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Have you decided to use prefolds, flats, or fitteds for your baby? If you’ve picked one, a combo, or all three of these options, you are going to need a good cover to keep baby leak free.
A cloth diaper cover, or wrap, is a waterproof or water-resistant shell that is used with different types of absorbent, non-waterproof diapers. It provides protection for your baby’s clothing or sheets by containing wetness and mess. Covers can be used with fitteds, prefolds, and flats.
Waterproof shells are usually made from polyurethane laminate (PUL) or thermoplastic laminate (TPU). Urethane is a plastic that coats the fabric, making it waterproof. The difference between PUL and TPU is, in PUL covers, the urethane is chemically bonded to the fabric, while the urethane in TPU covers is bonded by heat.
These covers can be used a few times before washing. Covers with exposed PUL or TPU can be wiped clean in between uses. If poop gets on the cover, it will need to be washed before reusing. These covers can be washed with your diaper laundry or hand washed if you need it sooner than laundry day. Although they generally should be line dried, the typically dry fairly quick.
Some covers have a lining of mesh or microfleece covering the PUL or TPU. Although these covers cannot be wiped clean between uses, they can be air dried if slightly damp, and reused until they start to smell or if they get soiled.
Typically to cloth diaper a newborn, 6-8 covers would be a good number to have and be able to wash every other day. Older babies may not need as many. Four to six covers may work fine for them.
Wool diaper covers are another great option. Wool is a natural fiber and is very breathable. It is water resistant when properly lanolized, and is great for day and nighttime use. Lanolized wool cleans itself, so unless poop gets on it, it may be a couple weeks before it needs to be washed! Since you can go weeks without washing wool, you will not need to have as many covers in rotation. Wool must be washed by hand and air dried, or it will shrink.
Synthetic fleece is another cover option. It is water-resistent, but needs to be washed much more often than wool. Fleece covers can be washed with your regular laundry.
Although some covers are simply pulled on and off, closures available on most covers are either hook & loop (also known as Velcro or Aplix) or snaps. Snaps are durable and long lasting. Also, if your baby tries to take off his or her diaper, snaps are more difficult for little ones to remove by themselves. Hook & loop is similar to what is used in disposables, so while it may not be as durable as snaps, it may a little easier to put on and take off for those who are not used to using cloth diapers.
Cloth diaper covers are available in sized options (different sizes), or available in one-size options, meaning they should fit your baby from infant to potty-training.
Whether you are looking for an economical cloth diapering option, or a great overnight solution, diaper covers may make a wonderful addition to your cloth diaper stash.