I've said it before, but I absolutely love cloth diapering. It makes me happy when I think about how much money I've saved my family by not having to purchase disposable diapers all the time (not to mention wipes and diaper pail bags!). It makes me happy when I see my baby's fluffy butt in a cute color or print. And it makes me happy that her diapers won't be sitting in a landfill for eons, not decomposing.
I don't mind the extra "work" involved with cloth diapering. Really, the washing machine does all the work. I just turn the knobs. Yes, I had to figure out the best washing routine for our washer and our water, but that wasn't too difficult. And the diapers don't have to be neatly folded and put away. Some people leave them in a clothes basket and never fold them. But I'm anal about things like that, so mine do get folded and placed into a dedicated cabinet in C's room. I also like to stuff the pocket diapers all at once so I don't have to do one every night. But none of that is hard. Its just...life. To me, at least. I don't even mind dumpin her poop in the toilet. (Which is what you're supposed to do even with disposables, did you know that? Human solid waste is not supposed to go to a landfill.) Especially now that she goes with me to the bathroom and watches, then says "bye-bye, poop!" as I plop and flush it down. So cute.
I thought I'd share what diapers I use on C, and explain why. I use a mix of different types of diapers. Most people I've talked to use just one type or brand. I didn't go crazy trying different things in the beginning, but I decided I liked a little variety. A lot of people I know use solely pocket diapers (I'll show mine later in this post). I didn't like that idea because a) they're bulky, b) you can't reuse the shells of the diapers (I'll explain later), and c) that's a lot of stuffing!! You can get some super cute prints in pockets, though...!
The majority of the diapers I use are called prefolds. (I realize now that I should have taken these pictures on something other than a white background...sorry.) The picture on the left is a prefold opened all the way. You can see how it quilts up, that helps with absorption of liquids. When you first purchase prefolds (if they're new), they're a lot bigger and flat. They have to be "prepped" - washed and dried several times (I think I did mine 4-5 times), and then they will shrink and quilt up, making them more absorptive and ready to use. The picture on the left is a prefold that has been trifolded. That's how we use them on C. You can fold a prefold different ways and fasten it with diaper pins (the old fashioned way), a snappi (I do this occasionally - snappis are not sharp like diaper pins), or some other newer contraptions on the market. But to me, that's too much work when trifolding it works! Oh, and prefolds are very cheap. I got most of mine for around $2 each. There are more expensive brands out there, but I've been happy with mine. (And I have no clue what brand they are anymore!)
Obviously, you need somethin to hold the prefold on the baby. That's where a cover comes in. Covers range widely in price. I tried the Kawaii Baby covers and fell in love. They're cheap (around $6 each), are practical, solids colors, and have a handy little flap in front that holds the prefold in place nicely. I have almost every color that Kawaii makes in their covers: white, baby blue, pale yellow, lime green, and pink. Here's my blue one.
Those snaps you see on the front are so you can adjust the size of the cover. These can be used from birth to potty training! C still has plenty of room to grow in these, if need be. You can see in the second picture the flap I was talking about. Sometimes when she was smaller and still had those explosive poos (you know the kind I mean!), some of it would get on the flap, but not always. I also love the fact that the inside of these covers is soft, not plasticy feeling like some other covers I have (I'll show them next). I also chose to use velcro (technically, hook and loop) closures instead of snaps. Snaps are supposed to last longer, but to me velcro is easier to adjust and more user-friendly. I haven't regretted going with hook and loop.
Here's a shot of a prefold in the cover.
When I first started my cloth diaper research, I read a lot of reviews about the Best Bottom system. I had to give it a try. At first, I loved it. Then I went through a phase where I absolutely hated it. Lately, I'm on okay terms with my Best Bottoms, but I still prefer my good ol' prefolds and a Kawaii cover! Here's a BB cover:
Very similar to the Kawaii cover on the outside (most covers pretty much look the same on the outside). The inside is where its different. First, the BB covers have exposed PUL (polyurethane laminate) on the inside. PUL is what makes diapers "water proof," basically so they don't leak. Sometimes the exposed PUL bothers C's skin, especially if its a hot day. That's really the only think I don't like about the BB system. You probably can't see it in my picture, but there are two snaps on the inside of BB covers, one at each end. These snaps hold the insert in place. I like that. You can also use a prefold with these covers, and I do that all the time. That cuts down on the amount of PUL touching C's tender skin. But these covers are not as stretchy as the Kawaii ones, so I feel like they're tighter on C, which is a good and bad thing. They do a great job of holding in messes, but I feel like sometimes they are a little too tight. I only have 3 BB covers: the pink and yellow one below, and 2 solid white ones.
Here's a shot of the side gussets of the BB cover. I really like this. Those gussets really form to her chubby thighs and keep messes in.
The best part about pockets is that if its a good one, it leaves the baby's skin feeling dry. Meaning she's not laying in a wet-feeling diaper all night. C's little hiney is dry every morning, unless she's just peed. The inserts are microfiber, which does a wonderful job of absorbing liquid. Microfiber can't touch the skin, though, because it will suck all the moisture out of there, too. So those inserts are only used to stuff pocket diapers.
Again, I decided to go with the Kawaii brand of pockets. They're much cheaper than some other brands out there (around $9-11 each, while some brands run closer to $20!), and in my opinion, work just as well. I have several Kawaii pockets. I also got a free bumGenius pocket diaper with an order once. bumGenius is one of the top-rated brands, but it doesn't perform any better than my Kawaiis. And the one they gave me has hook and look closures, and after a year, they are having trouble sticking. My Kawaii pockets are all snaps. I figured snaps would be safer at night, since they won't get caught on anything and peel open like velcro can. Plus, snaps are harder for little fingers to open! I have no desire to wake up to a diaper free baby, haha.
Here's one of my favorite Kawaii pockets. This one is a minky fabric on the outside and it is super soft inside and out.
When I first started buying diapers, I told myself to be practical and get gender-neutral colors. That way, if we ever have a boy I can use the same diapers. I really did try! But I couldn't resist some of the girly ones. I don't see why the blue cheetah print above can't work for a boy...right? ( : My other pocket diapers are solid pink, solid purple, solid yellow (gender neutral!), and I have one more print, a Kawaii lime green with white and yellow daisies. Oh, and I bought a Fuzzibunz pocket a while back to give it a try. Its not my favorite diaper, but I like that it is much trimmer than the other pockets. If we used pockets all the time instead of just at night, I'd probably go with Fuzzibunz (even though they're more like $17-20 each). The one I have is a reddish orange color and says "Does this diaper make my butt look big??" SO cute!
As for my wipes...I am extremely simplistic here. Lots of people purchase actual cloth wipes, and that's all fine and dandy. But they're expensive and honestly, who cares? They don't need to be pretty and they don't need to absorb, they just need to wipe and clean up hineys. I just bought cheap baby washcloths from Target and Walmart (Target's are larger, but I don't have a preference). I also cut up the thin blanket the hospital gave us. DH was kinda upset over that one, but honestly, we would never have used it since we got a gazillion baby blankets before C was born. Plus, this way, I figured we'd see the blanket daily for years. Craftier people would sew the edges of the cut up blanket so they don't fray, but not me. I don't know how to sew, though one of my goals is to learn. The fray doesn't bother me at all.