CLOTH VERSUS DISPOSABLES – PART IV

Read: Cloth Versus Disposables Part I

Read: Cloth Versus Disposables Part II

Read: Cloth Versus Disposables Part III

So after all that research, which diaper(s) have we chosen?  Well, we have decided to wait until after the baby is born before we make the big purchase! 🙂  After having investigated various styles and brands ad infinitum, the staggering diversity of user reviews makes me realize that different diapers work best for different shaped and sized babies, and for different families’ needs.  We’re definitely going with cloth, and we have narrowed our choices down to a few most likely candidates, but we will wait before making the actual purchase.

We are very fortunate in Vancouver to have a cloth diaper company, New and Green, that offers a rental program for newborn diapers, so we will still be able to start with cloth right away, without having to make any substantial investment in what may turn out to be the wrong fit for our baby or wrong style for our needs.  We will have eight weeks to test out a variety of diapers (washing them ourselves, so we get the full experience) and see what works, what doesn’t, what we like, and what seems most comfortable for the baby.  This also gives us the advantage of not having to purchase an additional set of diapers in newborn size, since even the adjustable one-size diapers tend not to be small enough for many newborns.  While renting is not cheap (it works out to about $20 per week), it is still about half the cost of having to buy our own newborn diapers, which would very quickly be outgrown.

I’m fairly confident we’ll have a good idea of how to proceed by the end of the eight weeks, but if we need more time, we also have the option to rent a “tester” kit for another three weeks, which would give us a sample pack of some of the most popular cloth diapers for everything beyond the newborn phase.

In terms of our “short list” of possible diaper purchases, here are some of the factors we have considered:

Durability — We want something that will not require replacing before the end of the baby’s diapering period, and ideally, might even be useable for a subsequent child.  To this end, we will probably shy away from velcro closures because they tend to wear more quickly, cause more wear and tear on the rest of the diaper (during laundering), and often eventually require replacing with snaps.  We will also try to look for diapers that offer replaceable leg elastics, since those are likely to stretch, dry out and snap with repeated washings and dryings.

Cost — This is not really an issue, since we will ultimately be saving vast amounts of money by not using disposables.  The difference in cost between purchasing the cheapest or the most expensive cloth diapers is a few hundred dollars, whereas even with the most expensive cloth diapers, we still stand to save $1500 to $2000 over the cost of disposables.  That said, in the interest of economy, we will probably lean towards buying an adjustable one-size diaper versus having to buy two or three different sizes throughout the baby’s diaper years.  This will allow us to afford a greater number of diapers; thus, hopefully reducing the frequency of laundry to every two or three days.

Effectiveness — This is sort of the ‘X factor’ that, based on online reviews, seems to vary significantly from one baby to the next.  Even diapers that receive mostly rave reviews always have at least a few reviewers who claim that the diapers are prone to leaking or blowouts.  Of course, the greater percentage of users who are happy with a given diaper, the more likely that it will be suitable for most babies needs.

Ease of use / consistency – Because we will eventually have to put the little guy into daycare, we are looking for a diaper that is relatively simple to use and doesn’t take much more effort to change than a disposable.  For this reason, we will most likely end up with either a pocket diaper (that we pre-stuff at home) or an all-in-one.  Although many families who cloth diaper like to have a variety of diapers for different purposes, we prefer to keep things straightforward and consistent.  Therefore, we would rather have one diaper that is pretty good in all situations than to have several brands and styles in order to have the best diaper for every possible scenario.

Laundry – I do a lot of laundry already, and I know that having a baby is going to substantially increase that work load, so it is important to me that we find a diaper that is easy to care for and launder, and does not require any extensive disassembly and reassembly.  Dry time is also important, as I am concerned about our hydro consumption and the added stress on our clothes dryer (which is approaching 20 years old).

