times. As I mentioned earlier, you do not need to wash covers with every load of diaper laundry. Just toss them in the pail when poop leaks on the cover, or you haven’t washed the cover in a while. We had 6 newborn sized covers that we used in the beginning. When Monkey was around 4 months, we switched to the ‘one-sized’ covers. These covers have snaps that allow you to adjust the rise in the covers making them usable for a longer period of time. We are still using the same 6 covers that we started using at 4 months and we still have a lot of room to grow! We have tried Thirsties duo covers and Rumparooz covers and have loved them both!
My recommendation: 6 covers in rotation. I usually keep one in the diaper bag and have the other 5 in my rotation. The covers we have tried and love:
Rumparooz covers in both one size and newborn (These are made from TPU) - The Crunchy Wife approved.
Thirsties Duo Wraps size one and two (These are made from PUL) - The Crunchy Wife approved.
The fitteds in my stash all come from work-at-home moms. You’ll find that there are SO many wonderful work-at-home moms (WAHMs) out there that make fitted diapers. I love this option because not only are they one-of-a-kind, but they come from someone who truly cares about what they’re doing, and I just love supporting these women. You can also find fitteds from brands like Kissaluvs and Thirsties, for probably cheaper than most WAHMs – I can’t compare quality because I haven’t tried them myself. If you’re in the market, a good place to start looking is etsy (just type in fitteds for the keyword) or Amazon.
Old School Cool Cloth Diapers - The Crunchy Wife approved.
Twinkie Tush - The Crunchy Wife approved.
Cloth-Eez Workshorse Diapers from Green Mountain Diapers (Great buy!) - The Crunchy Wife approved.
Want to see this info in video form? Check out my video post here!
Disclaimer: I was not paid nor was I provided any free products to write this post. It is purely based on my opinion after using the recommended fitteds and covers with Monkey for almost 9 months. Secondly, this post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on one of the links that goes to a product recommended in this post, I might get a small percentage of your sale should you choose to buy.July 7, 2012
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