Sunday, February 24, 2008

All About Cloth Diapers.... Reviews and Tips

So I know that this may not appear to many of my regular blog readers, so please feel free to skip over this. But I recently wrote down information and reviews on cloth diapers, and I have had tons of people online and on flickr, and a few online mom communities, wanting information. I thought if I posted it here, it would be more readily available to people who are just starting out, or looking for real-life reviews on some cloth diapers and diaper products.

All my photos of cloth diapering and cloth diaper products are located here. I will try to link to photos directly within the post, but you may have to cut and paste links as I don't know that I will have enough time today to hyperlink each one, since I am just cutting and pasting this review.

I know that all moms have different preferences, different washing methods, etc., but these are mine and therefore.... here you go!
We started out with using pockets exclusively. I went to the house of a friend who CD's. I saw what she had. She uses primarily prefolds and pockets.

I thought One size diapers would be for me. They aren't. They are terribly bulky. BUT we use BG (Bum Genius) 3.0 OS (One Sizes) for nighttime, and they work like a charm, NEVER a leak for 12-13 hours. I now have Five Bum Genius 3.0 One Size's, and One Tiny Tush One Size, which I like Way less than the Bum Genius (icky inserts and one size snaps don't stay snapped.)

Pockets have the advantage because they can be stuffed or de-stuffed based on what works for your child in terms of absorbency. AIO's (All in ones) are nice but they take longer to dry because the insert is built into the diaper. And you can't add extra stuffin per-say, because there is no pocket. There are also AI2's (AIO's with a snap in soaker-piece that is absorbent.)

If you want to cloth diaper cheaply, you want prefolds. But warning- these are not for the DH's who are uncooperative- and probably not for daycare or most grandparents/babysitters. They are old school but they are cheap and work well. I use prefolds now and then, we have BananaPeelDiapers and Thirsties prefolds and I use Thirsties covers because I love the leg gussets.

Almost Everything I own is used and purchased on Diaperswappers, with the exception of some purchased inserts for those used diapers and one new diaper that I won for free.... and the prefolds and new Thirsties AIO's. All diapers can be resold and if you take care to get stains out, they can really make your money back or be used for second kids. I recommend buying used and trying different brands to get a good fit for your LO and spend money on new ones only when you KNOW what you want.

Reviews and Details, about the pocket brands I have/use(d)

Ewe Need It's- Okay. Soft. Cute. Trim. Huge gaping pocket holes that I don't like.... have yet to find an insert that fits right

KND's (Knickernappies Disposanots)- like them. Very trim. Narrow pocket space, requires specific stuffing, made for KND. I have and use the Just Hemp inserts and the Hemp/Microfiber Loopy-Do Inserts, which are a great insert that is sewn in a loop so they dry faster. However, don't like it when she poops, it always goes up the front and gets all over the side snapping tabs, and then causes a mess when changing. It's practically impossible to keep her flailing limbs/socks/onesie snaps out of the poo. Ugh. They also have been leaking on us lately. Just too bad because I have like 8 of them. I like that they have elastic at the waist in front and back to help contain. But have found that it isn't necessary to contain a leak.

Fuzi Bunz- great diaper. Seem to get really pilly inside. The newer ones might have resolved this issue, but they have been made in Mexico, and the US, and have a new version, and all of them fit differently so even though you might have mediums, the newer ones run big, so you have to be careful. I have about 7 real ones and 6 fakes. I like them. They aren't my favorite but they are great. I like that they can really take lots of different inserts. I use Hemparoos because they are AWESOME hemp inserts that are contoured and hold lots of wetness and fit in lotsa dipes. I also use prefolds in the FB's

Bum Genius One Size 3.0 (BG OS 3.0)- nice dipes. Way too bulky when snapped down to use under any clothing. ESPECIALLY JEANS! Difficult to get pajamas on over them sometimes. Nice nice inserts, great elastic, strong Aplix (velcro) These are the only velcro dipes I have that will stay velcro'd in the wash. Downside: Poo Stains on Microfiber are practically impossible to get out without bleach. Bleach tears down the absorbency of inserts and is bad for the environment, not to mention not your first choice against baby's skin. Dislike them for that. I think sunning would remove the poo stains, but not after drying in the dryer, so I hate them for this. There is no sun in Illinois in the winter!

