Choosing Cloth Diapers

EcoAble Wet Bag Contest and Giveaway – Opens August 2018

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**EcoAble Cloth Diaper Review and Giveaway – Winner chosen June 15, 2018**

**PURRFECTZONE Diaper Sprayer Installation and Giveaway WINNER CHOSEN Feb 28, 2018**

Why We Cloth Diaper

We get many questions about our cloth diaper routine and why we chose this route.

Our son will be 9 months old in a couple of weeks (*edit: he’s one now, how?!) and we are continuing our commitment to cloth. Even more exciting is the fact we will get to reuse them all for our second child! While we chose cloth for economical reasons, the environmental impact is also important to us. I am staying at home now, and we have a wonderful new washer and dryer – why not get some mileage out of it and save some money?

Speaking of money, we are working on a comprehensive cost breakdown of how much we have spent total on our cloth diapering set up. We estimate to have saved around $2K after diapering two children for two years using a combination of expensive new diapers and covers, to pre-loved discounts; overpriced Amazon to DIYs and thrifting/upcycling. Of course, we’ll need a spreadsheet to prove it!

I’ve included screen shots of products we’ve actually purchased along with pricing to give you an idea of what each brand and style will run you – we’ve tried dang near everything (mostly just for fun).

Amy and I absolutely love our cloth diapering routine – even though adding more laundry is a chore, it has been the best choice for our family – and it feels like part of having a baby, just like nobody likes changing ANY diaper. The laundry and rinsing doesn’t bother us enough to turn us away from cloth diapering.  After a year (at the time of editing), we just feel like it’s par for the course. We have the chance to use disposables, and have a ton saved from our first baby shower, for our second child. We just never reach for them!

So – even after rinsing and flushing the contents of a diaper for the thousandth time, or having to stuff inserts into our pocket diapers every other day, we still think cloth is the best.

Our son has only experienced a diaper rash a handful of times, so we also avoided the costs of expensive diaper ointments. In fact, two out of three diaper rashes was after wearing a disposable for a road trip or vacation, and we have never purchased a single disposable diaper to date (oddly enough, we ended up with one pack in each size as baby shower gifts, which has worked perfectly for the one or two times we have needed them).

Our only car-seat accident/leak to date was using a disposable on a three hour road trip, yet we have taken the same trip with cloth many times, without incident. So to everyone saying disposables are more bulletproof? Turns out that’s not always the case. To be fair, my mother (a seasoned in-home daycare provider) informed me that I was using Fred Meyer brand, “not the good ones” like Pampers (she is not our biggest cloth diapering fan but has no problem if we run a load of CD laundry at her home – as long as we make the trip to see her!). Our local city daycare center is glad to work with CD kids, but won’t rinse out wastes due to health and safety of workers. I am surprised they work with parents on this, and give them major kudos.

Most importantly – we are SO happy to be done done buying diapers, and won’t have to restock for our second child – we’re all set!

Check out our video to learn where to start, and leave a comment letting us know what else you would like to know about our cloth diapering routine if we haven’t answered it here:

Hybrids, One size, Sized, All-in-ones, Wool – We have tried them all!

All-In-One (AIO)

A fitted diaper with laminated cover and absorbent flap sewn in.

Pros:

  • Good for those who dislike stuffing pocket diapers with inserts – you’ll never have to do this with an AIO diaper
  • Cover and diaper are sewn together and there are no snaps, inserts, or pockets (instead, an absorbent flap is sewn in)
  • Extremely easy to use intuitively
  • Some AIO diapers now available in One Size Fits All (vs. Sized)

Cons:

  • Take forever to line dry, or multiple low cycles in dryer (TBH, we used medium heat a couple of times, or left outside all day – they seem fine but I’d feel too guilty in reselling these ones)
  • Not ideal for frequent washings by hand
  • More expensive to purchase new
  • Non-customizable (i.e. for heavier wetters or boy vs. girl folds, a la flat diapers)
  • Cover and diaper are one piece – covers cannot be reused after a wet diaper

As a newborn, Grovia all-in-one diapers were a no-fuss solution – no late night insert-stuffing marathons and no struggling with snaps or pins with a squirming baby. We invested in 4 or 5 small all-in-one diapers and packed them in our hospital bag, though we never ended up using them.*

We quickly realized that hang-drying this style of diaper did not get them fully dry in our (Seattle) climate, and we did not want to ruin our diapers by drying them with electric heat.

