Friday, January 7, 2011

Cloth Diapers: Styles and Brands

These are not your momma's cloth diapers. Modern cloth diapers have a large variety of styles. Each have advantages and disadvantages. My recommendation for anyone considering using cloth diapers is to buy a variety or do a trial pack and see what works best for you and your baby before investing in one style or brand.

Prefolds: This is what most people think of when I say cloth diapers. They are flat pieces of cloth that can be folded in a variety of ways. They require a diaper cover. I bought a couple newborn sized unbleached Indian prefolds. They were okay, but not that absorbent. Dan would never try them. They are a pretty good option for tiny babies who don't fit into other diapers. Don't bother with the Gerber brand that you can find in Babies-R-Us. Those are great burp cloths, not diapers.

Fitted Diapers: These are shaped diapers that snap onto place around the baby's bottom. They require a diaper cover. I used Kissaluvs size 0 on Liam exclusively until he was about 9 or 10 pounds. They were great diapers for a newborn since the top snaps down so as not to rub the umbilical cord.

Diaper Covers: These are the Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) covers that lock the wetness inside. I covered Liam's prefolds and fitted diapers with Thirsites Duo Wraps. I liked that they adjust to fit over different bulks of diapers. I loved the patterns, too. They did tend to get a little wet around the seams at night when we would go several hours between diaper changes.

All-in-Ones (AIO): Just as the name suggests, these diapers work exactly like disposables. They are all one piece. I have two brands of AIO diapers. Bum Genius Elementals and GroVia AIOs are both organic cotton, one-size diapers. They adjust to fit babies from about 10 to 30 pounds. The Bum Genius is a little more fool-proof than the GroVia, but it takes longer to dry in the dryer.

All-in-2 (AI2): This system is intended to cut down on laundry. The popular G diapers are AI2s, but I haven't tried them personally. I have GroVia AI2 diapers. Like the AIO, they are organic cotton. The absorbent part of the diaper, called a soaker pad, snaps into a waterproof diaper shell. GroVia also offer disposable inserts, bio-soakers, that can be flushed, though I haven't tried them yet. They are also one-size diapers that will fit Liam until potty training. As a breast fed infant, his poo is still very watery and often escapes the soaker pad. It's not a huge deal, but I usually only use 2 soaker pads before I have to change the shell. These are Dan's favorite cloth diapers.

Pocket Diapers: This system includes a waterproof diaper and absorbent inserts. The inside of the diaper is made out of fabric that wicks the moisture away from the baby's skin to help him feel dry. The inserts are very absorbent materials that your baby may not want directly against his skin. The separate parts make these diapers dry really quickly. Pocket diapers can also be used without the inserts as swim diapers.  I have Happy Heiny and Bum Genius 3.0 pocket diapers. Both are one-size diapers. Happy Heiny diapers are made by work-at-home moms and come in lots of great patterns. They feel a little flimsy and the lining often creeps out and results in small leaks. The Bum Genius pocket diapers are my favorite of all the cloth diapers I have tried. They are my go-to diaper for nighttime and Liam seems to be comfortable for longer in them. The 3.0 version has been replaced with 4.0. I don't know what the difference is other than they have patterns now in addition to solid colors. They come in snaps or velcro. Dan prefers velcro but I prefer snaps.

Amazon (what can't you buy from Amazon)
Cotton Babies (home of the Bum Genius brand)
Jillian's Drawers (shopping & information for many brands, they offer a great trial pack)
Diaper Style 

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