When I was preparing for the birth of my son, I was in full on nesting mode. I’m pretty sure I started nesting at about 12 weeks ( too soon? ) I love to research and have a adoration for check lists and getting things done. So, add hormones to that mix and you have a full on season of panic. I kid. BUT ……I DID do a ridiculous amount of research into every aspect of baby life.
One of the areas I knew I wanted to research was cloth diapering. I know — seems so foreign and weird to so many people. But believe it or not — most of our parents were cloth diapered. So we aren’t that far removed from it being the societal norm. Sadly — Pampers took over and most people think cloth diapering is from medieval times.
I went into the deep, dark pit of the inter webs and came out a few weeks later completely overwhelmed. It’s not a good place to be when you’re pregnant and hormonal. THANKFULLY — I found a local resource that proved to be in valuable. Ivey’s Diaper Service. They are local to Charlotte, NC. I took a cloth diapering class with my husband and she opened our eyes to all the amazing benefits of cloth diapering. The facts she shared with us, and the tutorials she gave — left us knowing that we would be remiss if we didn’t at least try to cloth diaper.
So here are some of the facts : ( I learned these when taking Ivey’s Diaper Service Class)
- We don’t know how long it will take for a diaper to break down. So this blew my mind a little. Estimations are that is will take 250-500 YEARS for a disposable diaper to break down. THAT IS INSANE. (In my book.) I’m not an over the top environmentalist, but I do try to recycle and reuses products and lessen my trash as much as possible. When I learned that there are millions of diapers (With human waste in them , mind you, sitting in land fills all over — I felt sick inside) This was a big motivation for us to cloth diaper. You child will be in diapers for 2-3 years typically. So try and do the math on how many diapers your one child will put into the environment. Something to seriously consider when choosing to cloth diaper.
- You will save a lot of $$ in the long run. As I mentioned earlier — the typical child is in diapers for 2-3 years. So even though you can buy big cases of diapers off of Amazon or from Costco for a reasonable price, when you purchase a set of diapers for your child that can last them the full time they’re in diapers, you’re set. I will explain how my cost is breaking down for us here below. When you break down the cost of a disposable — it’s an average of 30 cents a diaper. (Depending on the brand. Some are more, some less) A newborn goes through 8-12 diapers a day. That’s several dollars a day. You get the picture. It adds up quickly! You can get a full set of cloth diapers for 2-300 dollars that will last your child their entire time in diapers. When you run the math — you can save a couple thousand dollars when you choose to cloth diaper over the lifetime of your child. (not to mention they can be used on any other children you have in the future — which multiples the savings)
- Children who are cloth diapered potty train earlier. This is HUGE. The average child nowadays does not become potty trained until 3 years old. Cloth diapered children are typically trained closer to 2 years old. I don’t know about you — but a whole year makes a big difference. How? Because of all the chemicals that are put in disposables used to absorb urine, your child never feels wet in a disposable. So they feel quite comfortable in them and lack motivation to want to get OUT of their diapers. A cloth diapered child will feel wet when they are wet — and once they reach an age where they don’t like feeling wet/uncomfortable — they are much more motivated to want to keep dry. Think of it also this way — when you wear a cloth diaper and pee/poop in it — it feels very similar to peeing/pooping in your underwear. Even a 2 year old can understand how that’s not ideal.
- There are nasty chemicals in disposables. This was a big motivator for me. The health of my child and what I put on his skin or let him consume is very important to me. I took this excerpt from Ivey’s website — “Disposable diapers contain some nasty chemicals such as dioxin (a carcinogenic by-product of the bleaching process), sodium polyacrylate (a super absorbent gel similar to a substance in tampons found to cause toxic shock syndrome), and Tributyl-tin (a toxic substance known to cause hormonal problems in humans).” — Y-U-C-K. After learning this, I personally could not in good conscience put my child in disposables. Knowledge is POWER.
I hope the above reasons give you pause when thinking about cloth diapering. You’re not only benefiting your child, but also the future of the environment and earth they grow up in. I never want to make anyone feel bad about their decision to use disposables. You’re in the majority if you do so. Everyone’s circumstances are different and not everyone has a supportive environment around them to be able to cloth diaper. You definitely need the adults around you (significant other, parents, babysitters, etc.) to help support your decision or it can be difficult. But I encourage you to think about trying it out or maybe think about even doing Part Time cloth diapering (when home, during the day, etc.) Every little bit helps!
