Cloth diapers: only for the tree hugging hipsters of the world or something we all should be using to help eliminate waste? Will they add to the already overwhelming task of raising a child? Do they really save money? These are all questions I asked myself as my due date approached.
When I was pregnant with our son, I had grand illusions of what parenting would be like. While decorating our nursery to perfection, I never realized that for the first few months we wouldn’t even go in it except to grab clothes or diapers quickly. I talked about all the parenting mistakes I would never make. Raising a baby could only be so hard right? I scoffed when people kept telling me I would be incredibly sleep deprived. Now I understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I criticized friends with children who refused to ever deviate from their child’s schedule. How could they be so inflexible? Now I know that a sleep schedule is one of the most sacred parts of a parent’s life (that is if you want to sleep at night).
All that to say, there have been a lot of unspoken, “I told you so’s,” directed my way since becoming a full time parent. I’ve had to eat many of my words, but one pre-baby ideal that I have actually stuck to is cloth diapering.
My husband and I always wanted to cloth diaper our child, 1. Because it saves a ton of money and 2. Because we feel a strong responsibility to do what we can to eliminate our waste and try to protect our planet. We’ve all heard of the swirling masses of diapers floating in the ocean. I was hoping not to be a huge contributor to this. However, after all my other failed goals and aspirations as a parent, I was unsure if I would be up for the task.
Nevertheless when our son turned two months old, I decided it was time to start cloth diapering. I set a goal of trying it for two weeks. If I felt overwhelmed and stressed by it, I could always go back to disposables. See how reasonable I became after I had my baby? 😉 The good news is, I did not find cloth diapering to be stressful or add that much work and I’ve been at it now for almost 3 months.
We got half of our cloth diapers gently used off Craigslist and then the other half from our friends whose children grew out of them. I would only buy new if you absolutely have to as these really do last forever. I know it sounds gross now, but cloth diapers are meant to be reused for years.
Because we received so many different cloth diapers, I’ve been able to sample a number of different brands and styles. I want to share my experience in case it might make the process of purchasing them a little less daunting. I found the whole world of cloth diapering super confusing when I was researching it. So to make it easier, I’ll define below the different types of diapers first:
- All in One (AIO) Diapers – These are pretty much the equivalent of a disposable diaper except of course you wash and reuse them. They consist of an outer waterproof layer and inner absorbent layers that are sewn into the diapers.
- Pocket Diapers – This diaper has a pocket between the outer waterproof covering and the inner cloth that touches your baby’s skin. You place inserts (absorbent pads) in the pocket and then remove them to wash.
- All in Two Diapers – These are similar to pocket diapers except the water proof covering is its’ own separate unit. The inserts snap into the diaper instead of going in a pocket.
- Flats – Your parents or grandparents probably used these. It is simply a flat piece of cloth that you must fold and attach with safety pins or snaps around your baby. You have to use a separate waterproof cover with these.
- Prefolds – Similar to flats, but these fold into three sections with the most absorbent layer in the middle. You also attach these with safety pins or snaps. You have to use a separate waterproof cover.
- Fitteds – Similar to both flats and prefolds, but these contour to the shape of your baby’s body and have snaps to attach. You will again need a waterproof cover.
I only have tried the first 3 types of cloth diapers because I wanted the easiest possible option for diapering. If you have tried the others, please comment below and let me know your experience with them.
Without further ado here are my unbiased reviews of some of the most popular cloth diapers brands and styles.
Best Bottoms All in Two Diaper – I am not a fan of these diapers unfortunately. They leaked every single time I used them and what’s more are also expensive in comparison to other cheaper brands that work better. The goal of All in Two diapers is to allow multiple uses of the waterproof covering, but this did not offset the constant leaks and poor gusseting for me.
BumGenius Original One Size Pocket Diaper 5.0 –These are definitely in my top 3 favorite cloth diapers. Pros: they are super absorbent and the snap closures hold up really well to constant washings and baby gymnastics. Cons: As with all pocket diapers, you’ll have to remove the inserts for washing and this can be icky. Update: These diapers have fast become my #1 choice for cloth diapering. They are consistently more absorbent than any other diaper I’ve tried. I’m actually planning on buying more of them to replace the ones I don’t like.
BumGenius 4.0 Velcro One Size Pocket Diaper – This is exactly the same as above except with velcro instead of snap closures. Now I know that velcro wears out a lot faster than snaps, but I love how easy it is to size these to your child’s waist and get a snug, but not constricting fit. So far the velcro has held up very well, despite the fact that all our diapers were used.
BumGenius Freetime AIO Diaper – These diapers are very similar to the Happy Flute ones described below. However, I find they are more absorbent and have better gusseting on the legs to prevent leaks. Update: After 6+ months of use, I am no longer a fan of these diapers. I find that almost all the All-in-One diapers I’ve tried leak within an hour of wetting. In my opinion pocket diapers are the way to go.
Famicheer Square Tab AIO Cloth Diapers – I love these diapers! Although a lesser known brand of cloth diaper, I have been so happy with the two I own. They are as easy to put on as disposable diapers and I have never once had a leak. Plus they are AIO’s meaning, I don’t have to touch any grossness before throwing them in the wash. In addition, I love the cute prints they come in. Update: While I still really like these diapers for the ease of washing and putting them on, I’ve found over the past 6 months that they’re not as absorbent as pocket diapers.
Happy Flute Flap AIO – I have mixed feelings about this diaper. I love the attached flap inserts for easy washing that does not involve touching the soiled part of the diaper. I also love that this diaper fits smaller babies and is less bulky than other brands. However, I find that I have to change these every hour or else I’m guaranteed a leak. My son is a heavy wetter, so if your child is not you may find these are great for you.
Imagine One Size Pocket Diaper – I found these to be most similar to Rumparooz, but all pocket diapers are very similar. The main advantage of this diaper is the cheaper price tag. It works just as well as BumGenius or Rumparooz and you’ll save some cash!
Rumparooz Cloth Pocket Diaper, Snaps – These are very similar to BumGenius pocket style diapers, but are a bit bulkier so harder to get snapped. I prefer BumGenius or Imagine. Update: I dislike these diapers now to the point that I’ve actually taken them to the Goodwill. They are incredibly bulky and my son was always super uncomfortable when he had this brand on.
Have you tried any of these or other styles/brands? Please comment below with your experience!
If you enjoyed this post, please check out my other baby related posts: