Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

fuzibunzI love using cloth diapers on Jack.  I first started contemplating cloth diapers before I became pregnant, when I heard a statistic about disposable diapers taking up an astounding about of landfills.   Aproximately  18 billion diapers are added to landfills yearly.  Dirty diapers make up 2- 5 percent of landfills depending on the source.  According to the EPA, it takes the average disposable diaper 500 years to decompose!  No wonder you can smell a landfill from miles away!

The Green Way to Go

I think cloth diapering is definitely the GREEN way to go.  They are better for the environment by not contributing to landfills, where the chemicals in disposables will be absorbed into the ground and eventually water (after 500 years), not to mention the energy costs to produce the large quantity of disposables used in the world today.   You will have to make an initial investment but ultimately they will save you money in the long run, especially if you re-use them on multiple children.  I often here moms complain about having to buy 100’s of dollars in diapers at the grocery on a regular basis.  With cloth you can forget about that weekly expense!

Better for Baby

Babies using cloth diapers are less likely to get a diaper rash.  This is because they are changed more often.  Disposable diapers can hold many urination’s therefore little ones are often sitting, lying, playing, crawling, and walking around in their own urine much longer.  The wetness increases the chances of a diaper rash.  In addition, most disposable diapers are loaded with chlorine and other irritating chemicals which are part of the absorbent gel.  Harsh chemicals such as chlorine shouldn’t be touching your baby’s skin.  There are some companies who make disposable diapers that are chlorine free such as seventh generation and Tushies.  One more tid bit:  cloth diaper babies typially potty train earlier than disposable diaeper babies.  This is in part due to coth diapers being less comfortable for little ones to remain wet.  They learn that it is more comfortable to not sit in a wet diaper.

Getting Daddy on Board

Jack7months 124Some moms have  a challenge when mommy wants to use cloth and daddy doesn’t.   Fortunately I didn’t have that problem.   Neither Greg nor I mind going a little out of our way for the environment or to save money.    Using cloth diapers on you baby really is easy.  For those dad’s who are protesting, cloth diapers now aren’t what they used to be.  Gone are the day’s of pins and prefolds.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many people who absolutely love using prefolds out there.  But for those picky dads (or moms) there has been great strides in the improvement of cloth diapers.  Many brands look just like disposables and have velcro or snap tabs that close as easily as disposables. 

So Many Options – where do I start?

After I became pregnant I began looking into different cloth diaper types.  I used several resources including:  Cloth Diaper Diva, The Diaper Pin and Diaper Jungle.  You can also buy, sell and trade at Diaper Swappers.  Check out Cloth Diaper Blog for cloth diaper sales around the web.  For local shopping in the Columbus, New Albany, and Gahanna area, try out Sprout Soup.  I was a little intimidated by the many different cloth diapers.  I had no idea what a prefold was, or a fitted vs. AIO.  I’m here ease your pain and explain what these different types are, pros and con’s and Jack’s experience with different types.  I also suggest checking out additional cloth diaper reviews online.

ALL IN ONE

These diapers are just like the name,drybeesall-in-one.  One diaper with an inner absorbing layer and outer waterproof covering with velcro or snap closures.  The inner layer is often of fleece or which helps wick the wetness away from baby’s skin.  The outer layer is typically made of PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate), a waterproof material.  An absorbant soaker sewn into the diaper.  AIO’s and AIT’s (below) adjust as the baby grows so you don’t have to buy an entire new inventory of cloth diapers at each stage.  They are the closest to disposables you can get.  Brands:  BumGenius, Bumkins, Swadlebees, DryBees

Pros:  Extremely easy to use

Cons:  Somewhat expensive, difficult to get clean and dry

ALL IN TWOs

Just like the all-in-ones but in two pieces.  The absorbent soaker insert is not attached for easier cleaning.  This is nice in case the soaker needs replaced.  Brands:   Bumkins, Swaddelbees,  Rainforest Baby

