September 19, 2010

Cloth Diapers: Rewind and Come Again: They're not like Momma used to use!

When I was about 6 months pregnant and mastered my google research on everything baby, child, pregnancy, family, et cetera -- I came across diapers: cloth diapers.
Yes, everyone thought I was nuts: "you want to do cloth? good luck!!" "there is a reason they invented disposables!" "that's gross" "you're brave" ---> I heard my share of shocked responses... I don't believe there was one person who supported the idea except Stefano.
After doing research upon research, we decided to go with cloth for the following reasons:
  1. we could do our part to help the environment
  2. babies who use cloth are usually easier to potty train because they feel wetness rather than having a disposable diaper suck it up
  3. because they are changed more often, babies in cloth develop fewer diaper rashes
  4. in the overall scheme of things, yes you spend money immediately, but you save more money in the long run --> especially if you re-use cloth on your second, or if you're lucky, third child. Also anyone who uses disposables knows the feeling of when you put a fresh diaper on the baby just as he/she pees! In the trash it goes! Money gone, just like that.  With cloth you just replace the insert!
  5. they are damn cute (this is only my reason, Stefano does not support cuteness as a reason to go cloth. haha)
So now that we decided we wanted to go cloth, what did we do?  I began to research different types of cloth, pros and cons, boys and girls, et cetera.  A very helpful site was:, where parents can go to rate their favourite and least favourite diapers, leaving comments, suggestions, anything that can help others to choose.  Then I went to the the Baby Time Show (Nov. 12-14 this year!), ***awesome*** for any soon-to-be or already parent! FREE STUFF!  Plus you can buy almost anything for your baby --cheaper or TAX FREE!  We bought our stroller and car seat there.  So at the show there were several vendors for cloth diapers and I was able to feel them out and see the differences in real rather than over the internet.

At this point the top contenders were (in random order):

  • Bum Genius (all-in-one)
  • Sposo Easy (all-in-one)
  • Happy Heiny's (pocket)
  • Heiny Huggers (fitted diaper)
  • Thirsty's Covers (w/ prefolds)
  • Apple Cheeks* (pocket)
  • Grasshopper Diapers* (all-in-one)
  • Sloomb (fitted and cover)
  • Flip (hybrid)
  • GroBaby (hybrid)
  • Fuzzi Bunz (pocket)
  • AMP (pocket/duo)
  • Stefano's cloth diapers from when he was a baby -- Woot! Woot! His mom kept them!
*Canadian made!

There are several different types of cloth diaper combinations: Cover & Prefold, Pocket & Insert, Duo Pocket, Hybrid, All in Ones, Cover & fitted.  There are also one size vs. sized diapers. What do each of these mean?
  • The cover & prefold combination is the cheapest to go with: It is simply a waterproof diaper cover and you place the prefold which is a square piece of cloth inside of it.  You can place the prefold inside on its own or you can use a snappi to pin it together around the baby. It's cool because you can fold it extra thick at the front for a boy or extra thick at the back for a girl! It's convenient also because when the baby pees, for example, you can just remove the prefold and re-use the cover. There are several ways to fold a prefold:  
Thank you to Tito Sanchez for volunteering for this experiment

  • The pocket diaper is very popular -- it's like a diaper cover, but inside it has a piece of fleece material that forms a pocket to place a thick insert inside.  The fleece is meant to wick the moisture away from the baby's bottom and into the insert.
  • The Duo Pocket diaper has a pocket like the pocket diaper, but if you choose, you can also use it like a cover and just place the insert on top of the pocket and re-use the cover more than once before washing it.
  • The Hybrid diaper is a diaper cover that can be used with either a disposable insert or re-usable.  Like the cover system, you are able to just rinse the cover and re-use several times before washing it.
  • The All-In-One is what the name suggests: it's an all in one diaper, meaning the prefold is attached to the diaper -- this means no folding, no preparing inserts, etc.  The diaper is ready for use all the time.  However it must be washed after every use and it takes longer to dry than any other diaper.
  • The Cover and Fitted combination is the same diaper cover you would use with prefolds, but instead you combine it with a fitted diaper.  A fitted diaper is a a cloth diaper that does not require folding or pinning. Instead it has snaps or velcro and usually has elastic at the waist and legs.  It is not waterproof, so if you get these you need to have covers as well.
  1. One Size diapers are just as the name implies - one size fits "all" -- meaning the average size baby -- if your baby is super small or super big -- this might not be for you -- but every other baby in the middle should be just fine. They claim to fit from about 7/8 pounds to 35 pounds. Seba was fine once he was about 5 months (13 pounds) -- and they will probalby fit him up until potty training.  They are cool because they are adjustable -- they have snaps horizontally to adjust the waist and snaps vertically to adjust the leg area and inseam.  
  2. Sized diapers come in x-small, small, medium and large (hopefully Seba is potty trained before he needs large!).  These are good because you can buy the perfect fit for the size of your baby.  They are adjustable in the waist, but not as much as one size diapers, and so they last as long as your baby fits into them --> which means they can be a little more costly =(  Still, I love sized diapers --> they fit perfectly all the time -- and really... should a newborn fit into the diaper that a 1 year old fits into? Will it fit the same? I'm glad we added these to our diaper stash -- the smalls were good for little Stinky from birth and the mediums are fitting him now and will probably fit until he is potty trained.

