Recently my co-blogger Lexy Zissu wrote about how she came to the decision to use gel-free disposable diapers. She followed up with a post about cloth diapers. Like many New Yorkers, she lives in an apartment without a washer/dryer and instead of swaddling her daughter in chlorine-heavy diaper-serviced cloth, she uses gel-free disposables [her post includes a variety of options but she prefers Tushies. I also used Tushies on my daughters until I moved into an apartment with laundry and was able to finally make the exciting move to cloth. Understanding the cloth diaper world required some trial and error, so to save you some of that expense heres the skinny on what works best for me.
As Lexy mentioned, there are tons of Websites and online forums discussing cloth diapering, but they can be time consuming and confusing. I was at the Green Expo in New York a few weeks ago and booth after booth displayed soft, touchable, lovingly designed cloth diapers. I held their downy cotton between my fingers and was psyched Id be buying some soon, but my cars meter was about to run out and I knew it would take more than ten minutes to figure out what to get. If so many companies now make these beautiful diapers and so many women buy them, I knew they had to have simplified the process, I just needed to figure out how.
Turns out its not that confusing. Just avoid fitted diapers. Theyre made of lovely fabrics that are often too gorgeous to ignore (Bamboozle, Little Beetle, Happy Hempy, but theyre useless without a diaper cover, an added step that hides their beauty anyway. Also, if its not you who will be changing all these diapers you want to try and make it as easy as possible on the people who are babysitters, grandparents, husbands, etc. I put my 5 month-old in a Little Beetle fitted diaper and she leaked through to the mattress. When I tried it again with the diaper cover I found that the diaper was just too soaked. It cant be comfortable or conducive to sleep, and since shes prone to diaper rash I knew this would eventually lead to trouble.
So, heres what I do recommend:
During the day use an all-in-one cloth diaper from BumGenius. Its thin and will wash and dry very quickly. The core is a microfiber fleece and the outside is nylon or polyester. They have no stuffing and youll go through a number a day, but youll also use way less energy drying them than a pocket diaper.
At night get the pocket diaper from Happy Heinys. They take longer to dry, but keep my daughters dry overnight. Buy fleece inserts for the daytime and some hemp inserts for night, which are highly absorbent. By the way, stuffing them with more than two inserts doesnt equal more absorbency for some reason. I have a friend whose daughter developed a diaper rash that she couldnt get rid of while using cloth diapers, so she started using disposable diapers for overnight. You cant use diaper rash creams with the fleece inserts because it ruins the absorbency of the fabric, so lots of people use disposables at night. (I remember my mother complaining that no matter how well they washed our cotton diapers when we were babies theyd still have an embarrassing stain from the diaper cream when they hung them out to dry.) Another friend hates the noise that opening the Velcro makes and prefers the subtler pocket diaper from Fuzzibunz.
Obviously the investment is steep at first, but at around 18 bucks each you can set yourself up for around $200. No more huge bags of diapers, which turn into even huger bags of diapers. Its a real load off.
I may be convincing, but if you want to do a test drive yourself or are worried about sizing (chubby thighs?) theres a great company in Portland, Oregon called Babyworks. They sell a Diaper Sample Kit and are very cool about taking diapers back. A google search will lead you to millions of discussions, but I found the information at Diaperpin, Wildflowerdiapers, and Diaperjunciton to be particularly helpful.
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