Finding the Right Cloth Diaper for You

baby care, best diaper brands, BumGenius, Chinese prefold, cloth diapers, eco friendly diapers, Fuzzi Bunz, gDiapers, green parenting, how-to baby, how-to diaper, Mother-ease

Let’s face it, we are all trying to do the right thing these days, both as parents and as environmentally conscious consumers. For some, disposable diapers is the best route to go, for others – cloth diapers are the obvious choice. We are certainly not about preaching ‘the diapering gospel’ here at Inhabitots, but for those of you who opt for cloth and are confused about which cloth diaper to buy, here you go!

I have had the opportunity to test several different types of cloth diapers, and I have put together the following list of benefits and drawbacks of each of these options, along with my personal brand choice for each category.

baby care, best diaper brands, BumGenius, Chinese prefold, cloth diapers, eco friendly diapers, Fuzzi Bunz, gDiapers, green parenting, how-to baby, how-to diaper, Mother-ease

POCKET DIAPERS
These diapers, often made out of fleece, are luxuriantly soft and very easy to use. They come in a wide variety of cute colors and don’t require covers or fasteners. They usually feature several snap closures, which make fit adjustments a breeze. The major drawback to this type is the cost. They’re quite expensive, and you’ll have to buy several different sizes before your baby is potty trained. My favorite pocket diaper is Fuzzi Bunz.

ONE SIZE DIAPERS
One size diapers are very easy to use, featuring many snaps which help the diaper to grow with your baby. They’re usually mid-priced. On the downside, if your baby is a preemie or smaller than average, these diapers likely won’t fit until she grows a bit. These diapers don’t require fasteners, but usually require covers. My brand choice for One-Size diapers is the Mother-ease® One Size Dry Diaper.

ALL-IN-ONE DIAPERS
These diapers offer the ultimate in easy diapering. No stuffing pockets or searching for fasteners or covers. As the name suggests, these diapers are all in one piece! They come in a bunch of cool colors, too. As for drawbacks, they’re very expensive, and you’ll have to buy different sizes as baby grows. My favorite all-in-one is bumGenius™

GDIAPERS
This revolutionary diapering system features washable covers and flushable, compostable inserts. These are a great choice for eco conscious parents who can’t or don’t want to wash a bunch of diapers or throw disposables away. I appreciated that these diapers close in the back, which makes them much harder for little hands to open. The gDiapers website is extremely helpful, featuring how-to videos and lots of tips. On the downside, they can be expensive, and they have a different feel than cloth. My daughter, who had worn cloth diapers for two years, wasn’t a big fan of the way gDiapers felt on her bottom at first. After she got used to them, she was fine.

PREFOLDS
These diapers are definitely the most inexpensive option available. They last practically forever, with minor repairs. These diapers also grow with baby. A wide variety of fabric options exist, including bamboo, hemp, organic, and unbleached cotton. The drawbacks are that they take a bit more time to use because of the folding. They can seem confusing until you get used to them, and they also require fasteners and covers. I loved my Chinese prefold diapers.

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13 Responses to “Finding the Right Cloth Diaper for You”

  1. Daniel says:

    Cool diapers.

  2. Hayley says:

    I use a diaper service, Dy-Dee Diaper. For $20 a week they deliver and pick up 80 cloth diapers. I have 6 covers which I rotate and wash when needed. Works great- some leakage, but not any more than disposable. Freaks my mom out too, which is a plus. A woman in my baby yoga class swears by BumGenius. Which I might try when I go back to work.

  3. Beth says:

    I use the gDiapers and they are great! It’s a three-part system with cloth outer diaper in fun colors and patterns, snap-in breathable but waterproof liner, and flushable happy planet pads. The pads flush easily even with our stubborn toilets so there’s no smell and you can get rid of the pad anywhere there’s a toilet when traveling. There’s also no need to use harsh cleaners which are often used to clean cloth diapers. They are so cute you don’t need pants in the warmer days. We let our little one bum around in them and a little shirt.

  4. Robin says:

    I love Mommy’s Touch All-in-Ones. Not only do they do their job but they have some great designs. Check out their “wild child” and “lime disco” styles — they are a lot of fun.

  5. Kris says:

    I had so much leakage with FuzziBunz unfortunately. I almost gave up on cloth diapering until I tried the bumGenius 3.0 One-Size diapers. LOVE THEM! This website has free shipping and discounts the more you buy! http://www.nestmaternityandbaby.com. That is where I got mine and considering the free shipping, the price was great!

  6. Michele de Jesus says:

    Choice of diapers is a major decision as they have so much impact over time. See Mothering magazine’s March/April 2008 issue for many good articles. I’m surprised this post didn’t mention that there ARE also one-size pocket-type diapers (by Bum Genius & others). With one-size you get the most from your investment with a constantly growing baby. In SF we’ve used Tiny Tots diaper service and its been super convenient especially the first month when we were too overwhelmed to do laundry. The DS is cheaper than Seventh Generation disposable diapers. Now we’re struggling to find the best diaper for our baby. Our biggest concerns are finding a diaper that manages leaky poop in such a way that they don’t contribute to diaper rash on his sensitive butt, good absorption & gussets which prevent leakage, and a trim fit to avoid a big bulky diaper in his clothes or in our diaper bag. Not sure if we should also consider the diaper that best works with EC (elimination communication) & potty training. And of course an affordable organic option is ideal.

  7. rachel says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that one of the photos shows Kissaluvs fitted diapers, but fitteds aren’t even one of the categories covered? Kissaluvs are excellent newborn diapers, but beyond the first six weeks they just aren’t absorbent enough. My favorite AIOs are Bum-Ware. They’re super-cute, come in so many great colors, dry faster than any other diaper we use, and the fit is as trim as a disposable.

