My Journey with Cloth Diapers

There are as many opinions about cloth diapers as there are cloth diapers themselves and the myriad of accessories!  I have tried a number of kinds with my two kiddos, and have been meaning to write a comprehensive post about my opinions for a while now.  Kelly’s Closet has a good run-down on the four basic types of cloth diapers and some examples of each.

In addition to some other online shops, Diaperswappers.com (DS) has been an indispensable online resource for me.  Here you can browse forums to buy and sell new or used diapers and accessories, as well as baby carriers and any other baby, kid, and parenting paraphernalia you can think of.

When I had my daughter three years ago, I knew I wanted to try cloth diapering but was unsure which method I would prefer.  Even the types that I purchased new have since changed their styles; everything evolves so quickly these days!  I purchased a bunch of random items from DS, as well as some new bumGenius one-size pocket diapers and Haute Pocket one-size diapers (both with the aplix-style closure).  The latter I only allowed myself because I had gotten some gift money, and decided to splurge!  Ironic, because these are some of the less-expensive types out there.

Among the random assortment that I tried were newborn Kissaluvs fitted diapers with misc. covers (I had read good reviews), newborn All-Together-Deluxe AIO now known as OsoCozy, newborn Kushies AIO, small Wonderworks/Magic-alls AIOs (this brand has since been discontinued, but you can still find them all over the place), small and large gDiapers (I think I got mine from a craigslist ad), OS Baby Love (got mine from Amazon like the listing), and a slew of second-hand diaper inserts/liners and cloth wipes.

gwen11-29-07_19I have always loved baby products that are designed to outlast infancy – convertible cribs, infant/toddler carseats, bouncy seat that later becomes a toddler rocker, etc.  So, naturally, the one-size diapers appealed to me since they’re adjustable to be used right through potty training.  However, I did not like how bulky these one-size diapers were on my newborn.  It didn’t help that we brought her home around 5 pounds, so everything seemed huge on her! My favorite diaper at the time were the Wonderworks AIOs; its nifty over-snap feature allowed me to cinch the diaper tightly, and since she remained on the small side I was able to use these for quite a few months.  I didn’t have many of these, however, and alternated with disposables.

I found the Kissaluvs left her entire middle section too moist; anywhere the diaper covered would seem red and irritated.  I quickly resold those on DS!  I thought I would like the other AIO style diapers since I liked the Wonderworks so much, but the Kushies were narrow in the crotch and didn’t have much coverage, the ATD seemed to leak around the edges, and the Baby Love had a horrible fit no matter how big she got.

gwen06-03-08_10 I loved the concept of the gDiapers, but found too many cons associated with this type.  First, the flushable insert was just a hassle and ended up clogging our toilet.  It was frustrating trying to put the diaper on correctly and then proceed to fasten the Velcro in back.  Furthermore, the diaper almost always leaked, which meant I couldn’t just change the insert and liner – I had to change the whole diaper.  Too complicated a process for me!  I did try other reusable inserts in the liner, which I liked better than the disposable, but still ended up selling them on DS.

gwen04-24-08_19 As she got bigger, I finally broke out the bumGenius and Haute Pockets, and used them on and off with disposables.  I liked that I could stuff extra inserts inside as needed, and they fit quite nicely as she chubbed up a bit.  However, I don’t know if it was the way I washed them or if I was doing something wrong, but the outer layer always seemed to get moist and leak through her clothing.  Since I didn’t want to spend anymore money on cloth diapers, I went back to disposables most of the time.  When she started potty training, I found the were okay as a naptime diaper for small accidents, but that’s about it.

Fast-forward to baby #2.  I decided to use disposables through the newborn stage, but somewhere along the line I heard about a new, OS hybrid diaper called the Flip system.  I was super-excited, and got a package on sale.  I fell in love at once, and wished they had this sooner!  The cover fits snugly and nicely under clothing.  And one of my favorite aspects about the system is that I can change out the inserts and just wipe the cover clean if it doesn’t get dirty.  And I don’t have to stick with the inserts that come with the package, I can use prefolds and Cotton Babies has an excellent return policy and I was able to get them replaced with their newer versions which have all reinforced snaps.  I haven’t had a problem since.

