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Fluffy Butt Syndrome (or how we diaper our toddler)

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Right after I got laid off–when Gareth was about 6 months old–we decided to use some of my severance pay to invest in some cloth diapers. We were thinking it would be a good way to cut back our expenses a little bit, which was important when we suddenly became a one-income family. I’ve had a very fickle relationship with cloth diapers. We used them for several months, and I hated them, Josh was nervous around ย them, and Gareth fussed constantly because they gave him rashes (turns out it was the Charlie’s Soap we were using). We stopped using them for a while, and went to using a Chlorine-free, plant based disposable diaper, which Gareth’s sensitive skin loved, but we were spending so much money every month on diapers. I tried cloth diapers a couple more times, but got easily frustrated for various reasons. We’re back to using cloth again, and for the first time I’m happy about it, we’ve been successful, and we’re using them full time. Gareth still complains about them sometime, and it’s not a completely perfect system, but we’re starting to figure out what works and what doesn’t. He probably has around a year left in diapers, but hopefully we’ll be pros at this by the time we have another baby. I may even want to cloth diaper that one right from the get go.

It’s so easy to over research with cloth diapers, and you want advice from people who have done it already, but everybody likes something different, so the more you read online and ask friends, the more likely you are to get 100 different answers to what you thought was a simple question. I tried things (like Charlies Soap) that worked perfectly for other people only to find out that it was frustrating and ย we hated it.

Here are a few things other people loved that didn’t work for us–or I liked them but Gareth hated them.

Charlies Soap brought me no end of frustration. It’s not even actually a soap, and you have to use it on everything or nothing. So none of my clothes got very clean, and on top of that it caused bacteria in Gareth’s diapers that gave him rashes and was difficult to get rid of. I’m back to washing our clothes in Tide again. I’ve been washing our diapers in Tide too, but only because I haven’t had a chance to run to the store for some Seventh Generation detergent. I don’t like spending tons of money on eco-friendly detergent, so I prefer something that I can buy and use just for my diapers. Sorry, Charlie!

I know so many people love and swear by Thirsties covers, but I thought the snaps and velcro wore out quickly. They were also a little too short and narrow for my tall son, and he outgrew them well before we reached the promised 40 lb weight limit.

We also tried a couple of micro terry inserts, but I hated them. They stunk and they always had lots of static cling. I always had bad lint problems with them. I prefer cotton for everyday use.

We just got a Blueberry coverall to try, and I like it because it seems sturdier than the Thirsties cover, but Gareth seems to hate anything with a snap closure (it’s harder to get a good fit with snaps, and he hates anything that is too tight), and the tag in the back bothers him to no end. We’ll probably save this one for day trips, since it wipes clean, so I don’t have to pack a backup cover.

Gareth’s and my favorite cover is the Bummis super whisper wrap. I like it because it fits over everything–even fitted diapers–and it’s incredibly sturdy. The velcro isn’t wearing out on these anytime soon. Gareth likes it because the velcro closure means I can get a good fit without making it overly tight around his middle. It also has no tags in the back. Even with the Bummis cover though, Gareth still tugs at the elastic around his legs.

We just tried a Kissas cotton/fleece fitted diaper, and Gareth seemed to like that one a lot. Josh liked it too since it was so easy to put on. It’s super soft, and they put the tag on the outside of the diaper, so it doesn’t scratch Gareth. Josh asked, “Why can’t we just use these all the time?” Umm…because it’s $13 a diaper, that’s why. Multiply that times 18-24 diapers, and that’s way more money than we have to spend right now–even if we did buy them over time. I think we’ll get one or two more and keep them for night time or for when Josh has to change a diaper. I don’t mind using the more complicated prefolds and covers.

We’ve never tried all-in-ones just because of the cost. I’m sure we’d like the convenience, but we have a modest budget. We’ve worked hard to find a balance between good quality materials (we want these to last for multiple babies), diapers that don’t have painful elastic or itchy tags, and items that don’t cost a ton. With trial and error, we’ve started to figure out what works. The website that has helped a ton is Green Mountain Diapers. It’s full of great information! Plus it has lots of adorable pictures of babies in cloth, and I could just look at those fluffy butts all day long.

