I am so excited about this post. It is my first, but will certainly not be my last. To be honest with you, I'm amazed and delighted at how much I am enjoying and having fun with cloth diapers. Who would have thought! I strongly disliked always prefacing during pregnancy that I was going to try, but knew it might not work out. I wanted to be truly committed from the beginning. And I've quickly learned about parenting - a lot of it is definitely making choices for your family, and sticking with it. Then being flexible when something's not working. Raising kids is so personal and different for everyone, and I think that's what makes it fun - especially when we support and share with each other what's working and what's not. Anyway...
First, here are pics of everything I started with. I also had another pack of g diaper disposable inserts, but I took these pics at 1 month old, after we had gone through a pack and a half of those inserts, using the tiny g diapers and disposable inserts about half the time, and disposable diapers the other half. I wish I would have kept better track of how many disposables we used. We didn't buy any because of what had been gifted to us, but we went through about 4 packages of Pampers newborn swaddlers. We filled up one of those diaper genie type things at least 3 times. Those first days are crazy!!! :)
This is what I started with for my cloth diapering journey.
Newborn G diaper bundle, (gift), plus a pack of 6 cloth inserts (gift card)
This is the tiny G
This is the size small G diaper, with an example of a one disposable insert and one cloth.
Two Best Bottom shells, (one was a gift), and 2 inserts (one small, one medium) to try
You can snap in the inserts and just change them out if the shell doesn't get dirty and can be wiped clean.
Three Tots Bots Easy Fit diapers (My first ones - a gift from my mom at a baby shower - SO exciting!:)
The pocket type insert is attached.
One Bum Genius Elemental All-In-One
7 Indian Unbleached prefolds, because they're cheap and I thought they would be good extra inserts for the G diapers. (They were actually too big - only used these in desperate, diapers in the laundry moments)
Bum Genius Odor Remover to break down stinky bacteria on poo diapers, Thirsties bottom cleaner to use with cloth wipes if we chose, Shake It Up pail freshener by Rockin Green, Grovia Magic Stick - a cloth diaper safe bottom treatment/barrier
A Planetwise Wet/Dry bag (smaller than I thought, but good now for in the diaper bag)
Rockin Green Laundry Detergent
In this post I'm going to do two things; first, explain a couple different diaper options for those who don't know. (Lots of people in my life). Please know that if you don't know anything about, or don't care anything about cloth diapers, this might sound overwhelming and a bit complicated. But it's not, I promise. Secondly, I'm going to talk about what I liked, what I didn't, and how this starting "stash" worked for us in the newborn phase. We went to cloth diapers completely full time at 1 month, when we were better established at home, and I refused to open any more disposables or buy any. (We got over $200 in gift cards by returning some gifted disposable diapers!!) Then I'll touch briefly on what we're doing now and how I like it.
Okay, so the basic different types of diapers I've worked with (keep in mind Selah was 6 lb 14 oz when we brought her home):
*Hybrid diapers/All-in-2 (can be used with cloth or disposable inserts, usually has 2 or 3 parts)
G diapers are an example of this. Some can also be called "All-in-twos" because you snap in an insert and can often just change it out if the shell doesn't get dirty -
This was a regular size small G diaper at a little less than one month - I don't know if I have a pic of a tiny G - bummer! They were so cute and fit perfectly for a little more than a month. Then they were too small. But definitely an economical way to cloth diaper a newborn. Best Bottoms are also an example of a hybrid diaper, which I couldn't get to fit quite right with the snaps in the beginning because of her bigger belly and tiny legs. We have since gotten one with velcro that I love - more on that later.
*All In One - this means the diaper is all in one piece, you just put it on and take it off, like a disposable diaper. This didn't fit quite right because of her tiny little legs until more like 9 or so pounds. It's also a "one size," which means it's adjustable from birth to potty training, so it saves money though sacrifices a more perfect "sized" fit.
*Pocket diaper - this means you stuff the diaper with some sort of absorbant insert. These are usually a little less expensive than all-in-ones, and the absorbancy can be changed based on your needs. You do have to stuff them out of the laundry though.
The Easy Fits are one kind of an example of this, also they are also an all-in-one, as the pocket is attached, which makes for easy stuffing. This is an awesome diaper for sure, though on the pricier end. When I started I didn't have a traditional pocket diaper, though I do now, so I have some opinions. :)
As far as how it was cloth diapering a brand new baby, mostly with disposable inserts, and 6 cloth inserts - totally doable. Now technically if this were a full time plan would it save money? Not exactly. The g diaper disposable (and cloth!) inserts are pretty pricey, and I won't buy more when those run out, unless we're traveling. G diapers also only come sized, (for a trimmer and cute fit). But this makes them way more expensive. They definitely are cute.
Do I think we would be able to do cloth from the beginning next time? Yes. Only because we won't be first time parents and I'll be use to doing the extra load of laundry every one to two days. (and Kevin will know how to do it ;) We'll also have more to work with. This time, because she went through so many at first, I didn't have enough to give it a try (full time) even with my one size diapers.