Snapez- Probably my FAVORITE pocket. Trim. Low Rise. Snaps seem in the best location. Fit a wide variety of inserts, I use Hemparoos or prefolds, or microfiber/flannel inserts that I make myself. Love love love these dipes. Super trim and cute. I think I have 5. Prints leak/wick badly once they are shot, but the solids are awesome and I would love to have more.

Drybees- Great Aplix Diaper. Don't leak. Use these at daycare. Also DH's favorite. Downside- pilly aplix and they don't stay velcro'd in the wash and then stick to themselves and other dipes and worst of all to all my microfiber inserts. We have 9 of them. But they fit great. Don't try to roll the leg fleece back in, or they will leak. They are designed to roll out.

Happy Heiney's- Nice Dipes. Cute. Velcro doesn't stay closed in wash. Very trim. Microfiber inserts (staining hard to get out) Not sure how they would hold in a poo because they are so so trim, haven't had a poo in one yet (we have 3 of these dipes)

GAD's (Green Acre Designs) - we only have one and haven't used it much. Snaps. Nice trim Design. Similar to KND's.

Thirsties AIO Pockets- I just ordered 6 of these AND I LOVE THEM! The combine the convenience of an AIO with the added ability to stuff, and even better, they have the Thirsties leg gussets to hold in everything. I love them dearly, except for the long drying time, and the inside FOE on the leg gusset (Fold-over-elastic) will stain with poo, but it isn't noticeable unless you are REALLY Looking for it. It looks a little like a tea stain. I don't know that anyone besides me has noticed it on mine. These are great for DH, daycare, and out on the town.

I also think that Thirsties are the most awesome prefolds, but they aren't made anymore. I have bought all of mine used.

Other things that I learned - some of the best advice I was ever given about CDing-

Snaps over Aplix (velcro) - because it is cleaner, doesn't stick in the wash, doesn't pill and get hair/fuzz/strings in it. Not difficult to use once you get the hang of it, but daycare prefers velcro or they don't get them on tight enough and we have leaks.

Don't buy just one brand of diapers for your entire stash. Stick to 2-4 different types/brands because as babies grow, they will grow out of certain brands, or they won't fit correctly for a while. If you have all one brand, you will be screwed and have to go buy all new dipes to get through. If you have a varied stash, you will be better able to have something on hand that will work through an awkward growth stage. At first I didn't take this to heart, but now that it's happened to me, I love that I have lots of variety on hand.

Hemp is the most absorbent for inserts, but it takes time for it to absorb. Mirorfiber absorbs quicker. A combo of the two is awesome. Hemp alone can cause diaper rashes because there isn't much to keep the wetness away from baby's skin, even in a pocket. Flannel atop a microfiber insert is excellent because the flannel keeps baby dry and the microfiber absorbs alot of liquid quickly. This is why the inserts I make at home are from Microfiber automotive towels and 2 layers of soft flannel. See pics of what I make at home in my Flickr photos.

Don't dry your pockets, covers, etc. - They can be dried but will have a shorter life, particularly the elastic and the PUL. Once PUL is shot, dipes leak and wick. You can replace elastic but it can be time consuming. Even if the dipes are okay now, if you pack them away for a second baby, the elastic can rot and snap when removed from storage. Air Dry. I Air Dry everything except prefolds and inserts, so I don't like AIO's for how long they take to dry.

Don't use any fish oil based rash creams in cloth diapers. Don't use rash creams at all unless you have done your research or they stain the dipes permanently. Balmex works well for us. I lay a cloth wipe in the diaper first to protect it, just in case. I rarely need rash cream.... but it sometimes helps with redness. Also- to reduce redness and rashes, use a hairdryer to dry the diaper area thoroughly between diapers. I have a travel hairdryer that I keep plugged in and hanging on the changing table and it works great and entertains the baby to no end. Now when I dry my hair she cranes her neck to see what's going on with the hairdryer!

