Monday, February 14, 2011

My Affair With Cloth Diapers

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten around to sharing our experience with cloth diapers. I’m surprised with myself that it’s taken me this long because I love cloth diapers! I’m definitely not a clothes or fashion hound or even gadgets but wow, I love the design, look and performance of a good cloth diaper. Is there a name for someone who geeks out on diapers? A DEEK maybe?

I've decided to choose Valentine's Day to share my love of cloth diapers. Yes, that's how deep my love runs.

Our cloth diapering planning started early. While waiting for Baby to arrive and on the advice of our doula, Michelle, we bought one package of newborn diapers and we received a pack as a gift as well. Michelle suggested we “save” our cloth diapers and use sposies for the first few days until we were through the meconium days. We were also nervous about how to use our new fancy diapers so we followed Michelle’s advice and ended up using paper for the first week or so. Also, doing laundry the first few days just seemed like something from a whole other world during the intensity of newborn-ism.

We started using cloth diapers around 3 weeks I would say. We used them exclusively for quite awhile - including night time but more recently I'd say we use them only 85-90% of the time. That percentage includes using paper at night to avoid night time changes. I haven't been able to find a night time cloth solution that can keep Baby dry for 12 hours. She is a heavy wetter at night. What follows below is a breakdown of the types of diapers we use and why I like or dislike them.

When I was pregnant we bought 30 2nd hand inserts/prefolds from a local mom. She had purchased them in Japan. I’d never seen the design before but they looked interesting, they came with some covers and she assured us they were top quality. They sort of looked like the roll of towels that you used to see in public washrooms a lot. Remember the one you used to pull down on until you got to a clean bit? They were like a big loop, soft cotton and we folded them so they were about 12 layers thick. I also made some more traditional prefolds out of bought diaper flannel and some out of an old flannel sheet set I had. Both the Japanese and home made prefolds were amazing and we used them for the first 7 or 8 months.

Since then, we’ve bought some Bummis organic prefolds in the larger size. I like them a lot but they are quite bulky. However, we do still use them the most.

Oh, by the way, we tried using a snappi but found them unnecessary. We've always just folded the prefold and and wrapped the cover around it.

We also received some hemp/cotton Jamtots inserts and some bamboo/cotton snap inserts. The hemp was way too bulky when Baby was small but they work great now folded in half in a cover. And the snap bamboo inserts work well in pocket diapers because they are quite absorbent and trim. We had a couple of microfiber inserts that came with some pocket diapers we bought but they stunk up really quickly and now live under the kitchen sink and are used for cleaning the floor.

For the first 6 or 7 months we used Bummis covers and gPants. I had also made a couple of fleece covers but they were too big for Baby as a newborn and then we forgot about them and they were too small. Oops. The Bummis covers were great, only leaked on occasion and fit very well. We had some with snaps, some with Velcro, some with leg gussets and some without. I prefer Velcro with leg gussets. The Gpants also worked well when Baby was smaller – we used them with the Japanese prefolds but they seem very bulky with the Bummis prefolds so we don’t use them that much anymore.

My new favorite cover is the Flip (same company that makes BumGenius). We only have two but I’d love to buy more as they have never leaked, they are super trim and the insert that comes with each cover  is a nice, soft, good sized organic cotton. They are “one size” covers and snap around and up so they can be used for quite some time.

We received 4 Baby Kanga pocket diapers when Baby was first born. They are one size and have the snap up and snap around design. I have mixed feelings about them. They fit well, they are super cute and come in great colours but they leak often. I thought it was a my washing technique and that maybe they were repelling the moisture or something but I’m not convinced that’s what it is. We then tried BumGenius pockets as I had read that they were the Cadillac of diapers. They come with a microfiber insert (mentioned earlier). I HATED the insert almost immediately. It felt weird and started to smell within a few weeks. I do like the way the diaper fits and they are super cute but again, I find it leaks sometimes and I just don’t like taking that risk. Needless to say we didn’t buy anymore. I know people who swear by the BumGenius pockets and that is all they use but they just weren’t for us. I want to like them but I'm not convinced yet. Overall, we are not terribly impressed with pockets in general, regardless of brand. They don't seem to be any more convenient than prefolds and covers.

There are lots of other brands and designs and configurations. I obsessively surf online and look at cute, amazing diapers but in reality we have a pretty simple system that we're all happy with.

Any questions? Leave a comment! Also, I'm always on the lookout for a trim prefold/cover combo so please share if you have one I didn't mention.

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