At about 1 month old I started really enjoying the g diaper inserts, especially because occasionally we could just change out the cloth insert and only sometimes the plastic part. (With breastfed poo it's often both parts). Then, once I had used them for about a month as our main diaper, mixed in with the 3 Easy Fits, 1 Bum Genius All-In-One, and a Fuzzibunz, they got really annoying to have to "assemble" (snap in the plastic part, stuff in the cloth insert) every time I got them out of the wash. And while it was nice they weren't as bulky as the one size diapers, they also seemed to get smaller faster, because our little girl is long and has a bit of a belly. We also had some leaks. When she was about 2 months old, I ended up getting a few more diapers and put the g diapers away. I might have even liked the g's better and longer if I had more cloth inserts - but I didn't want to spend money on those. So right now I still have just enough diapers to do a load every 24 hrs. or so.
Right now I have 11 pocket or all in one diapers, and 5 hybrid/all in twos, (a few of which I mostly use when we're out and about or doing laundry. I don't have a lot of hybrid inserts, so I don't use these to their full potential right now) To do laundry every 2 or more days I'm thinking it would be ideal to have 20-24 main diapers. I didn't invest in a large amount from the beginning because it's just too much fun to research and buy them one at a time! (For me) And they are always coming out with something in the cloth diaper world. Since I don't plan on making it financially not worth it by buying more than we need just for the fun of it, (though that's tempting!!), I'm taking my time with the budget we will invest in them.
The newborn g diaper bundle was a great buy though, and it was half gifted to me by my mom. It was on sale at diapers.com for $125.00, and I used a promo code to get another $25 off. There were 12 tiny g's and 6 small size g's in there. So $100 for 18 diapers is awesome. (So is a mom who likes gifting things to her new grandbaby!) I also thought I could get more for my money by using prefolds as inserts...that didn't work so well, mostly because I don't like messing with prefolds. (Old fashioned diapers) A LOT of people out there love them with "snappis" and covers because they're so inexpensive. Not so sure how daddy friendly they'd be though!
A cloth diaper averages between $15-$20, which is often the cost of a pack of diapers that you throw away. So if you make sensible choices, it is a huge money saver. Obviously the start up cost is where the bulk of the money goes. There are many great websites that have done awesome cost breakdowns and charts. Since math is not my thing, I'm not interested in doing that. I will point you to those instead!! Softbums has a great little diaper pdf/booklet that shows several charts of different diaper types, cost comparisons and breakdowns for their own as well as other diapers. It's a great resource! Here and here are also great resources for comparisons.
Here are other webistes I also really like and visit often:
Dirty Diaper Laundry (tons of awesome video reviews)
As far as the laundry, I don't mind it a bit. We often (not always) spray each dirty diaper with the Bum Genius odor remover so it starts breaking down the stinky bacteria. I also have a larger wet bag and an antibacterial pail liner that I put in the Diaper Dekor. We don't have any problems with stink at this point. When I'm ready to wash, I take the pail liner or wet bag that we have filled with the dirty diapers, do a cold rinse, a cold wash w/ two scoops of Rockin Green Hard Rock and an extra rinse, and finally a hot regular wash. (Sometimes I do a cold wash with a scoop of detergent, then a hot wash with a scoop of detergent, then a cold extra rinse.) Then I dry them on extra low. While it is probably better to line dry them, I don't currently have enough diapers (or sunshine!) to wait for them to dry before I need them. But this system is working great. Also, I am sometimes using the g diaper cloth inserts in my other hybrid diapers as back ups when I need them. Because we are breastfeeding we don't yet need a diaper sprayer - but I have enough money left on a Babies R Us gift card that I'm going to use to invest in one of those soon.
So I'll tell you/show you what I have now, and follow this post up with some cloth diaper reviews! Fun! I have read/watched so many diaper reviews on line that I've lost count. It is just so fascinating, (for a new cloth diapering mom anyway:). Kevin's trying to convince me to do a video review of some of them. We'll see. Sounds intimidating.
Here's my current "stash" (that's the term the cloth diaper world uses - I think it's funny):
-3 Bum Genius Elemental All-In-Ones - organic cotton inside (Two I got during the cottonbabies.com seconds sale - cute, trim, and super simple - but they really do take a long time to dry.)
-1 Bum Genius 4.0 pocket diaper artist series - stay-dry micro suede inside (good quality, really durable diaper, pretty trim):
-1 Rumparooz in tulip - stay dry micro chamois inside (GREAT for breastfed babies (internal gussets), soft inside, starts fitting when they're tiny, fastest for me to put on, never leaks, great colors; they are a bit bulky):
-1 Fuzzibunz Elite in tootie frootie - stay dry micro fleece inside (Trim and cute - love the minky instead of microfiber insert, but it's so trim that it can be difficult/annoying to stuff):
-3 Tots Bots Easy Fit - bamboo inside (easy to use, great fit, well made, soft bamboo inside, trim):
- 2 Little Bee Diaper Co. pocket diapers - bamboo or micro suede inside (Awesome christian company and mission, and these never leak!)
