Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Cloth" is Not a Four Letter Word (as in diapers), part 2

Choosing a style and brand

Once I started really looking into cloth diapers I started to get overwhelmed.  It makes me think of when my daughter was a newborn (she's the oldest grand baby on my side) my parents, uncles and grandma commented several times "Wow, disposables sure have come a long way!"  I secretly thought to myself that this was further proof that disposables were better than cloth because cloth was still just flats and prefolds with pins and plastic pants.

How wrong I was.....

Anyone who's looked into the more modern cloth diapers has likely had their head spin from all the choices!  Disposables may have come a long way but man, I think cloth has come even farther!  There are still flats and prefolds and pins and plastic pants, and I'd seen a friend use a snappi, but there are also pocket diapers, and all in twos and all in ones, and hybrids, and stay dry inserts, and flush-able inserts, and hybrid diapers, and snap closures and hook and loop closures, and sized and one size and.......and.....and....oh it just makes my head spin!
The most economic way to go is still a prefold with a cover, but now they have covers that look more like disposables with either snap or hook and look closure, and a snappi is a stretchy band with hooks on it, kind of like the old ace bandages so you don't have to use pins.  I thought about doing that again, and it's a great way to get started, but I also knew that I wouldn't want to stick with it very long since we had done flats before, and I wanted to get something that I wouldn't have to soon replace with something I liked better, if that makes any sense.  So I needed something EASY.
All in ones are easy, they're just like a disposable, only you wash them.  The downside is that they are hard to get all the way clean, and the take a long time to dry, plus they are the most expensive kind (at least $25 per diaper!).  So I kept looking.  I needed some thing easy AND affordable AND that would get all the way clean!
Another thing I wanted was something that didn't hold moisture against by baby's skin.  All in ones had a ticking feature, but so did many other kinds.
Hybrids don't make any sense to me.  It's like a cloth diaper but with a disposable insert instead of cloth.  The inserts can get quite pricey, so it didn't make sense as an economical option.  Although some people use the term hybrid and all in two interchangeably, it's my understanding that hybrid is meant to mean a combination of disposables and cloth.  Though you could say it's a hybrid of prefolds and pockets, but that's really not the point.

So my search led me to either pockets of all in twos.  A pocket diaper has a waterproof outside and fleece or suede moisture wicking layer on the inside.
Pocket diaper and insert


Stuffing the insert into the diaper

Insert in the diaper, I keep the tag in the back so I can grab it to remove the insert and not touch too much yucky stuff.

This pocket opening folds down so the insert doesn't work it's way loose

Ready for a baby!

There is an opening (or pocket) in either the front or back or both for you to slide an absorbent insert.  You can customize the absorbency, you take the insert out to wash it so it gets nice an clean and dries in a reasonable amount of time.

All in twos are very similar, but instead of a pocket, and all in two has the moisture wicking part sewn on top of the absorbent part into one insert that lays or snaps into a cover.
All in two insert and cover

You can barely see the snap in the back of the insert.

Snap it in on one end

Then snap in the other end

All it needs now is a baby!

Then you just change the insert during a diaper change, unless it's a tyrannosaurus poopy that gets everywhere, then you wash the shell too.
So you can see how this would save money since you only need a few shells and then lots of inserts.  I really like this, but I figured that if I left the baby with my hubby, he would want something that was exactly like a disposable, and if we left him (the baby, not the hubby) with a babysitter, we would definitely need something that did not require much explaining.  So I decided on all in twos for most of the time, and pockets for when he's with someone besides me, or when I run out of all in two covers.  Possible overnight too, since I can more easily add more absorbent layers, until I get the overnight inserts for the all in twos.

*side note: my husband turned out to like the all-in-twos better, go figure!*

Even narrowing things down that much still left me overwhelmed.  But here's how I decided:

All in twos: I knew my baby is a busy active little guy, so the inserts that just lay in might not be the best idea, which means I needed a snap in insert, and I wanted a cover that was wipe-able and could contain messes, despite the fact that he's a little on the skinny side. I came across the Best Bottom Diaper and fell in love.  Wipeable cover, easy to snap in, double leg gussets to contain all the mess, works well with skinny babies or chubbier babies, stay dry inserts, really cute covers, one size covers so we can use them whenever we have another baby!  Yep, that looks like the one for me.
Really small setting and large setting (it gets even wider but this is what he's on right now)

Double leg gussets to hold in the mess!

Pockets: Again I wanted one size, and I wanted something that was simple to change between sizes, snaps to adjust the size are good (also in the Best Bottoms)...but there are a lot of diapers that meet those criteria, how do I decide?  I read lots of reviews and looked at diagrams of the diapers, many of the pockets just have an opening in the back to put the insert into, and many reviews reported that these inserts would work their way up out of the diaper a little on active babies, causing moisture wicking onto their clothes, so I went with the Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diaper.  The pocket opening has a little flap that keeps the insert in, it had great reviews, and of the diapers with awesome reviews, it was the most affordable (though still a little hefty in the price tag).
micro-suede folds over to keep insert in

I also knew that I needed to try them out before buying too many, in case they didn't meet my expectations.  I used swagbucks for amazon gift cards and a mom4life gift card, plus a coupon code at mom4life to get one best bottom cover and three inserts and one bumgenius pocket diaper (about $50 worth of stuff) for $14!

I'm happy to say that I have not been disappointed!  Not only are they cute and contain the messes that disposables didn't always, but my son had been getting diaper rash regularly with disposables, at least once or twice a week.  Since we've replaced 4 diapers a day with cloth, he hasn't gotten any diaper rash!  Yay for exceeding expectations!

Tip:  If you're looking for more information about the Best Bottom diapers and you want to do an internet search of a search on youtube for video reviews, make sure you type "best bottom diaper" not just "best bottom" or you may get something less than family friendly, I with that I didn't know this from experience!

part 1 journey into cloth diapers
part 2 choosing a style and brand
part 3 frugally building up a stash
part 4 daily use and care

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