I started my commitment to cloth diapering when Carl was about a year and half old. Before that, the choices available (how can there possibly be so many options for a poop catcher, I ask), as well as the thought of incorporating a new major change completely overwhelmed me. I did not want any of my precious baby bonding time to disappear with this change. And I didn’t really know anyone with a new baby, much less a cloth diapering family of whom I could ask all my questions.
Then, at Carl’s 15 month mark, I became at SAHM. With super-huge, terrifying life changes that included moving across Texas, a second pregnancy, and changing my identity as an income earner, I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone by jumping in to cloth diapering immediately. But I knew I wanted to cloth diaper, and, with a second baby on the way, I decided to make it work.
I first purchased ten
FuzziBunz name brand pocket diapers to try out, just having read a few online reviews. You’re smarter than that, right? You’re going to talk to all your CD’ing friends, and you’ll read my blog, and you’ll email me questions, right? Because, those diapers almost broke this whole thing before it got off the ground. Carl is a big kid; he pees a lot. Those diapers leaked like crazy. We couldn’t go anywhere without the car seat getting soaked, or Brandon’s sportscoats, or suits getting saturated. Everything smelled like pee.
There are worse things, I suppose. (Like now, when everything smells like poop. Oh, potty training.)
But, with a dry cleaning bill adding up, and a frustrated and soggy spouse down on cloth, I spent more time on the internet and found a trial program through Jillian’s Drawers. They sent us several types of diapers for a 21 day trial, and we sent back what we didn’t want, keeping the best. I haven’t looked back since, but here’s what I learned:
1.Prefold. Prefold. Prefold.
I don’t think it matters whether they are bleached, unbleached, or purple. (Ok, purple might be a problem.) Prefolds adjust with age; endure folding in every possible way; dry super fast; and, most importantly, they are cheap (you can find a dozen newborn prefolds for around $25.00). And when your kid grows up, you can use them to dust. You’ll need a Snappi, (and you can get away with just one, unless you have twins. Then you need two.) to hold them together. Safety pins are so last century, and honestly, once your baby starts crawling, that’s a moving target that you have to hit just right. Twice. A Snappi works, well, in a snap. I’m now a pro at attaching a diaper with a Snappi backwards.
2. If you aren’t in to folding, or the Snappi scares the stuffing out of you, there’s a lovely solution called a fitted diaper. These are a little bit pricier (ranging from $7.00 on up, depending on the material make up and brand), plus you have to buy several different sizes as baby grows. But, they are shaped like a diaper, and Green Mountain Diapers makes them with snaps. No Snappi. No problem. Good for grandparents, sidetracked spouses, and babysitters. Good for you. (You’ll want a few of these for nighttime cloth diapering anyway, but more on that later.)
3. Get the good diaper cover.
I love Thirsties duo wrap. I like the snaps for older kids. I like the velcro (called Aplix hook and loop) for babies that need to be adjusted daily because they grow like the hole in the ozone. Duo wraps have a double gusset. You know what that does? It keeps the poop in the diaper, instead of on you or that adorable, expensive, 100% organic linen onesie. And that means fewer outfit changes for everyone. Which means less laundry. Which means, more snuggle time.
I’m not saying that Thirsties are the alpha and omega of cloth diaper covers, I’m just saying, I didn’t look around after I found them.
Unless you think that putting two separate pieces of a diaper on a squalling baby might send you over the edge, in which case…. a pocket diaper might answer your needs.
- For cheap, but effective, the Kawaii One Size Pocket Diaper worked really well for us. We didn’t buy them, because I don’t like to mix my microfiber wash with my cotton wash. But, if I hadn’t heard such amazing recommendations and loved the versatility of a prefold and cover, I would have gone with a set of Kawaii, and….
- A set of BumGenius 4.0 (because they hadn’t released the 5.0 at that time). These diapers receive rave reviews online, as well as from friends. Our trial experience also left me loving the BG more than any other pocket diaper or All In One (AIO) we tried.
I think that out of 10 days in each diaper, Carl leaked once in the Kawaii, and none in the BumGenius. So, my BG love is a relatively slight preference.
I suggest pocket diapers like these because the absorbency can be adjusted as baby gets bigger. Pocket diapers typically come with a microfiber insert, which your kid eventually outgrows. The pocket lets you add in things like hemp/cotton prefolds under the microfiber, making the pocket workable for all ages. But, get a good pocket, with good leg gussets. I am not kidding because poop.
