Q: I thought I read somewhere that you cloth diaper...what kind of diaper do you use? What do you suggest? What about wet bags?
A: This is a question I have gotten a number of times because cloth diapering is really making a come-back, which is exciting. There are some challenges to cloth diapering and it may not be a viable option for everyone, but it has worked for us. I think, as with all parts of parenting, the topic of diapers needs to be considered, researched, and an informed decision made.
In the event that you're in the researching stage here's what I know from my experiences:
I have used the following:
Gerber cloths folded and held with pins/plastic pants over—fine, but rather messy. The spouse wasn't a huge fan of this and would normally reach for a disposable backup with these because of the pinning issue…this meant I change Finn and Kiki a lot...it also wasn't something we used when we were away from the house because of the added supplies it required...I'm sure we COULD have made it happen, but we found it to be an added pain we didn't want.
Haute Pockets—this is a “pocket diaper”; one size fits all…which means there is a space in between the waist band and the part that is against the baby that is a “pocket” where you can put your absorbers (micro fiber inserts, etc.)…this is nice because you can customize how much absorbency your baby will need. I got “hook and loop” (aka Velcro) and “snap” closures…the snaps take a bit longer, but look nicer longer; the hook and loop got kind of filled with fuzzies and looked frayed within the first six months or so. At first I LOVED Haute Pockets; but of all the diapers I've gotten they now look the worst...mainly that the inside lining is coming apart...as in, separating from the fabric itself.
There seem to be some colors than are worse than others (mint green was the first to go). I understand that they went out of business for awhile and were working to improve their product...I'm not entirely sure what the "deal" is as I see their diapers on various webstores...ours were purchased in 2008, but I have also had problems with a few I bought in 2010. I love them, but it might be a gamble for others to try them.
Fuzzi Bunz Size Medium—another pocket diaper, but you have to pick a size. I do like the medium size, though. My kids fit them well starting at 5 months and wore them until potty trained (around 3 years…sad, I know, that it took them that long!). They do need extra inserts; in addition to what they come with…I used my Gerber cloths for this purpose! Some layers of flannel would work great. They come with snaps and look the best of all my diapers that have been around for 3.5 years…they are the most expensive, though. They also have come out with a one-size version; haven’t tried it…probably is good since the fitted are nice.
With Leve I was able to borrow some Larges from a friend...they have been AWESOME to have as they fit her so much better than the mediums...If I were buying for my first I would definitely get some of each of the sizes knowing that all of my kids would be using them...Fuzzi Bunz are just that good.
Bum Genius 3.0 One Size Pocket Diaper—just got a few of these with TJ as my Haute Pockets were discontinued and several of my girl friends from when we worked at the Bible Camp use these (and I had gift cards to Target and at the time Target website carried this brand)…I have liked it. It has held up well, while definitely absorping a lot. One thing I have to comment on is that it is a nice size for littler ones (it folds up nicely to make it smaller), but it looks like it might not fit them all the way to the potty training mark….which is a bummer for me since mine don’t seem to train early.
Dry Bee’s All In One (AIO)—I only bought one of these and I’m glad….the absorbency isn’t that great, it takes FOREVER to dry after its been washed…All in One means that all the layers are together…you can add another layer in between the diaper and the baby, which I do to make it work, but overall I think you’re better off with one of the other options….this is the MOST like disposable diapers in the usage, though, as you never have to “stuff” your diapers.
Kushies, Infant Sized Pocket Diaper—These are another brand I purchased when TJ was born in 2010 to add to the "stash". I had a gift card to Wal-Mart and these were the cloth diapers they offered on their website so I ordered a couple…they were CHEAP…like $10 a diaper. They are fine...a little more bulky than the other diapers, but fine. Honestly I can't complain about them, but I also don't have anything noteable to say about them either...beyond that I wish that the opening were bigger so it was easier to "stuff" them.
Mudd Butt Cloth Diapers—These are made by a Mom in southern Minnesota…it feels AMAZING to order from her and know that 1) You’re supporting a hardworking mama 2) They are somewhat local so there isn’t a lot of fuel emissions happening to even get your diapers to you! I have two of them and they are really nice. I love that she sends some extra snaps with "just in case", though I haven't had to replace them. You can customize your diapers with her, which is neat...you can pick the PUL and the snap colors so you could really do some fun things. I do find that the one-size-fits-all run a little smaller than the Fuzzi Bunz and the Haute Pockets...they are more like the Bum Genius size which doesn't fit Leve and won't last TJ until he's much past 2...which would be fine if I could get these kids to train early...but so far I'm 3 for 3...I'm pretty sure I won't get any questions about potty training...ha, ha! You can find her on Facebook and link to her Hyena Cart from there.
So, what to put the wet diapers into?
Wahmies—Travel Wet Bag*Large Wet Bag—you need a bag to put your wet diapers into as most of the diapers don’t soak like the cloth/pin diapers do. This bag is water proof and you can just empty your diapers from it straight to the washer and add the bag in there too! I am super happy with both of mine. The travel bag I got was the “large”…it is a decent size for a day out. We bought a nice metal step-on-the-pedal-to-open garbage can and put the large wet bag liner in there and it works great for storing them until washing day.
I recently bought a Mommy's Touch regular and travel wet bag so I had two sets and didn't have to rush to get each load through and they have been fine. They were quite a bit cheaper than Whammies and, while they are working fine, you can definitely tell a difference between the products. I haven't had them long enough to know if it makes a difference or not in performance.
Wipes—I just took squares of flannel and put the wrong sides together and surged around the edges. I put them in a plastic box that disposable wipes come in, and then make a mixture of water, Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo, and olive oil over the wipes. They get washed and dried with the diapers. Every couple months I do a separate washing of the wipes with bleach to kill whatever might be on them and make them smell good again. When we are out and about (or I'm TOTALLY overwhelmed with life as it is...we use store bought wipes...lazy, I know.)
How many do you need?
We have an abundance since my friend is borrowing us those larges! We have 22 of the sizes that fit TJ and about 20 of the ones that fit Leve (thankfully, as I write this she is potty training so they are sitting and only being used at night)...are we blessed or what?! I remember having only 10 or so and washing ALL the time and having to hustle to get them turned around so the babies were covered! With my current abundance I actually bought a second wet bag so that I could have two sets going through the cycle of worn/washed/dried/putaway at a time and not have to rush. HUGE hugs to Ms. R for helping us with that during this busy, BUSY time...The Spouse is a great diaper stuffer and is missed!
Another word of advice…be sure to follow the directions your diapers come with…and remember that the SUN will do a LOT to help with smell/discoloration/etc…
I hope that helps! I know when I first started researching something “new” to get rid of the pins it was so overwhelming...all the choices and brands...ugh!!! I just sorta plunged in and did my best, so I’m happy to be able to help someone else!