Yes, you read that correctly: we use cloth diapers. Normally when I say that, I get a lot of weird looks. Most people hear the words, “cloth diapers,” and think of pins and plastic pants and diapering services.
That’s not how we do it at all. The cloth diapers of today have come so far from the cloth diapers that I wore as a baby. They have snaps or velcro instead of pins, and the bags used to hold soiled diapers can be washed right with the diapers. They are so simple to use that my husband even prefers them now.
There are many new kinds and new brands of cloth diapers, and they are more expensive at first, so if you are considering using cloth instead of disposables, I recommend you do a ton of research before buying anything at all. That being said, here are the things we use in our home:
1. BumGenius FreeTimes
This diaper is an all-in-one. It is composed of a waterproof outer layer of blended cloth, and two flaps on the inside that are folded over one another when worn. They can have either snap or hook/loop (velcro) closures. The diaper is one unit, completely sewn together, so after it is used it is easy to just put into the diaper pail or bag.
On the positive note, this diaper is incredibly easy to use. There is no need to stuff or unstuff it, and it fastens in the same fashion as a disposable diaper. The only tricky parts to get used to are that you have to fold the flaps over each other in the middle of the diaper before putting the diaper on, and if you are using snaps you will have to get used to them.
I have One Size diapers, which means Liliana has been wearing them since a month after she was born, and should be able to wear them until she is potty-trained. This helps greatly cut down on cost, which is great because, let’s face it: babies are expensive. They have fit her pretty well since she was about nine pounds, but at the beginning, I’ll readily admit that they were rather bulky. This is due to the fact that they are all one piece, so there is no way to take out any of the padding. As she has gotten bigger, they have fit her better and better. Right now, she weighs about 16 and a half pounds, and she is happy to wear these.
The company offers a 30-day guarantee, and they will even give store credit for used ones in very good condition with their Growing Up In Cloth program.
We use the ones with snaps, and although they occasionally fit a little funny when she is in between sizes, I really like them. The reason I bought the ones with snaps is because, while the hook/loop ones are more easily adjustable, I read quite a few reviews saying that they wear out more quickly. I cannot validate this claim, so feel free to try them if you would like, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
These are my go-to diapers for everyday use, and I know that everyone else who has changed her diapers prefers these ones because they do not have any inserts to remove. I have 16 of this variety. They are washed on Hot/Cold cycle with Prewash and 2nd rinse. The directions say to line dry in the sun, but I have found no negative effects from drying them in a dryer on low. This will void technically void your warranty however. You can buy them directly from their website, or from Amazon by clicking the pictures below:
The above links are to multi-packs. Feel free to browse the singles here. Some of them are really cute and it’s fun to pick the colors you want, but they can be a little pricier sometimes.
2. BumGenius 4.0
These are very similar to the BumGenius Freetimes, but instead of being one piece, these diapers are a kind of pocket diaper. There is an opening on the inside of the diaper on the back into which an insert is stuffed. It only takes about 2 seconds to stuff, and about 2 seconds to take out, but it is an extra step. Depending on the soil level of the diaper, this step ranges from no big deal, to “Nah… I think I’ll let her mom do this one…”
These are nice because the level of stuffing is customizable, and I feel like they tend to fit a little bit better because of this. They also seem to be a little more comfortable to me because they seem to hold moisture away from the skin a little better. It’s not a very big difference, just something I have noticed.
Overall, I really like this diaper. I have four of them and wash them right along with the FreeTimes. If I double stuff these they make a nice nighttime diaper.
Here is a bundle pack from Amazon:
Here is the link to a bunch of different varieties so you can pick your own colors. One more thing to keep in mind is that because this version is a little bit older, it is also a little bit cheaper.
3. Charlie Banana Pocket Diapers
These diapers were my riskier purchase, but they still had awesome reviews. I only say they were riskier because they aren’t quite as well-known as BumGenius, and because I bought all of these ones myself. (I was blessed to have some wonderful people who decided to put their faith in me and bought me BumGenius diapers from my baby registry. Thank you again.)
I’m very glad I took the risk with these diapers. They are super soft and super adjustable due to the resizable elastic in the legs. These are also pocket diapers like the BumGenius 4.0s, but the opening for these is on the inside in the front. Having a girl, this is nice for me because that means the cloth around the opening gets covered in poop slightly less frequently, but I have no idea if this would cause any problems for a baby boy. I would imagine it would be fine, but I have no way to test this hypothesis.
Because these always fit so well and they can be heavily stuffed, I use only these diapers for bedtime now. They work very well for us right now.
These diapers need to be washed on Warm/Cold cycle with a prewash and 2nd rinse. Like the 4.0 diapers, the inserts must be removed from the pocket prior to washing, but everything can be washed together. I have 12 of these, which qualifies as a small load. I would not recommend having fewer than 12 diapers of any one brand due to differences in washing instructions.
Here are some multi-packs:
4. Dekor Diaper Pail and Reusable Liners
With cloth diapers, a wet bag or a dry pail is recommended. This means that the diapers are just put straight into a waterproof bag, or straight into a pail with nothing in it. In the past, cloth diapers were often put into a “wet pail,” which meant a pail filled with water and perhaps bleach. This is not recommended for the newer kind of cloth diapers and will void any warranty from the company.