I would not chose to do all-in-ones for an older child, especially after seeing how long these take to dry. They would be difficult to clean during a road trip or vacation, and hand washing would be cumbersome, compared to something like a flat diaper.

Pocket Diapers

Pros:

  • Machine wash/dry-able
  • Allows for quicker diaper changes than than a separate diaper with cover
  • More comfortable for baby when traveling due to a microfiber lining and various insert options

Cons:

  • Inserts need to be stuffed inside before each use and removed before washing
  • Covers cannot be easily wiped out and reused quickly due to fabric covering the PUL
  • Recommended to wash and dry covers and inserts separately (we don’t.)

All-In-One Cloth Diaper Stash

Left to Right: Alva Baby (first three columns), Eco-Able, Bum Genius

Alva Baby: One of our newest additions to our stash, and the cheapest. Though we try to support small businesses when we can, cloth diaper costs were too good to ignore. We started with four just to try them out – when we found that they were nearly identical to our favorite (expensive!) diapers, and for a third of the cost, we purchased a package which further decreased our cost.

After frequent washings over 4 months, we can see a lot of pilling on the fleece lining, while BumGenius has withstood the test of time, looking twice as good after 11 months of frequent washings (See our YouTube video on Cloth Diapering on Vacation).

Our latest batch of Alva Baby diapers showed poor stitching that began to unravel after less than 15 washings, leaving me with two diapers so far to repair. Keep this in mind when you buy cheap diapers – the stitching can easily come lose and elastics may not last as long:

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From the AlvaBaby website:

Outer – A waterproof & breathable PUL

Inners – Suede cloth: Suede cloth wicks moisture away from baby’s bottom. It is an excellent choice next to baby’s skin for pocket style cloth diapers. Liquid passes right through suede cloth into the inner absorbent layers of the insert. Unlike fleece there is no pilling.

The bottom three rows of snaps (the rise) are for adjusting the size to fit a small (8-15 lb), medium (12-25 lb), or large (20-35 lb) child. Simply adjust the size as your baby grows make this diaper a one size style diaper from birth to potty training!

Wash temperature: less than 86 °F to avoid the PUL from delaminating.

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EcoAble: This company makes a good pocket diaper – not too expensive, comparable to AlvaBaby. I prefer their charcoal inserts to any of the competitors, but many reviews mention that the stitching on the new style of insert doesn’t hold up well after machine washings – we have recently received one diaper in the new style for review purposes, and will be hosting a giveaway on our YouTube channel in June 2018! Our very favorite inserts are the charcoal ones from EcoAble – a bit bulky but highly absorbent and cheaper than a hemp / bamboo blend. Perfect for night time diapering.

Bum Genius: Purchased new, this was our most expensive pocket diaper – only purchased when I scored a thirty-percent-off coupon, which explains why we only have three! I love the fit and style of this diaper…but with this brand you are paying for convenience (one of the only brands found in stores like Babies-R-Us and Target) and also for limited prints and solid colors. Many cloth diapering parents will spend crazy amounts of cash on ‘limited’ or ‘retired’ prints. If you want a uniquely-bottomed baby, you may be interested in some of these designer options – for a price. See the comparison between 10 months of use in this brand vs. just four months of use of AlvaBaby in our Cloth Diapering on Vacation video on YouTube.