A final note about those very first
FuzziBunz name brand diapers that I mentioned: I hate spending money on a diaper and not using it. So, I have started using these on Jack, and they’ve been fine. Mostly I use them for school, babysitters, and family. I have also started using the large Perfect Size Fuzzibunz on Carl at night, with a hemp/cotton prefold under the microfiber and a wool cover over everything. This seems to do ok, but it’s super bulky and not something I would have used back in the days when we were new and experimenting. I just think that, as the boys grow, the One Size Fits All label might not be accurate. Infants hold a lot less urine than toddlers, so the double gusset and absorbency is less of an issue when they’re little. But, 18 month old Jack will be a totally different ball game when it comes to pocket diapers.
I’ve found that my prefolds and covers hold everything in, regardless of age and size (I mean, Carl was 18 months when we started with prefolds, and those suckers managed to contain tons of urine beautifully). Which brings me back to one of the most important points with cloth diapering, you have to be flexible. Admittedly, this true of all diapering. You have to be willing to problem solve. You have to be willing to use duct tape, or plastic sheets, or fleece pajamas. You have to stay cool, calm, and collected.
Until they go to bed, and then you should drink wine and cry. Call me, I’ll join you.
For specific ideas about how much and what you’ll need, here’s my list.
My Actual “Stash” Looks Like This:
Daytime Cloth Diapering Stash
- 2 Newborn Cloth-eez prefolds (We used disposable diapers that were gifted to us until Jack was about 3 months old, and we have BIG babies, so Jack outgrew this size immediately.) [$2 ea]
- 14 small Cloth-eez prefolds [$29]
- 6 Toddler OsoCozy prefolds [$19]
- 12 large Cloth-eez prefolds [$40]
- 3 size 1 Thirsties Duo Wrap, in Aplix hook and loop [$12.75 ea]
- 4 size 2 Thirsties Duo Wrap, in Aplix hook and loop [12.75 ea]
- 4 size 2 Thirsties Duo Wrap, in snap [$12.75]
- 1 size 1 Snappi [$3.95]
- 5 large Fuzzibunz One Size pocket diapers (for daycare) [$19.95]
Nighttime Diapering Stash
- 1 large Cloth-eez fitted diaper [$10.95]
- 1 medium Cloth-eez fitted diaper [$9.50]
- 1 large Kissaluvs fitted diaper [$10 – sale]
- 1 Sustainablebabyish Overnight Bamboo Fitted (OBF) [$28]
- 4 Thirsties Duo hemp/cotton prefolds [$7.95 ea]
- 1 medium Woollybottoms hybrid soaker [$25]
- 1 large Woollybottoms hybrid soaker [$25]
- 2 Green Mountain Diapers night stay-dry doubler [$8.50 ea]
- 5 large Fuzzibunz Perfect Size pocket diapers (toddler overnight diapering) [$17.95 ea]
- 12 Alva bamboo fibre inserts ($30)
- Diaper sprayer (only a necessity for pockets or AIOs. (I went super fancy for $80)
- Pail liner ($17)
- Wet Bag x 2 ($15 ea)
This stash managed to diaper both a toddler and infant simultaneously for 8 months, with wash days happening every two to three days.
Let me just say that, in total, the cloth diapering of two children from infancy to potty training has cost us $745 to date. For two kids. Obviously, cloth diapers wear out, so you may have to replace some of your items. And, we supplemented all of this with disposable diapers, particularly when Carl went through his defiant “I can remove my poopy diapers without you” phase, so we’ve certainly spent more money on diapers than what I’ve calculated. HOWEVER, in a typical month, disposable diapers cost around $62.50 per child. If your child isn’t potty trained until they are three years old, you’re looking at a cost of $2,250. Multiply that number by however many kids you have, or plan to have, and voila. You’re broke.
If you are a bargain shopper with coupons in your blood stream, then disposable diapers may end up being less expensive than what I’ve listed. But, if you’ve got the time to coupon, you damn well have the time to cloth diaper.
OH MY GOD, I NEED A MARGARITA NOW.
It’s not like we’re saving for their college funds with all the money we aren’t spending on disposable diapers. But we could be.
We could be.
*These opinions are 100% my own, based on my own experiences. I did not receive any donations, financial gains, or other recognition for this article.