When my son was first born, there was no way on earth you would even have gotten me to consider cloth diapering. And in my mind, cloth diapering was something that was done in the “olden” days. It seemed like a big hassle and I couldn’t see the costs outweighing the benefits.
But as my son started to get chronic eczema, I started to look for an alternative. And I realized that there are so many options aside of your standard prefold diaper. Although, a lot of people still swear by them. But for me, it just seemed to be a bit more hassle than I had the patience for. Since I got into the cloth diapering scene when my son was a little older, I settled on experimenting with pocket diapers.
Pocket diapers are pretty easy to use. You have an outer layer consisting of a water resistant fabric, with an inner layer resting against your babys skin that is usually microfleece (which wicks moisture away from the skin), however, there’s also velour and other fabrics that are used. Imagine having a nice organic velour next to your butt? Yes, please. In between these layers is a pocket that fits what’s called an insert. Inserts are generally made out of microterry, hemp, or a french terry. Inserts generally contain many layers for absorbency. It takes a little while to find a system that works for you, but once you do, it’s pretty efficient. And you become fond of baby bubble butt. I’ve given quite a few diapers a whirl, so I figured I’d share my thoughts with you.
Fuzzi Bunz: This was the first diaper that I tried. To be fair, I used the old style, which has since been replaced by a one size diaper, so I’m not sure how the new one stands up, but the original one I think, was one that you either loved or you hated. The insert, a microterry fleece, wasn’t overly absorbent, the snaps to adjust the legs and waist didn’t work for my son. They either made the diaper too tight or too loose. I know that there are people who swear by their Fuzzi Bunz, but I wasn’t overly impressed with them. Again, the newer version might be completely different.
Swaddlebees: Because I was still experimenting, I purchased both aplix (velcro) and snap versions of Swaddlebees. After Fuzzi Bunz and I decided we weren’t friends, I was dead set against snaps. After using aplix, I was dead set against velcro. Swaddlebees are a great, well made diaper. They fit my son well. The microterry inserts are more than absorbent enough to last through about 2-2.5 hours. There are two things that I don’t like about these: They’re very thick and bulky and while I like the feel of the velour, it’s also heavy and doesn’t wick away moisture. It’s luxurious, though.
Bum Genius 3.0: Bum Genius is one of the most popular one size pocket diapers. And I can see why. They’re well made. They come with an adjustable insert as well, and the insert is actually pretty absorbent. We had one of those moments the other day where we looked at each other and said “did you change him recently?” I was surprised that he didn’t leak through. And yet the diaper is still trimmer than most pocket diapers. As with most one size diapers, you can adjust the rise on the diaper via snaps, so you can use this diaper on your itty bitty newborn, as well as on your linebacker toddler. I held off on trying this one for so long for a multitude of reasons. But I have to say, I’m impressed. I can understand why Bum Genius fans push people to drink the Kool-Aid. The only thing I will say, is that I wish they came with a side snap option for people who prefer snaps.
Drybees: Drybees are the last diaper in the stash that I reach for. It’s not a bad diaper, it’s just the design, though standard looking, is a bit bulky and puffy. And one thing about cloth diapering, is that you’re going to be hard pressed to find something as slim as a disposable. That’s just the way it goes for cloth. These seem as though there’s a lot of excess fabric (i.e. these are probably really good if you have a meaty baby). For these, we use a thirsties insert, and they work fine, but I have to size up my son’s pants when using these. And the velcro hasn’t held up as well as other velcro diapers. I usually save these for the hot days where I don’t have to put pants on my son, and a diaper will suffice just fine.
Green Acre Designs: Green Acre Designs are one of my favorite diapers. A lot of people raved about these diapers, and in the underground diapering world, they seem to have a big following, but otherwise, not that many people know about them. They’re well constructed and while they’re not one size (a drawback if you’re looking to only have to make one big purchase and not have to buy more everytime your child outgrows them), they do have a decent amount of stretch, so you will be able to use the larger sizes for much longer. The snaps are on the side, which is good if you have a kid who has a fondness for ripping their diaper off. I’m not a fan of the inserts she makes, so we use a knickernappies “loopy-do” insert, which I absolutely love. It’s trim and yet it holds a lot.
