Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: The Diapers My Baby Wears



My sweet baby turned one year old a little over a week ago.  When we first brought him home, we had a pretty ample supply of disposable diapers given to us by the hospital. After about a week, they ran out and we switched to cloth diapers. So, it's safe to say, that my husband and I have been cloth diapering our baby for a year now. Believe it or not, I prefer cloth to disposables.  Really. Our little guy's diapers rarely leak (no "pooplosions"), he hardly ever gets diaper rash, and I LOVE not buying diapers.

Whenever I tell people I cloth diaper my baby, I first get the inevitable look of bewilderment and/or disgust, then I get asked what kind of diapers. Most people have the same idea of cloth diapers I did before I looked into it -- their point of reference is the old-fashioned cloth diapers (big and flat, that needed to be folded like origami), safety pins, and plastic covers. That's how my mom diapered me and my brothers in the 1980s and I figured it hadn't changed since then.  Wrong. Cloth diapering has come a long way and there are lots of options out there.

In this post, I'm going to share what diapers my baby wears, along with the pros and cons of each type. There are so many different brands and types of diapers out there, so this list is by no means comprehensive. I haven't tried every brand or kind of diaper on my baby. Also, no one is paying me to say nice things about the diapers they make (not that I would be opposed to anyone sending me free diapers to review...).  All of this is purely my opinion and experience, so take it for what it's worth!

Diaper #1 - Bummis Easy Fit Pocket Diaper


The Bummis Easy Fit diapers (along with the Bummis Tini Fit) were the first cloth diapers I purchased. I'd read a lot of reviews of them and thought they'd be the best for us. It seemed like an easier transition from the familiar disposables.

Pros: 
  • These diapers fit your baby the entire time he or she is in diapers, thanks to the rows of snaps that let you adjust the size. My baby wore these diapers as a newborn and he wears the same ones now.
  • Well-made, high quality materials. The insert is made of a bamboo rayon fabric and polyester microfibre, making it really absorbent. Made in the UK. 
  • The insert is attached to the diaper, making it really convenient (no need to find accompanying inserts like with other pocket diapers). When I'm packing my diaper bag before going out, my first choice of diapers to pack are the Bummis because I know I've got everything I need.
  • They go on quickly, just as fast as a disposable diaper would. 
  • These diapers are easy to wash. The insert comes out by itself in the washing machine. If the diaper is wet, you can toss it right into your pail; if it's poopy, just rinse it off and put it in the pail. No fishing out icky liners like with regular pocket diapers.
  • They have a trimmer fit than most cloth diapers. Still bulkier than disposables, not too much.
  • In my opinion, these are the best diapers for reluctant spouses and babysitting grandparents because they're easy to use and, of all the ones we own, they are the most similar to disposables. 
  • It doesn't really matter that much in terms of performance, but I like the looks of these diapers best. I also prefer the Velcro tabs to snap enclosures (the Velcro has held up beautifully after a ton of washings). And I really like the colors the diapers come in, too.
Cons:
  • At $25 each, they're a pricey choice. I bought ours for less (around $16-18 each) through an online baby shop -- I'd give you the link to it, but the reason I got the diapers so discounted was that she was closing her shop. Do a little searching and you may find a good deal. 
  • I hate to say it since they're the most expensive, but of all the pocket diapers we've used on Jonah, these have leaked the most. As I was writing this post, I asked my husband which diapers he preferred and he said that the Bummis at the bottom of his list, saying that they are "leaky, leaky, leaky".  They haven't leaked when the diaper is poopy, but they definitely have when the baby's diaper was wet. I think this may have had something to do with the way the diaper's leg openings fit around his extra-chubby legs in his pre-solid food days (when he was in the 80th percentile for his weight). He has since slimmed out a little since he started solids (as is expected, though he is still a beautifully chubby little guy) and they've seemed to leak less often. 
  • (UPDATE: About two years into our cloth diapering experience, these ones started to show their wear the most, especially the elastic around the leg openings. The fabric also started to wear away to the point of leaving holes, again mostly around the leg openings. For how much these cost, I was pretty disappointed.)
Diaper #2 -- GoGreen Pocket Diaper "Champ 2.0"

After I'd ordered a few of the Bummis, I discovered GoGreen Pocket Diapers. I was relieved to see that I could find pocket diapers that were a lot less expensive than the others (like Bummis and other brands) were.  GoGreen sells a couple different types of pocket diapers and the ones we use the most are their Champ 2.0 pocket diapers.