While researching cloth diapers I found a lot of people had preference for either natural fibers (cotton) or synthetic fibers (microfiber, etc.). For us it didn't matter.  Every baby is different, so there may be one who has a reaction to synthetic and another who doesn't like the cold feeling of wetness in cotton.  I read that synthetics smell worse than cottons but that cottons don't wick wetness away.  
I also saw a lot of snaps vs. velcro debates.  We like both of them... Velcro is easy and fast to put on and off –also a lot better for newborn because you can make them  smaller and don’t have to rely on a prepositioned button.  Snaps are good because now that Seba is older he pulls on the diapers and snaps are impossible for him to open.  Also with Velcro you have to remember to always put the tabs in otherwise it can be a disaster in the wash when they stick to each other.
There are pros and cons to everything - so we tried all and let Seba decide!

We purchased:

click to enlarge

Accessories we purchased:

A wetbag --> this is a zipper bag to keep dirty diapers in when on the road or at home. We bought a small one for when we are out, and a huge one for Seba's laundry bin.
Live Clean NON-petroleum jelly ( Vaseline is not recommended on cloth as it leads to build-up on the diaper which = lack of absorbency and smelliness!). This can be found at Walmart (not in the baby section though... in the pharmacy area where they have baby oil, etc.)
Arm & Hammer Essentials Detergent (it has no dyes, lightners, bleaching agents, perfumes, or any of that bad stuff they don't want you using on cloth)
Oxy Stain remover (just in case!)
Drying Rack (to cut costs of using the dryer!)
Trash Bin for dirty diapers

Things I added to our stash once we got started:

Vinegar (some people don't recommend it, others do --> i like using it once in a while to super clean the diapers)
Disposable liners - once Seba started drinking formula and eating solids, these helped make things a lot easier on the clean-up!
Dryer Ball (because you can't use fabric softener, I bought a dryer ball which somehow keeps the diaper nice and soft even without softener)
Hard Rock Cloth Diaper detergent (as Seba got older and his poops got more serious, I found Arm & Hammer needed some back-up!)

Since we were going cloth we decided to go all the way and did cloth wipes as well: we use the little wash cloths -- we got a MILLION free at the Baby Time Show and a squeezy bottle filled with water and baby wash.  It works really well and Seba is super clean when we use this.  It also smells and feels fresher than the chemical, stickiness of disposable wipes.

Don't be alarmed (as I was) when:

  • Your baby has a yucky,messy poop all over the nice clean diaper! It will wash out (and if your breastfeeding you simply put it in the washing machine - breastfed poop is water soluble, no need to pre-wash it first!)
  • You wash the diapers for the first time (see note below on washing cloth) and they come out not nearly as soft as they were before. I was so disappointed -- i'm nutso -- but you get over it.
  • Your child looks like a bubble butt -- yes, you may have to put him/her in clothes one size bigger than they would normally wear.
  • Your child leaks for the first time -- it doesn't (usually) mean the diaper sucks, it may just be error in the way it was put on or it may need to be washed in hot water a couple more times before it's fully absorbent.

Washing Cloth Diapers:  
When we first got our diapers, I washed them about 5 or so times in alternating hot and cold water to make them absorbent.
Our current washing routine is something like this:
  • diapers are washed every two to three days
  • pee pee diapers are placed directly into Seba's diaper bin (make sure you get one with a lid that locks so it keeps in the stinkies! We purchased ours at Walmart). Poop diapers are rinsed in the bidet, or I just swish it around in the toilet and flush (I can't believe I wrote "just" here... like it's no big deal swish poop around with your hands in the toilet -- either way, it's not a big deal for me...not sure why)
  • When washing day comes I make sure all velcro tabs are in and then I place all diapers first on a cold/cold cycle with no detergent and then on a hot/cold cycle with about a tablespoon of Arm & Hammer detergent.
  • Depending on how soon I need them I put them in the dryer or let them air dry on the drying rack

If I were to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, I would buy:
The intro package of Thirsties Covers with Prefolds adding a few Happy Heiny Fitteds, and equal amount of Gro Baby Diapers and GrassHopper diapers.

** I bought almost all of Seba's diapers from Natasha @ sogreenbaby  (Markham, Ont.).  
She is uber-friendly and super-experienced because she's using cloth on her little boy too! Check out her site -- she also holds cloth diaper workshops for newbies!   

1 comment:

  1. ps. I would also add a FuzziBunz or two because Seba uses them now that he's bigger and they fit amazingly. Stefano said he would only buy prefolds and covers because they are the future.


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