I’ve decided to go cloth/reusable diapers, for previously mentioned reasons, and I just feel like it’ll be better for little E’s tiny heiney and the world… I’ve been researching for weeks to figure out what was the most cost effective and what brands work the best, and what will be best for me and E. I’ve been reading up on all the accessories that go along with these cloth diapers. And finally I made my decision and ordered my first 4 diapers!
Things to Know Before You Commit
Microsuede or fleece is the most absorbent, it will wick away moisture away from the baby, this type of fabric is best for night time or for a baby with a sensitivity for wetness. Until potty training most say this fabric is what they use until it’s time to potty train. Cotton or bamboo lets the child know they are wet. This will be an issue for E. She hates being wet, and often immediately cries at the first sign of tinkle. These are better for daytime use or for an older baby that is preparing or is potty training. We are going with almost all microsuede or fleece diapers right now.
When choosing a diaper the fasteners are something to take into consideration. I personally ordered some Velcro and some snaps to give them each a try. I’ve read that the Velcro have a tendency to wear out faster but it really all depends on how many diapers are in your stash, how often you launder, and if you care for your diapers well. Also the Velcro fasteners will be easier to take off as your baby gets older, something to take into consideration if you are purchasing one size diapers.
It is also recommended is to use a ‘special’ soap for washing your cloth diapers. There are so many factors that play into this soap recommendation. Baby’s bottoms are pretty sensitive, so placing certain soaps up against their privates can be bad news. Also some detergents contain ingredients that will affect the absorbency of the diaper, making them do their job less effectively. After reading tons of reviews I chose Nellie’s all natural laundry soap. Cost per load was one of the best, and it has a reputation of being non-reactive with baby’s skin, as well as it doesn’t have chemicals that damage the diaper.
From what I have read you get what you pay for. If you plan on purchasing cheap diapers, then plan on buying lots of them. The good quality diapers are going to cost you more up front but really less in the long run. Cheaper diapers probably won’t make it through multiple children, and have a reputation of leaking. Some of the big name brands in cloth diapering are BumGenius, groVia, Rumparooz, Thirsties, FuzziBunz, Kissaluvs, Bummis, gDiapers just to name a few. These popular brands can easily be found across different venues from a local cloth store to Amazon.
Of course purchasing ‘gently loved’ diapers are going to be the cheapest way to go. That is all about your preference, certain types of diapers like the shells I would have no problem purchasing second hand. The ones that actually touch the baby’s skin on the other hand that’s a big negative ghost rider. That’s just me. The hybrid system is going to be the next most cost effective diaper, the shell can be reused multiple times and that is the expensive part, the inserts are not as costly and that is the part you change out. The most expensive diapers are the pocket and all in ones. Wear once and wash means you will need more of these making them more expensive.
Some go all out and purchase all the bells and whistles for the cloth diapering experience. There is a sprayer that can be attached to the toilet to spray the poo easily down the toilet. You can opt to go all cloth and purchase flannel wipes and a spray to clean the baby butt in a green fashion. Wetbags I feel are a must, they are where you store the dirty diapers until laundry day, they seal in the wetness and stench. You could also opt for a diaper pail and a liner to hold the dirties until they get in the wash. Either way you go, you should have at least 2 one to use while the other is in the wash. Wool balls, these are a great product to use in all laundry, but especially in cloth diapering. Depending on how many you use it can cut the dry time down more than 20%.
Butt Pastes and Creams
Then there is the topic of creams and pastes. If you don’t use a cloth approved/specific cream or paste it can ruin your diapers. There are several brands that are ok to use, but most of the commercial ones are not ok.
Prefolds, Flats and Fitteds
There are 4 common kinds of diapers that are found in the modern cloth diapering world. The first is called the pre-fold. A cloth diaper that is similar to what my mom used on me but better. They are softer and typically made of organic cotton or bamboo and come pre folded (duh). This makes them a little bit easier to use for the newbie cloth diaperer. From the research I’ve done it doesn’t really seem like it matters what brand is being used, they all do their job similarly. They are a fairly cheap option but they need many extra pieces. Pins or snappis (a y-shaped special fastener meant especially for cloth diapering) diaper fasteners are used to hold the diaper up and then you also need a diaper cover/rubber bottoms or wool pants to keep it from leaking. Because obviously these are just cloth so they are not waterproof and they can only absorb so much. I’ve read that they are the easiest to wash because you just toss them in the washer and dryer, but I feel like they would also cause more problems in the end leaking and what not. Also falling into this category is flats, they are again like the diapers that mom used. They come flat and it’s a diy fold it up and slap it on type of diaper. Again you need fasteners and a cover. Fitteds are a more modern take on the cloth, they are shaped to fit the baby without folding and they have elastic around the legs, with snaps or Velcro closure. These can be made to look like fancy diapers because the covers that can be purchased vary from adorable prints and colors just like the more expensive ones we will cover later on. All of these diapers will have to be changed with every wet pee or poo.
This type of diaper is a 2 piece system. This type of diaper is similar to a disposable, wear it once and toss in the wet bag. The outside is waterproof and the inside has an absorbent fabric to keep the baby dry. Fabric such as microfleece or suede wick the moisture away from baby’s skin and keep her dry, or cotton/bamboo can be used inside it for absorbency. There is a pocket on the inside that can be stuffed with different fabrics for varying absorbencies. Stuff more for nighttime allowing more urine to be soaked up, so the baby doesn’t wake up wet and there is no leaking. The bad thing about these diapers is some have to be unstuffed, therefore if the inside is covered in dirty stinky baby poop, you have to reach in the pocket and pull out the dookie covered insert. These types of diapers usually come with snaps or Velcro closures.
All in One (AIOs) Diapers
These diapers are probably the most like disposable diapers. Everything is all attached to the diaper, simply wear and wash. These seem like they will be the best for overnight, as they wick the moisture away from the baby. They have a liner that is attached to a waterproof shell, so there is no need to stuff or snap in inserts. Some inserts are sewn in, others are the petal system (where they over lap like flower petals), some fold in to allow for faster drying time. A few brands offer a pocket to stuff for extra absorbency. This type of diaper gives you the option of snaps or Velcro. I purchased 2 different brands of these. I have read that these are one of the best types of diapers to use at night, so I figure I want to figure out which brand I like best before purchasing more. I bought a BumGenius Free time and a GroVia AIO.
All in Twos (AI2) Diapers (also known as hybrids)
This type of diaper is 2 pieces like the pocket diapers, but it has an insert that is laid inside (or snapped inside) the cover. The cover is waterproof and can be reused as long as the insert doesn’t get soaked through. This allows the cover to be used multiple times in a day which is nice. These come with either Velcro fasteners or snaps. Some brands also carry disposable inserts for these diapers, which is great for on the go when you don’t want to deal with laundry. You need both parts to the diaper, the insert and the shell, one cannot be used without the other. I purchased one of these to try out, and honestly I think these will be my favorite. They are more cost effective than the other options, because the inserts are cheaper than purchasing multiple pockets or all in ones. I chose the GroVia shell with Velcro fasteners and the stay dry snap in inserts; I also got the prefolds to add extra absorbency as well as the stay dry boosters.