I've been interested in cloth diapering since I was pregnant with Orion. I knew that cloth diapering was supposed to save money, so when I registered for my baby shower I chose Gerber prefolds and "waterproof pants" because they were cheap and available at the stores where I registered. I knew there were fancy all-in-one type diapers out there, but I also knew they were super expensive ($20 a piece). I got those prefolds and covers... but when my skinny little Orion arrived, I knew that they were NOT going to work for him! Thinking back, I don't think even the smallest size of waterproof pants would have fit him until he was almost a year old. Unfortunately, I ended up having to sell all my prefolds and return the pants, all completely unused.
I'm usually the researching type, so I don't know how I went wrong! Have cloth diapers really gotten WAY more accessible or advanced in the last 6 years or did I somehow just not come across information about all the great options out there? Regardless, my mind has recently been opened to the cloth possibilities!
I have a few friends who cloth diaper (and love it!), so when I started thinking about trying cloth again, I asked them all a million questions about their experiences and preferences. I learned a lot from talking to them, and also just from reading and shopping around online. There are lots of different types of cloth diapers out there! Everyone is going to prefer something different. I've tried two types: prefolds with covers, and pocket diapers.
My friend Kayla gave me some really nice newborn size prefolds (bamboo/cotton blend. Yes, there are prefolds beyond Gerber!) and a couple size small covers, along with a few other things she didn't need anymore. These are the first cloth diapers I tried with any consistency because they fit newborn Cecelia better than the pocket diapers. They were easy to use and it was nice to be able to use the same cover through multiple diaper changes and just swap out the prefold diapers themselves. I did find these a little messier/ickier to use than the pockets, but not bad!
The other diapers I've used are pocket diapers. It's made up of a diaper made of PUL waterproof fabric on the outside and microsuede on the inside, and an absorbent insert that fits in between these layers (tucked in an opening in the back of the diaper). I just have the basic microfiber inserts, but there are many materials available. From what I understand, I may eventually want to upgrade to cotton or bamboo inserts, or just stuff them with prefold diapers because these materials are more absorbant.
I had kind of an adventure buying diapers. I searched the internet (eBay, local diapering groups, national diaper swap groups) for the best deal before jumping on a stash of BumGenius diapers. These are those $20 a piece fancy diapers I ignored the existence of when I first looked into cloth diapering. I bought mine for about $6 a piece used. No staining whatsoever, but the velcro was pretty worn out. (left in photo above)
About a week later, a stash of Alva diapers came up for sale in a local group for about $4 a piece. They were so cute I contacted the seller about buying one or two with the thought that I wanted to see the quality difference between the "name brand" BumGenius diapers and the Chinese Alva diapers (Alva is the largest diaper manufacturer in China and I'd heard good things about them). When I got my hands on the Alvas I decided that there was no quality difference and the Alvas had the more desirable snaps as opposed to Velvro. SO, I bought the whole stash of Alvas and sold the BumGenius diapers on Craigslist for a profit (and kept the large wet bags that came with them). (right in photo above)
My diaper stash! These Alva diapers are the cutest!
The other supplies I ended up with are:
-2 large trash can sized wet bags
-2 small zippered wet bags
-flannel baby wipes
Wet bags are what you store wet/dirty diapers in instead of trash bags. The bag gets washed right along with the diapers! They are made of a waterproof material.
I put one on Desy yesterday just to see if they would fit. They do! Des just turned three, so that's a pretty awesome range in sizes from one diaper! Cool!
I'm getting used to caring for these diapers... I looked up instructions on the manufacturer's website (cold rinse, hot wash with an extra rinse, line dry if possible) and have had pretty good results even with dirties. Line drying in the sunshine does wonders for removing stains!! Nathan built me a fabulous clothes line using instructions from this blog. I used it the first time yesterday morning and I loved it. We hang dry a lot of clothing too, so obviously its usefulness goes beyond diapers.
Overall I've had a good experience with cloth so far. It's actually a lot easier than I expected. Obviously it entails doing a load of laundry every two or three days and stuffing the diapers takes a little time, but it doesn't seem like a hassle at all. I am using disposables at night so I don't have to worry about leaks and diaper changes during the night, and also for church nursery to make things easy for the workers. I have gotten used to using cloth on the go- with Cece's nursing schedule it's easy to remember to change her diaper often.
Our family is going to save SO much money using cloth diapers, especially since we bought used. We won't have to buy diapers ever again if we don't want to, even if we have more children... And when we're done we will probably be able to sell these!
Cloth diapers certainly aren't ideal for every family or situation, but I think they're going to be a good fit for us! :)