So after my week long talks on why I love cloth diapers and some helpful hints for cloth diapering, I am going to try to wade through some of the differences and why I like what I like. There are some huge cloth diapering databases on the internet, from women who sell them and make them and have been doing this a lot longer than I have. They could go through this better than I could. NONETHELESS, I have SUCKED you in to valuing my opinion, so I’ll wade through it.
1. All-In-One v. Pockets
AIO’s are a diaper where the liners are attached to the diapers. People like AIO’s because stuffing is minimal and everything is right there ready to go. I don’t like them because you can’t add to them easily if you need more absorbency. I also have seen a number of complaints about the diapers truly coming as clean.
Pockets are diapers that have a separate shell and liners. Liners can be added in varying numbers to improve thickness. I prefer pockets because when babies are little, they don’t need as much absorbency. I have even heard of people who leave out the liners – LESS LAUNDRY!
These aren’t the only two varieties. There are trifolds, which are similar to what our parents used on us when we were little. They require a “Y” shaped rubbery-plastic thing to avoid pinning your baby and then plastic pants. I always found them to be intimidating, especially with the wealth of other options available. And there are also diapers like gDiapers which I would say don’t fall into any of these categories and instead have a soft cloth outside, a plastic hammock which holds the liner. These are an interesting option because of the flexibility they offer.
2. Reusable v. Disposable v. Biodegradable
So most cloth diapers would fall under the category of “reusable” in that you wash and reuse all parts.
But there are some new options available. For example, there are 2 brands that I can think of off the top of my head (and I’m sure there are more) that offer the ability to put a disposable liner into the reusable shell. This obviously would only be available with pockets and that other diaper category (gDiapers) which I can’t quite define.
Some of these disposable liners are also biodegradable. You can flush them, or contently trash them knowing they won’t be in a landfill for 700 years.
I LOVE this option and it was actually a huge deciding factor in the brand I bought. I have never used the option, but I like knowing I could. This would be another solution about the question of what to do when traveling or out and about. It’s wonderful!
3. Velcro v. Snaps
Velcro allows the waist size to be easily adjusted. It also gets stuck to other stuff in the wash and requires picking little fuzzies being picked out. Velcro also wears out much quicker. But velcro is one of the few options that can be used to overlap on skinny bellies.
Snaps are great. They last a very long time. They can’t be overlapped and only have so many size settings.
4. One Size v. Sized
One size diapers adjust to grow with you from birth to potty training (in theory…they can’t guarantee that for all babies in all sizes). Perks of this situation is that you buy a stash and use them from start to finish.
Sized diapers work a lot like disposable diapers. They size changes by weight. So you could need anywhere from 3 to 5 different sizes. That’s a stash in each size. This one I would say would take a couple of kids to feel truly cost effective. But we started this way. It just didn’t work out for us.
I think it’s obvious that I prefer a pocket, with a disposable/biodegradable option, that needs to go on a skinny tummy but also hold up through all the kids I’d like to have. I prefer a One Size option for ease in changing, but I do worry about them not lasting on my tall babies.
*Slight digression* originally, my mom offered to make our cloth diapers. She did a TON of research and is a truly gifted seamstress. Unfortunately, the waterproof fabric called PUL does not behave the same in all color options. It also doesn’t come with long term care instructions. So we had a melting problem and decided to invest our resources quickly in another way because we were in a pinch.
What did we go with?
I am so thankful that Hubs made me do a lot of research before buying even though we were in a huge hurry. But I went with Charlie Bananas. I would have to classify them as “Mary Poppins” – practically perfect in every way. Why do I love them:
-they are one size and they adjust in the leg elastic
-they have snaps and *BONUS* there are extra snaps so they can still overlap on my skinny kids
-they are pocket and come with 2 liners per diaper
-they have a disposable option
-FUN BONUS they come in a TON of color options and they also have training pants, swim pants, and lots of other awesome products
Here is my cloth diapering wisdom : Do research. Read reviews. Decide which features are most important to you. How long you intend to use them? How long do you need them to last? What’s your budget? How committed to this are you? What about your other caregivers?
And more importantly, deep breaths. Ask people you know. Do research. But don’t stress. Even if you make a decision you’d rather change in the future, there’s always craigslist to recoop some of your money before buying different ones.
Thanks for reading. Comments are welcome!