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January 23, 2013

Breaking Down Cloth-Fitteds & Wool Covers

This week, we're explaining the different types of diapers.  There are so many out there that it can become very overwhelming!  So hopefully, these explanations will help distinguish between all the different types.  I'm going to be describing fitted diapers, and then one specific type of cover--wool!  It's by far my favorite kind of cover.

Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted

Fitted diapers are a diaper that looks like a diaper (versus a prefold/flat that is just a rectangle), which is why they're called "fitteds."  However, fitteds are not waterproof, so they require a cover.  In my opinion, fitteds can be one of the most absorbent types of diapers because the whole thing is absorbent, including the wings, rather than just the rectangle insert that you would put in a pocket diaper.  This is why fitteds are considered a nighttime solution, because they can be so absorbent!  
Often, they have inserts included in them for extra absorbency.  These can be sewn in on one side (but not all the way so they dry faster), they often snap in, or they just rest in the diaper.  Other fitteds actually have a pocket inside them, so if you want to add more inserts, you can make the diaper more absorbent.  
cute fitted!
Fitted diapers often come in really cute prints!  That's one of the things I love about them.  But, because they aren't waterproof, their cuteness usually needs to be covered up.  Sometimes, if we're at home, we go without a cover, but just be careful to change your little ones as soon as they get wet....otherwise, your furniture might get wet!
Fitteds can be affordable, but keep in mind you'll also need to get covers for them.  You can get a basic fitted diaper for anywhere from $8-10, but they probably won't be really absorbent.  If you buy a fitted diaper especially for nighttime (super absorbent) or with a really cute print, they'll often run you anywhere from $16-25.  

Here's a list of the fitteds we've reviewed here on CDA:

As far as covers go, you can use PUL covers, fleece or my favorite, wool!!

EcoPosh wool soaker

Wool covers can be kind of intimidating!  They have different names, have to be hand washed, and are perceived to be very difficult to care for.  But I promise--once you learn the basics, wool is really easy!!  Almost easier than other diapers simply because you don't need to wash it very often.

Wool not only repels moisture (due to lanolin, which is added to the covers), but it can also absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture when needed.  When you drip water on a wool cover, it immediately puddles up into droplets that don't soak in right away (repelling the moisture), but when left there long enough, it will eventually soak in, and it can soak in a lot of moisture before it soaks through.
The other great benefit of wool is its breathability.  I often feel like PUL covers can act like a little oven over babies' bottoms.  Wool naturally breathes-it lets the air circulate.  I think this is really great over nighttime, when diapers get really wet!  It also helps with rashes because it lets the area breathe. 

There are a few different names for wool covers that you don't often see in other types of cloth:
-soakers (not to be confused with inserts that you add for absorbency): soakers are a cover that you need to pull up (no snaps) to cover a diaper
-shorties: a soaker with longer legs, so they can be shorts
-longies: basically, wool pants
upcycled wool longies
-cover: a cover with snaps, but made with wool rather than PUL

Wool covers can either be knitted/crocheted, or, they're often made from old sweaters (upcycled)!  How they're made often determines the price.  Really thick wool covers or hand-knit are often more expensive, while upcycled covers are often a little cheaper.  Some of the big-name covers go for anywhere from $35 to $65 for thick longies.  But you can also get upcycled longies on etsy or another homemade shop for as little as $15 to $20.  I've used both, and especially for daytime, I think they both work well.  For nighttime, specifically with a heavy wetter, I prefer a thicker wool cover.  This could be a more expensive cover, or I have cheaper covers that have an extra layer of wool sewn into the wet-zone that work just as well.

Next week I'm going to go more in-depth into washing and caring for wool, but here are the basics.  In order to be waterproof, wool needs lanolin, which is naturally occurring and comes from sheep.  You might have some at home if you breastfeed--it's a very common way of helping nipple pain.  So when washing your wool, you also "lanolize" it.  This only needs to be done once or twice a month, depending on how often you use the covers.  This might sound kind of gross--not washing them very often, but when urine and lanolin meet, it actually causes a chemical reaction that turns the urine into salt water!  So it's not like there's urine sitting in your cover until you wash it next--only salt. 

As I said, next week I'll be going more in-depth on how to wash and lanolize wool, so if you have any specific questions you'd like me to address, please ask them in the comments section!