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Cloth Diaper Appropriate Clothing?

Posted by Becca on 10/26/2011 to Getting Started

In my opinion, there’s nothing cuter than a baby’s cloth-diapered bottom, or what cloth-diapering parents like to call a “fluffy bum.” Yes, it’s bigger than the bottoms of disposable-diapered babies, but we like it that way. That large bum means that we’ve chosen the best for our babies! And besides, it’s great when they’re first learning to stand and walk because it offers some cushion for the many spills and falls that are bound to happen daily.

Unfortunately, dressing a cloth diapered baby is just a tiny bit more challenging than I’d hoped it would be. This is because disposable diapers are now the mainstream option, and clothing is made with a disposable diaper in mind. Does this mean you should give up and switch to disposables? No. Does it mean that you can’t choose adorable outfits for your baby. No. It just means you need to be flexible, and to take a couple of things into account. Here are some tricks I have for choosing cloth diaper appropriate clothing:

1. Stretchy fabric
My favorite clothing solution with cloth diapers is to use knits. I can’t tell you how many adorable leggings and stretchy cotton pants my daughter owns and in every possible color. Stretchy pants really make room for that big diaper and also make my daughter extremely comfortable. Besides, they allow lots of freedom of movement as she runs around exploring what her body is capable of.

2. A Bigger Size
If I want my baby to wear jeans or a woven fabric, I’ll often go a size up to accommodate her bum. In general, jeans are stiff and don’t give and take when it comes to larger bottoms. Sometimes, even if you can fit your baby’s fluffy bum into the jeans, they’re pulled pretty tightly around the bottom and upper thigh area which restricts movement. If you chose a larger size, you can always roll the cuffs up or even hem the jeans higher if they’re too long.

3. Elastic Jeans
Cargo pants, and khakis coupled with an adorable, striped polo are so cute on little boys. But we’ve already addressed the fact that jeans and woven fabrics often pose a problem. The only jeans that do fit my daughter are those with elastic on the top and lots of room in the bum. You just need to be on the lookout for a generous cut when choosing these types of pants for your little boy (or girl).

4. Skip the pants!
This tip is probably easier for girls to do than boys. In the warmer months, my daughter’s pants and shorts get barely any use because I just opt for dresses all the time. Dresses not only allow plenty of room for cloth diapers, but they show off the pretty colors and prints that your diapers come in! If your baby is a boy, then why not just couple the diaper with a shirt when it’s warmer? Seriously, modern cloth diapers are so cute that they can complete an outfit by themselves!

5. Go with Wool Shorties or Longies
Shorties (wool shorts) and Longies (wool pants) are diaper covers and thus are designed to fit over that generous fluffy bottom. Why not skip all other pants and shorts and just go with the wool diaper covers instead? They’re certainly warm enough in the winter to replace pants and breatheable enough that in the summer they’ll keep your baby nice and cool.

6. Special clothing
Sometimes, I hit the jackpot and find an outfit in a retail store such as H&M or even Walmart that just happens to have lots of diaper room. If you’re on the lookout for this, you might just come home with a couple cloth-appropriate bottoms. But if you really want jeans or other bottoms that suit your cloth diapering needs, some online stores—generally retailers that already sell cloth diapers or that sell organic merchandise—sell clothing specifically tailored to cloth diapered babies that’s got plenty of room in the trunk. Just google it or ask your parenting forum and you’re bound to come up with some great places to look. If you’re having trouble finding clothing made with cloth in mind, you can always make your own, or commission someone to make some for you.

7. Choose a trim diaper
Some cloth diapers are trimmer than others. I like to have a diverse mix of diapers in my stash so that I have a diaper for every situation and solution. Some of those diapers are more trim than others and fit better under clothing. I like my Knickernappies and GroVia AIOs if I’m trying to find a more trim diaper to fit under restrictive clothing. Using sized diapers is also a great way to cut down on the bulk.

8. Let your family know!
My daughter has lots of aunts—six of them to be exact, and five of those are my little sisters. And let me tell you, they LOVE to shop for baby clothes! My daughter is so, SO fashionable thanks to their purchases. But unfortunately, many of those adorable outfits never got to be worn because they weren’t cut for cloth diapers. After a couple of cute fitted jeans and plaid pants went straight to the “out-grown” pile, I made a point of letting my sisters know that they really need to consider Bunny’s cloth diapers before buying her an outfit. Now, they’re quite careful about choosing clothing that she’ll actually get to wear. As with any parenting choice, choosing to cloth diaper definitely comes with pros and cons—and to me, most of the cons are simply a result of cloth being used by only a small minority of parents. Unfortunately, most children’s clothing manufacturers don’t take cloth diapers into account when designing and creating their outfits. But if you’re creative and flexible with your purchases and clothing choices, you can make this a non-issue and turn your clothing lemons into adorable lemonade!