We use cloth diapers.
I think for most people, that statement conjures images of plastic pants, washboards, and frozen diapers on a clothesline in the dead of winter. Fortunately, cloth diapers have changed a lot in the past few decades (and so has laundry technology); there are cuter, more convenient, less leaky options for moms. But perhaps most impressive, is the variety of choices. There are flats, prefolds, exposed-PUL covers, covered-PUL covers, pocket diapers, all-in-ones, snaps, Aplix, Snappis, locking-head diaper pins, Boingos. Is your head spinning, yet?
There are articles upon articles, sites upon sites, blogs upon blogs, and videos upon videos explaining every conceivable (and inconceivable) cloth diapering term, product, category, and accessory. Rather than run down the basics, it will be easier to tell you what I use and my satisfaction with those products. I know people want to ask questions when I say, “I use cloth diapers.” I can see it in their eyes. The wheels are turning , their curiosity is piqued, and they really want to ask. Often times, though, they know so little about modern cloth diapers, they don’t even know what to ask.
The Products I Use
I use Cloth-eez Flat Birdseye Diapers that are 100% unbleached cotton in the small/one-size option. I fold them using the “origami fold” and pin them on Sprout with Slide-Lock Diaper Pins from Green Mountain Diapers. This is the actual diaper portion of Sprout’s under-garments: the absorbent layer. These are probably what you imagine when you think of cloth diapers.
Over the flat diapers, I use a Mommy’s Touch Snap Cover. These are “one-size” covers that fit from birth to potty-training (well, sort of, but I will explain that below). They have rows of snaps for an adjustable rise and leg openings. This is the waterproof layer that is meant to contain the mess. They are put on similar to a disposable diaper with wings that snap in the front. Yes, you can still buy pull-on plastic pants, but these are much less… erm, messy. Plus, you get a more trim fit with these flashy modern covers.
For wipes, I use Unbleached Flannel Wipes, also from GMD. These are single-layer squares of 100% cotton flannel fabric with serged edges. To moisten the wipes, I use a homemade solution of 1 part witch hazel to 2 parts water with a few drops of tea tree oil (per 24-30 ounces of fluid) that I keep in a spray bottle. I adapted this “recipe” from several I saw floating around the Internet, removing several unnecessary ingredients. The water is the main moistening ingredient. The witch hazel keeps the water from mildewing in the spray bottle, and is a strong anti-oxidant and natural astringent. Finally, the tea tree oil provides a hint of clean scent and some supposed antimicrobial properties. Some people are sensitive to this oil, and I was prepared to discontinue using it should a problem arise, but I have seen no adverse reactions in Little Bit.
I have been very satisfied with the Cloth-eez Flat Birdseye Diapers. After stripping (a process of removing the natural water-resistant oils in the fabric to increase absorbancy and softness), they were mostly square, very soft, and very absorbent. I am happy I chose flat diapers over prefolds or other diaper/cover combinations (pockets, all-in-ones, etc.) because they wash easily and dry quickly. The sun bleaches them excellently, removing stains and odors. I use the “origami fold” for now and fold them before putting them away to make for faster diaper changes.
I absolutely love the Slide-Lock Diaper Pins I bought. They are very strong, sharp pins that slide easily through the fabric. I started storing them in a bar of soap, which makes them slide even better. I have never had a pin come un-locked. I felt confident in my pinning abilities after just a few diaper changes, and I am glad I chose these over other fasteners (Snappi, Boingo) because they are inexpensive and less likely to break.
I am also happy with my choice of diaper cover, the Mommy’s Touch brand one-size snap covers. Though they are advertised as fitting “one-size fits most 10-30 pounds,” I did not use them until Sprout was about 12 pounds. (*More about fit issues below.)I have only had two leaks, but I blame myself in both cases. The snaps feel durable, as does the fabric. They are more expensive than many other covers, but that is due to the double layer of cotton with the PUL inside. Nothing but cotton touches the baby. I intend to re-purchase this same brand of covers should I have to replace these some day.
*Technically, these covers did fit Sprout when I first tried them on her at about 5 weeks, 10.5 pounds. However, there was so much fabric in the crotch that the diaper reached her knees, and she could not bend her legs or set her feet on the ground when laid on her back. This brand does make a newborn size cover (bonus: it has a snap-down rise for the umbilical stump), and I intend to purchase them if we have another baby. This go ’round, I tried to save money by only getting the one-size covers, but I ended up buying disposable diapers for about 3 weeks while we waited for her to grow into them (we received disposables at our baby shower which got us through the first few weeks). Six weeks of disposables cost twice as much as 6 of the newborn size covers.
There is not much to say about the Unbleached Flannel Wipes I use. They are very plain wipes that wash easily, dry quickly, and fit into a disposable wipes tub folded in half. I fold them in such a way that they pop-up from the tub like disposable wipes. It should be obvious, then, that they would fit into a wipes warmer, if we had one and wanted to keep them pre-moistened and warm. They have become slightly crooked after many washes, but that is an antithetical issue.
Those are the products I have been using, excluding other accessories like the pail liner (Kissas brand) and wet bag (Mommy’s Touch brand). Both are pretty straight-forward and have served their prescribed purposes well.
Cost (‘Cause Everyone Wants to Know!)
Most people are curious about the cost of cloth diapers. I spent roughly $250 on all diapers and accessories. If I had purchased the newborn covers I mentioned in my “reviews” (and I definitely wish I had!), I would have spent about $325, and we can round that up to $330 for the cost of washing three times per week for three months. To put that in perspective, I would have spent about $130 on disposable diapers and wipes in the first three months. And I would spend that same amount in the next three months… and by Sprout’s first birthday, disposable diapers and wipes would have cost us roughly $520. Now, how many potty-trained one-year-olds do you know? ;)
Overall, I’m still satisfied with my decision to use cloth diapers. At this point, I can confidently say that I have no plans to switch to disposables. Now, ask me again in a few months when Sprout’s poo is no longer water-soluble…