Pros: 
  • The price. At $15.95, the Champ diapers cost a whole ten dollars less than the Bummis. That's a great deal for pocket diapers (though the Champ diapers aren't the cheapest ones GoGreen offers. More on that later.).
  • Like I mentioned before, my little guy wore these as a newborn and he wears the same ones now. Once you buy them, you don't need to worry about getting bigger sizes.
  • The four rows of snaps make the Champ diapers extra adjustable. The Bummis only have three snaps, which made them a little harder to use on a newborn. Jonah was able to wear the Champ diapers when he was only a few weeks old. It was bulky, but it worked!
  • You can get one of these on baby super-quick, too.
  • Though the insert isn't attached like the Bummis insert is, the inserts in these diapers snap in. When you wash the diapers, the insert stays (most of the time) snapped but it also agitates itself out of the pocket. With these diapers, there's no need to fish out the insert before putting it into the diaper pail or washing machine. As you can probably tell, not having to get the insert out of a pocket diaper is a big plus for me!
  • I love the double-gussets at the leg openings. This keeps everything inside the diaper better, especially important when you're dealing with runny breastfed/bottle-fed baby poo. We've had some wet leaks but no poop leakage. Adding an extra insert fixed the wet leaks right away.
  • There are two openings openings which not only allow the inserts to come out on their own in the wash, but it also makes stuffing the diapers easier and quicker. No worries about bunching and twisting of the the liner. Also, the dual openings make it easier to add additional liners, like the hemp/cotton ones I use for the baby at night sometimes.
  • Again, not that it really matters, but there are a lot of fun prints and colors available with GoGreen diapers. You can go as plain or wild as you want with them. (Max calls Jonah's star-print diapers the "Captain America diapers".)
  • Great customer service. When one of my diapers arrived with a broken snap, they replaced it really quickly. Also, they have a flat $5 shipping fee on all US orders.
  • These are the only diapers my baby wears at night because they work the best with the hemp insert. For more info on how I diaper my baby at night, check out this post.
Cons:
  • I'm not completely nuts that they're 100% polyester. The fleece material on the inside does wick away the moisture away from my baby really well, but I'd rather have natural fibers instead of synthetic ones against his skin. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning.
  • Since they're polyester, they seem more prone to ammonia build-up than cotton diapers which makes them smell a little, even after they're washed. GoGreen has started to offer a new product for stripping the diapers, but I haven't tried it.
  • I prefer the Velcro enclosures on the Bummis over the snap enclosures on the GoGreen diapers, especially when the baby being changed is feeling extra grouchy and/or wiggly.
Diaper #3 -- GoGreen Pocket Diaper "Solid Silky"


I bought three of GoGreen's regular pocket diaper when I was getting the Champ diapers because they were on sale for $7 each. I figured they were worth a try.

Pros:
  • Like with the Champ diapers, the price! GoGreen's regular pocket diapers are very affordable, running at $9.99 each (plus, the flat $5 shipping rate on all US orders.).  
  • Since the inside is made of fleece, they keep baby's skin dry and comfortable. Like the Champ diapers, both the inside and outside of the diaper has held up well after many, many washings.
Cons:
  • Fishing out the inserts in poopy diapers. It doesn't really bug me to pull out the insert out of the pocket when the diaper is wet, but when you have a really poopy diaper to take care of, pulling out the insert is pretty gross.
  • Again, I'm not a huge fan of synthetic materials; I prefer natural fibers against his skin. And, as I said before, the polyester seems more prone to ammonia build-up.
  • Only one row of snaps across the top makes it seem a little less secure than the two rows that the Champ offers.
  • The inserts do have a tendency to bunch and twist since there's nothing keeping them in place except the pocket itself.
  • It takes a little longer to stuff the inserts in the pocket diapers than with the Bummis and Champ diapers, but not long enough to be a huge deal.
Diaper #4 - Green Mountain Diapers Cloth-eez Prefolds


