If you want to start using cloth diapers you are probably aware of the many benefits it can bring. From less plastic pollution in nature, to less chemicals on your baby’s bum, saving money and many more, cloth diapers are a great investment. But where to start? When I started looking into this, the amount of information was overwhelming. Which diaper type is better? Which insert? Which brand? This template is for all, but tailored to parents living in Norway as some arrangements do not exist elsewhere.
1- Try out different types of diapers
Unfortunately nobody can tell you which diaper will suit your baby and your own preference better than yourself. You will have to try a few out to figure it out.
Here is a table of all kinds of different cloth diapers, the differences are explained in different blogs such as here or here. I am also adding Norwegian translations below, when I know them 🙂 Again, inputs are welcome.
Flats = Brettebleier, Fitted = Formsydde, All in ones = All in ones/aio, All in twos = All in twos/ai2, Pocket diapers = lommebleier, Hybrids = hybrider (I think), Prefolds= Prefolds.
I tried “fitted diapers”, “flats, “all in ones” and “pocket diapers” and I ended up using flats (a bit cloth one folds on to the baby’s bum) when my baby was very small, and pocket diapers after a month or so. The reason pocket diapers are my favorite is that they allow one to shove any kind of insert in the pocket and snap it on your baby. Even though the baby moves at night and in the day everything stays kind put. All in ones (the insert is sown in the diaper) can also be good but in Norway where clothes take a while to dry I have found it too long to dry for my taste. Different factors will make you like a type over an other, and some brands more than others. The fit on your baby (weight, big/small thighs, big/small wetter, allergies (then you will prefer natural fabrics), etc.
To avoid buying lots of diapers blindly, I advise to try different types by loaning them, buying them second hand and/or buying a starting pack (See below to do that cheaply or for free). If you are skeptical as to whether this will work for you and which type will be best, investing little money in the beginning might be a good idea. In Norway you can get a refund up to 2500 NOK (approx. 250 Euros) in some areas (see point 5).
2- Loan diapers for free
In Norway there is a system to loan diapers for free for 10 days called lånepakke, with the only cost of shipping them to the next person on the list (between 139 and 149 NOK).
See this link to be next on the list to loan a diaper kit for newborns. This kit has many different types of diapers of good quality, inserts and different brands, see here to see what it includes. I recommend you try them out every day during your 10 days so that you make the most of it and figure out what you like most. It is a great opportunity to try cloth diapering for free or almost.
A second package is also available for babies who are bigger than new borns, with so called One size diapers which can be snapped bigger or smaller depending on the baby’ size (such diaper is usually too big for newborns). See here to put your name on the list. This package seems to have a lot of diapers, more than 20. Again, use the opportunity you only have 10 days.
3- Buy new diapers in a Starter Kit
A starter kit means you have enough diapers to start using them, and enough variety in diaper types. Once you know what works for you you will need to buy more of the diaper you like. Here are some suggestions for a starter kit sold by Norway-based shops (available in physical shops and online):
- Gåsungen is an Oslo-based shop selling cloth diapers and much more for children. Their starter kit costs 669 NOK made especially for new borns. The package includes 1 flats diapers in organic cotton, 1 diaper all in one for newborns, one prefold in organic cotton, 1 insert/booster in hemp or bamboo, 1 fitted diaper, 1 cover, 1 Snappy and 1 roll of single use inserts. There is enough variety here to know what suits you and your baby best. I recommend this package for newborns.
- Bæreglede also has a starting kit for newborns with 6 all in two nappies and 10 inserts, so called Pop-in diapers, for 1099 NOK. Quite a good deal.
- Drammen-based cloth diaper shop Lillegull bleier has a starter kit costing 1000 NOK including a wet bag, 2 all in one diapers, 3 pocket diapers, 1 cover and 4 inserts and a roll of single use inserts. I recommend this package if you are starting to use cloth diapers when your baby is above 5kg as the diapers are one size.
- Unikum design is another Norwegian cloth diaper shop run from the Molde area, and they design and make their own diapers and they are made in Norway (vs. most other diapers made in China). They have 5 different starter kits, all 1000 NOK or 950 NOK. Starter kits focus on needs of parents: a kit with all you need to start with all-in-two diapers, a kit with all-in-2 diapers in wool, a third kit with all-in-one diapers, a fourth one to try out with night cloth diapers, and a fifth kit to start with pocket diapers. I recommend these kits if you already know what you want to start with, and if you prefer natural fabrics and diapers made in Norway. They also have then much larger kits with all you need to get going.
