But let's start at the beginning. Why use cloth diapers?
I do care about the environment, and saving money is always a plus, but the key motivator for me to make the change to cloth diapers was the health of my baby.
Now, before I step on this current soap box of mine, just know that I used disposable diapers on my first child and what I write is out of love and wanting to share knowledge! There are so many reasons once you start researching this issue, so for now I will just list three of my health concerns about disposables.
1) Disposable diapers can cause asthma and respiratory problems because of the chemical off-gases from the diapers.
2) The super absorbent chemical in disposable diapers(sodium polyacrylate) is extremely toxic to babies. Sodium polyacrylate was also used in tampons until 1985 when it was removed because women left their tampons in for too long and contracted "toxic shock syndrome" which lead to fevers, rashes, even death. This is the chemical that forms the gel beads on your baby's bottom.
3) Dioxin is a byproduct of bleaching paper. It is the most toxic of all cancer linked chemicals. It can also cause liver disease, immune system suppression, and genetic damage in lab animals. Read about what the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has to say about it here.
So let's move on to cloth diapers.
It was an idea I had been interested in, but I was intimated by the unknown, overwhelmed, and just plain busy. My sister-in-law told me about this great little boutique in Houston where they hold cloth diapering classes (www.bebeverde.com).
I went, I listened, I was convinced!
I bought two different kinds on the spot. I now have three different kinds. I was interested in different aspects of the different diapers so I wanted to try several and settle on my favorite.
All three types of diapers are by Bum Genius. I have the flips, the 3.0 or "pocket diaper", and the Organic All-in-One.
So, I will start with what I like about how all three work.
1)**I have not had one single leak!!** The covers are excellent. I have had no leaks from the front, back, or legs of the covers. This is huge. This is massively important. For parents who have had to clean not only the baby's bottom, but also their back, their outfit, your outfit, the bed, the changing mat etc. this is a wonderful thing.
2) They are all more absorbent than disposable diapers.
3) They all "grow" with your baby using a snap system.
4) They are all cute. Yes, this matters.
Now to compare:
3.0 pocket diapers. They definitely keep the baby dry the longest. I definitely recommend these for overnight use. The other two are also absorbent but her bottom gets wet more quickly. The Flips need to be checked and changed most often. The Organic Cotton All-in-One does not pull moisture away from the baby like the other two do(because they use a micro fiber terry cloth) and therefore it also needs to be changed pretty quickly after the baby is wet.
Easiest to clean:
Flips. The wet diapers do not need to be "cleaned". They simply get dropped in the diaper pail. So, we are only talking about soiled diapers here. Because you are only dealing with an insert with the Flip diapers they are much easier to spray off. The covers on the other two diapers, and the multiple layers they have make cleaning a little more difficult.
Poop stains. It's just a fact. If you rinse them out well and wash them the same day the staining is minimal, but it is still going to happen to some extent. To reduce staining you can wring the soiled diapers out after spraying them with the bum genius sprayer.
Washing instructions are the same for all the diapers. It is basically rinse cold, wash hot, double cold rinse. Detergent use is almost zero. A little goes a long way and too much messes up the absorbency of the diapers. Bleach, fragrances, and fabric softeners should never be used when washing diapers.
The Organic All-in-One diapers take twice as long to dry as the Flips and the 3.0(which both have inserts separate from their covers which line dry only). The 3.0 covers need to be wiped out before re-stuffing because even after line drying them all night the inside of the "pocket" is still damp. I was frustrated with these at first but the outside of the 3.0 cover and the liner that goes against the baby dries quickly so if you just wipe out the pocket they are ready to go in about 45 min. The Flip covers dry very quickly(approx. 30 min).
The Organic All-in-One is the most slim, the Filps come in second, and the 3.0 are definitely the bulkiest. They all fit fine under her outfits though!
Snaps Vs. Velcro:
The snaps are harder to secure on a rolly polly baby, but I am not sure yet if they will have a longer "life" than the velcro. Right now, the velcro works extremely well, but will it be as adhesive in 2 years? We shall see.
The Organic All-in-Ones need no preparation, they are ready to go and are very similar to a disposable diaper in this way. The 3.0 pocket diapers need to have the inserts stuffed in them. This was not as easy as I thought it would be, but I got the hang of it and they are worth it! The flips are very quick and easy to place the insert in the flaps of the cover.
On the Go:
I am an active mama. I was a little intimidated about changing cloth diapers when I go out, but it really isn't a big deal at all. I have a wet bag, so I just drop the diaper in, and add it to the pail when I get home. No leaks. No smell.
Rashes or dryness:
I use Organic Coconut oil. Since it is a natural oil it doesn't keep the diapers from being absorbent.
The Learning Curve:
Having used disposable diapers before the biggest learning curve for me was remembering to change the baby even though she didn't look/feel wet or dirty. With disposable diapers it was always obvious to me from the look or feel of the diaper if she needed a change, with the cloth diapers I had to do the finger check to establish if she was wet. As a result, her bottom got a little red sometimes until I remembered to change her more consistently.
Another learning curve for me was using the diaper sprayer. That thing has some serious power behind it and only needs to BARELY be turned on. It is a mini power sprayer. I turned it too far once and the spray bounced off the diaper and onto the wall nearest the toilet and the floor. Fun. Still, I would rather spray than stick my hands in the toilet!
So what's my favorite?
I have a "favorite" cloth diaper for different things. I like all three, but to sum it up.... Flips for frequent changes at home(they are the easiest to clean/make the least to wash and dry), 3.0 pocket diapers for overnight, on-the-go and babysitting(most absorbent and similar to disposable), and the Organic all-in-one would also be good for babysitters. The all-in-one is my least favorite. If I had to pick just one? The 3.0.
He likes the 3.0 diapers. The velcro is the quickest/easiest to secure and it goes on most like a disposable.
Feel free to ask questions or leave comments... I may add some more info later!