When I first talked to my husband about using cloth diapers for our baby, he agreed to it on the condition that we wouldn't use "those flat diapers".  And I agreed. Prefolds seemed like they would be a big hassle.  Then I started ordering the pocket diapers and realized that it would cost a lot to exclusively use pocket diapers. 

So I decided to just look into prefolds. I came to the conclusion that they wouldn't be so bad and told my husband that if he really didn't want to deal with them, I would put them on the baby during the day while he was at work. Just a week or so into cloth diapering, my husband and I both decided that we liked the prefolds better than all the pocket diapers. Who knew? It came as a complete surprise that we preferred the Cloth-eez prefolds sold by Green Mountain Diapers (along with the Thirsties covers and a Snappi) over everything else!

Pros:
  • The PRICE! Even though $10 is a great deal for a single pocket diaper, you get way more for your money with prefolds.  The prefolds' (depending on whether you get regular or organic cotton and what size you get) price range is $2-4 per diaper. You do have to buy a few covers in addition to the diapers  (the Thirsties covers are awesome -- they run at about $10.00 each) which adds to the cost, but you only need a few covers. If you bought a dozen newborn Cloth-eez diapers and four Thirsties covers, your total cost would still be just less than $70 (plus shipping). Wow. 
  • All of our pocket diapers have leaked a little from time to time (mostly just wetness around the leg openings). The prefold-cover combo has NEVER leaked. Seriously, never. Granted, this is due to the   Thirsties covers (they have gussets by the leg openings that catch everything so well) more than the prefolds themselves. 
  • Prefolds are so much easier to rinse than the pocket diapers. It's harder and takes longer (even with the help of my handy diaper sprayer) to get the pocket diapers poop-free because of the nooks and crannies. The flat prefolds rinse off faster and easier.
  • I love that they're 100% cotton. Not only is it better against baby's skin, but they don't get as smelly or need to be stripped as soon as the polyester ones need to.
  • Even though you do have to buy bigger sizes of diapers and covers as baby grows, I don't mind because I like how they fit at each stage. He wore the one-size-fits-all pocket diapers when he was only a few weeks old, but they were pretty bulky on his little newborn frame. The newborn prefolds fit perfectly (and they looked super cute on his little body!).
  • Once you're completely done with cloth diapering, you can reuse the diapers for household chores.
Cons:
  • Unlike the pocket diapers we bought that fit from birth to potty training, you do have to buy bigger sized diapers and covers as baby grows. So far, we've bought the orange-edged newborn size, the yellow small size, and the brown large size. We've been using the brown-edged large ones for most of the time. This isn't a huge con, in my opinion -- I think it actually spreads out the cloth diaper start-up cost better. 
  • Once babies realize they can roll, wiggle, and crawl away, diaper changing can be a struggle, no matter what you use. I've gotten pretty fast at getting those prefolds on my baby, but if he's super-wiggly or fussy, having to get the diaper on him, along with the Snappi (you can forgo the Snappi, but I like how it keeps things together) and the cover, can get tricky.
  • They're not the best diapers for taking on the go. When I have to change the baby at one of those restroom changing tables that folds away from the wall, I want to get him on and off as fast as I can. That's a situation where I prefer the pocket diapers. Pocket diapers are ready-to-go and easy grab from my bottomless diaper bag
  • I don't use prefolds at night. I use the Diaper Champ diapers at night exclusively. 
  • Prefolds aren't really the best diapers to leave with a babysitter or grandparent that isn't used to them. There is a bit of a learning curve to using them -- not much of one, but there still is one. Pocket diapers resemble the familiar disposable diaper more.
****

Whew! That's a lot of diaper info. Again, the list isn't comprehensive. There are a lot of different kinds of diapers and brands on the market. If you cloth diaper, I would love to hear what has worked best on your baby.