At first, I assumed that having four fastening snaps (two on each side) would be quicker for changes, and that I would enjoy them more than the cheaper diapers with six fastening snaps – however, as time rolls on I can say that I reach for my six-snap diapers more frequently as they allow more customization for uniquely shaped bodies, and the extra two snaps are par for the course at this point. Still, the lining of this diaper is superb, and I’d recommend it if you have the funds. BumGenius would also be a great brand to buy second-hand, as it is extremely durable and softer than other diapers we own, even after more frequent washings.

Our Covers Stash

Sized Covers (Sizes 1 – 3)

Pros: 

  • Better fit
  • Lightweight and easy to pack
  • Can often re-use a non-soiled PUL lined cover more than once
  • Trim fitting, with larger sizes available for up to 60 lbs in brands like Happy Endings Co. and EcoAble
  • Doubles as a swim diaper

Cons:

  • Must graduate to bigger sizes as baby grows
  • For use with cloth diapers
  • No pockets for holding inserts (liners lay inside, or use a cloth diaper underneath)

Sized Diapers - Thirsties Brand

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The above covers (Thirsties brand)  were purchased on Amazon at $13.25 each. They do not come with any liners or diapers, you’ll need to purchase those separately (but are also sold by the same company). These, when we are at the appropriate sizes, were Amy’s absolute favorites because of the prints and that they offered multiple uses – just pack a couple of these and a few diapers and you’d be set for an afternoon out. We also used these under our child’s bathing suit for swimming lessons!

Fitted covers offer the most trim and snug fit – you’ll need to ‘size up’ as your child grows (similar to disposables). We started at a size one and now are at a size three for our 11 month old, with our size ones packed up after just a couple months of use. Not the most economical, unless you are planning to use for multiple children or can find a good deal on pre-loved covers. We love these when traveling, as we can get a couple uses from each cover, with every 2 or 3 wet diaper changes.

Thirsties Covers

These worked beautifully for us, in the early days. In fact, once I found them I felt like I had unlocked a major cloth-diapering secret and couldn’t imagine using anything else. However, I am glad we only chose a a few of these (in both sized and one-size options) as they are our last-resort diapers these days.

One reason for the change is that our son refuses to stay still during changes lately (he’s nearly one now), and the covers are not a stand-alone option: they must be used in combination with a flat or pre-fold inside for absorbency. This means essentially putting on two diapers, which makes me laugh these days and is the reason we ‘quit’ wool. However, if you are just beginning to grow your stash, or if you have a non-wriggly child, these covers can be invaluable – just wipe out the cover and change the insert/diaper and you can easily get two or three uses from just one cover. Great for laundry days!

 

One-Size Covers (OS)

We orignially purchased a couple of size one Thirsties covers and a few one-size Bum Genius diapers to see which ones worked better for our tiny newborn (just under six pounds). While the Thirsties have been packed up for quite some time now (waiting for baby #2), we still use our three Bum Genius diapers nearly every day. We weren’t able to use these ones from birth on our petite guy, but we are glad we invested in some One Size pocket diapers!

Pros:

  • One size cover ‘fits all’ for added cost savings
  • We have used many of our OS covers for over 70 washings so far – and counting!

Cons:

  • Can be bulky for newborns/smaller babies
  • May cover umbilical cord stump

For use with cloth diapers, OS covers are advertised as fitting your child from newborn to potty training. I found that these didn’t properly fit my baby until around 8-10 lbs. We haven’t quite reached the end of our diapering career, but I’m eager to see if they will get us through!

Another ‘con’ could be considered if you will need to diaper past 35 or 40 lbs. In this case you might choose a “sized” cover instead: Thirsties brand size 3 cover adjusts from 40 to 60+ lbs. and runs around $12 if you buy directly from their website.

