Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cloth Diapers: The Game Plan

While I've been "taking it easy" I've been spending a lot of time online researching cloth diapers. When I say a lot of time, I mean hours upon hours. Late nights, all afternoon, etc. I was obsessed for about two weeks. I've been very busy reading reviews, watching youTube demonstrations, researching prices and also looking for used diapers. I know that sounds strange, but there is a huge "underground" market of cloth diaper resale. I was shocked to see how much they go for. The best site to search is diaperswappers.com and babycenter.com's diaper swap group. It's easy to see which diapers are popular, and which diapers are not based on how fast things sell and how much they go for.

I also quickly realized that there are way too many brands and types of cloth diapers. Like, an unreal amount. Pocket diapers, all in one diapers, prefold diapers,all in two, hybrid diapers, disposable diaper liners, microfiber diapers, wool wraps. BumGenius, Fuzzibunz, Kissa's, Goodmama's, Little Joey's, Bummis, Thirsties....just to name a few! It is exctremely overwhelming and easy to get sucked in. A great site to go to for reliable reviews is diaperpin.com.

Everyone on these sites mentioned how "addicting" it is to buy cloth diapers. I remember thinking how funny that sounded....

I've now spent about $250 and have a healthy little stash. Here's the plan:

Newborn stage: we have a ton of teeny disposable diapers that were given to me at my shower. Probably enough for about 4-6 weeks. I do plan on using them here and there while she is going through diapers like crazy in the beginning. I've heard to expect anywhere from 9-12 diapers a day for a newborn. Yikes!

I'll also use prefold diapers, which are the "old-school" cloth diapers. I have 24 newborn sized prefolds, 3 snappis (which replace the old school safety pins) and about 8 covers, or wraps. 7 of those wraps are thirsties duo wraps which get rave reviews. They are size one, and adjust with snaps to grow with the baby a little. Prefolds come in various sized. I bought the newborn sized clotheez brand which is sold through Green Mountain diapers (also a great resource for pictures and descriptions). They are not the cheapest, but they are the most recommended prefold by far.

Above is an example of a prefold diaper used with a snappi. You don't have to fold a prefold this way. You can also just trifold it and lay it in a diaper cover (see picture below). But, with a newborn, it's better to use a fold like this to contain newborn bowel movements which are going to be, for lack of a better term, "explosive". I only needed a handful of covers, as they should not get "messy" and are reusable between diaper changes. It's a really cost effective option!

Pictures from Green mountain diapers.

Above is a prefold, with snappi about to be wrapped in a thirsties duo wrap, which is just a thin waterproof cover. Again, the thirsties brand comes very highly recommended. Great reviews and I'm impressed with their quality and double leg gussets which are famous for preventing leaks.

I also have one newborn sized all in one made by bumgenius. She will grow out of this size very quickly, but it will be a nice cloth diaper to take out and about as you just throw it on like a disposable and remove it the same way. It's all one piece.

Post newborn:
We are doing a combo of pocket diapers and all in ones (and probably some larger prefolds too). Both versions are one size and have adjustable snaps to control the rise of the diapers so they can grow with baby.

A pocket diaper is two pieces. The outside cover is waterproof and the inside is lined with a sewn in cotton microfiber. The back of the diaper is open, creating a pocket, so that you can "stuff" it with an insert that is absorbant. They are then washed as two pieces.

 I purchased 5 pocket diapers from Alvababy which is a popular brand sent directly from China. They are about $6-$7 per diaper. It took about a month for them to arrive, but I am incredibly impressed with the quality. They are very comparable to the bumgenius 4.0 but about 1/4 the price. I received one 4.0 as a gift and will use that as well. I do plan on getting more pocket diapers as the baby grows into them.

