Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Becoming a Cloth Diapering Family

What I like best about using cloth diapers:

  • I never have to run to the store for diapers (especially great when we're 15 miles from the nearest store).
  • They leak a lot less than disposables...maybe not at all if you find the right diaper for baby's body shape.
  • They are adorable - so much cuter than disposables!
  • In the long run, they will be cheaper, even buying most of them new. (By the way, you can't buy used diapers on ebay, in case you were wondering.)

When First Daughter was born, we started using gdiapers with her. They seemed like a better environmental choice than disposables (which First Son continued to wear until he was potty-trained). They worked great. When they leaked, it was only onto the cloth cover, almost never onto her actual clothes. I loved being able to compost the wet ones, too, so we didn't even have the extra toilet flushes.

They are, however, very expensive. A few months ago we started to get serious about saving for a down payment and I decided to try some cloth diapers when we went back to disposables and remembered how terrible they were. (Ironically, we hit our savings goal earlier than anticipated and ended up buying a house long before we garnered any savings benefit to help towards that goal, but there are other goals.)

Luckily, we have some dear friends who cloth diaper, and they were incredibly helpful as I began researching our options. Some of these friends even sold us their newborn diapers and lent us covers to use! (Now that's really cheap!)

I'm not sure anyone reading this blog needs to learn about cloth diapers. Most of you are already using them (or plan to use them) or have very good reasons for sticking with disposables (grandmas usually prefer them; most daycare centers do as well), but I've spent a lot of time in the past few months experimenting and I can't help but share.

Here are just a few of the amazing cloth diapers out there. We're not talking diaper pins anymore:

Kissaluvs - These were the ones we bought used in the newborn size. They were perfect. You snap them on then use a separate cover. I never had a problem with them hitting Second Daughter's belly button. Of course, we got them at a good price and I've packed them away to use again...you know, if we have any more kids. (Shhh, don't tell Kansas Dad. He's not ready to talk about it yet.) According to the site, the size 0 should work up to about 15 pounds, but we started running into problems before Second Daughter hit 14 pounds.

We heard and read mixed reviews of the kissaluvs in larger sizes, so I decided to try out a variety of other options.

BumGenius 2.0 AIO (all in one) - These just like velcro on a disposable diaper. No snaps, no cover. I tried the fitted kind, rather than the new one-size. It was easy to use and cute, but in the end I decided against velcro in large quanities. It just doesn't seem to hold up over time. And it does get stuck to all sorts of things in the washer and dryer. Also, of all the diapers we have, this is the one most likely to still be wet after a run through the dryer. On the plus side, you can buy the BumGenius 3.0 at Target stores, so they're easy to find and try.


Knickernappies pocket diapers - At first I just bought the inserts to put into the liners for the gdiaper covers. I thought this way we could try them out without making as large an up-front investment. I had mixed success with the gdiaper cover. In fairness, they clearly state on the website they are designed for the flushable inserts, not cloth inserts. (The gdiapers did work fairly well for Second Daughter with some cheap prefolds from Gerber until just recently. Another generous friend has sent us some quality prefolds, like these which are oh so much better than the Gerber ones! The cheap ones I've recently had to double up and then the liner doesn't really hold everything in like it should.)

In the end I ordered a bunch of the Knickernappies diaper covers (the 1G version I found on clearance) and use these as the main stash for First Daughter. Before putting the diapers in First Daughter's basket, I stuff them with the inserts. Then it's just a matter of snapping them on during the diaper change. We do have to pull the insert out to wash (which I recommend doing as you're dropping it in the pail, not when putting them in the washing machine), but unlike some other pocket diapers I read about you don't have to touch any grossness because the opening is at the top of the back. The pocket diapers have quicker drying times than the all in one diapers, but they are as easy to put on as an all in one if they're pre-stuffed, unlike the fitteds or prefolds with a cover. (Though I've found the covers not too strenuous once you're used to them.)

Dream-eze fitted diapers - These are most like the couple a friend made for us. I think they're my favorite store-bought ones. We pair them with Mother-ease covers and they work great. (I haven't tried them overnight yet; I like to use the home-made ones.)

Dream-eze AIO - These are my favorite on the road diapers. They snap on, no cover necessary, so they're perfect for the diaper bag. I have some for each of the girls. (I bought a few large in one color and a few mediums in a different color so they're really easy to tell apart.) I think the design helps them dry a lot faster than most all in one diapers.

Mother-ease Sandy's - On a friend's recommendation, we bought two of these to use for overnights with First Daughter. I actually put two doublers in as well. They work great but are very bulky (not too surprisingly with those doublers), so we prefer the others for daytime use. We also use a Mother-ease cover with these.

Mother-ease one size diaper - We got one of these in the trial package. It has a variety of snaps so it can be worn by a newborn all the way up to a toddler. At first I thought it was extremely bulky on Second Daughter, but after I got used to it I liked it very well. I've used it overnight with her even without the doubler snapped in. If I'd known what we wanted from the beginning, I might have invested in a bunch of these because then we could have used them for either girl and just had different sized covers for them.

A very generous friend has sent us some old Mother-ease diapers and various covers (including a wool one I'm very excited to try) for Second Daughter. I've only been using them for a day but they seem great to me. I'm very impressed with a brand that can hold up for that length of time! I wasn't sure what kind of diaper I was going to use to fill out our stash for Second Daughter and now it seems I won't need any for quite a while.

I have some comments floating around in my head around cloth diaper care (laundry and storage), but I think I'll let that wait for another post. I do want to mention, though, the wonderful website where I purchased most of my diapers: ClothDiaperOutlet.com. Heather was extremely helpful, prompt in her responses and even went to the trouble (a lot of trouble, as it turned out) to gather diapers in the colors I wanted (to easily distinguish the sizes). I also found her prices comparable to or better than most other cloth diaper websites. You can read more reviews (for Heather's store and the diapers above) at diaperpin.com.

5 comments:

  1. Yah for cloth diapers! You know everyone seems to love BumGenius One-size pocket diapers, but there is the whole flap-open pocket insert opening that sounds yucky for removing the insert. I resisted and resisted, but once I tried BumGenius One-Size pockets, I sold everything else. The flap is not a big deal in 98% of changes :) And, otherwise, the diaper is PERFECT.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by euphoriamaternity! I figure I'll eventually try one of those BumGenius diapers, what with all the raves they receive.

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  3. If you start getting into wool covers, I'll have to knit you some. We love wool longies--saves the step of having a separate cover! Especially nice for older babies and toddlers who don't want to sit still long enough to get a diaper, cover, and pants put back on! Actually, you can sew them too, if you get a baby pants pattern and some 100% wool fabric. And I cannot say enough good things about SudzNDudz wool wash. I won't ever use anything else now, and it is perfect for your wool sweaters too.

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  4. What a great diaper comparison article! We ended up with a mixed bag of cloth diapers as well. There never seemed to be one diaper that fit every single diapering need - just like no one article of clothing works for every single occasion! (except sleepers when baby is little)

    Erin
    www.momandbabyboutique.com

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  5. Erin, thanks for visiting! My favorite newborn outfit is a plain white onesie, but we definitely used those sleepers for my son (born in December).

    Hilary, thanks for the tip on how to wash wool. I'm not sure we have any wool sweaters (not quite as cold here as where you are), but we might be investing in more now that we're out here in the wind all the time. I'll have to keep an eye out for wool for pants if I ever make it to the store to buy fabric for my windows! I'm sure I can find a baby pants pattern online, probably even for free.

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