The more days I spend as a parent, the more I begin to realize I fall somewhere in the middle-ground of most parenting discussions. I would not fall neatly into the camp of a mama who buys all organic, uses all natural products, or follows attachment parenting methods, nor would I say I fall neatly into the camp that doesn't buy all organic, uses non-natural products, and follows strictly in the 'cry-it-out' method of parenting (not that one method of parenting falls neatly into either category).
All that to say, when we decided to cloth diaper, for our family it came down to largely a financial decision over an environmental decision. We use cloth diapers 80-percent of the time, but utilize disposable whenever we travel (which lately has been often). It's a happy medium for our family and our lifestyle. Thanks in part to family and friends purchasing us packs of disposable diapers before Bray was born, I think we've only purchased one pack ourselves so far in Bray's five-months of life.
In deciding to cloth diaper I took on the task of researching the various styles and brands that exist in the market today (and there are many!). Everything from the familiar, old-school pre-folds, to all-in-one's, pocket diapers, and hybrids - it's a bit of a dizzying decision wading through all the options. I've linked to a few posts that I found helpful as I began my research at the bottom of this post.
In the end, we decided upon Best Bottom Diapers, and purchased them in a bulk package (for a discounted price). The package included 9 covers, 18 small inserts, 18 medium inserts, and 18 large inserts. We then purchased three nighttime inserts along with two travel inserts. We spent roughly $400.00 on the entire package when it was all said and done and the company we purchased them through gave us a wetbag for free.
We did not start using cloth until Bray was around one-month old, instead we opted to utilize the many newborn disposables we were gifted. Best Bottom Diapers work rather similar to disposables. The inserts button on top of the inside of the covers so you can reuse the wipeable covers throughout the day, while tossing the inserts in the wetbag or seal-tight bin (we utilize a sealed garbage bin). There's no stuffing or folding required. Covers are double-gussetted, utilize snaps not velcro (which wears over time), and can be snapped to fit multiple sizes up to 35+ pounds. You simply snap in a new insert with each change and change the cover every 2-3 diaper changes. We have never come close to running out of inserts or covers even on the messiest of days.
Roughly every 2-3 days I do a load of cloth diaper laundry. We do not have a sprayer at this time since Bray (sorry to be graphic) doesn't have solid poop, but we'll evaluate that purchase going forward. For now, we simply toss all inserts directly into the wash. I do a cold/cold (no detergent) rinse cycle first and follow-up with a hot/cold (with detergent) regular cycle. I found Tide Detergent to be by and far the best detergent for removing stains and keep the diapers smelling fresh and clean. I air dry the diapers and throw any with remaining stains in the sun and allow the sun to do it's natural bleaching work. It's for this reason, and to remain gender-neutral, that we purchased all white covers and inserts.
In the average day, Bray goes through 4-5 inserts and 1-2 covers. We have rarely had a blowout or leakage when using cloth both during the day and at night. For nighttime, Best Bottom diapers have a nighttime insert that snaps into a regular insert. It creates one very large, fluffy bum and you'll need to size up on jammies to fit the diaper, but it keeps Bray dry for up to 12+ hours of sleep.
For travel, we opt to utilize disposable because our trips are often longer (3+ days) and would require utilizing someone else's laundry machine or a laundromat. We know not everyone has the same comfort level with cloth diapering and it's simplified our trips to use disposable.
Overall, we've been very pleased with our decision and will continue to reevaluate as time passes. In the end, we want what's best for Bray, our family, and our budget and for now cloth diapering addresses all three.
If you are curious to learn more, below I've included a few helpful links to get you started:
- Best Bottom Diapers
- Bulk Best Bottom Diaper Package from Nicki's Diapers
- Overnights & Doubler Inserts
- Introduction to Cloth Diapering by Jenna Beaugh
- What are the Different Types of Cloth Diapers by Viva Veltoro
- Modern Cloth Diapering - All You Need to Know by Jornie
- Cloth Diapering 101 by Valerie Keinsley