Pro:  Easier to wash and dry than AIO’s

Con:  More pricey than other cloth diapers

CONTOURkissaluv contour

A fitted diaper (see description below) without the fasteners or elastic at the legs or waist.  A simple design.  Add a doubler for extra absorption and don’t forget the cover!  Brands:  kissaluv

Pros:  Versatility to get the right fit for your baby

Cons:  Tough with a squirmy baby, potential for leakage problems

FITTED

ClovernewbornfittedFitted diapers are made of an absorbent cloth, shaped like an hour glass with gathers by the legs.  They typically snap closed.  These diapers need a cover.  A doubler can be used to increase absorbency at night.  Brands:  Kissaluv, Happy Heiny’s, Tiny Birds Organic, Mother-Ease

Pro:  Less expensive than AIO’s and AIT’s

Con:  Take a long time to dry, they require a cover, and do not adjust as the baby grows, therefor need a new inventory of diapers.  In the long run, an expensive option. 

FLATSflat diaper

Exactly like the name, they are a flat square, intended to be folded to fit the baby, usually origami style and fastened with a snappie or pins.  They are single layer, 100% cotton material.  They also require a cover.  These are likely the diapers your grandma used. Brands:  Wildflower Diapers, Green Mountain Diapers 

Pro:  inexpensive, versatile, easy to wash and dry

Con:  Need folded and require a cover.

POCKETbumGenius-one-size-3_0-twilight-thumb

These are similar to AIO’s and AIT’s.  They have a pocket for the absorbent material so that mom and dad (we don’t discriminate) can customize the amount of absorbent material needed for their little one.  Brands:  BumGenius, Bumwear, Happy Heiny’s, Fuzzibunz, wonderoos

Pros:  Easy to wash, dry, customize your adsorbent material,

Cons:  Can be bulky, requires a stuffer, doesn’t adjust as baby grows.

PREFOLDsprefold

Prefolds consist of a rectangular piece with a middle panel thicker (typically 6-8 layers) and outer thin layers.  They are often made of gauze or birdseye, however there are DSQ diaper service quality also called Chinese Prefolds often made of hemp which are better quality.  Prefolds are intended to be folded and fastened with a snappie (triangular shaped piece with sharp ends to hold diaper in place) or pins.  A cover is needed.  They are easy to wash and fast to dry.  But may be hard with a squirmy baby due to the folding time.  Check out How to Fold a Prefold At Diaper Jungle.  BrandsCloth-eez, gerber

Pros:  Inexpensive, easy to wash and dry

Cons:  May be intimidating at first, require a cover, might be tough with a squirmy baby.

ONE SIZEone size tiny tush

One Size diapers grow with the baby by having extenders.  Several AIO’s and Pocket diapers are One Size.  Brands:  BumGenius, Haute Pocket, Happy Heiny, Tiny Tush

Pros:  This diaper will get your child from infancy to potty trained without needing to buy a larger size.  Economical

Cons:  May look bulky on newborns, can be more expensive than some diapers such as prefolds. 

COVERSbummiwwmbig

Covers are needed for fitted, flat, and prefold diapers.  They are usually contoured with elastic at the legs and snap or velcro closed.  They are made of Polyurethane laminates (PUL), waterproof nylon, fleece or wool.  Brands:  Bummis, Happy Heiny, Imse Vimse

Jack Tested Diapers

These descriptions are Jack’s experience with each diaper, it may not be the same for all babies.

(I love the names of all the diapers, so cute and funny!)

AIOAIO homemade

Homemade by a woman’s friend whom I purchased off of craigs list.  These diapers were a go-to diaper if all others were dirty or running small.  Jack tended to pee through them, to his clothes, the second time if we didn’t recognize that he went, but when we were more diligent about observing those things the diapers held up well.  This diaper did not work for bed time.  Just not absorbent enough.  They fit him for a fairly lengthy period, about 3 months to 10 months.  But they were too big when he was younger and he did outgrow them before he turned one.  They were easy to launder except that they took a very long time to dry.  Cost:  $12

