Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cloth diapers (they're not your mothers cloth!)

I know I've already posted about "Diaper Dooty" giving you the basic run down between cloth & disposables.  But now I want to go into a little more detail about cloth diapers.  I am proud to announce that I have officially gone 100% cloth! =)  It took a couple of months for us to get to this point, but we have finally succeeded.  Let me start at the beginning:

After my original diaper post I began having horrible "sposie guilt" every time I changed T mans diaper.  Knowing that I was contributing to the extreme diaper landfill, I was exposing my sweet little man to unknown chemicals, fragrances and toxins AND! I was literally throwing my money in the garbage.  (sigh)  Every diaper change became a moral battle that made my stomach turn.  I decided that I needed to go cloth and I needed to do it NOW!

I came into a chunk of money and decided that was my opportunity to dive into the world of cloth.  Rather than edging into cloth (like a sane person would probably do) I just jumped into the deep end with both feet.  I contacted my good friend at Baby Bunz Diapers and asked her to help me start my stash the right way.  =)  8 pocket diapers and 8 All-in-one diapers and I was hooked. 

I've been poking around the world of cloth, testing and trying different brands, styles and options.  Although my Baby Bunz Diapers are by far my favorites, I want to share with you a few of my findings regarding the "other" diapers currently residing in my stash.

First a few terms to help you translate the cloth language (it gets a bit confusing)

AIO/AI2 = all in one or all in two.  These diapers are all inclusive.  They are waterproof and one piece (in some form or another) that require no (or minimal) assembly on your part.  Simply put on & take off just like a sposie. (<< term used by CD mama's for disposable diapers)

POCKET = a diaper with a water proof outer layer and a stay dry fabric inner layer, an opening at one end or the other allowing you to stuff absorbent inserts in between the layers.  These require you to assemble them after every washing, but you can customize the absorbency however you like.

FITTED =  a fully absorbent diaper with no pocket or waterproof outer.  These diapers require some sort of outer cover for optimum waterproofing.  These are great for overnight use. 

PREFOLD/FLATS =  these are "your mothers cloth" diapers.  Large rectangles of fabric that can be used a variety of ways for customizable fit and absorbency.  These also require some sort of outer cover.  These are very economical and are wonderful for newborns.

COVERS = a waterproof material made specifically for covering the fitted or prefolds. These have no absorbent material in them at all.

PUL = polyurethane laminate.  The material that most AIO and pockets are made from to make them waterproof.

APLIX = term used to describe a hook and loop closure (aka Velcro) that some diapers use instead of snaps.

I have 2 different styles offered by this company. The pocket diaper called the "4.0" and the AIO called the "freetime". 
I like the 4.0 pocket the best.  This diaper has double flaps to cover the pocket opening which helps to keep any poop from slipping into the pocket.  The inner fabric is soft and does not discolor too easily.
I am not a fan of the Freetime though.  The "AIO" part of this diaper is built in as 2 flaps that you lay on top of each other.  While this makes for a nice enough fit and absorbency, it's terrible for poop!  Each time I tried to clean up the poopy diaper I couldn't prevent the flaps from just falling into the toilet.  The flaps are awkward and inefficient.  I no longer use this diaper.

I have a couple from this brand.  I use the One Size Elite pocket diaper.  I love the fabric, it's very soft and comfy for T man, although the inside of the pocket can be a bit "sticky" while stuffing the inserts.  The pocket opening is nice and large, allowing you plenty of room for both your hand and the inserts your stuffing.  The liner fabric is soft, but it seems to always discolor with every pee or poop that happens.  It washes out okay, but it's never quite "white" enough anymore.  The unique thing about this diaper is the one size adjusting.  All other diapers (that I'm aware of) have snaps for adjusting up the size for little babies.  This diaper though uses pull tabs with buttons (like the insides of children's jeans)  On the inside of the pocket, on both legs and the back waist, you can pull a strap of elastic and fasten on a tighter button.  I both like & dislike this option.  It saves you from accidentally unsnapping the riser snaps (happens often for us) but it also makes it more difficult to adjust the size.  It takes a few tries to get it sized right.

I really like this diaper for the most part.  It's soft and comfy and doesn't seem to stain easily.  What I like most about this one is the "gussets" on the inside of the pocket liner.  There's a soft ridge that runs down each side of the inside creating a channel to help keep liquid messes inside the diaper.  (Yay!)  What I don't like about this diaper is the pocket opening.  It's placed lower on the liner than other diapers and it hangs open with nothing to cover it or keep it closed.  Because of this, I am constantly worried that poop is going to somehow slip up in there and get the inside of my pocket all poopy (ewww)  Also, the pocket opening is tiny!  It's not the easiest pocket to stuff.

I've got a few different diapers made by this company.  I've got one Cover, three Pockets and six AIOs and one fitted.  The Cover is used with my fitted diapers for overnight wearing.  A distinct feature of the Thirsties brand is a type of leg gusset.  (similar in concept to the RaR ^^ but completely different in design)  I like that this cover has these for my peace of mind overnight.
I also have the Duo Diaper which is their pocket diaper.  These are not a one size (OS) diaper like the BGs, RaRs or FBZ.  These diapers come in 2 sizes (6-18 pounds or 18-35 pounds)  The idea behind this is that a "one size fits all" rarely ever fits "all".  This diaper uses the leg gussets just like the cover and it has a soft inner liner fabric.  The pocket opening for this diaper is wide and easy to stuff, but it opens at both the front and rear of the diaper.  This dual opening pocket allows you to toss the still stuffed, dirty wet dairy on the wash, without having to manually pull out the dirty insert.  The insert will agitate out during the wash cycle.
My absolute favorite (manufactured) diaper is the Thirsties Duo All In One  I have 6 of these (and hope to add more to my stash!)  This is another sized diaper, not an OS.  It does not use the leg gussets because it is a completely different design.  The AIO insert is sewn along the sides and legs but is left open at the front and rear.  This allows for efficient cleaning and the ability to double stuff for added absorbency. The down side is that this design takes quite a while longer to dry than any other AIO I own.  What I like the most about this diaper is how trim it fits between the legs.  This diaper has the least amount of bulk so I feel it is more comfortable for my newly walking toddler.   
The Fab Fitted is the Duo AIO design in a fitted.  Great for overnight use (I stuff it with an extra hemp insert for long term absorbency)

Made by a company called Sloomb, this is a high quality diaper company.  Not the most economical, but worth every penny.  I use the snapless-multi fitted at night and it is glorious!  It fits wonderfully.  Very trim, minimal bulk, soft and stretchy and completely absorbant.  My little man sleeps so well in this diaper, he is obviously very comfortable.  This diaper has no built in fastner system (snaps, aplix, etc.) so the use of a safety pin, snappi or boingo is necessary.  Covered with a Wool completes this soft, comfy bedtime option.  I have also ordered an overnight bamboo fleece fitted and am anxious to try it.  It has built in snaps, so it should go on faster and have a more consistent fit.

Wool:  The use of a lanolized wool cover creates a waterproof diaper system that is more natural and comfortable option for covering your fitted diapers, flats or prefolds.  Wool covers are available as "Longies" (wool pants) "shorties" (wool shorts) and "wool covers" (wool underpants).  By washing these in wool wash then soaking in a lanolin solution, you can create a waterproof barrier that makes your fitted diaper leak proof.  Wool can be quite expensive but I believe they are worth it.

Every day is a learning experience in cloth diaries, but we are happy and excited to complete this journey in T man's life.  He won't be in diapers forever, but add long as he is, I'm going to make sure they are cute, comfy, eco friendly cloth diapers  :-)