-1 Softbums in pink giraffe - stay dry micro fleece insert (an all in 2 - this is super soft, has a great sizing mechanism and is a neat diaper!):
-3 Best Bottom shells - stay dry micro fleece insert (2 snaps, 1 (strong!) velcro; 3 snap-in inserts - never leaks, great gussets!)
(I call this her soccer player diaper :)
-1 Grovia shell (30% off discontinued cosmos color) (no grovia inserts - cute and trim diaper):
(This has a flip insert in it, which makes it not so trim!)
-6 g diaper cloth inserts (babies r us gift card)
-3 flip inserts (to use as inexpensive extra inserts in the Grovia and Best Bottoms)
Oh, and we do use disposable wipes. The cloth wipes were a little weird for Kevin and a little annoying for how many diapers we're currently changing. I tried to make my own out of paper towels, but that was a serious fail. I do prefer the chlorine free Seventh Generation or Earth's Best (my favorite).
I keep wanting to decide on a favorite diaper, (which is also why I didn't want to buy all of one kind), but there is seriously something I love and often something I might change about each diaper. They all seem to have their strengths and weaknesses. Though at this stage of the game I'm growing more and more fond of my Rumparooz, (because it has many features I love), and it's hard to go wrong with a Bum Genius! I'm looking forward to trying a new one they have coming out soon called the Freetime. I also am loving the Little Bee Diapers. They never leak and for every diaper you purchase one is donated to an orphan. I love that. The Tots Bots Easy Fit was my first 'love,' and is Kevin's favorite. It has a great fit and a bamboo inner, which is soft and antibacterial, but not stay dry, so the baby feels wet. Selah doesn't always like that. Still, it's a great diaper and one I would provide for babysitters, because of the one step and velcro. For travel I've had great success with Grovia and Best Bottoms shells (because they're easy to clean by hand and dry), with Flip disposable inserts (inexpensive!).
Who am I kidding - I love them all! ;) I do think it's nice to have a variety for different needs and occasions. I'll go into more detail when I do some reviews of them. Also, at the beginning I was sure I'd prefer snaps for their strength. While this is mostly true now and might be true in the long run or with a toddler who can take velcro off, I have to say I like velcro in certain brands because of its ease of use (and for this age). I definitely prefer snaps in pockets and all-in-ones, and velcro in all-in-twos/hybrids so far. (Best Bottoms, Grovia, and Tots Bots have great velcro).
Overall, I do seem to think that Bum Genius, Rumparooz, and Tots Bots are great companies and definitely know what they're doing - they make great diapers. And it is important to me that these diapers last, as I hope to use them for multiple children. From what I can tell so far, my opinions are continually tweaked as Selah grows.
What things do I base my decisions on? I would say reviews, materials, (snaps, strong velcro, soft and durable inside, etc.), colors/patterns, (having a variety also allows for greater enjoyment of all the cuteness!), and fit (if it leaks it doesn't matter how cute it is). If a great diaper is at too high of a price, I'd rather wait for a sale or discount rather than get a cheaper diaper that might not last as long or work as well. I guess I prioritize quality over quantity. But I'm also willing to do the laundry.
I will say, before I started I was concerned I wouldn't want to deal with stuffing pockets at all. I have found that really isn't too big of a deal. It's kind of like matching socks. Now, I have to be honest in saying I have been able to avoid unstuffing dirty diapers so far, as they have agitated out in the wash. (Except for the Oh Katy). Technically your supposed to pull out the insert before washing. I am afraid I would forget to do this on occasion if I always had to.
Some of my favorite online cloth diaper stores and blogs:
Wee Little Changes (Free Shipping, friendly owners - You can click on the button on my blog)
Itsy Bitsy Bums (Free shipping over $35 - great selection, very informative)
Cottonbabies (Free shipping, company that makes makes Bum Genius)
Abby's Lane (Free shipping, also good selection)
Mom's Milk Boutique (Free shipping over $25; frequent deals and specials)
Nicki's Diapers (Free shipping on pocket diapers and Best Bottoms diapers)
Sweet Bottoms Boutique (free shipping and a friendly, small, mom owned company)
Sweet Angel Diapers - (Free shipping over $11, always great discount codes, often freebies)
Kelly's Closet - (one of the bigger cloth diaper sites, not great shipping for small purchases, but often offering a free diaper with purchases over a certain amount - I've never done this, so I'm not sure what kind of diaper is the free one!)
The Green Baby Store (They had good black friday sales, good selection, and I used the code DSMAMA for $2 shipping. AND I got a 30% off code for another purchase when my diaper came!)
Keep in mind, I haven't bought from all these stores, but when you buy one diaper at a time, you do get to try out the service of many! :)
I also always check diaperpin.com and look under the sales/announcements section to get discount codes and sales for online diaper sites. They also have a review section.
So that's my first cloth diaper post! I realize it might sound a little crazy to those of you completely uninterested in the cloth diaper world. But for me it's been a fun part of being a new mom. It's hard for me to decide who to think of when I'm writing this post, because that would definitely affect what kind of info. I'd include. Please ask any questions you may have - I'd love to answer them with my very limited experience in a follow-up post!