Wool

Pros:

  • Aesthetic
  • Feels great against the skin (for baby and mom)
  • All natural fibers
  • Lanolizing (required) is not as hard as it seems: this style of cover gets the most uses between washes
  • Cover can double as a pant or pajama
  • Wool is good in both hot and cold climates
  • Need less of these in your stash than non-reusable covers

Cons:

  • Hand wash only
  • Needs to be occasionally lanolized (requires soaking tub, lanolin, towels to squeeze out water, emulsifying liquids, etc)
  • Long drying times – it is ideal to dry horizontally, which may take up considerable space
  • Expensive! New wool covers range from $25 to $50 for a decent brand. DIY options are available if you sew 😉

Wool Stash

From Top Left: Flat birds-eye and muslin organic cotton diapers by GMD, Disana Wool Overpants (6-12 months, Grey), Disana Overpants (12-24 months, Hazelnut)

Total Cost: $62.88 before shipping (all purchased on Amazon – could be cheaper direct from company!)

Bottom Left: French Terry Fabric remnants and IKEA cotton receiving blankets (both used as DIY inserts/diapers), 3-6 month wool pants upcycled by me, 6-9 month wool soaker bottoms upcycled by me.

Total Cost: $10, no shipping required

Also pictured: Snappi clasps. These came free with my first ever pre-loved diaper purchase.

Wool is amazing! We are still on the learning curve a bit, as our baby decided to become extra wriggly during changes as soon as we invested in a couple of covers. Considering wool covers must be used with a cloth diaper, it increased changing times and frustrations during the day. I was also expecting to pull this cover off as an alternative to pants, as covering a cloth bottom butt with traditional pants can be cumbersome (and too-cute blue jeans are an impossibility). However, we still have an extremely messy eater – and washing and lanolizing wool because of a banana stain or berry spot can be maddening!

I have already retired our wool stash for overnight diapering, for these reasons. Paired with a flat diaper and an absorbent booster (bamboo or hemp or microfiber) it makes for a bulletproof overnight diaper solution. When using pocket diapers we find that we still get up for middle of the night changes, to provide for baby’s comfort.

With an absorbent liner and wool, baby can easily last 10 hours plus. If I were to do it again, I’d go as DIY as I could for covers by up-cycling – or look harder for used, well-cared-for wool. Our budget isn’t wool friendly, but if you get more mileage than we did it could be worth it! At less than 20 wears for the small size, I don’t think our family can justify the cost.

 

Our DIAPERS Stash

Cloth diapers (and fasteners if applicable) go underneath diaper covers\shells

To avoid needing separate covers and diapers, go with a pocket or all-in-one style. If you are interested in what we used for under our Thirsties and wool covers, read on!

Fitted Diapers:

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The above photos were the first fitted diapers we purchased from Amazon (before switching to the manufacturer directly) immediately after Canyon was born – one in each size, so we could tell when we truly needed to size up. The newborn diapers were so successful for us that we purchased more right away, and never looked back!

You can see that we spent a small fortune on Amazon, but they were our favorites until around six months old, when the wetness of the cotton caused my child to get extremely grumpy after a wee. These do not need to be folded – they come with snaps to fit them into place, or there is an option to purchase without any snaps.

Many parents like the newborn diapers or small diapers without snaps, as they can fold down the front panel a bit to accommodate for umbilical stump. We found that you can still fold the front panel over just fine on the snap version, so unless you are planning to fit it with Velcro, I’d suggest spending the extra few cents for the snaps.

Fitted cloth diapers will require a shell (cover) with a laminated cover (PUL) to hold in liquid waste.

Pre-folds:

The name alludes to the fact that you don’t have to do any special folding to increase absorbency in the middle; the manufacturer has built in a double layer (or more) of fabric down the center of the fabric, and the overall square of fabric is smaller, with more layers (what a flat diaper would look like if it was folded onto itself multiple times).

