cloth diapering thoughts
Posted by eemilla on January 8, 2012
We’re over six months in with the cloth diapering, and we’ve taken two two night plus road trips without using disposables (we’re so proud of ourselves!) Here are my thoughts about what has worked for us.
I’ll start with the least expensive option, which is also the most familiar to anyone who diapered before disposables were available, the prefold. The prefold is a large piece of cotton, cotton/hemp blend, or other absorbent fabric that has been pre-folded to create a thicker section in the middle; these must be used with a cover. I purchased six infant (for 7-20 lbs) prefolds and six newborn (4-9 lbs) prefolds in case we had a tiny one. LB was a good sized baby so we used the newborn sized prefolds as burp cloths although they probably would have been better to use as doublers.
Below from back left to right are a stack of inserts for pocket diapers, wipes, some Bummis baby sized prefolds with a Kawaii Baby prefold (one size), and Bummis infant prefold. I purchased the baby sized prefolds in preparation for our first road trip where I knew we wouldn’t have access to a washer or dryer, and they worked fine with the covers moved to a larger setting.
This is an infant sized Bummis prefold in a one size Kawaii baby cover. Kawaii Baby seems to have some of the least expensive options, but they so far they have been good quality products.
Below is a picture of a Gerber prefold that we purchased to be used as a burp cloth; it has never been used as a diaper which means we have washed it much less frequently than our diapers (if the forecast is for sun to dry them on the line we wash daily, but if there is rain forecast we wash every other day). However, it has not worn nearly as well as the Bummi prefold that follows.
I’ve only purchased the Bummis and one Kawaii Baby prefold (ignoring the Gerber diapers that we have always used for burp cloths), but based on that sample of two the Bummis are super thick. While it hasn’t ever leaked due to being soaked, the Kawaii Baby prefold was much thinner even after the three prewash and dry cycles, which has put me off from trying the generic prefolds. Even though I’d like to have a deeper stash so we could do less laundry, we’re not sure that we will have anymore bums to cloth diaper, and part of the reason we are cloth diapering is to save money.
Prefolds do require covers; below is our collection of covers. The Kawaii Baby covers cost about a $1.50 more than the used Flip cover (not pictured) we purchased from a local baby store. Even when LB was gaining height faster than weight, we didn’t have a problem with blowouts or leaking with the Kawaii baby covers. The Flip and the two generic gusseted covers all leaked with the Flip being at the scene of at least three blowouts.
I did two diaper trials with Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique (which has super awesome customer service plus free shipping) to help reduce our investment in case certain diapers didn’t work for us. For the first trial I selected a Bottombumpers All in One, a BumGenius Elemental One Size, and a Thirsties Duo Snap Wrap with a Thirsties Duo diaper. We had our first ever leak in the BumGenius, and it took forever to dry as it is literally all in one with no removable pieces. The Thirsties functioned well, but we didn’t like how the double gussets made it difficult to check the status without opening the diaper, plus this was a pretty pricey product ($18 for the diaper and $13 for the cover). The Bottombumper functioned well, but it is probably the least user friendly diaper we own. Even on the lowest rise setting, it was too high and covered LB’s stump; they also function like a prefold with very little wicking away of moisture. Of our diaper supply, these are the worse to deal with when poop is involved, and for the price, it seems a shame the wicking function isn’t any better. However, it has always fit, even during her tall and skinny phase, which led me to buy another one.
The easiest and most familiar for disposable diaper users are the pocket diapers. We use these as our over night and road trip diapers as they do a good job of wicking away moisture and are heavy duty. On the downside, much like the Bottombumpers, pockets are messier to deal with when there is poop involved as the insert does need to be removed for washing. Pockets generally run about the same cost wise as all in ones, but with their overnight functionality and user ease, they are good diapers to have. Please note that not all pockets and inserts are created equally.
During the course of my pregnancy, I couldn’t resist buying some locally produced diapers available at the Coop; these are not one sized diapers (all of our other diapers are one size diapers), and they cost about the same as many of the higher end one sized pocket diapers. They come in cute color combos, but after LB went through her tall and skinny phase we had to stop using the Roly Polys due to consistent leaking. Finally as she was just growing out of the small size, in a moment of desperation (all of the covers were dirty), I pulled out the inserts that came with the RolyPoly pocket and used a prefold in its place. This worked fine several times (I just hated to not use these cute and soft diapers), but now LB is too big for the small size (8-18lbs), and we only have one medium (15-35 lbs) and one large (22-45 lbs). The inside of the diaper does a great job with the wicking, but even after multiple wash and dry cycles, the inserts just didn’t seem to work even when doubled and changed within an hour (they have now been repurposed as wipes).
During the tall and skinny phase, we did another diaper trial to find a good fit as basically only the Kawaii Baby diapers were fitting (barely). Based on the recommendations from Sweetbottoms Baby, I opted for a FuzziBunz because of the adjustable elastic around the legs. While it is pain to change the setting, it is a great feature. Additionally, this diaper is just so soft from the outside to the inserts.
The most cost effective has been the Kawaii Baby pockets (although at this point I don’t think it is worth paying extra for their overnight as their standard insert doubled seems to work great for us). They also seem to fly off the shelves as they seem to be constantly out of stock. We have never had a fit problem with these, and they seem to have worn well even with all the washing and drying (my husband has run them through the dryer on high heat on multiple occasions against their instructions).
Finally, our wipes are BabyKicks plus a handful of homemade flannel ones that I sloppily stitched together and a few Roly Poly ones from the grocery store.
For the wipe solution, we fill my peri bottle with water then add 25 drops of lavender essential oil and 10 drops of tea tree. Whether this helps with having avoiding diaper rash or not we don’t know, but it smells better than any the wipes we used while in the NICU.
At some point I will get around to doing the math to see how we’ve done financially, but we feel good about keeping all that plastic from the landfill. Plus cloth diapers are just so cute!