Updated: November 2023,
Let’s skip right past the great diaper debate and assume that you’ve
read what there is to read, done your soul-searching, and made your
decision – and for your baby, it’s nothing but natural against that tender skin. Whether your decision is ecological, economical, or based on something else entirely, you’ve decided on cloth diapers for baby. Now it’s time for Diapering 101 – how do you turn a rectangle of cloth into a comfy cover for the little cherub?
Wash the diapers first
First things first. Never diaper your baby in a brand new cloth diaper
straight from the plastic wrapping. Between the natural cotton and the
manufacturing process, new diapers have a ‘waxy’ coating that cuts down
on their absorbency and can irritate baby’s skin. Toss all your new
diapers into the washer and run them through five or six cycles with
detergent, bleach and the hottest water you can muster. If you’ve got a
clothesline and a sunny day, that’s the best way to dry them.
You thought you had made your last choice when you picked cloth, did
you? Think again. There are even more choices in 100% natural cloth
diapers than there are in the disposable diapers aisle at the supermarket. Pre-folded, padded, flat-folded, nappy-style, all-in-ones, all-in-twos – it’s enough to make your head spin just trying to absorb it all. Add to that the choices in diaper covers – plastic pants? Nappy covers? Wool covers? Velcro, pin or one of the novelty diaper fasteners? For the purposes of this Diapering Baby class, we’ll assume that you’re using plain old flat-folds – a simple rectangle of absorbent cotton that may have a quilted layer running down the middle for extra absorbency. Here are several different methods of folding diapers, courtesy of moms, grandmas and the DyDee Company.
The Angel-Wing Fold
1. Lay the diaper lengthwise on the changing table. Fold the sides of
the diaper in to the middle to form an absorbent pad.
2. Fold a few inches down at the front.
3. Unfold the sides at the back of the diaper, fanning them out.
4. Place the baby on the diaper, and pull the front up between his or
5. Holding the front against his belly, bring both sides of the back
around to the front, and pin in place, pushing the pin through a few
layers of diaper. You don’t have to go all the way through the diaper so that the pin is against baby’s skin.
Bikini Twist High-Cut Fold
1. Lay the diaper flat on the table.
2. Turn ONE END of the diaper completely over, twisting the diaper at
the midpoint to form an absorbent pad.
3. Put the baby on the diaper (or the diaper under the baby, whichever
4. Pull the front of the diaper up between baby’s legs.
5. Pull back corners of the diaper around the baby, over the front
corners and pin securely.
Double-Diaper For Heavy Wetters
1. Use one regular diaper and one infant size diaper. Lay regular
diaper on table. Place infant size diaper in center.
2. Fold sides of infant diaper in, then fold sides of regular diaper in
to cover the infant diaper.
3. Fold a few inches of the diaper front up, then fan the back of the
diaper out to form angel wings.
4. Plop the baby in the middle of the diaper, and proceed as for the
angel wing fold.
Whichever fold you choose to use, cover the whole thing with a diaper
cover, smooch the little tyke and send him back off to play with a warm, dry bottom.