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Considering Cloth Diapers? Here's What You Need to Know

There are so many “mommy war” sides to consider during pregnancy: breast or bottle, to circumcise or not to circumcise, natural birth vs. medicine. And then — of course — there’s the diapering question.

For many, the decision seems obvious: disposable. Why on earth would you spend more time and energy dealing with soiled, poop-filled pieces of cloth when you could just dump the whole thing in the trash? Haven’t we evolved from those primitive days?

Yet if you do the research, you just might be surprised. Considering each disposable diaper sits in a landfill for 500 years, and that classic disposable diapers are made with plastics and chemicals that can irritate (and even burn) sensitive skin, and that you’ll spend thousands of dollars more per child for the convenience of disposables — many new moms decide to give cloth a try.

And then there’s the fact that cloth diapers are no longer the fold-and-pin design (although you can definitely still find those for dirt cheap). Modern cloth diapers have come a long, long, long way in terms of absorbency and convenience. So if you’re at all considering cloth diapers, here’s what you need to know:

For those who want the most convenient diaper:

All-in-one diapers like the GroVia (above) and bumGenius Elemental are designed to grow from infancy through toddlerhood, and don’t require any stuffing, snapping or assembling. Simply put on the diaper as you would a disposable, and then throw it in the wash when they’re soiled — no soaking or scrubbing required.

Learn more about what we thought of GroVia cloth diapers here.

For those looking for a Hybrid option…

Modern cloth diapering isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor, especially with hybrid options like gDiapers (above), Charlie Banana and Flip diapers. Hybrid cloth diapers can either be used with cloth OR a biodegradable disposable insert for more convenience. This way you don’t have to feel guilty for adding more trash to the landfills.

See what unique feature makes gDiapers cool here.

For those looking to use cloth from the jump…

While the majority of cloth diapers we tested are designed to grow from 8 or 10 pounds right up to the potty training age, we found that Happy Heinys Minis fit best on the tiniest of infants.

For those looking to save the most cash…

It’s a simple fact: the less money you spend, the more work you’ll have to do. And prefolds — which are typically the most economical — do require a few more steps than the more convenient (and expensive) all-in-ones. But we’re not talking rocket science here.

Our favorite cloth diapers to save you serious cash are Econobum (above) and Bummis prefolds.

Find all of our favorite cloth diapers — including our #1 overall cloth diaper pick — in our Babble Best Cloth Diapers 2011 feature.

What are your favorite cloth diapers? Do you have any advice for pregnant moms thinking of going the cloth route?

Lead Photo: GroVia via Family Style

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