Does anyone else have a child who is super sensitive to the elastic and tags and anything remotely rough or itchy? Gareth doesn’t even like appliqued clothing because the seams bother him. I’m starting to think that the only diaper he’ll be happy with is a flat birdseye diaper that’s pinned shut with a nice, soft pull-on cover over it. I’ll probably get one to give it a try–there definitely won’t be any tags or elastic for him to fuss about. I suppose he might not like the pins, but I already know he hates snappis (they rub him, and he ends up pulling them off and scratching himself with the teeth).

If I’ve learned one thing cloth diapering, it’s that you have to try a ton of different things to find what works for you. The only item I’ve bought several of without regrets is our Bummis wraps. They are wonderful. But don’t take my word for it–you might end up hating them!


8 responses »

  1. we’ve cloth diapered on and off too; zu is such a heavy wetter, i couldn’t find anything that wouldn’t leak once she hit around ten months old (after stripping the diapers, and using extra inserts, etc). but we were pretty happy with them between her being 2mos old and 10mos. i tried newborn diapering with june and i am NOT a fan of that–i’m too tired to keep up with extra laundry and the gdiapers we were trying out are not my favorite. anyway, its definitely a trial and error thing, but i sometimes love cloth diapering and Always love it when i don’t have to shell out extra cash on diapers!

    • Gareth used to be a heavy wetter, but he’s outgrown that as he’s gotten older, which has actually made it easier to cloth diaper with him. I just do a fleece liner over a prefold at nighttime and that’s plenty for him right now–whereas a year ago I he’d soak through everything I threw at him. I’ve heard wool covers are great for night time because it’s so waterproof, but they’re expensive, and I have yet to buy a $35 wool cover. They look so cute and soft though, I’m sure I’ll try one before too long!

  2. Have cloth diapered baby since she her umbilical cord fell off and I love it.the funny thing is she has super sensitive skin and the times I have used disposables like at a 3 day church camp, she broke out in a terrible rash. But glad to see you’ve found your groove with cloth diapers ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s such a great money saver . One diaper that is bulky but cheap and has worked great for those heavy wetting nights is the kwali

  3. Mawmaw (Connie)

    Oh, dear, I never knew cloth diapering could cause so much distress. Back in the olden days when we had no choices, we just did it. If there was a diaper rash you used zinc oxide and went on….. I know I need to get current…lol Love you, Mawmaw

  4. Yep, everyone’s different. ๐Ÿ™‚ We use Charlie’s (on everything…we haven’t bought laundry detergent in almost 18 months because we got the 32lb bucket) and love it. We were using BumGenius 4.0s, but after a year of stuffing 30 pocket diapers everyday I was fed up! We are switching to BumGenius Freetimes and we love them. It’s crazy how much money it saves over time. Gareth would probably love wool since it is stretchy and soft. I can’t wrap my brain around lanolizing though…that many steps to anything and I think my head would explode. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. We use Bumgenius and I do not use detergent on them! Every other wash I put a tad bit of vinegar in my hot cycle but other than that, I have found that detergent irritates allergies, causes rashes and all sorts of problems. The hot cycle on your washer should get hot enough to sanitize. Enough rinse cycles gets everything out also. Don’t get too discouraged – it takes a lot of trial and error but we have found that it is well worth it. The other danger in diapering is that there are a lot of “cloth diaper safe cream” for rashes but they really don’t wash out the way they say they do. We only use coconut oil on Elwood for rashes and otherwise we switch to disposable while the rash clears up.

    If you want to chat on Sunday, I’d love to! Good luck with whatever route you choose!

    • Amy, thanks for the no detergent tip! I never would have thought to try that. I’m pretty happy with the diapers we’re using, I just wish we had more of them. ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoy cloth diapering for the most part. Thankfully we’ve gotten past the discouraging phase.


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