Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cloth Diapering

When I was pregnant, I decided that I wanted to cloth diaper our little one. I did hours of research and talked to other moms that had cloth diapered- and made up my mind! Justin thought I was crazy, but since I was the one who would be doing the diaper laundry, he didn't care.

I was so excited to find out about a local cloth diapering business, Jack Be Natural, that would become my main source of diapers, supplies and advice. John and Stacy are the owners, and they are AMAZING. They offer free (FAST!) shipping and free samples with every order.

Justin and I got the opportunity to attend one of their Cloth Diapering 101 classes, and it was great. Justin realized that cloth diapering was not as difficult as he thought it would be.  I loved being able to see the different types and brands of diapers up close and personal.

Will's first cloth diaper in the hospital! A GMD prefold with a Thirsties cover! 
Diapering Options

There are so many options when it comes to cloth diapering! I will cover what we have used and have experience with. 

Prefolds and Covers

You can go with the basic, most economical choice- prefolds and covers! A prefold is used by pinning or using a snappi to cover baby. Since we no longer have a willing baby to put a diaper on, I used Mr. Bear to show the basics.

Some people still use pins, but I chose to use what is called a "Snappi," because I was afraid that I would hurt Will with pins. I bought two for about $5 and that was all that we ever needed. 
You cover the prefold with a... COVER! It is a waterproof outer-layer to keep the wetness in. 
We chose to use the Thirsties covers HERE. (They are offered in two sizes- one fits from NB to 18 pounds, and the other is 18-40 pounds). We bought 3 dozen prefolds in the first two sizes (two dozen newborn and  a dozen small) and 2 snappis and two covers. This was more than enough to full time cloth diaper for the first two months. If we had continued, there would have been a couple more sizes to purchase.

I heard a lot about GMD (Green Mountain Diapers) when I first began to research. They are known for their high quality prefolds, so that is what we bought. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on newborn diapers, because we expected Will to be a BIG baby (and he was!). He was about two months old before he fit into the regular one-size pocket diapers, but before then we used prefolds and covers.

We have also tried Grovia Prefolds and they are AMAZING! So soft and absorbent- just a little pricier than GMD's prefolds. 
I have heard of other people successfully cloth diapering from birth to potty training for about $100 using prefolds. Such a money saver!  

Inexpensive! You can use the prefolds for other purposes, too- burp rags or while potty training (for your toddler to sit on). They also dry very quickly! 
There is a bit of a learning curve to folding the diapers, but it's pretty easy to catch on. There are lots of YouTube videos to teach the techniques!

Fitted Diapers and Covers

Fitted diapers are another option to use with covers. They are extremely absorbent, and many people choose to use them full time because they are also very trim. Fitted diapers are NOT waterproof and must be used with a cover (same type of cover explained above). They tend to be more costly overall than prefolds, pockets and most all-in-one diapers, so we didn't use them much. They are especially good for overnight diapering- we had two of them for that purpose once Will was older. 
We have used Thirsties Fitteds and Kissaluvs Fitted diapers. Both were great, though I prefer the Thirsties brand- it offers a pocket so that you can stuff it for more absorbency if needed, which is handy as your baby grows into a young toddler. 

Trim, easy to use, very absorbent
The CONS: 
Can be expensive, takes longer to dry than a prefold (because it is so absorbent

One-Size Pocket Diapers

A pocket diaper is a specially made diaper cover that has an opening to accommodate an insert. 
This is where I get on my soapbox about my favorite brand. We used 99% bumGenius 4.0's, and they were amazing. Each one comes with two inserts: a newborn insert, and infant/toddler insert. It is a fully adjustable ONE-SIZE diaper. The company claims that it fits 7-35 pounds- and maybe it does with some small babies- but it fits better around 10 pounds. If they are smaller than that, you are probably going to experience "leaking" or moisture escaping the leg area. Will was 9 pounds 5 ounces at birth and we had this problem for the first couple months if we used them. 

Fast drying, trim fit (not too bulky under clothing)
The CON:
It was sometimes a pain to "stuff" the diapers every time we washed them to get them ready for use. In reality, it only took about 5 minutes for our entire stash of diapers to be stuffed- but, it was an extra step (in this case "ALL IN ONE" diapers would come out ahead)

One-Size All in One

An All in One diaper is just as it sounds- all in ONE piece. The outside appearance of the above diaper is the same as the blue (bumgenius) diaper above, but the inside is different. Instead of stuffing the insert in, they are attached! 
The diaper in the picture above is the bumGenius Freetime diaper. They came out after we already had the majority of our diaper "stash" complete- but, it got such great reviews that I had to get a few. They are AMAZING. I loved them as much as my pocket diapers above, but they were even better because I didn't have to stuff them. If I had the option, I would have gotten ALL Freetime diapers at the beginning. 

Easiest to use- most like using a disposable diaper. Very trim.
Slightly more expensive than pockets, they take the longest to dry. 

Velcro or Snaps?

If you look at the photos above, I have mostly snaps and just a few velcro.  Everyone has their own preference- it is up to you to decide what features are most important!

I chose snaps because they last longer than the velcro. Velcro usually wears out after the first year or so- and the tabs have to be replaced. It isn't difficult at all to replace the tabs on the bumGenius (or most) diapers, but does take time and a little extra money. 
And although the Velcro (aka Aplix) needs to be replaced eventually, is easier to use in the beginning. We bought a few diapers in Velcro/Aplix for Will's grandparents to use on him while babysitting- very 
easy for them to figure out, as they put them on and take them off just like they would a disposable.

Cloth Accessories: What else do you need?

Something to store wet/dirty diapers in:

We used the Planet Wise wetbags. I wanted something simple, easy to travel with and one that wouldn't use a lot of room. Some people prefer a diaper pail- a garbage can lined with a large fabric bag. I didn't want to waste space in his room with a large pail, and bought TWO of the above bags instead. They were perfect. I could attach them with the strap to his changing table or door, and when it was time to wash them, I took the entire bag to dump directly into the wash along with the bag itself. By having at least two, there is always a clean one available for use- even when the other is in the wash. 

Cloth Diaper safe diaper rash cream:

Regular diaper rash cream can build up and cause issues with the diaper's absorbency. You need to find a CD safe cream so that you don't have issues. Many use plain coconut oil as their cream. We bought a sample pack of CJ's Butter (DELICIOUS scents), and still have plenty left over. You can use it for any 
skin ailment your little one has. My favorite scent is the "Warm Vanilla Cake!" Yum.

Something to wash your diapers with: 

Regular washing detergent can cause build-up in your diapers (and affect the absorbency). I have heard some others have success with using ALL Free and Clear detergent. I used Crunchy Clean detergent, which also comes in delicious scents. It seems like it is pricey, but one bag lasted us an entire year (used only on cloth diaper laundry), so it was very cost effective. Some other popular brands are EcoSprouts, Rockin' Green and Tiny Bubbles. 

Looking back... 
Now that we are on the "other side" of diapering with our firstborn, I can say that cloth diapering was so worth it. Not only did it save us thousands of dollars compared to disposables, it was more environmentally friendly and I truly believe it was a big part of Will potty training at 19 months. 

All of our cloth diapers packed up waiting for another baby to use them! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! This really helps, and cloth diapers have come such a long way since my girls were younger. So cute and modern! I will share this with my daughter.