My first daughter was born in 1998, and I brought her home from the hospital to a huge stash of Huggies and several tubes of Desitin. Every 1 to 3 hours she filled a tiny, thin little diaper made of plastic and super absorbent sodium polyacrylate with a very wet yellow poo…and I can still remember that it always shot right up her back every time, out of her diaper and onto her little gown. Tiny diaper after tiny diaper after tiny diaper got balled up and tossed into a diaper pail…and I still had to wash yellow poopy clothes. Box after box I bought, tossed, and took out to the apartment complex dumpster…endless trash, endless messy baby clothes because the breastfed baby poo went right up and out of the disposable diaper almost every two hours. This went on for months before I realized I had another option. When Hannah was four-months-old, a catalog arrived in the mail advertising cloth diapers. Back in 1998, our options were prefolds with pins, prefolds with Snappis, nylon pull-on pants, fitted diapers, prefolds fastened with velcro covers, and “all-in-ones.” I ended up ordering a dozen prefolds and a few Bumkins vented covers, 3 pairs of Bummis Whisper nylon pull on pants (which unfortunately are no longer being made) and a dozen cotton/poly blend flannel fitted diapers, and three different styles of “all-in-ones.” I soon realized there are pros and cons to each style of diaper. The prefolds and velcro covers worked well, but they sagged unless I also put a onesie (tiny t-shirt that snaps between baby’s legs) on to hold the diaper in place, and the prefolds were bulky when folded over in the front but the fabric was great for absorbing wetness. The flannel fitted diapers (made by a Canadian company called QJ) fit well but were not very durable or absorbent, and they felt very wet after being soiled and were awkward to change because the wet dipe had to come into contact with the changing table surface when the nylon pants were pulled off…the nylon pants worked well but when poopy were a pain to remove. …and I only used the “all-in-ones” a few times because they were a huge pain to wash and took forever to dry! We still used disposables sometimes, and at night, but I saved soooooo much money by using cloth at home. I mean…we were home most of the time and we went through so many diapers…so why not???
My second daughter came along in 2001, and we started out in cloth right away. We used newborn Pro-rap covers and tiny newborn cotton contour shaped diapers (which I loved! They were a birdseye 100% cotton fabric, very trim and I ended up using them for 3 girls in a row…finally selling them to a friend. Of course now I cannot find them anymore anywhere and I suspect they are no longer made.) I loved the Pro-rap for size newborn and they worked great for holding Claire’s poo right from the start, but the next size up of Pro-rap after “newborn” (smalls) were of lesser quality and I ended up buying more Bumkins vented covers because they never leaked, although they did leave red marks on baby’s back and sagged without a onesie. We stayed with Bumkins vented covers until potty training. My main reasons for loving the Bumkins were that they never ever leaked EVER, and because they were made with nylon rather than PUL, they didn’t retain stinky smells which can be a problem with older babies and toddlers who are not exclusively breastfed anymore.
Anyway, the real fun…and cloth diapering craziness, for me, began in 2004 with the birth of my third daughter, Emily. We had more money at that point in our life and more to spend on diapers and I had a lot of fun with Fuzzibunz and Happy Heinys with hemp inserts. Back in 2004, the one-size pocket diaper hadn’t hit the market yet. I had 18 Fuzzi Bunz and 18 Happy Heinys. I started with pocket diapers in size small and kept selling them on ebay and buying more in larger sizes as Emily grew. Although I love pocket diapers for little baby, big baby was stinkier and the PUL and polyfleece retains smell…I came to discover, much to my chagrin. So, for toddling Emily, I ended up going back to a snappied prefold and nylon pull on pants. By this point I had decided to steer clear of velcro closure covers altogether because they just don’t last. The prefold/nylon pant (Bummis Whisper nylon pant) combo was perfect for my active toddler –trim fit didn’t interfere with wiggling and running around, washed up easily, and wasn’t stay-dry–BECAUSE I wanted a my older baby to feel the wetness. Feeling wetness makes for quicker potty training. If I had known about Mother-ease Sandy’s at this point, I would have bought them, but alas I had yet to discover my favorite easy to use fitted diapers.
With my fourth daughter in 2007 I discovered Bumgenius. I bought 30 of them and used them full time for Allison’s first year paired with the hemp inserts I had kept from diapering Emily. It was a pricey purchase, but when we were done with them I sold them to a friend for over half of what I originally paid. Why did I quit pockets after age 1? They were wearing out and staying stinky. The ease of washing a 100% cotton diaper without a stay-dry layer for a baby no longer exclusively breastfed wins out over the ease of use of a pocket diaper. Pre-folds and Snappies and Whisper pants were introduced back into my diapering regimen. BUT this time around I had more money to spend for sampling fitted diapers, and I ended up falling in love with the Mother-ease Sandy’s organic cotton fitted diaper paired with an Aristocrats wool cover. IN LOVE. The natural fibers…the cool rash free baby bottom existing under the cotton and wool…the no leaks ever…the no stinky smells ever…the ease of hand washing the wool….(It really is easy!)
If I had to do it all over again I would go with Mother-ease organic cotton fitted diapers and Lanacare or Ruskovilla wool covers full time. Why Lanacare? They are prefelted for a trim, leakproof fit right from the start and are made with untreated organic merino wool….soooooo soft. Ruskovilla covers are a more affordable choice, however, and are trim fitting and stretchy for comfort and also made of soft, organic merino wool. I would also use Mother-ease Air Flow covers for times when all my wool was in the laundry. If I ever needed a disposable-like alternative for a babysitter, I would go with the Mother-ease Wizard Duos or Best Bottom diapers (instead of pocket diapers or all-in-ones) as they are easy to put on baby, easy to wash, and they don’t leak! Old fashioned flat diapers or prefolds and covers are always a good route to go for an affordable system. Bummis covers are tried and true and their organic cotton prefolds are super soft and easy to fold. Old fashioned flat diapers, if you don’t mind folding, are very affordable and versatile…easy to wash and fast to dry. Flats and prefolds can be used with Best Bottom shells as well for an even more affordable, leak-proof system. I prefer organic cotton fitted diapers and organic wool covers over any other system due to ease of use, earth friendliness, and breathablity for baby’s skin health. Yes, fitted diapers and wool covers are fluffier…but who says a baby’s bottom needs to be slim? ;)