Pros:

  • Benefits and cost savings, similar to flats
  • Great for stuffing pocket diapers and using with covers
  • Versatile – can be used as a diaper or a liner/stuffer

Cons:

  • Takes longer to dry than flats
  • Sized – not one size fits all

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We use pre-folds frequently to boost the absorption of pocket diapers for our older child. When he was smaller, we simply used these diapers plus a Snappi and a cover to meet our cloth diaper needs, saving the few pocket diapers we had back then for special trips or car rides or overnights. As he grew older and the wet feeling of the cloth against his skin bothered him, we would switch to pocket diapers with a fleece or microfiber lining, and use the pre-folds inside, folded into thirds to make a rectangle that fits perfectly in OS (one-size) pocket diapers.

OsoCozy Makes a great diaper, at a reasonable cost (couple bucks per). We bought a three pack to start with, and then started purchasing by the dozen when we needed a new size. Just a dozen of these in each size plus 6-8 quality Thirsties covers got us through the earliest weeks!

Dandelion Diapers were not my favorite, they seemed to be made of a thinner material – softer but not as absorbent. Also, the sizing charts were the most complicated on their website, and ordering is not as easy off Amazon. Wouldn’t recommend.

Flat Diapers:

Pros:

  • A large, single layer of fabric – easiest of all diapers to hand wash and line dry
  • Comes cleanest in the wash
  • Easy to care for
  • Can use almost any absorbent fabric in a pinch
  • Easy and cheap to DIY using flour sacks, tea towels, receiving blankets…the list goes on
  • Great for stuffing pocket diapers
  • Easy to double or fold into a booster for added absorbency (less laundry sorting for special boosters or tumble/line-dry-only items).

Cons:

  • Folding flats may feel like a chore (but like stuffing diapers, some people find it relaxing)
  • Putting a folded diaper on a squirming baby can be a challenge
  • Not one size fits all (but offers a lot of customization through folding techniques to help ‘stretch’ your wear in each size)

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Flat diapers bring to mind the ‘good ole days’ in their design: a simple, flat square of muslin, cotton, or other absorbent cloth fiber, folded and wrapped around baby and pinned into place.

While the concept of flat diapers has remained much the same, modern options such as jersey cotton blends (allows for a bit of stretch in the fabric) or organic/unbleached materials allows for a wide range of customization.

Flats are the most easy to DIY – some of my favorite diapers at 3 months old were IKEA receiving blankets I had purchased for dirt cheap, which shrunk nearly half their size over time, ultimately providing a waffled, muslin-like feel. I still use them, folded into thirds, as stuffers for our pocket diapers or as a booster to an overnight diaper set up.

Using flat cloth diapers with a cover allows for a variety of folds that help customize the wet zone. Search YouTube for folds such as Kite, Bikini Flip, Airplane, or search for gendered folds to maximize absorbency for boys vs. girls. Or, check out these Wiki diagrams.

Green Mountain Diaper Company makes our favorite flat and fitted diapers. We bought many of our GMD through Amazon (as we would wait until we desperately needed to size up but were too nervous to wait for long shipping times). After a few overpriced purchases, we switched to the GMD website, which offers up to 15% discounts on top of their already low prices. If you are a Prime member and can afford the extra cash, Amazon is a great place to score diaps! If you’d like to save some cash while acquiring quality diapers from a reputable company, I would recommend searching the Green Mountain Diapers website first.

Our LINERS/INSERTS Stash

Inserts are also commonly referred to as ‘doublers’, and usually go inside a pocket diaper. Some inserts/doublers can also be laid right inside the cover (except microfiber – see below).

Liners are placed between the baby and the diaper, and helps expedite the cleaning process in case of poo!

Biodegradable or flush-able liners

We’ve not yet tried them, but I hear they are great for travel! Those with older septic systems may want to avoid these (or use at your own plumbing risk). Cost for around 100 sheets can be between ten and fifteen bucks, and they are one-use only (though I know a lot of cloth mamas who rinse them out between uses in the event of a wet diaper). As for me, I have already shelled out the cash for the diapers, I don’t want to be paying any “price per” items, including disposable diapers or flushable liners, if possible!

