This might seem an odd blog post coming on the heels of my potty training series, but indeed, we recently purchased some gDiapers. Not to worry, Oliver’s doing wonderfully with his newly acquired potty skills (he’s had only one accident in the last week and a half!), but we haven’t night trained him yet, so we needed a diapering system for overnight.
Up until two and a half weeks ago, Oliver was in BumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers, about which I have waxed poetic on numerous occasions. Triple-stuffed, they were fantastic for overnight use, easily standing up to Oliver’s 12 to 14 hours sleeps. I would have loved to continue using them, but it no longer made sense from a laundry perspective. We needed to find either a disposable or hybrid option.
Our recent experience with disposables due to a broken washing machine left me less than impressed. Pampers 12-hour diapers had a nauseating scent, and we even had one “explode” one night, releasing its absorbent gel all over Oliver’s sensitive skin. I’d heard good things about Huggies Overnight diapers, but recent reviews on Amazon suggested that they aren’t as good now as they used to be. I’m also not super keen about the idea of contributing to the daily 54 million disposable diapers that make their way into North American landfills.
Enter gDiapers, the perfect compromise: washable, reusable covers, with environmentally responsible, flushable/compostable inserts. gDiapers can also be used with cloth inserts, but of course, if we were going to use cloth inserts, we’d have just kept using our existing diapers. My observations below are based on using the gRefills flushable/compostable inserts only.
Pros. The disposable inserts are fully compostable. Even though we live in an apartment and do not compost, it is nice to know that these inserts, if thrown in the trash, won’t take 500 or more years to decompose in a landfill, like standard disposable diapers. It’s also nice to know that they do not contain any chemicals that would be harmful to the soil — nor to Oliver’s health, for that matter. The inserts have no scent whatsoever, no chemical odours, and they don’t stink (of their own merit) when wet or soiled. They are soft, and do not irritate Oliver’s skin. In summary, they’re everything we were looking for.
The diaper covers (“Little gPants”) are cute and they come in a variety of colours and patterns, and in multiple size, including newborn.
Cons. Sadly, there are many. For starters the diapering system seems unduly complicated when compared with other options out there. It is a three-piece system, consisting of a cotton cover, a waterproof snap-in liner and an insert (either cloth or disposable). The insert is replaced at every change, the liners are replaced only if soiled (wiped clean if wet), and the cotton covers are replaced if wet or soiled. The diapers don’t come with any instructions, and we are still not entirely sure which side of the liner is meant to be on the inside of the diaper, or if it even matters at all. I could not find any instructions on the gDiapers website, and their YouTube channel has more than 100 videos to sort through – I gave up after searching through the first three pages. The gDiapers blog has some useful tidbits, but it’s not organized in such a way that makes the information easy to search.
To that end, we are having big problems with leaks and I’m not sure whether it’s the diapers themselves or user error, but I can’t find any useful troubleshooting information anywhere. Oliver wakes up soaked. Through his pyjamas. Every. Single. Morning. We have tried doubling up the insert, and even folding the second insert into a thick pad and putting it in the “boys’ wet zone.” We only bought two diaper covers, based on the recommendation of four to six covers for a family using gDiapers full-time, but two is not enough when the cover is soaked and in need of laundering after every sleep. We’ve had Oliver wake up soaked in the middle of the night, and I’ve even had a wet cover post-nap, despite the fact that Oliver barely — if at all — pees during his naps anymore.
The snap-in liner seems rather small for the job it’s intended to do. Sure, you get more of the baby’s diaper area covered with breathable cotton than with waterproof fabric, but let’s face it, breathable cotton covers don’t contain messes. It’s also difficult to tell whether the liner is properly “sealed” to the baby’s skin, since the liner is an entirely separate piece from the cover, which contains the adjustable fasteners. Speaking of fasteners, with gDiapers, the hook and loop closures fasten at the back of the diaper rather than the front. This is supposed to keep curious toddler hands from undoing the tabs, but Oliver’s already managed to un-diaper himself once. I personally find the back fastening system really awkward to use. I’ve also noticed pressure/irritation points on the waistband, where the tabs overlap the fabric.
The “flushable” inserts we purchased have turned out to be not-so-flushable in our 20-year-old toilets. I had the honour and pleasure of extricating an unsuccessfully flushed insert from our toilet bowl the other day, and suffice it to say, we will not be flushing them again.
Finally, gDiapers are expensive! It’s not only the initial purchase of covers ($20 each) and extra snap-in liners ($25 for a six-pack), but the ongoing cost of the disposable gRefills. At $17 for a pack of 32 (more than 50 cents each!), the gRefills alone cost more than the most expensive environmentally-friendly disposables — but without the convenience factor of the entire diaper being a throwaway. And given that we have to double-line the diaper for overnight use, and that we have had to do a few middle-of-the-night diaper changes, we went through our first $17 package of refills in just 10 days. That’s a lot of money for diapers, considering that we’re only diapering once or twice a day. We also have to factor in shipping costs, because gRefills are basically unavailable in stores in Canada.
Summary: I really, really wanted to like these diapers, but I’m having a major case of buyer’s remorse. We spent $150 on two covers, six extra liners and five cases of inserts, so I feel like we’re stuck with these, at least until we use up all of our inserts — which may happen sooner than later at the rate we’re going. At that point, we may just bite the bullet and get the night training done; or else we’ll have to find a different system. In retrospect, I wish I’d considered the Flip diapering system, which is essentially the hybrid version of our beloved BumGenius diapers. Maybe I can find a couple of used Flip covers on Craigslist, and just use them with our existing gRefills?
Have you used gDiapers and loved them? Do you have any good tips to share?