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What’s The Best Cloth Diaper For You?
One of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “What’s the BEST cloth diaper?” My simple answer is that there isn’t one BEST diaper, however, there might be a BETTER diaper for your situation.
What makes a diaper the BEST for you is the diaper getting used and working for your child. Hopefully, our journey will give you insight into some of the types of diapers available and determine which might work for your personal needs.
Our Cloth Diaper Journey Began
In 2002 we found out we were expecting our first child. I can’t remember how I was exposed to the idea of cloth diapering, but early in the pregnancy, I decided it was a good idea.
I shared the benefits with my husband and he was completely on board, so I sat at the computer for months and researched the types available, compared prices, and read reviews.
I was completely overwhelmed! And believe it or not, at that time there were only a handful of “big” manufacturers and very few retailers who had a variety to choose from.
There were many WAHM-made diapers, but seldom did one of these moms have enough available for an entire stash.
All In One Cloth Diapers
After much deliberation and building intimidation about all things parenting-related, we settled on two and a half dozen All in Ones from an online retailer that only took checks by mail.
My husband and I agreed that something that was already assembled for us, in one piece, straight out of the dryer, would be easy for us to use. We liked the reviews that stated we would probably only need two sizes to take us through potty training, and we wrote off the reviews that claimed the sewn-in layers take forever to dry.
Wool Diaper Covers
We did use the first size of All in Ones successfully. They were very simple and not intimidating at all, but all of the layers sewn together did take FOREVER to dry. This type of diaper has undergone several revisions over the past eighteen years, creating diapers with layers sewn separately for quicker drying time.
When it was time to think about the next size up, I decided to research other types of diapering systems. I stumbled across wool diaper covers online and was further intrigued after talking to a coworker at a local breastfeeding store about this fantastic fiber. We decided to take the plunge and bought two dozen premium prefolds, a few Snappis, and three wool covers for my almost one-year-old.
I read the washing and lanolizing instructions, realized it would only take a few minutes of my time, and a new diapering path emerged.
We continued on with the prefolds and wool until our first child was potty-trained. In 2005, during the last few months in diapers, we found out child number two was on the way.
We loved prefolds and wool so much, we decided to sell off our All In Ones and buy three dozen prefolds and a few wool covers in the infant size for our impending arrival. We used them exclusively for the first two months until our chunky son was too big to fasten them with a Snappi.
Pocket Cloth Diapers
Around this time, I returned to managing the breastfeeding store full-time with both kids in tow. I thought it might be nice to have something that packed a bit smaller and changed a bit quicker than prefolds while I was busy helping customers and caring for a newborn and toddler.
We were intrigued by the pocket design and purchased a batch of Fuzzi Bunz in a rainbow of colors. We fell in love with the colors, the quick drying time, the ease of changes in odd places, and the slim fit under clothing.
We quickly eased into our washing and stuffing routine at night, and I loved the way I could compactly fit enough for a full workday in my diaper bag.
We added more pockets to our stash, but still used prefolds and wool at home. As an added bonus, my mother-in-law, who was unable to attach a Snappi with her arthritic hands was able to put on the Fuzzi Bunz and willing to use them due to their simple design as our baby got older and stayed with her on occasion.
Cloth For The Whole Tribe
In 2007, when number two was a bit over a year, we were surprised with the news of a third child on the way, and the realization that this would mean two in diapers at the same time!
At this point, we had a ton of cloth, but friends added to our stash at the baby shower. Since the cloth diapering market was exploding at this time, we received quite a few fun new fitted diapers and different types of pocket diapers to try with number three.
We started out with infant prefolds and a few infant fitteds with wool covers and shorties and longies that I knitted myself.
Our second child was still wearing his FuzziBunz out and prefolds at home.
When the baby quickly grew out of the infant size, we moved him into the medium FuzziBunz as well, also depending on the other >pocket diapers we were gifted to stretch out our stash for two kids.
Prefolds, Fitteds and Covers
At this time, my position at work was very demanding, and stuffing pocket diapers for two was becoming a tedious task for me.
Our second child was also ready to move to a larger size of diaper, but requiring fewer changes each day as we worked toward potty training.
We decided to order him toddler prefolds and a few fitteds and use them with some PUL and some wool covers, mainly due to the inexpensive price tag.
We set aside the pockets for a while and used our premium prefolds with the baby. We enjoyed the out-of-dryer-into-basket simplicity very much during this period.
Fitted With Fleece and PUL Covers
As time went on and our second child resisted potty training, we also tried out fleece and PUL covers and used our fitted diapers for times when we wanted a trimmer option and for nighttime use.
We used a few fitted diapers with PUL covers on our youngest as well, enjoying the ability to throw the covers in the wash when life got hectic and handwashing wool wasn’t in the cards.
Eventually, our second child was potty trained but continued to pee during his long stretch of nighttime sleep. We invested in cloth trainers, which turned out to be a good investment because we are still using them three years later.
We enjoyed using the mix of everything until our third child moved on to toddler prefolds and the few fitteds we had in that size range. As he moved closer to potty training, we needed to get rid of some of the diapers to make room for storing too-small clothing as the boys grew.
Uncertain if we would have more children, we decided to keep only the prefolds and a select few fitted diapers, as well as our favorite Berry Plush cover and soaker combination.
The pocket diapers had excellent resale value since they were well-maintained in a large rotation of diapers and were sent off to another home.
Prefolds and Covers
We found out child number four was on the way in May of last year. We felt great about using our collection of prefolds with various types of covers throughout his diapering years.
We also decided to add a few One-Size covers and inserts to our stash to replace the worn-out diapers and covers we gifted.
The One-Size phenomena really grew when number three was pretty well set with the number of diapers we owned, although we did try one out when he was two.
Stay Dry Inserts
We were very excited that a few of these covers offered the option of disposable inserts to use while traveling when facilities or space for cloth diapers aren’t an option.
We were really glad we had a few on hand when number four was born because he was an extremely high-needs newborn who did not like feeling wet at all. We found the use of Stay-Dry Inserts in these covers to be sanity-saving during car rides, naps, and at night. They take up barely any space in the diaper bag, which is a huge bonus when packing for four kids.
We continue to use our prefolds and fitteds as well, and they fit great under the highly adjustable One-Size covers.
Use What Works For You
Hopefully, this journey has shown you that any diaper can work for you, but there may be a BETTER diaper for your particular situation.
You may be happy with a complete stash of one type of diaper, or you might want a variety. The best thing to do if you are having trouble picking a system is to attend a class, seek out the advice of a cloth diapering professional at YourClothdiaper if you are an online reader.
By assessing your personal needs, you will be given suggestions on a system that will work best for your family. I wish this type of help was available when I was furiously searching the net many years ago.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions for me as well!