09-01-10_10  Other covers I’ve tried: OS Blueberry Coveralls, OS Marvels Cover by Kissaluvs, and OS Wonder Wraps.  The Marvel’s snaps were similar to the Thirsties Duo – it had a wonky fit and I couldn’t tighten them.  Not only that, I found that one of the snaps kept coming undone, and when I examined it more closely found three snaps were broken at the base.  Luckily, I was able to return the cover to Amazon.  The Blueberry and Wonder Wraps have since been added to my collection as favorites, along with the flip covers – the BB has all reinforced snaps and leg gussets to contain any blowouts, and the WW has a soft, durable fabric with “a totally unique channeled wait elastic allowing [it] superior stretch and fit.”  Wonder Wraps have been discontinued; I purchased mine on Baby Half Off during one of their sales.  I currently rotate the covers for my 1-year-old, and use them with prefolds during naptime for my 3-year-old.  I’m curious to try some different prefold folding techniques, but I need to get some snappis first since I don’t feel like using pins.  EDIT: Now that I’ve been converted to a prefold/cover system and have an older baby, I would love to try some fitteds like the Kissaluvs I initially tried in the newborn size.  I wonder if they would be really bulky under a cover, or if the leg openings would peak out.

I can’t bear the thought of using cloth wipes on really dirty dipes, so I use disposable ones from time to time.  If I use disposable wipes for wet bums and other minimal clean-up, I launder and re-use as diaper liners to eliminate scraping poo into the toilet (my least-favorite part of CDing).  I do, however, use cloth wipes most of the time, and purchased a bunch from soap bits for cloth wipes solution are da bomb, too, but if I run out of those I make a homemade solution.

I rotate two large zippered wetbags, which I have hanging in the bathroom.  My favorite is from Monkey Foot Designs on Etsy, and the other is a Planetwise wetbag.  Wet liners go in the bag as-is.  I clean off as much as I can from the dirty liners (and covers, if necessary), spray with stain remover, and throw into the wetbag.  When it’s full, I hang a new wetbag and wash the dirty ones.  My normal wash routine is to do a cold-water rinse (sometimes with baking soda), then a hot wash on the heavy cycle (currently I’m using homemade detergent, but I’ve used all kinds with good results).  On nice days the wash goes on the line; otherwise covers are air-dried and inserts go in the dryer.  EDIT: The lining of my My Monkey Food Designs wetbag has slowly been deteriorating.  I still rotate it with the other but would probably get a new bag altogether if I were diapering full-time.

CDing on the go used to scare the hell out of me, quite honestly, but it’s really not that bad.  I have a medium zippered wetbag with two compartments, so one pocket holds clean supplies and the other contains any dirty ones.

10-05-10_11 I do sometimes worry about family members or people in church nursery not wanting to deal with cloth, but it hasn’t posed a problem for me.  My husband would opt for disposables when we were diapering our first, but now that we only do cloth he just rolls with it (although he’s not usually the one to do it, so sometimes he needs a gentle reminder on technique).  He’s proud of the fact that I choose something that’s healthy (my baby stopped getting diaper rashes when we switched exclusively to cloth) and economical.  He’s also proud of my consistency with potty-training the kiddos; now my 14-month-old will often go into the bathroom when he needs to go!  It doesn’t work all the time, but it never ceases to amaze me how much they comprehend.

I would highly recommend cloth diapering and love talking about it with other mamas.  I feel it’s right on up there with other healthy, natural choices such as breastfeeding, babywearing, and eating less-refined foods.  EDIT: Mosey on over to my friend Ashley’s blog for a good list of reasons why to consider cloth diapering: the cloth diaper argument. 

Of course, there are those days when I wonder, “why am I doing this again?”  It seems so much easier to throw a disposable diaper in the trash and not worry about it.  But the easy way isn’t always the best way.

Some of my favorite online resources for cloth diapering and beyond:
Diapers.com
Diaperswappers
Eco Baby Buys
Kelly’s Closet
Nicki’s Diapers
Swaddlebees clearance
Wee Essentials

Diapers/accessories I would love to try:
Best Bottom one-size diaper system (snaps)
Mommy’s Touch one-size diaper cover
Tetro fitted diapers
Weehuggers covers (snaps)