Choose a natural detergent that won't leave residue in your dipes. It's better for baby's bottom and also prevents the detergent buildup that causes odors and prevents absorbancy. The wrong detergent can ruin diapers. We use Charlie's Powdered Detergent and Oxy Boost Natural for stain removal, in each load. Oxyboost works better than Oxyclean baby (I know I have used both) and it's also less expensive and if you buy in bulk like I do you save money and reduce packaging waste. Right now I have a 5 gallon bucket of Charlie's Detergent and a BIG Pail of Oxyboost.

Cold Rinse all dipes on the highest water level setting, regardless of the number of dipes you are washing. I use the prewash cycle with no soap or oxyboost.

Then Do a HOT WASH and COLD RINSE with 1 full tablespoon of Charlie's and 2-4 scoops of Oxyboost (depending on the soil level of the load). Use the highest water level setting.

Do a Second Cold Rinse.

Inspect ALL DIAPERS for stains. Re-wash everything that has stains, this time you can skip the prewash, but still use the second rinse, hot/cold, and you can lower the water setting and decrease the amt of oxyboost.

If using detergents other than Charlies, use half the amount of recommended. Charlie's needs you to use 1 TBSP per load to be effective. This is directly from their Cloth Diapering Letter that they mailed to me.

Handling Dirty Dipes
A wet pail is a no-no. I know there are people who still use them, but they have determined that it is a breeding ground for bacteria growth.

We use a tall kitchen garbage can that has lift up handles so I can carry it right to the laundry room. My favorite pail liner is a Monkey Doodlez pail liner that has PUL sandwiched between two layers, so you never SEE the plastic, and it has an elastic top to fit a tall kitchen garbage. We also have a wetbag by WET HAPPENED for on the go and at daycare, it's just a smaller zippered version.

I place a cloth wipe with a couple of drops of Tea Tree Oil inside each one (pail/wetbag) to contain odors. I put the wipe under the rim of the pail lid to keep the nice smell at the top so it doesn't get buried in stinky dipes. No odor problems with that.

Diaper Pail (Garbage) with inside Handles:

Monkey Doodlez Pail Liner:


I don't rinse dipes. We are EBF and BF poo is runny and spraying doesn't make a difference. Instead of a toilet diaper sprayer, I got a new utility sink to use when the time comes... we will put the poo that is solid in the toilet near the laundry room and then spray down in my new sink.

Fancy Faucet with Sprayer:

As far as cloth wipes go, there are lots of WAHM's that make wipes that are adorable on diaperswappers, and you can buy them from several brands like Bummis and Thirsties, and others. Check some out at luvingmammadiapers. I personally use baby washcloths. You can get big packs for cheap at Wal-Mart and we have about 40. I make a wipe solution of Babywash, warm water, and a drop of Tea Tree Oil (it's antibacterial and stops mold growth, plus is a great essential oil fragrance- just a teeny drop will do) and then I soak the wipes, wring them out, and keep them in my wipes warmer just like sposie wipes. I also fill my peri bottle from the hospital with the solution and keep it by the changing table to use if I need to add more to the warmer. They work great and we even use them at daycare (cloth wipes.) Here are my cloth wipes....

I buy pretty much everything from Brandi at LuvingMammaDiapers. She has a LOT of choices for cloth diapering, she is extremely helpful in answering questions, and she is wonderful about communicating the status of your order and the tracking numbers. She also has wonderful sales and coupon codes that you can get if you sign up for her email newsletter. If you place an order, be sure to tell her that I sent you. Just type my name (Meagan Johnson) in the comments of your order and let her know that's where you heard of her. I really love her site, and her help has been enormous. I also write reviews over there for all the products I use/try, so that other customers can read up and make informed decisions.

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