Note: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

{This post is linked up with Your Green Resource. Check it out -- lots of great ideas!}

8 comments:

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

I always like to see what diapers others are using. At first I loved pocket diapers b/c they were so similar to disposables (esp. if stuffed in advance), but now my favorite is prefolds plus cover. I am too lazy to do the Snappi thing. My prefold method is super easy (easy enough for babysitters!) and fast, but it probably doesn't hold in the poop as well as the special folds plus Snappi. I can't remember any poop leaking though at the moment. Here is how I use prefolds:
http://www.eco-novice.com/2010/09/coth-diaper-tutorial-easiest-way-to-use.html

The only time prefolds aren't my first choice is with a newborn -- then I'm willing to shell out for fitted diapers (although I bought all mine used so they weren't TOO expensive). I'm currently using some fitted some prefolds with my 4 month old.

I also have learned to dislike the synthetic materials for their stinkiness. I only use pocket diapers at night now. Is there such a thing as a non-synthetic pocket diaper?

Our pocket diapers also leak, esp around the legs. Our babies have chubby legs too, but I don't think that's the problem. Once the insert is saturated, it just seems like they leak out the legs (and up the back if bad enough). At night, I use a Thirsties OVER the pocket diaper to keep the PJs dry.

Do you think this comment is long enough? It's been a while since I stopped by -- fun to see what you're up to.

Elise said...

I had the same stigma before having my little one. My mom cloth diapered some of my younger siblings and it was not a good experience LOL.
Fortunately I was gifted with some Smarti Pants pocket diapers and love them! A few days ago I was at my parents and my dad saw me changing little one's diaper and said, "wow, cloth diapers have come a long way!"
Yep, they sure have.

marissa welch said...

My go-to pick is Bumgenius 4.0 because they don't leak, they fit well and they're cute. My second choice is Bummis EasyFit. 5 months out, I just started trying new things from the cloth diaper swap. I like Modia because they come with an amazing hemp insert that you can fold to have more layers where your kiddo wets heaviest. I also like Little Lemon Tree because they have a trim fit, come in cute prints and I haven't had a leak yet. I do not like Rumparooz because they leak and they snaps are hard to undo. I also do not like Coolababy, the eBay diaper. They snap up funny and they leak.

I prefer snaps to hook and loop closure because there are no laundry tabs to remember or diaper chains. My guy still isn't super wiggly, so I might change my tune. I cannot wait to get my hands on a few of the new EasyFits with snaps!

I haven't had a blow-out or diaper rash except for a yeast rash right after coming home from the hospital because I had to be on antibiotics due to unknown Group B Strep status. I diapered my oldest in disposables and I wish so much that I had known about modern cloth diapering back then!

Heather said...

I am totally with you -- I also diapered my first child in disposables. If only I had known how not-bad cloth diapering is. Oh, the money I could have saved....

Angie said...

We use econobum diapers with flip covers. Both from cottonbabies.com, and the covers are the kind that grow with her. Yay! I really (really, really) wanted to use pocket diapers, but she apparently has a super sensitive butt and will only tolerate cotton. Ah well, it's way cheaper! :)

Ktina said...

I stumbled on your blog and have enjoyed reading some of your posts. Just thought I'd share a less expensive diaper I found when researching cloth diapers for our first baby (due in 5 weeks). Alvababy diapers look and sound exactly like the GoGreen Pocket Diaper "Champ 2.0" you reference in this post. The difference is they're about half the cost. I order through alvababy.com (look for "Color Snap Diapers With Double Gussets"), and they cost me $6.99 with free shipping (although it takes about a month for them to get here from China). I'm pretty sure they're exactly the same diaper as the GoGreens--Alvababy is a big Chinese distributor that sells to other diaper companies. Just something to look into. :)

aliah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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