How Do I Find the Right Size Cloth Diaper for My Baby?
If you are reading this, CONGRATULATIONS! You will not regret your decision to cloth diaper your baby.
At this point, you may have researched the types of fabric you prefer, selected the cloth diaper style(s) you think best meets yours and your baby's need, and perhaps perhaps even noticed you are partial to a particular cloth diaper brand. The next big question is two-fold; first, you need to get the right size, and next, you need to match it up by choosing a diaper cover.
When it comes to cloth diapers, SIZE DOES MATTER!
I'm sure you've heard the old adage that size doesn't matter, right? *AHEM* Well, let me assure you that with cloth diapers, size matters - in fact, it matters a lot.
Most of our cloth diaper pages will give a variety of ways to match your baby to a particular size. Though we realize it would be much simpler if we could simply assign a weight to a size, it makes as much sense as you going into a store and trying to find a pair of pants by your weight size. Weight doesn't account for your waist size, whether you are hippy or not, whether you need more or less room in the thighs, and your height. It simply would not do to seek out a pair of pants based on weight. The same applies for finding a good fit for a baby's cloth diaper.
To ensure an accurate fit, a baby should be measured at the waist, in the rise, and around the thighs - this takes into account the unique characteristics that make your baby unlike every other baby alive.
Most manufacturers and retailers of cloth diapers offer both weight and measurement guidelines for each size cloth diaper they produce, distribute or sell. Without this information, you have absolutely no starting point by which to ascertain a certain fit.
What about purchasing cloth diapers by baby's age?
The easiest way to answer this question is for me to ask you the same. Do you purchase underwear according to your age? Exactly. It makes about as much sense as purchasing shoes, socks, rings, or belts by your age.
It is very easy to measure your baby for an accurate cloth diaper fit - learn how and you'll never again wonder whether a cloth diaper you ordered online will fit your baby.
Taking your baby's measurements.
When measuring your baby there are three areas to take into account; the waist, thighs and the rise (the length of the diaper from the back waistline, up through the legs, to the front waistline). Accurate measures of each of these areas will take great strides in preventing against leaks and getting a comfortable fit for your baby.
- Measuring The Waist - Babies come with a natural waist indicator - their belly button. Using the belly button as your guide, wrap a soft tape measure around baby's bare waist; this will give you the proper measure for a cloth diaper. If measuring for a cloth diaper cover, you will need to wrap the soft tape measure around baby's waist ATOP a cloth diaper (or if you do not cloth diaper your baby yet, you can use a disposable diaper). Keep the tape meausre snug, though not too tight - especially if using a disposable diaper as your measure for a cloth diaper cover; disposable diapers tend to be slightly trimmer than cloth diapers.
- Measuring The Thighs - Many parents make the mistake of measuring where the thigh joins the hip (at the slimmest area of a baby's thigh), but this is not the correct place to measure. Baby's have chubby thighs - and getting a good measure on these little chunks is crucial when selecting a cloth diaper or diaper cover. If you get a measure too tight, then baby is left with a tight fitting cloth diaper or cover that leaves red marks. If you get a measure too loose, then you're left with leaks - believe me, you don't want leaks. To guard against red marks or leaks, measure at the fullest part of the thigh - which is slightly below the hip socket.
- Measuring The Rise - The rise, also called the 'depth' of a cloth diaper, is taken by placing a soft measuring tape at baby's back waistline, pulling it down through the legs (loosely), and up to meet baby's front waistline. The same applies here as it does for measuring the waist. IF you are measuring for a cloth diaper, you just keep it comfortably loose atop baby's skin while you measure. If you are measuring for a cloth diaper cover, you should measure over a cloth diaper, or if you do not have one, a disposable diaper. And again, remember that disposable diapers are trimmer than most cloth diapers, so allow a bit more room in your measurement.
Once you have measured your baby, you can more accurately find a cloth diaper and cloth diaper cover size that best fits your baby. Before you get too involved in shopping for the right cloth diaper cover, you might want to quickly glance at our article on choosing a diaper cover.