    Also, all Chinese prefolds are not created equal. The ones from Green Mountain Diapers are the best IMO. The length and width are ideal for fitting in any cover. Oh, and covers… this post doesn’t address them. For a PUL cover, Thirsties are terrific. For wool (and I’m a recent convert to wool covers), I adore Kiwi Pie covers.

    All that said, not every great diaper works for every baby. Some babies are long, some short, some skinny, some chubby. To an extent it’s just a matter of trial and error, but fortunately diapers resell easily and for more than you’d think.

  8. This is such a useful article Andrea – THANK YOU so much. I have a one week old newborn and am just trying to figure out the diaper thing now, and this article is really helpful.

  9. Gretchen says:

    I also went through some extensive trial & error before I landed on a few favorite combinations…including g diapers, and bum genius 3.0.

    I’m not trying to plug my own blog, but thought I’d share my reviews as well in case anyone finds them helpful…You can read my 4 part, detailed reviews here…
    part 1: ttp://junkmailgemsblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/greening-mommyhood.html
    Part 2: http://junkmailgemsblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/greening-mommyhood-part-2.html
    Part 3: http://junkmailgemsblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/greening-mommyhood-part-3.html
    Part 4: http://junkmailgemsblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/greening-mommyhood-part-3.html

    I’ve also discovered the benefits of insert socks, which can give the cheaper prefolds some of the benefits of the more expensive bum genius diapers. They work great to keep baby feeling dry on the skin, and I love the Bummi’s Super Whisper Wrap on top. I also have a tutorial on how to make your own insert socks for much cheaper here:
    http://junkmailgemsblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/diy-make-your-own-cloth-diaper-insert.html

    BumGenius are by far my favorite!! I invested in a set of 12 and that seems to be just the right amount for a couple days…by then my diaper pails are full anyway and most places suggest you don’t let dirty cloth diapers sit around more than a couple days anyway…

  10. Tiffany says:

    I am surprised that there is no mention of organic cotton cloth diapers. Organic cotton is a little more expensive, but when you look at the overall cost (health of our children and their environment) it is worth the extra couple of dollars. It seems that we are forgetting how environmentally polluting it is to grow conventional cotton. Polyester is even more unsustainable as oil and natural gas are the raw ingredients and we all know the extreme environmental issues of petroleum products. There is one caveat, if you are buying used. Reduce, reuse, recycle and keep those diapers in circulation. Of course, it does not seem wise to keep petroleum products next to baby’s delicate skin so it may still be best to gravitate towards natural fibers when looking for used diapers. We all have such power as consumers and must support practices that do do pollute or threaten the future of our children.

  11. Jeff says:

    Here is South Africa our choices were limited–and mostly hideously expensive when imported from the US or Europe. We currently use BumGenius & are very happy despite the high starting price.

  12. Ilana says:

    I’m a long time cloth diapering mom and have been running an eco baby boutique in Montreal for three years now. We specialized in cloth diapers and after a while became so disillusioned by the lack of support offered to consumers by the manufacturers of the diapers we were selling that we decided to create our own line (www.applecheeks.ca)! Not only is it heads and tails above the rest in terms of ease of use, but we offer a huge amount of hand-holding to our retailers and our customers. We REALLY want people to be choosing cloth and STICKING WITH IT. As a result, we’ve actually cut cotton out of our lineup because we feel it’s the reason why most parents fail out of cloth diapers. It’s not absorbent enough for the majority of babies. We only offer hemp/organic cotton combos and bamboo/organic cotton. There is SIGNIFICANTLY less water usage in the cultivation of these crops (hemp uses 260 times less water than cotton) and both require next to nothing the way of pesticides. And they really work.

    Also, regarding cost, I find it amazing that people don’t want Chinese-made products and yet are unwilling to understand the costs of manufacturing in North America. As well, to put the cost of a cloth diaper into perspective, actually sit down and calculate the cost of throwaways over 30 months. Even a high end system like ours is less than half the price of the throwaways, and, because they are so high quality, they will actually last through more than one child, which means mega savings.

    Concerned about water usage? Buy more diapers and wash less frequently. Easy as pie. And you will not come anywhere CLOSE to equalling the amount of water and energy required to produce throwaways. Anyone know why pulp and paper mills are always built on rivers? Food for thought…

    Great article!!!

  13. Boulboul says:

    The cheapest way to cloth dieapr organically is to buy natural organic (flat cloth) that you fasten in the front with what is called a . I tried doing this at first with my newborn because some suggested it would be easier while the umbilical cord was healing. However, it leaked HORRIBLY because, unlike other dieapring options, it isn’t . The next most economical way to cloth dieapr is to use with to put over the prefold. The most natural, organic dieapr cover is a , but those can be expensive, but the plus side is that as long as the cover does not get any excrement (poop) on it, it can be air dried and reused with a different dieapr (prefold) afterwards. Fortunately, in the long run cloth dieapring your baby is cheaper (and more ecologically-friendly) than using disposable dieaprs. (Not to mention how much gentler it seems to be on baby’s skin.) I, personally, really love pocket dieaprs. I use . You can use the same covers from newborn to potty-training and they are really easy to use. They do have , but they are a little more expensive. I prefer the pocket dieapr to the all-in-one because I think you can get the pocket dieapr cleaner and it dries faster. Hope that answers your question! Also, if you have any natural parenting stores in your area that sell cloth dieaprs, many of those same stores also offer classes on cloth dieapring that will really help answer a lot of your questions. Good luck and happy dieapring!

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