Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Fine Art of Cloth Diapering

Actually, in today's modern world of convenience, I think cloth diapering has become little less of an art form than the years of prefolds and pins. Just my opinion. The creating of cloth diapers definitely has stepped up though in terms of art!

Early on, I decided to go with cloth diapers over disposables. Mainly to save money but also to save on diaper rash, chemical exposure, and besides, fat little cloth-diapered baby bottoms are just so cute! I've had a number of people ask me my opinion thus far on the cloth diapering and also the types of diapers we are using, so I decided to take some time and do a review on some of the types of diapers we've been using, etc.

First of all, I really like using cloth. Is it a pain/gross to wash the diapers out? Yes. Although, having a toilet sprayer has been very helpful in handling that. I also really like my diaper pail and my reusable and water-proof diaper pail bag. Just grab the whole bag and dump it and its contents into the washing machine!

The reason I've liked cloth, though, is that within a few days of life and living in disposable diapers, Blueberry was already developing diaper rash. I had originally planned on doing only disposable for the first few weeks and then switching to cloth once things had settled in a bit. Changed my mind on that pretty fast as I couldn't bear the sight of her bright red little bottom! I do switch off and on of disposable when we go out sometimes. But mostly we are, and have been, straight cloth.

Side note here....the other thing we started doing early on was laying off of the diaper wipes and just using cloth wipes and plain old water to clean her up. Occasional need for soapy water if she is uber-messy. That has really, really, helped with the diaper rash. Again, I do still have diaper wipes and I do use them when out and about, but at home, water and a cloth it is.

For those who envision cloth diapers as they used to be--flat diapers that have to be folded and pinned and those huge, plastic diaper covers--welcome to the 21st century and a new world of cloth diapering.

I do have some of the prefolds (flat diapers). I honestly am not a huge fan. The other diapers I have make me a wee bit lazy on that end, I'll admit, so I'm still not the best at folding them (although I am learning). Pins--kind of hard to find anymore. The Snappi has taken the place of most pins. And, yes, it actually does work! Diaper covers are also much nicer (and often times cuter) and designed in a more leak-proof manner than the old ones (for those who question my knowledge of the "old days" of cloth diapering--my sister is 8 years younger than I am and lived in cloth diapers, so yes, I am quite familiar with how it used to be).

The more modern cloth diaper, however, are ones that look and act like disposable diapers. Except that you rinse out these diapers and then wash them afterward instead of just tossing them. There are various kinds of these diapers. Those that need a cover (also shaped like a disposable diaper), those that need liners stuffed into them, but have built in covers, and those that have everything all sewn (or snapped) together ahead of time--no extra work needed! For those who are curious about these different types, here's a great link with basic information on cloth diapers of today. In particular go to section 2.

OK--diaper types. I wound up buying quite a few different types when stocking up because I could get some good deals that way. Also got a few free ones from one company (Kelly's Closet--sign up for their newsletter as they send fabulous coupons all the time). Broken down by type, here's what I've been using and my thoughts on them:

All-in-One (AIO)
I actually have two of these (they're the most expensive kind, so I really didn't focus on buying them at all--just happened to get a good deal on one and one for free). The Thirsties AIO that I have is an extra small. Which means that it has fitted beautifully but will not last that long. Very nice diaper. If I had tons of money and couple splurge on specific sizes (which cuts down on accidents), I would definitely be willing to buy more of this diaper. The other one I have is called a Sposoeasy. Again, specifically sized. It's an ok diaper. Not as nice as the Thirsties but it works fine.

Pocket - These are my favorite kind in general, even more so than the all-in-one diapers. Mainly because the pocket diapers are easier to clean, not to mention cheaper. But they also allow a little more versatility in determining how thick you want the diaper (aka--do you put in some extra liner for night time or just stick with one liner, etc).

Hands down, my absolute favorite is the bumGenius! one-size pocket diaper. Fabulous diaper. Worth every penny (and they do cost a few pennies). The one-size literally means that they should (if cared for correctly) last until Blueberry is about ready to be potty-trained. They are currently my diaper of choice for nighttime (although they would be for all the time if I had more!). The reason I really like them for nighttime though is that now that Blueberry will actually go almost a whole night without pooping, I can put her into a BumGenius at bedtime and not have to worry about changing it every couple of hours because the micro fleece layer stays waterproof and keeps her comfortable and dry even if her actual diaper is wet. They come in bright, solid colors and come with a doubler (which is a second lining that you can put into the diaper if you want extra soakability [I'm just making my spell check go all sorts of crazy here!]).

My second favorite is the FuzzyBunz, one-size pocket diaper. Very similar to the bumGenius! just not quite as easy to use. Definitely do like that diaper as well though.

Another brand I have is called Happy Heiny's (great name!). I have two of these that are sized diapers (will last her until she's about 16 pounds) and then another one that is a one-size. Similar in price to the bumGenius! they do work quite well. The one-size is definitely not as good as the bumGenius! but I really like the two sized diapers (and besides that, they're darn cute (one is a cow print and the other has a print with ballet shoes and flowers and crowns all over it)! They fit well and seem to be holding up nicely. Downfall, of course, is that they will only last a few months.

I also have a Flip diaper and a SmartPants and a BumEssentials. All three are one-size pocket diapers. With these, let me just say that they are fine. And that is what I'm learning about cloth diapers. You can be very snobby with the brand and style you like, but there are cheaper options and more expensive. The cheaper will not hold up as well and may not work as perfectly, but they do work. I would put all three of these brands into that category.

I only actually have one brand of fitted diaper. To start out our cloth diapering with, as most of the one-size diapers aren't intended for a baby smaller than 8 or even 10 pounds, I bought Kissaluv size 0 fitted diapers. These diapers are ones that you have to use a cover with, but they look and snap together like a pocket diaper--just comes with a separate cover is all. For anybody wanting to start out their newborn in cloth diapers (and who doesn't anticipate a baby of 8 pounds or more at birth), I would totally recommend the Kissaluv's. They fit her perfectly as a newborn and I've yet to experience the dreaded blowout (which I have had a couple of minor ones with some of the other cloth diapers just because they were still a wee bit too big on her). For covers, I have a sized Thirsties cover and a couple of Prorap covers. I much prefer the Thirsties cover even though most of what I read ahead of time recommend the Prorap. For the price, the Prorap is the way to go. For fit, go with the Thirsties, small.

OK, enough on the cloth diapering. Those are the primary brands I've played with so far. I have a few other ones as well, but most of them don't fit yet, so I have no real opinion as of yet!

And talking about diapers, I need to go wash mine and the loud exploding sounds coming from the napping baby beside me is probably a hint that I should change hers!

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