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 :)):
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
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.