Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Navigating a Sea of Cloth Diapers

When you first start researching cloth diaper options it can be a little overwhelming. I know. I've been there. At some point you lay down your iPad and say, "The heck with it, I'll just use disposables!". But you don't really mean it. You're just pregnant and hormonal. And back to the internet you come. (Welcome back!) 

Hopefully, once you've read this little summary, the urge to run out and buy a Sam's Club membership and 27 jumbo packs of disposable diapers will have dissipated. You can do this cloth thing. I promise. 

Pocket Diaper

This diaper is the quintessential "modern" cloth diaper. It has an opening in the front, back or both, depending on the brand, that you stuff with an insert. Once stuffed with an insert the diaper is ready to use. It's user friendly and very close to a disposable. Pocket diapers are great "daddy diapers" or for when you're out and about. Pocket diapers dry very quickly after washing. One huge downside to pocket diapers is, well, the pocket. Fishing that insert of of a dirty diaper can be downright nasty. (The inserts must be removed before washing). And I do mean nasty. If you decide to go the pocket diaper route you should invest in some Diaper Dawgs. The diapers also need to be restuffed before each use which can be time consuming if you use pocket diapers exclusively, but definitely not a deal breaker! 

{Note the pocket opening at the top}

Pros: easy to use - daddy friendly - dries quickly

Cons: stuffing - unstuffing - ick factor

All in One

AIO diapers are just that, all in one. They have a soaker pad that is sewn into the diaper that can be folded or snapped into different configurations. AIO's are considered the "Cadillac" of the cloth diaper world. Nothing to stuff, just wash and wear. Very user friendly and great to have on hand for trips out and about when you don't want to be fiddling with multiple diaper components. Because they don't come apart they can take a long time to dry. Especially if they are made of natural fibers, like bamboo. They are also a pricey option. Each diaper can cost $20 or more. Probably not a good choice if you are cloth diapering to save money. Price isn't an issue? Buy them. All of them. Just kidding. 

{Soaker pad opened all the way}

{Folded and ready to go on baby}

Pros: easy to use - time saver

Cons: cost - dry time

All in Two

{Best Bottoms One Size Cover and Medium Insert}

AI2 diapers are a waterproof diaper cover that you snap inserts in and out of. They are a very economical option because the diaper cover can be used multiple times before washing as long as it was only a wet diaper. Very easy to use, and once the inserts are snapped in they are just like an AIO or pocket diaper. They also tend to be a trim diaper and dry quickly. Most AI2 covers are one size so you won't need to buy more covers as your baby grows. The inserts are usually sized in order to properly fit your baby though. So you will eventually need to buy more inserts. 

{Snaps at front and back to keep insert secure}

Pros: easy to use - economical

Cons: multiple inserts to buy


{Newborn Imagine Bamboo Fitted}

A fitted diaper is a diaper that is made entirely out of absorbent material and must be covered with a diaper cover. They are NOT waterproof. They do an excellent job of containing messes because you are essentially using two diapers (the fitted diaper and a cover). If anything escapes the fitted diaper chances are it won't escape the cover. These diapers work wonderfully at night. They are also a great choice for newborns. Building a complete stash out of fitteds would not be the most economical option (hey, a girl can dream!), but adding a few as nighttime diapers is a great idea. They can be a bit slow to dry. 

Pros: absorbency - ability to contain messes

Cons: cost - dry time - extra step of putting on a diaper cover

Flat, Prefolds and Diaper Covers

These diapers are the best option if you are on a budget. Flats are a single layer of fabric that are folded and placed in a diaper cover. They can also be fastened onto baby with a Snappi or pins and covered with a waterproof diaper cover. Extraordinarily easy to keep clean and very affordable. Prefolds are essentially a flat that has been folded for you. They are several layers of fabric, usually cotton, sewn together with the most absorbancy in the middle. Prefolds are easy to care for but do not dry as quickly as flats. A great option if you are busy and don't want to bother with folding flats. Diaper covers are waterproof covers that you will need to use with flats and prefolds. They are very affordable and can be reused several times before washing or until soiled in. They dry very quickly after being washed. These diaper options aren't as user friendly as some of the others but with a little practice they are no trouble at all. Folding the flats can be time consuming so if you are short on time they probably won't be your first choice.



{Pad Folded Flat in a Diaper Cover}

Pros: cost - easy to care for - dry time

Cons: not as easy to use - time spent folding flats - multiple components to a diaper change

My biggest piece of advice is to TRY EVERYTHING. What works for me might be a train wreck for you! Don't buy a complete stash of any one diaper until YOU have used it on YOUR baby. And please, don't be afraid of flats and prefolds. Give them a chance! They just might end up being your favorite diapers!

What is your favorite diaper to use? And what would you choose if you could start all over again?

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