Ease of use:  5/5

Comfort:  3/5

Bulkiness:  3/5

Maintenance ease:  4/5 

Night Time Absorption:  1/5

Value:  4/5

BumGeniusbumGenius-one-size

Love these diapers!  These are what we settled on.  We found them to be the easiest to use.  They have a fleece liner that wicks the wetness away from his bottom.  The cloth insert soaks up all of the liquid very well, and you can add as many as needed (it will become progressively bulkier though).  Jack does well with one insert during the day and used 2 at night when he got up more often and we changed him and 3 inserts now that he is sleeping longer (some nights anyway).  The waterproof cover works well.  I love the Velcro because Jack is very squirmy on the changing table so snaps just don’t work for us, although snaps are supposed to last longer than the Velcro.  I hope I am able to replace the velcro myself if it begins to wear.  I like that these diapers dry faster than others.  The liners take a little more time but the diaper itself drys in no time.  Most importantly I like how these diapers adjust (with snaps that let out more material) as Jack grows so we don’t have to purchase an entire new diaper supply at each growth spurt.  They also make an AIO and fitted diaper.  Cost:  $17.95

Ease of use:  5/5

Comfort:  5/5

Bulkiness:  4/5

Maintenance ease:  4/5 

Night Time Absorption:  5/5

Value:  4/5

Bumwearpurplebee

Jack tried out one Bumwear diaper.  I like that they are similar to the BumGenius in that they are a pocket diaper with a fleece liner.  I’m not a fan of the snaps.  I feel like these didn’t fit Jack as well.  The way it snaps, to get it snug at the waist it makes this pouch and gaps at this legs.  We had some issues with leakage.  Also this one does not grow with the baby as well, it has elastic to grow a bit but no extenders.  Also this diaper is very pricey –           Cost:$27 (I got it on craigslist for much less)

Ease of use:  4/5

Comfort:  3/5

Bulkiness:  4/5

Maintenance ease:  4/5

Night Time Absorption:  3/5

Value:  2/5

Earthwise Baby

We tried a few of these diapers when Jack was a little older, maybe 6/9 months.  They are a fitted, one-size with a snap on extra absorbent doubler and gathers around the legs.  They velcro closed.  They fit nicely, looked comfortable.  It works pretty well with the cover.  I’d probably saw this is my favorite fitted.  I really think the one-size is the best value of all cloth diapers.  I like the velcro, easy to use.  They require a cover and take longer to dry.   Earthwise baby don’t have the fleece liner like the pocket’s so again when wet, stays wet.  These diapers I got from the ChoiceParent Resource Center (a donate and take room).  I have searched online and haven’t found a photo or website to view information except for a few reviews.  I wish I could tell you where to get these and how much.  If I find out, I’ll post an update!

Ease of use:  4/5

Comfort:  4/5

Bulkiness:  3/5

Maintenance ease:  3/5

Night Time Absorption:  2/5

Value:  4/5

Happy Heiny’shappy heiny

I loved this diaper when Jack was little, we had a newborn size.  It looked very comfortable for him.  It is a pocket, very well made, velcro is nice and thick and Lay’s nicely in the front.  Also has the fleece liner.  I wasn’t a big fan of the insert, it was a different type of cloth that didn’t seem to hold the liquid as well.  Jack would saturate it to the max after one potty.  My biggest beef with this diaper is that it didn’t grow with baby, and there were so many sized that I would have had to spend a fortune to use these exclusively.  They now make one-size diaper which i think is a much better value, and they carry fitted diapers as well.  Cost:  $17.95

Ease of use:  5/5

Comfort:  5/5

Bulkiness:  4/5

Maintenance ease:  3/5

Night Time Absorption:  3/5

Value:  1/5 (their one-size would be a better value)

Haute Pockethaute pocket

I would put this diaper somewear between the BumGenius and Bumwear.  It too is a pocket diaper with fleece lining.  I like the shape of this diaper, the “wings” on either end make it fit nicely when snapped – but it does has snap’s which becomes an issue with squirmy wormy babies.  This diaper also has snap extenders to grow with baby.  It has a little of that same pouch problem but not as much as the Bumwear.  Overall, not too bad.  Cost $17.95