Homemade Liners

You can make a re-usable fleece liner with fabric remnants and a pair of scissors – no sewing required! Moisture passes right through and the liner creates a wetness barrier against baby’s skin, and makes solid wastes easier to clean. You can also use a flannel liner to catch poo, though flannel doesn’t protect against wet feel, like fleece.

I purchased a small stash of remnant polar fleece and used pinking shears to cut them up – regular scissors work fine, also. For less than five bucks, I’ve had all the liners I have need: from birth to potty training!

Bamboo 

Lightweight, ultra absorbent material similar to microfiber. Safe to use directly against skin.

Charcoal

Dark colored inserts/liners minimize staining. Can be a bit bulky. Safe against skin.

Hemp

Thirsties brand hemp-cotton diaper inserts are our favorite for overnights or road trips. We purchased two hemp/cotton Thirsties brand inserts and I absolutely adore them. But at nearly $9 for two, we haven’t purchased more of these.

Cotton

Green Mountain Diapers and other brands offer an organic cotton option that we have tried on some of our flat diapers. Organic cotton inserts are also available, though if you aren’t using directly against baby’s skin you might want to avoid the extra cost here.

Microfiber

Arguably the most absorbent liner – not recommended for use against baby’s skin (wicks away skins natural oils, causing rashes/irritations). Great as a booster to any cloth diaper. We often use two microfiber stuffers inside of a pocket diaper for night time. We also rinse our microfiber inserts after a wet diaper – these things can hold a ton of liquid, so rinsing before throwing into a wet bag helps cut down on any diaper pail stinks.

Tea Towels / Receiving Blankets

I used these quite a few times with our newborn. They make great inserts or even cloth diapers if you have a fastener handy! The receiving blankets from IKEA shrink to a nice size after a few washes in hot water.

Snaps vs. Aplix vs. Fasteners

Aplix is the technical term for the design used in “Velcro”, also commonly referred to as Hook-and-Loop.

Snappis and Boingos are brand names for the pin-less fasteners used in many modern cloth diapering set ups.

USED DIAPERS?!

Yup. We’ve bought them and we’ve sold them! Of course it’s important to use good judgement when purchasing anything used from private sellers – we met with a local seller in our area to look at her pre-loved stash before purchasing. We also scored our diaper sprayer for 1/4 of the cost by purchasing it used.

Sites such as Cloth Diaper Trader or Jillian’s Drawers is a great place to browse pre-loved cloth diapering items.

Questions to ask/what to look for when purchasing new diapers:

Have these diapers been bleached / dried with electric heat / sunned?

(If so, you may want to inspect before purchase for any compromised elastic or PUL, the lamination layer that holds in wetness / prevents leaks).

What type of detergents were used with these diapers?

(Anything non-cloth safe, including fabric softeners and static sheets, can compromise the life of your diaper).

Is the aplex in good condition (hook and loop or Velcro-style diapers)?

Is the elastic in good condition?

(Often, over-sunning, chemicals, or heat will damage elastics on even high quality diapers. Elastics can be fairly easy to replace for very cheap, but not everyone is up to the task!)

Prepping Used Diapers

Bleach is not recommended for use with cloth diapers and covers, however I make an exception when purchasing new diapers! I use a weak concentration of bleach and water and let the diapers soak for an hour or two, agitating occasionally. After a couple of rinses, I like to lay them in the sun if any stains are present. The bleaching power of sun on diapers is like nothing I’ve ever seen before! Make sure your diapers are slightly damp when they are laid out, and don’t leave in the sun for too long as not to compromise the structural integrity of the diaper.

Whenever you use bleach on cloth diapers, I would suggest running through a few cold water rinse cycles to remove all bleach, to avoid any possible skin irritation.

There are also bleach-free prepping methods you can search for online, if you are a bleach-free household!