NOW. Onto the fun stuff!! Below are some of my reviews and experience with cloth diapers and products. I hope you find this information helpful. There are SO many different cloth diapers out there. This is in no way an exhaustive list. This is simply what I tried and what I liked/did not like. There’s so much information out there — I hoped to give some insight and to help others out when they’re doing their research.
So something that Ivey’s Diaper service offers is what she calls their All In One Newborn Trial. She allows you to purchase brand newborn sized diapers from her — rent them for 40 dollars a month (for as long as you need them) — and then return them for store credit , to then purchase your long term stash. A side note — the One Size diapers that are said to last from Birth – 3 typically start fitting children at 10-12 lbs. Arlen was only 6 lbs 13 oz when born. So something like this is super helpful because I would have had to purchase a set of newborn sized diapers AND One Size diapers. This is saving me a lot of money. If you also have a small child and don’t have access to something like this in your area, consider buying a gently used newborn set on craigslist, ebay, mom’s groups on facebook, etc. There are LOTS out there.
Here are the brands that I decided to try as a part of my newborn trials.
- OsoCozy Prefolds / Thirsties covers
1.) Snaps : I prefer the snap closures. Arlen was so tiny when born that it allowed him to gradually grow into the diapers. They can be shortened for a shorter torso and adjusted by the notches. They also didn’t rub against him like some of the velcro options that I tried.
2.) Fit : I enjoyed the fit of these as Arlen has skinny little legs. They hugged his legs well which meant he didn’t leak out of these often. They also are slim and fit more like a disposable and are not bulky. (The two diapers to the right shown above are synthetic fibers on the inside. There blue mountain pattern is hemp/cotton natural fibers)
3.) Super cute patterns : This is really just a plus. I found their pattern options to be really cute and a wide variety of options. This is really important to some people so I like to mention it!
4.) Absorbent : I found these to be good on the absorbent scale which is really important. They have different options as to synthetic/natural fibers. I tried both and found that the natural fibers absorb really well for him — which will always really be the case as natural fibers are more absorbent across the board.
1.) While I did mention that fit was good above — once Arlen hit about 11 lbs — it fit well around his legs, but not his torso as much. I found that when I adjusted them to fit his torso, they seemed tight on his legs. So this is something you just have to test out and see how they fit your little one! I think once we transition into the One Size — they will fit him better now that he is bigger.
These were by far our favorite and so I really don’t have any other cons to list!
If you want to buy on Amazon , Check out my links below!
OsoCozy Prefolds/Thirsties Cover Combo
1.) Absorbency : These are by far the most absorbent combination I have. GREAT for a night time diaper. I could leave Arlen in these for 6 hours and he would never leak through. The Ozocozy prefolds are hemp material. These are great for if you have a strong streamed little guy like me! 🙂 The Thirsties covers go over the prefold and offer as another layer of protection.
2.) Reuse covers : So if your little is getting great absorbency from the prefold, you can just change the prefold and keep the cover. I typically get 3-4 uses out of a cover before I have to wash it!
3.) Cost Effective: Like I stated above — you only need to own 3-5 covers and then you can get multiple uses out of them. The Ozocozy prefolds are sold in packs and are by far the most cost effective options out there. I typically do this for night time or if I know that we will be out for a long period of time. I can guarantee he will stay dry and I won’t have to change his clothes while we are out or in the car. This is KEY.
1.) A little more work : So with a prefold you either have to learn how to fold them, OR use something like a Snappi. This buckles the prefold together. (I will talk more about this below when I go into accessories. ) So if you’re dead tired in the middle of the night, or if you have a major wiggler — these can take more time/work to get on. Once you learn and are a pro — it’s no big deal, and I have found totally worth it.
2.) Can be a little messier to take off : So if your little one has a blow out, the nice part is it will stay contained. But if you want to remove the prefold and leave the cover to reuse, this will leave you touched the pee/poop soaked insert to take it out. AGAIN — you are going to be touching a lot of pee/poop even if you’re using disposables. But — in terms of your options in the cloth diapering world — All In Ones — you can just take the whole diaper off and toss in the hamper ( more akin to a disposable.) This is really all about preference at this point!
If you’re interested in checking out the Thirstie Covers, check out my links below!
Interested in the OsoCozy Prefolds? Check them out below!