Whamies: I really like the concept of this diaper. I think we’ve established that I’m not a fan of velcro. I will use it, but they create a big mess if you forget to fasten the tabs down before you put them in the wash. So when I saw a diaper that had hooks, I was all for trying it out. The concept of the diaper is pretty much the same as the rest. It’s one size, which again, is nice if you’re trying to save money and resources. It has four hooks and loops all around to find the perfect adjustment for your baby. The diaper isn’t going anywhere once it’s fastened. The one caveat to this is that it’s sort of tricky to get the hang of. This is a diaper that I’d probably try out in the beginning when your baby is an infant and isn’t going to be going anywhere. I tried this out on my toddler a few times and he got rather impatient with me for taking so long on getting the hooks fastened. His impatience brought my anxiety levels up, which made it more difficult to use. Again. There is nothing wrong with this diaper, I love it, but I’ll leave this one to my husband to take care of.
Blueberry Diapers: Blueberry diapers are similar in style to Swaddlebees in my opinion. This isn’t a bad thing. I do like the insert flap a little better on these over most as they tend to not bunch up like a lot of them do. There’s nothing more embarrassing to a toddler than having an insert hanging out of their pants, now is there? These are easy to use, and come in a lot of fun and cute designs, including minky, which is apparently the holy grail of pocket diapers. My son personally doesn’t own any minky in his stash, but I hear they’re very nice. The insert it comes with is a split insert, which is also really nice, because they seem to be more absorbent and also dry much faster. The other thing I like is that they also come in one size AND have a snap option as well as velcro. I like when there are more options.
Knickernappies: The knickernappies “Disposanot” diaper may have a funny name, but it’s another one of my choice diapers. It’s trimmer than a lot, and it’s also got side snaps which is a nice thing if your child has a knack for undoing diapers. When I first purchased one of these, they were a little bigger in the leg, so I had to wait to start using them, but once I was able to use one, I really liked the way it looked under pants. That’s my biggest test when buying a diaper, how will my son’s pants fit? These are similar in style to my favorite Green Acre Designs, but again, a little trimmer. They also run a little big bigger, which might be good if you’re looking to get a little longer use out of them.
So there’s my very lengthy rundown of all of the pocket diapers I’ve tried. It’s not every single brand out there, but it’s quite a few. If you’re looking to switch to cloth diapers, here are a few tips that might help you make the switch easier.
- Purchase a few different brands and styles. If you have a hundred bucks or so, research what might work best for you and purchase one of each. You can also look on sites like diaperpin.com to see if anyone has diapers you’re looking for for sale or for trade. Some are gently used, but this can be a good thing. They still have plenty of use left in them, you save money, AND they’re most likely already primed.
- Prime your diapers. Technically your inserts. Most diapers only need a wash or two before use, but the inserts might need to be primed (sometimes 5 or 6 times depending on the insert) in hot water and dried repeatedly before they’re absorbent enough. And subsequent washings makes them continually more absorbent. You can also boil them depending on the type of insert to help speed up the process.
- Always read the care instructions of your diapers. Cloth diapers are an investment, and if you want them to last, you need to take care of them properly. Most pocket diapers are made with the same material, but there are many other types of diapers and if you take care of them properly, they should last you through multiple children.
- Use a proper detergent. Now that you’ve read the care instructions, simple Tide won’t do. Not to mention, Tide, ew. Even detergents like Dreft, can cause a build up on diapers. My personal preference is Charlie’s Soap, but there are quite a few natural and eco-friendly brands that work great on diapers.
Got any other tips? Contact us and we’ll be happy to add them.