With that, here are our current top three contenders (subject to change :)):

BumGenius 4.0
Pros — one-size, snap closures, replaceable leg elastics, ability to adjust absorbency level
Cons — cost, having to stuff/remove inserts, covers should not be machine dried on a regular basis

FuzziBunz One Size
Pros and cons same as above

BumGenius Elemental
Pros — one-size, snap closures, no stuffing/removing inserts
Cons — cost, leg elastics not replaceable, take a long time to dry, limited ability to adjust absorbency

I’d love to hear any feedback about our top three, as well as suggestions for other diapers that might meet our criteria.

8 responses to “CLOTH VERSUS DISPOSABLES – PART IV

  1. I liked reading your CD posts, because we went through the same thing, but we had to drive 2 hours to go to a workshop because there wasn’t anything in our area! I used cloth with my first one, until eventually he ended up with a rash that I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of – tried stripping diapers, drying in the sun, multiple hot no-soap washes, used bumGenius detergent. It went right away with disposables 😦 The other thing I found with cloth was that if he did have diaper rash, the rash creams that work with cloth didn’t help. Anyway until then, I really preferred having plain old prefolds and covers (Bummis Super Brites) for home, and a few to stuff for going out. I didn’t like stuffing them all the time. I usually just laid the prefold in the cover and that held it in place – only when he was just getting into a new bigger size did I need to snappi the prefold. I also loved cloth because he never had blow-outs, and if I used paper (like travelling or out for a while) that was always a problem. Even if you do go with the ones that you don’t stuff, you can buy extra doublers and lay them in, so don’t worry about that. I agree on snaps – I really liked FuzziBunz snaps.

  2. I have a 15-month old and we LOVE our cloth diapers. We have mostly BumGenius 4.0s with a few FuzziBunz OS and Charlie Banana thrown in for variety. At night we use prefolds and covers because we were having issues with the pocket diapers leaking. I’ve found that I prefer the pocket diapers for, among other things, ease of use for grandparents, daycare providers, etc. The prefolds and covers, while not difficult per se, would be a bit much for someone not doing it everyday. The pocket diapers, especially the BG 4.0s, are really easy to use. We have snaps on almost all the diapers, which is coming in handy now that the kiddo can undo the hook and loop closures! The BG snaps are a little easier to use than the FB but the FB allows for a little more adjustability. I’ve found that my favorite vascillates between the FB and BG based on the size of my son. At different times in his growth, one brand fit better than the other. Give him a few weeks and it would switch back! Right now the FB fit a little better but it was the BG back in April. Here’s a blog post that I did recently about our cloth diapering adventure – http://forgingtheballandchain.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/hippie-mama-and-daddy-cloth-diapers/.

  3. Welcome to the dark side of Cloth Diapering =)
    If I could do it again I would get more BumGenius 4.0 with snaps. They came out after I had most of my stash but I found the BG 3.0 rise too short for my, then, big baby. Hate, hate velcro. I just have one BG 4.0 w/snaps but it’s great. And I would also do the same as you, New and Green NB rental kit to start and then invest in your stash. You’re a smart woman!

  4. Oh cloth diapers – is there any baby product more overwhelming to choose? And of course, I have my strong opinions like everyone else. We got fuzzi bunz for the baby shower (by request) but hated the snaps, bulky fit and annoying leg elastics. We opted for the lesser-known Wahmies “hooks” (http://www.wahmies.com/pages/wahmiesonesize.php) using the FB inserts. LOVE them. Especially since the kid learned quickly to undo snaps, velcro, etc. I think the FBs will be good for potty training when we actually want her to be able to escape quickly. The only issue we had with cloth was that we couldn’t find an insert(s) that could make it through the night (co-sleeping + on-demand nursing = more fluids) without soaking-out so we use a disposable.

    • Thanks Christy! This also looks like a great option for people who might not have access to locally-based rental/trial programs.

  5. Pingback: CLOTH DIAPERING (SO FAR) « ONE FIT MOM: Pregnancy, CrossFit and The Paleo Diet·

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