I also snagged a "lot" of used BumGenius Freetimes. These are the newest version of all in one diapers and are extremely popular. They are bought within seconds on these swap sites, and are rarely seen for resale as they are favorites amongst CDing moms. I got 8 of these for $100, making them $12.50 a pop, which is a really low price, even for used diapers. They are all in next to new condition. The mom I bought them from prefers Bum Genius' Elemental diapers, which are really similar but made of organic cotton rather than the microfiber in Freetimes. I really hope we like them, but I know if we don't, they will sell very quickly for at least, if not more what I've paid. These 8 have snaps and I also purchased one brand new with tags velcro Freetime from another seller.

All in one diapers are popular because they are all one piece and there is no stuffing involved, meaning you don't ever have to touch the inside of the diaper, or stuff clean diapers out of the wash. You treat it just like a disposable, but you don't throw it away, obviously.They biggest con of all in ones is that they take forever to wash and dry since they are only one thick piece. Bumgenius came out with these freetimes in response to that concern. While they are one piece, the absorbant pads are only sewn in at the end. There are two and when the diaper is open, they separate and create flaps. So while in the wash and dryer, the diaper is able to get clean and dry more quickly as the pieces separate somewhat.

There are a ton of other highly recommended brands and types of diapers but this is where my research led me and also happened to be what I found for sale on the swap sites. My "stash" would have retailed for about $450, so I'm really happy with my bargain hunting. I was really picky about who I bought from, and also not in any rush to fill my stash. I found my deal on prefold and covers first, and then just hung back and waited to see if I could find any Freetimes or diapers I've heard are great. I'll admit, good deals were hard to find. You have to check throughout the day and be patient. But when you see what you want, you have to be willing to buy. I always negotiated the price.  Cloth diapering mamas know what their diaps are worth and shipping is expensive, but I'm pretty enthusiastic about reselling later to fund different and bigger diapers as she grows. I did take the advice of many cloth diapering moms and did not go crazy with one type of diaper. You never know what you will like or what will fit your baby. So I think this is a healthy starting point, and we will see how it goes!

Cleaning and "Accessories"
I have tried to do as much research as I can about properly cleaning cloth diapers. There are very mixed schools of thoughts on which detergents are safe and how to properly wash in a front loader. The great thing about prefolds is they are indestructible and don't need special detergent.  While our baby is nursing, all diapers will go directly into a lidded  trash can, lined with a Kissa's pail liner. The entire contents, including the pail liner will then be put into our front loader washer and will be washed according to some instructions I found that are specific to our LG model. Breast milk poop is water soluable so there is no need to rinse or spray these diapers. I hope to line dry when weather permits, but all of the cloth diapers are dryer safe as long as you are gentle.

Once baby is eating solids, we will invest in a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet so you can remove poop from the diaper before you put into the washer.

I've been doing a little research into disposable diaper liners. These liners make lifting poop out of the diaper easy and then you can just put it all into the toilet without spraying so much. I've seen mixed reviews on the liners,  but they are reasonably priced and may also help to preserve the diaper and make it last longer. I'll get back to you on that decision!

Since we will be washing cloth diapers, I figured we might as well do cloth wipes as well.  I haven't done a ton of research on the wipes, but there are different homeopathic solutions you can use on the wipes to help clean your baby. I plan on using very thin baby wash cloths in addition to thin flannel wipes like these, that my Aunt is making for us.

I'm not getting a ton of support from friends and family members in our cloth diapering quest, but B is on board so that's all I need. He's a little anxious about using the prefolds, but I think he will love the all in ones. Thankfully I have a couple cloth diapering friends who are great resources as well. I definitely don't feel like I know it all when it comes to cloth diapers, but I have learned so much over the past few months and feel much more comfortable defending my decision to anyone who dares to comment. My biggest motivator was the cost and the cuteness. Through my research, I also learned some pretty crazy things about the chemicals that go into disposable diapers and it just made me even more motivated to actually follow through and do this!

I'll be posting often with updates once baby girl is here!


  1. Can't wait to hear more about how this goes - especially since you're using such a variety of brands/options! I was in super cloth diaper research mode for a while too. Isn't it crazy?

  2. I find these cloth diapers cute though. They fit so well for the newborn babies. They actually don't need to use those disposable diapers. It will just harm their sensitive skin.