Cloth Diapering: It’s Never Too Late

When I was pregnant, I was very excited at the prospect of cloth diapering.

I’m all for contributing less to the landfills, but the cost savings was the biggest reason why I wanted to do it. That and how gosh-darned cute they look.

When I saw just how many options were out there, I was so unbelievably overwhelmed that I didn’t know where to start. I knew that cloth diapers had evolved a ton since I was a baby, but I didn’t know any mamas who were cloth diapering.

I was completely confused as to some of the common practices when it came to wet bags, diaper pails, toilet sprayers, the proper laundry detergents to use, washing machine settings, etc. Plus, I was overwhelmed by what I should get… pre-folds and covers, fitted diapers, pocket diapers or all-in-one diapers. What was going to work for my son and me?

When TJ was born, I hadn’t even scratched the surface on researching cloth diapers, so we started using the disposable Pampers Swaddlers that the hospital gave us and we eventually switched to Target’s brand to save a few bucks.

Disposables worked just fine and our son didn’t have any skin sensitivities to them. In more than two years, I think I used diaper rash cream only a handful of times.

But wanting to switch to cloth was still in the back of my mind.

My husband wasn’t all that excited about cloth diapering. Since we’d been using disposables for so long, the argument that cloth would be better for our son’s skin didn’t hold much for him.

He wasn’t convinced it would save us a lot of money either because we had already spent a lot on disposables and he felt that the added cost of buying these new diapers and doing more laundry would negate any savings.

And, he admitted that washing poopy diapers in the same machine where we wash our clothes freaked him out a bit.

I came across the concept of doing a cloth diaper trial from a number of websites where you get a dozen or so gently-used diapers in different styles and different brands to try out for a couple of weeks.

When you’re done, you send them all back and get all or a majority of your money back; often with a credit to purchase diapers from that website. Even that kind of trial wasn’t enough to convince my husband.

Also, for the first year and a half of my son’s life, my mother-in-law was his daycare provider. I felt it was a little unfair of me to request that she get this cloth diaper thing figured out properly in addition to all of the other caring-for-an-infant stuff she was re-learning. I guess if I had to choose, her understanding how to bottle-feed my breastfed son while I was at work was a little more important at the time.

Then, a year ago, I found myself a stay-at-home-mom living in a new state. I felt I had free reign to delve back into the world of cloth diapering, my husband simply humoring me along the way. I was hoping cloth diapers would help speed up the potty training process too.

A friend referred me to a series of videos on YouTube called Cloth Diapering 101. In these videos, a woman sits down and explains all of the different kinds of cloth diapers and explains the pros and cons of each style. She even demonstrates how they work and some of the subtle differences between some popular brands.

These videos answered SO many of my questions. I suddenly had new found enthusiasm for cloth diapering and decided that going with pocket diapers was going to be the best option for us.

A little while later, I saw AppleCheeks pocket diapers on Zulily for a great price, so I picked up three of them. About a month later I picked up three Jungle Roo pocket diapers also on Zulily. I purchased a couple of bumGenius 4.0 diapers from my local Buy Buy Baby and online.

I opted to only buy diapers that snapped because I read that some brands’ Velcro flaps wear out sooner than later.

Over the course of about five months, I collected pocket diapers one or two at a time when I saw them at sale prices or if I got a coupon in the mail. I even bought a few from Etsy sellers when the price was right.

Julie at One Lucky Mama runs a shop in her home a few miles from me and she sells a large variety of cloth diaper brands and styles, plus all of the accessories you could need (and baby carriers, cleaning supplies and toys, oh my!). When I want to try a new brand, I can check it out in person. I also get great advice from her when I need it and my son loves playing at her shop.

We’ve been cloth diapering our toddler for about nine months now and here are my thoughts on the different brands we’ve used:

  • bumGenius 4.0 diapers are my favorite when it comes to fit and ease of use. They fit my son perfectly in the rise and in the waist. I love the long insert that folds over and snaps to provide extra absorbency in the front. My son is a heavy wetter and these are perfect for us. I actually bought a separate package of just bumGenius inserts and I use them in other diapers too. The gusset thingy in the back has been helpful at keeping poop from creeping up the back as well. They are also easy for me to find as my local Buy Buy Baby carries them. But I find more variety in colors if I purchase them online.
  • Jungle Roo pocket diapers are right up there with the bumGenius diapers. They are a bit slimmer than bumGenius, so there’s a little less bulk. I love the third snap that adjusts the leg opening, so the fit is just right. When I’ve done a fresh load of laundry, these are the first diapers I grab. My only wish is that the pocket opening in the back was a bit bigger so I didn’t have to stick my whole hand in there to pull the insert out. The inserts don’t come out with a vigorous shake like they do with other pocket diapers. I also wish there were a few more color options.
  • AppleCheeks diapers are my favorite when it comes to ease of use and look. They are also a little slimmer than the bumGenius diapers. My son had less of that cloth diaper bubble-butt when wearing them. I adore that the inserts come out on their own in the washing machine and I love the bright solid colors. Unfortunately, my son is outgrowing the size twos… even with the waist extenders. He’s a really skinny kid (barely 32 pounds), but his height is working against him at almost 40 inches tall when it comes to diapers. The snaps end up sitting right at his hip bone and he sometimes asks me to put a different diaper on him. I can’t wait to be able to use them again with our next baby.
  • KaWaii Diapers have been awesome as well and I’m totally kicking myself for not finding this brand sooner. They fit just as wonderfully as bumGenius and Jungle Roo diapers, but are very inexpensive; as low as $6.99 per diaper including the inserts! I only have two complaints: I wish they had a bit more variety in color choices for boys and why didn’t I start buying these in the beginning?
  • FuzziBunz diapers were useless for us. I know many mamas who rave about them, but for us they were simply too small, even at their largest setting, for my skinny-but-tall two-year-old. I’ll be saving them to try them again with baby number two.
  • Snugs one-size pocket diapers from Etsy seller SnugsBoutique are also too small for my son. I adore the bright solid colors, but we’ll have to wait and try these with baby number two.
  • We have two diapers from Etsy Seller TBTBDiapers and her diapers are wonderful. Aside from the fantastic patterns, fabrics, colors and embroidery details, the diapers fit wonderfully and are very well made.

My thoughts on cloth diapering in general as I’ve learned about it over the course of a year:

  • The diaper sprayer skeeves me out, so we aren’t using one. To help with poop removal, I use flushable liners instead. They work like a charm, even when the poop is soft and our plumbing handles them just fine.
  • When we fly to visit family, we switch to disposable diapers. It’s not that I don’t want to deal with the laundry, I’m actually cool with it. I simply don’t have the space in my suitcase to bring the diapers with me each time. I have often thought about leaving a few diapers at my mom’s house since we visit about once a month for a week or more, but I don’t really have the funds to buy more diapers that will only get used once a month. At least this is my excuse at the moment. My mom has already offered to buy a few to keep at her house. I’m pretty sure I will eventually buy some to leave at my mom’s house.
  • Cloth diapering is more work than using disposables, plain and simple. There’s no way around it. If I was a working mama, I probably wouldn’t be using cloth. As a SAHM, I’m totally cool with the extra laundry. Because we started when my son was two, I’m pretty sure our cost savings are nil and I’m hoping we will save with the next baby.

My son walking around wearing nothing but his snow boots and a black minky diaper with a dragon embroidered on the butt makes it all worth while. Knowing I’m adding less to the landfills helps too.

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