SweatPea (Pocket Diapers)
1.) Customizable : With Pocket Diapers you are able to customize your absorbency due to the fact that you can place different inserts inside of them. The Sweet Peas that I chose are synthetic and come with synthetic fiber inserts. However, you could buy natural fiber inserts like Hemp to increase the absorbency. This allows you to play around with the SAME diaper, but increase or decrease the absorbency. You also could choose to take out the insert all together and reduce the bulkiness if you didn’t need the additional pad.
1.) More work to figure out what worked : I found that ironically — these did not absorb well for Arlen. After talking to some diaper experts — they said that if Arlen has a strong stream AND is a heavy wetter, then it’s possible these just wouldn’t work well for him. However, I could have taken the time to test out different inserts or add to the diaper if I wanted to. For the time/money investment I chose not to do this — and just crossed this off the list of diapers I wanted to pursue. I am going to say that I have lots of friends who love these types of diapers because of the fact that you CAN experiment and customize them.
If pocket diapers sound like the right option for you, check the Sweet Pea version out below!
1.) Fit : I enjoyed the fit of these diapers. They are also good if you have a little newborn without a bunch of chunk to their legs. They work really well in terms of adjusting the fit in both the waist and the legs.
2.) Good absorbency : The Grovia newborns I chose had a combination of microfleece layer and a hemp layer. So they did well in terms of locking in moisture or wetness for Arlen.
1.) Dry Time : With natural fibers, they can tend to hold onto stains and moisture. These are good for use, but in terms of caring for them, can take more work. I found that whenever I took the GroVias out of the dryer, they took additional air drying compared to my prefolds/other natural fiber diapers. This just added to the work of caring for them a bit. Something to consider!
If you’re interested in looking into the Grovia AIOs, check them out below!
1.) Great Absorbency for Synthetic Fibers : So typically , as I mentioned earlier, natural fibers absorb the best. However, BumGenius has perfected the art of synthetic AIOs. These worked awesome for keeping Arlen dry in his newborn days! Plus that’s going to save you money as synthetics are always cheaper than natural fibers.
2.) Great Newborn Fit : If you have a premie or very small child, these are perfect for fit in the early days. They hugged Arlen really well, and the velcro tabs make it to feel just like a disposable.
1.) Outgrew Quickly : So while they have an awesome fit for tinies, Arlen outgrew these quickly. The velcro started to rub into his legs because when he got a little larger, (around 8.5 lbs) and we had to stop using them. I did learn they have snap options though, so you could check those out if you’re interested in a longer fit!
2.) Dark Colors stained my dryer : So this is a biggie. I had chosen three colors. Two of them were dark in nature. The Blue diaper actually stained the inside of my dryer! I was really not happy about this (obviously) So be really careful when choosing your color options as the really dark colors bleed heavily when you are prepping them for use.
If you want to check out Grovias, check out my links below!
Flannel Wipes :
I purchased OsoCozy plannel wipes and have never looked back! They are easy to use, affordable, and we love them!
So remember when I mentioned you needed something to snap your prefolds together? We chose to use a Snappi (pictured above) after using one at Ivey’s. It’s super simple to use and they are also very affordable. We have two and keep one in his diaper bag.
Check them out here :
Travel Wet Bags and Wet Bag for Room :
Travel wet bags are essential to cloth diapering because you need somewhere to keep your used diapers when on the go. I found these awesome and affordable bags on amazon. We LOVE them. I use them all the time. I also am linking the bag we purchased as his diaper pale for his room. Both great options!
Travel bags :
Cloth Diaper Friendly Rash Cream :
So when you cloth diaper, you can’t use just any old diaper cream. They can cause staining and repelling issues. So you have to choose one that is specifically made to be used with cloth diapers , or safe for them. After looking into options, I decided to go with the Thirsties brand. It had high praises and we LOVE it. It has worked so well for Arlen and he has very sensitive skin. It’s all natural and works wonders.
Check it out here:
Spray Bottles for Wipes :
You’re going to want to wet your wipes. You can always do this in the sink or with a water bottle, but I prefer spray bottles — as I make my own spray for Arlen. They’re cheap and work really well! Any plastic or glass spray bottle will work. I got them for a dollar at Target. (Pictured above)
I hope that is a helpful insight into cloth diapering. If you have ANY questions at all , please feel free to contact me or post a comment below. I would love any and all feedback! I hope this has you thinking about cloth diapering and answers some of your questions.