- Jollyroom.no is a child online shop and sells a starter kit with ImseVimse brand diapers with 2 diapers (no details as to which type) and 16 inserts for 1319 NOK.
Depending on the refund scheme of your municipality (see below), buying a starter kit might actually end up being for free.
Note that these shops also sell all sorts of diapers, which can be bought as units on their websites. Other Norway-based shops also sell single diapers and accessories such as Nøstebarn (mostly wool), Ecorumpa and Tøybleia. Buying from Norwegian-based shops supports local businesses and you avoid paying custom fees or high postage fees (for ex. when diapers are sent from the US).
- Buying new outside of Norway, for ex. on Amazon is something many do. If you really want to buy there bear in mind that many diapers are of unknown brands which can be of bad quality or different from what stands on the site. Brands sold on Amazon and which you can trust are for example Bambino Mio, Charlie Banana, Littles & Bloomz, Alva Baby, Mama Koala, BumGenius, Thirsties, Blueberry and Grovia. This is actually an exhaustive list, if you know of good brands sold there please let me know. See below for an example of what can be found on Amazon which does not refer to any known brands. Gerber is the only known brand here.
Also keep in mind that if you don’t like the diapers you have bought new or stop using them, you can sell them used on several platforms and get up between 30 to 80% of their value as new depending on their condition, brand etc. (see next point).
Once you know which kind you like, you can buy many of them in order to have enough to sustain the need for diapers over 24 hours for example.
4- Buy Second Hand Diapers
This is a much cheaper option than buying new diapers, and will enable you to try many different kinds for a lower price. One new diaper costs between 60 NOK and 300 NOK depending on where it was made (China or Europe/USA), how absorbing it is, whether the material is natural and organic (such as organic cotton, or wool) and its overall quality. Buying second hand can be more economical but also even more environmentally friendly whether it is to try cloth diapers out, or buy your whole stash. People selling second hand often sell their entire stash (for ex. because their child has stopped using diapers, or because they have no use of some of those they own) and that can become a very good deal especially if you are starting out. For ex. 1000 or 1500 NOK for 10-20 or more diapers, sometimes of good brands.
There are several platforms to buy/sell second hand diapers in Norway: from other parents on finn.no (under tøybleier) and Tøybleietorg Facebook group. Unikum Design also sells second hand diapers, a good idea for those who want to be sure the quality is checked beforehand.
The issue with finn.no is that although there are many diapers on sale there, there are many damaged diapers there that people sell anyway. I would only recommend to buy there if you already know how to recognise a good condition diaper and which questions to ask. Before I knew anything about cloth diapers I bought a pack with 12 diapers from a lady and after a few weeks of used I realised they were delaminated and leaking (the waterproof layer was in fact not waterproof anymore). The advantage of Tøybleietorg is that there are 4000 members, and many diapers usually of good quality and fair price are sold. The disadvantage is that there are many people buying there so you need to be fast.
5- Get a refund of up to 2500 NOK in cash by your municipality
In Norway almost 30% of municipalities have a refund scheme between 500 NOK and 2500 NOK to support parents who start with cloth diapers. Oslo for example refunds 1000 NOK while Rælingen refunds 2500 NOK. If your municipality does not have this scheme you might want to do small scale lobby to get them to adopt it, using environmental arguments as well as to lighten their waste management system.
To see what your municipality has to offer, check on Tøbleieforeningen (not sure this is updated though as I already spotted a mistake under the Oslo scheme) and here on Tøybleietilskudd. To get the most updated information the best is to go on your municipality’s website (kommune) and search Tøybleietilskudd or even call them and ask.
6- Ask experts
- Try to find a friend or even a new acquaintance who knows more than you about this and can help you out with information/how to buy the best suited diaper for your baby etc.
- On a Facebook group called Tøybleisnakk one can ask all sorts of stupid questions and get smart answers. In Norwegian and in English. On this group it is also possible to get a cloth diaper mentor to help you out in the overwhelming amount of information out there.
- Gåsungen organises a cloth diaper course every Saturday at 10 am in Oslo.
That’s it for now. I will write more soon about reasons to use cloth diapers and more if there is an interest. Good luck!
P.S: If you spot a mistake or something you would like to add in this post please send me an email froginthefjord(at)gmail(dot)com or comment below. TAKK!