Ease of use:  4/5

Comfort: 4/5

Bulkiness:  3/5

Maintenance ease:  4/5

Night Time Absorption:  4/5

Value:  3/5

Kussaluvskussaluv

We used a number of these diapers when Jack was first born.  I liked that they were small and looked comfortable on him.  They are a fitted diaper with snaps and needed a cover so that is another lengthy and challenging diaper change for Mr. Squirmy pants as daddy liked to say.  My biggest issue with this diaper is that Jack would pee through the diaper, cover, and his clothes every time he wore one of these diapers, so lots of leakage.  There is no fleece liner like the pocket’s so when they are wet, they are very wet and stay wet.  Overall thought Jack had issues peeing out of diapers through his clothes but these were probably the worst.  I know not all boys and most girls don’t have this issue so these might be a nice option for other babies.  They aren’t as bulky as some of the pocket and AIO diapers.  They are less expensive but after you add in the cost of a good cover they are nearly the same price as other diapers.  They also take a really long time to dry (in a dryer sometimes over 90 min).  They might be better with a line dry, which we didn’t have available at the time.  Cost:  $12.95

Ease of use:  3/5

Comfort:  3/5

Bulkiness:  5/5

Maintenance ease:  3/5

Night Time Absorption:  1/5

Value:  3/5

Mommy’s Touchmommy's touch

This is a pocket, one-size cloth diaper.  It has a waterproof outer layer and fleece lining with a cloth absorbent removable soaker inside.  This diaper is snap which again, many moms love but didn’t work for our wiggly baby.  Mommy’s Touch does make diapers with velcro.  This diaper has variations to enlarge your baby grows however I found them confusing.  And Jack has nearly outgrown his Mommy’s Touch at 25lbs.  Cost:  $18.95

Ease of use:  2/5

Comfort:  3/5

Bulkiness:  3/5

Maintenance ease:  3/5

Night Time Absorption:  2/5

Value:  3/5

Mother-easemotherease

These are a One Size diaper with snaps and require a cover.  They are also a one size so they grow with baby.  It has nice “wings” on both sides so it clothes nicely, but again, the slow snappes.  I didn’t like how there was not elastic at the legs so Jack had leakage issues with this one.  One insert can snap into this diaper which works well for the daytime , but that was not enough for Jack at night.  They are low cost but after adding in a good cover, price is similar to other diapers.   Cost $12 (they also make an AIO and Fitted)

Ease of use:  2/5

Comfort:  2/5

Bulkiness:  3/5

Maintenance ease:  3/5

Night Time Absorption:  1/5

Value:  3/5

Make Your Own Wipe Solution

Why not use cloth wipes;  you will be laundering the diapers anyway so it’s no problem to throw in the wipes too!  This is so incredibly easy, and think about the money you will save and the chemicals you will spare you little ones skin.  All you need is:

1 Cup water

1 TBS baby bath soap

8-15 drops of  tea tree essential oil

(for scent and to prevent fungus/mold)

If you have a diaper warmer, try adding the solution into the warmer, however any container will due.  For cloths, I use wash cloths or receiving blankets cut into small squares.  I received enough receiving blankets for an army at my baby shower.  Simply dip the cloth in the solution and you’re ready to go.

Cloth Diaper Ready

I hope you now feel confidant to try out cloth diapering.  This basic information can help your family choose a diaper that every family member is comfortable with.  Cloth diapering is simple, eco-friendly and great for your baby.  I hope my basic info and reviews were helpful.  If you have any questions let me know drhprenger@gmail.com

Please comment:  tell me how you got started with cloth diapers?

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on Laundering your cloth diapers and another on Natural Remedy’s for itchy bug bites and bee stings and choosing a good repelant.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Liesel said,

    That was a wonderful summary! It is so overwhelming at first but you just have to get in there and start trying stuff to see what you like. We use some mother-ease, some thirsties pockets… was not a fan of Bum Genius at all.


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