 

Diaper Ointments

As we haven’t had that many diaper rashes, we are still working on our Dr. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste® (a 2 ounce baby shower gift). This particular one is NOT cloth safe, but still a great choice for when we have a disposable on hand – you can also use a disposable liner or a cloth liner, but I don’t like to separate my laundry

Learn from my mistake: I accidentally bought a pre-owned diaper someone had ruined with zinc, the common ingredient in most rash pastes that will destroy your cloth diapers! Some cloth diapering parents will recommend washing a cloth liner separate from your diaper laundry, as not to ‘contaminate’ them. Trust me, go with a disposable diaper or liner to be safe if you use zinc pastes – OR just go with a cloth-safe diaper ointment/balm/cream.

Our Favorite Solution:

balm

The Honest Company Organic All-Purpose Balm. It’s Phthalate Free, Paraben Free, No Added Fragrance, Organic, Plant Based. Tried and true, this one works! A little greasy/oily out of the tube if you have a very warm climate, less so if you massage the tube before opening the top. Application is silky smooth and this balm feels nice on the skin. It also smells great, with a subtle scent of chamomile and calendula.

 

Final Thoughts:

*We didn’t actually end up using cloth at the hospital – we hope that our birth center plan works out for round two, and that we can come home the same day baby is born (and start our cloth routine right away). So as far as meconium poos, I can’t speak to the steadfastness of cloth on very-newborns.

I am glad we started off our stash somewhat small, though I was in panic mode the weeks before baby arrived! This gave us a chance to really see what we liked, and we had some funds for adjustment as baby grew/began wetting more heavily. We also purchased a few of our diapers pre-loved (yep! used!) for a quarter of the cost of what we’d have paid new. When you are talking about a $20 diaper, every cent counts! We evened out these cost savings by waiting until the last minute to “size up” our diapers before switching to One-Size pockets, and ended up paying more than necessary through Amazon due to overnight shipping…the convenience of free one-day shipping as Prime members helped us justify it. Somewhat. Lesson learned: shopping ahead of time saves serious cash!

Finding cute bottoms to cover cloth-butt babies can be also difficult to come by, more so than I originally anticipated! We love the brand Cat And Jack (Target), because they have many pants styles with no butt seam, or harem-style joggers that fit over our pocket diapers beautifully!

Our Favorite Purchases:

Green Mountain Diaper Company – anything by this company has exceeded our expectations, really! From organic birds-eye flats to unbleached muslin to bleached cotton fitted diapers, we’ve tried almost all of their products. We have purchased from Amazon and directly from the company, and the price difference is incredible.

Wouldn’t Buy/Do Again:

Euclan Wool Cleaner

Die hard wool afficianados swear by Unicorn Fibre Wash, which cleans wool better than Euclan. I can’t attest to this as we have only used Euclan a handful of times, but since purchasing I’ve heard it’s not the best for cloth diapers!

Home-made or Gentle Detergents

Long story short, we now use Tide liquid original.

We started with Eos and found that it wasn’t strong enough to properly clean our diapers. Homemade detergents can leave a residue behind that builds up and causes stinks or a reduced diaper function.

The key is finding a detergent that works with your water hardness. Hardness refers to the mineral concentration of your water – some cities have hard water and some homes have water softeners in their home. If you have hard water, it may be more difficult for you to get your diapers squeaky clean. Water softener tanks or commercial additives can help!

Top Cities with Hard Water (from Homewater101)

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Tampa, FL

HiBaby Diaper Covers

Cheap, Alva-baby knockoff. Alva is already an economical choice and seemingly more well-made than HiBaby, which cuts into my baby’s thighs and fits awkwardly. At $6 we were pleased to find this brand, but luckily we only tried one cover before investing. The PUL seems a little more discolored than any other brand we’ve purchased before. If you are crunched for funds, this could work to stretch your stash – but we wouldn’t recommend them!

BB2 Baby Diaper Covers

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What were we thinking – again, we got what we paid for.