We use the regular diaper pail from Dekor because it can be fitted with their reusable cloth bags. It comes with a disposable liner already in place, which was also useful because we used disposable diapers until her umbilical cord was healed. Once we were done with the disposable diapers, we just took out the disposable liner and threw it away, replacing it with the waterproof cloth bag.
The pail works well, and does contain odors and moisture. It has a locking feature for the top plastic flap. It is easy to use and fairly sturdy, despite being made from plastic. I really like it. However, it does not hold quite as many diapers as the bags can hold because of the way the top works. The plastic flap at the top works a little like a cat door, and once the diaper is through the opening, the flap closes because of a spring attached to the underside. This is a great function for containing odors, but not so great when there are about 14 diapers in the bag and the flap doesn’t open very far. This pail will contain about 16 diapers before I have to take the bag out. The flap at the top can also be removed so it can function as a garbage can.
The reusable bags are really fantastic though. They are absolutely waterproof, and they can be washed right along with the diapers. The directions say not to wash at hotter temperatures or dry in the dryer, but I have had no issues at all washing them on Hot/Cold with the BumGenius diapers or putting them in the dryer on low. When washing them, I highly recommend turning them inside out first, as they are waterproof and the inside will not get clean otherwise. I absolutely love these bags, but there are a few small things that don’t quite work like I would like. They have a drawstring function, but it doesn’t really work because the side of the fabric surrounding the string has way too much friction. Also, the knot at the end of the drawstring has come undone on both of my bags. These things are very, very minor, and the bags do exactly what they are intended to do, so I am very happy with them. I even considered buying more of them for traveling just because I liked them so much.
The bags are sold in a 2-pack so that you can put one in the pail while the other is in the wash. The pail comes in multiple colors. You can pick which color you would like after clicking on the picture of the pail.
4. Grovia Magic Stick
One thing I was worried about when I decided to use cloth diapers was the lack of available ointment for diaper rashes. Cloth diapers cannot be used with any kind of cream that will rub into the cloth part of the diaper. This is because the creams used to help with diaper rash will prevent liquid from being absorbed by the diaper. While babies with cloth diapers are less likely to get diaper rash because there are no chemicals in the diapers, they will still probably end up with a couple rashes throughout the 2 years of wearing diapers.
So I am happy to present, the Grovia Magic Stick! This is designed to be used with cloth diapers and leaves no residue that I can detect. I had bought it only for emergency use, but even when used every day as a preventative measure, it does not cause any adverse effects. My mother-in-law, who has 5 children of her own, says that it works better than anything she has ever seen. I’ve never tried anything else, so I really can’t say whether this is accurate or not, but she was certainly amazed by it. The first time we used it, it got rid of almost all irritation by the end of the day. I don’t know how I could use cloth diapers without this. I know that there are disposable liners that can be used if you prefer traditional creams, but I would suggest at least trying this first. We liked it so much that we bought a second one so that we could keep one by her changing table and one in her diaper bag.
It rubs onto the skin rather like a glue stick, so each child should have their own stick. There is a place to write the owner’s name on the label so that it is clear whose stick is whose.
They can also be purchased in a pack of three.
5. Dropps Laundry Pacs
When using cloth diapers it is strongly recommended that you use a special kind of detergent to clean them. At first this sounds silly, but let me explain.
Normal laundry detergents have a whole bunch of additives like fragrances, brighteners, enzymes, etc. These can harm your diapers or irritate your baby’s skin. Many detergents also contain some wax, which can coat your diapers and cause them to become less absorbent.
There are many safe detergents, but I really like the Dropps Laundry Pacs because they are premeasured and easy to use. That way, when I am doing laundry one-handed while holding a wriggly baby, I don’t have to try not to spill detergent all over the floor. They don’t weigh very much, and they are not terribly expensive. You can order either Baby Dropps, or the unscented regular pacs with no enzymes or brighteners. Both work well. I only use one pac per load (even when washing 20 diapers at a time) and everything is always nice and clean.
If you click on the above picture, it will allow you to select various kinds of Dropps, including a 3-pack of 20-count Baby Dropps.
6. Brondell PureSpa Bidet Sprayer / Diaper Sprayer Shattaf
This might seem a little bit silly, but I personally really like it. Luckily for exclusively breastfeeding mommies, poop from breastfed babies will dissolve in the wash. Unfortunately for everyone else, all other poops must be disposed of before putting soiled diapers in the washing machine.
That’s where this gadget comes in. With the BumGenius diaper sprayer selling for $70 on their website, I was happy to buy this for $40 from Amazon. It was easy to install (I am certainly not a plumber and I did it in less than an hour), and hangs right from the side of the toilet. The only minor flaw is that the toilet lid on the back of the toilet doesn’t stay completely shut because that is where the hook is, but if that really, really bothers you, it comes with the hardware to hang it on your wall as well. It really isn’t a problem for us.
Another advantage is that it doubles as a bidet. I know, I know… we live in the United States and nobody uses bidets here because that’s just weird, but honestly, we save a lot of toilet paper with this thing. It practically pays for itself, and if the rest of the world thinks bidets are a must-have, maybe we’re actually missing out on something cool in this country. I’m just saying, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Thanks for reading my super long post. I hope this has helped explain some of the puzzling world of those newfangled cloth diaper things. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.