We did a post on why we chose cloth diapers over disposables when Jonas was brand spankin’ new, but we’ve learned a lot and come a long way since then.
We’ll be posting a short series on how we do the cloth diapering thing around here. This particular post focuses on what we use. This is the what, next up will be the how.
When people outside of blogland learn that we use cloth diapers, they picture white origami cloths, safety pins, plastic covers, and a lot of leaking. These ingredients have nothing to do with our cloth diapers. Cloth has come a looooong way since then. In form, they look and often go on very similarly to disposables.
Ours have velcro tabs as opposed to snaps, which are another very popular option, so they fit exactly like disposables (albeit with more bulk). We went with velcro, even though it might not last through as many uses, because snaps at 4:00 A.M. sounded like a terrible idea to us.
Our diaper type preference has evolved over time. At first, we thought that we wanted to use pocket diaper covers.
Pocket diapers have a waterproof outer cover (usually PUL fabric) and a soft inside (usually microfiber, suede, or fleece). There’s an opening between the two layers (a pocket) so you can slip in an insert, inner liner, or soaker pad. The soft inside wisks moisture away from baby’s bum and transfers it to the inner liner. This prevents diaper rash. To illustrate:
The problem is, you have to change the whole diaper every time you change the baby. Insert and cover. Which means more laundry and having to buy tons more covers (which are way more expensive than inserts).
We bought a few waterproof covers without the inner lining (as a test because they were so much cheaper). They ended up becoming a fast favorite. We found out that the whole pocket thing isn’t really necessary. It is way easier to use the same cover over and over until it gets soiled. The inner lining doesn’t make pocket diapers more leak proof (our non-pocket covers have the best not leak track record ever), and Jonas hates being wet, so a diaper is never on long enough to give him a diaper rash. We still use our pocket diapers, we just set the insert inside the diaper now and ignore the pocket.
How did we choose brands? By what was cutest, of course! It was a gamble, but we figure that two outta three ain’t bad.
Bare Ware. We started out with a ton of Bare Ware diapers, but ended up hating them. We bought a total of 9 of these before Jonas was born (7 small, 2 medium).
We chose these based on the extremely high cuteness level of the tabbies. Unfortunately, the cute tabs ended up being the downside to this brand. Because there was only velcro on the bottom of the tabs, the tabs couldn’t overlap when the diaper was a bit too big for baby. It was hard to get these snug onto Jonas and they couldn’t last through very much growth because they fit him for such a limited time.
In addition, the diapers weren’t snug enough around the legs, which caused major leakage. At first we just accepted this as part of cloth diapering (we had leakers when we used disposables with Eliza, after all), but we saw the light when we started using other brands more often.
This brand has also been the only brand that hasn’t held up throughout the entire usage: we’ve had a few fall apart on us. Not the hugest deal (I have a sewing machine and I’m not afraid to use it), but it still sucks. They don’t have laundry tabs (a place to velcro the tabs when laundering so they don’t get caught on everything), which speeds along the falling apart.
Last downside: there is way too much of a difference between the small size and the medium size. The small size stopped fitting Jonas around three months and the medium size is just now fitting him at almost nine months.
We use our two medium sized ones as last resort diapers if I’m a little behind on laundry, but we avoid using these if at all possible.
KCK One. We bought 4 one-size diapers from Baby Belle on Etsy. It looks like Baby Belle may have closed up shop, but the type of diaper, the KCK One diaper, can be found elsewhere. You can order your own supplies and pattern to make your own from the KCK One Shop (I did this but have yet to actually make them…), or you can shop for pre-made KCK One diapers on Etsy at shops like Purple Ducks (this embroidered diaper is so so cute).
KCK Ones are also pocket diapers, but they are friggin’ amazing because they morph over time to fit a baby throughout the entire diaper process. We were super skeptical of this at first, but Jonas has been wearing them from three weeks to the present (nine months), so we’ve been made into believers.
Here they are on little tiny Jonas:
And here they are on Jonas now:
If you are curious as to how this works, watch this video:
Like we said earlier, we cheat and don’t put the insert into the pocket anymore (it reduces the time it takes to change Jonas and allows us to use the cover over and over again. We’ve never ever had one of these leak. Win!
We’re really excited about these. Even though they cost a little more, they come with an insert (most diapers don’t) and they last forever and ever. Talk about cost efficient. Double win!
Fluffy’s Diapers.Our favorite diaper covers are from Fluffy’s Diapers. We’ve bought 7 over time (2 small and 5 medium).
These ones don’t have an inner lining (they are not pocket diapers), but that doesn’t stop them from being effective. We used these as our night time diapers when the majority of our stock sucked (see Bare Ware). They are our most used cover now.
Jonas’s summer go-to at home was usually one of these diapers + a t-shirt (or not).
The double-sided velcro tabs allow the diaper to fit over a larger range of baby sizes; it’s easy to get the cover on tightly.
Here’s a small size on two month old Jonas:
See how the tabs are connected near the outer edges of the velcro strip? That’s because he’s almost outgrown this one in the photo. Contrast to this photo:
Jonas is still in the early stages of wearing the medium size at four months, so the tabs velcro in the center. They can also overlap each other if necessary.
These are super easy to figure out, we always make sure to have these around if there are going to be guest diaper changers (i. e. grandparents).
Bonus: the prints are super cute.
Extra bonus: these are the cheapest option (though not over time, because we have to buy more when J bird grows out of them).
Microfiber. These are the most absorbent. We’ve never bought them singularly; they come with the KCK One Diapers. We use these at night time often.
Even though these are really thick, they can be used even when baby is very tiny because they can be folded several ways (see video).
Padded Tri-fold. Our most used inserts are Gerber Prefold Birdseye Tri-Fold with Padding. These are thick and are easy to tri-fold because they are already lined that way.
These were too big to put on Jonas for the first few months (we used them as burp cloths then), but now we use them more than the other two types.
Flatfold. We used Gerber Birdseye Flatfold the most when Jonas was itty bitty because they are thin and therefore less bulky. They don’t have fold lines, so you have to guesstimate folding them into thirds.
These are too thin for Jonas now, but we double them up and they work just fine.
We use wet baby wash cloths with a tiny tiny bit of baby body wash for wipes instead of store bought wipes. This is easier for us: all of the laundry goes to the same place (Woe to those that accidentally put a store bought wipe into the drier. It’s a disaster: I promise), we don’t have to worry about stocking up/running out, and it’s cheaper.
We keep the wet ones in a Munchkin Warm Glow Wipe Warmer. (We keep them dry inside our diaper bag and just wet them in the rest room or, if we’re outside, pour water from a bottle onto them.)
It will probably be a few days before the next cloth diaper post is up, but we’re super excited to tell you the how of our cloth diapering process. Cloth diapers are a big part of Jonas’s babyhood, so it is nice to get all of this written down.
If you have any questions, make sure to let us know in the comments section.