We also order directly through AlvaBaby and EcoAble. One of our bulk Alva Baby orders was lost in the mail, and they refunded our entire order – we purchased again without incident. For being a ‘made in China’ company, the customer service is speedy and more efficient than other off-brands we’ve dealt with, which keeps us coming back.

Dandelion Diapers PreFolds

Just not my fave. Thin, stitching of poor quality.

 

Do we ever use disposables?

YES!

One of Canyon’s first trips was to Los Angeles to one of Mom’s work conferences, where we were able to tag along. This trip was made exponentially easier by the fact that we could use disposables in the hotel. There was a laundry service available, had we needed it – but it was laughable to think about using it for cloth diapering: $1.25 U.S. dollars per handkerchief, and up to three dollars for each of the other items. Also, you had no say on the detergent.

We had looked up nearby laundry-mats to the hotel before we left for the trip, to see there were a few within a mile. But it was a two-day trip to Los Angeles, a chance to get out of the Seattle gloom and bask on the pool deck with our newborn while my wife was taking courses on premises. Did I really want to be so stubborn about cloth diapering that I spent two hours running around for laundry? However, the stack of poopy diapers in the corner of the hotel room made us gag and confirmed our decision to continue cloth once we arrived home.

I was almost afraid the convenience of cloth diapering would convert us, and I had promised myself to get at least six months use to justify the upfront costs we’d just shelled out. To my relief, I discovered you can have the best of both worlds, if you want! There are also hybrid diapers on the market, or disposable liners that we plan on using for travel (though we haven’t yet – our vacation destinations have been on septic systems so we wouldn’t risk damaging someone’s plumbing! See our YouTube video about cloth diapering on the go for more about traveling with CD).

We also pack a few disposable diapers for our once a week nanny-share / play date. She takes my kid to the dump and the zoo and music class, which I am eternally grateful for – she doesn’t have to deal with rinsing literal shit out of his pants. As I mentioned before, my mom also does not fancy the idea of cloth diapering, and my wife’s parents have also made comments (cough…granola…cough) to which we just smile and wave.

We embrace being the crazy, self-labeling millennial parents everyone thinks we are, anyway! I get it – why the heck would you cloth diaper when disposables are a thing now?! But to me, I get a sense of satisfaction every time I stuff my freshly laundered pocket diapers, and I like folding flats into new configurations that fit my baby and protecting him from all the chemicals and materials used in disposable diapers and wipes.

Sure, there is the argument that making these diapers and wipes have environmental impact too. But before you tell me about all of that, just google disposable diapers plus

…natural resources required

…landfills

…chemicals

…or read this article by LIVESTRONG.

Overall, we love cloth diapering. I am writing this on vacation on Lummi Island in the San Juans (Washington State). We packed a pile from our cloth stash and have a stack of just-laundered diapers sunning on the porch. We will spend the day at the beach and come home and relax. Maybe tomorrow evening we will do another load of diapers. Until then we will travel with our small wet bag, a few diapers with liners and some wipe juice and a few cloth wipes. We will come home, rinse out our inserts/liners and put in the large wet bag or utility sink until it’s time to rinse and wash and repeat! My wife spent today stuffing pocket diapers on the deck in the sun. And by “spent today” I mean it only took her two minutes to stuff the actual diapers (we timed ourselves for our cloth diapering on vacation video). The rest of the time she spent blowing bubbles for the little guy.

Here is a diaper cart with the same amount of diapers in cloth (left) and disposable (right). The bottom shelf is just extra boosters, I didn’t move them for either photo:

17 diapers in cloth and in disposable. You can see that fluff butts take up a little more room in the world! 😉 Our current stash is around 20 diapers, with about 6 or 7 additional outgrown covers in storage (plus our wool stash and outgrown fitted diapers are not pictured here).

Let me know what you think about cloth – have you tried it?

 

Love, Mama B