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 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 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!