Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Diapering Lessons & Reviews

G in a thirsties' duo cover, 4 weeks old
To all parents considering cloth diapering:
As a mother who did a lot of research about the in's and out's of cloth diapering, and has now been cloth diapering for over 4 months, I'd like to share with you some experiences and reviews of products I use(d). There are many new products I haven't tried, and many brands I don't own. These reviews are products I use all the time and have experience with.
To view the post that I wrote prior to the birth of my daughter click here. It contains information about the various types of diapers, reasons to diaper, my expectations/thoughts about the topic before actually doing it, and links to various places.
Now, I realize that 4 months is not really that long, but trust me, changing diapers 24/7/rain or shine/number 1 or number 2, I feel like I've been doing it since the day I was born. I do advise you to do your own research, but I'm happy to be part of that as I consider myself an expert of sorts now because I have tried a variety of diapers and a variety of methods.

Ok, ready for the good stuff? 

This is lesson number one. For the first few months of G's life, I used Purex Free & Clear (PFC) based on the information found online that suggested many moms had good things to say about it. I didn't want to shell out the extra cash for fancy-schmancy cloth diaper specific detergent. I knew that PFC had the potential to build-up (that is, leave residue behind that could cause rash/irritation) due the fact it still contained brighteners/enzymes. So to combat that possibility, I read up on how to strip diapers (wash using dawn dish soap, vinegar, or a variety of other methods & then rinse a million times in HOT water) should said build up occur.
The long story short is that the build-up did occur, despite extra rinses, using less-than-recommended amounts, and a variety of other steps taken to remedy the situation. G got diaper rashes, especially after being in a wet diaper over night (the good news is that I can tell you how to keep a heavy wetter's overnight diaper from leaking at all). After several days in disposables and Zinc/Rx cream, she was all healed up...and I thought my diapers were stripped. I.thought.wrong. Back to disposables it was....I finally just bit the big-spender-bullet and headed over to my local diaper store to pick up some Rock In Green.
Lesson learned: just start with diaper specific detergent and save yourself and your baby's bottom the trouble.
Rock In Green (RiG) is awesome; it gets the diapers so soft, smelling new, and rinses out leaving nothing behind--but there are many other brands to choose from. Check out this chart, but stick with the good ones, don't risk anything below 4 stars. Or, at least don't say I didn't warn you.

Washing Method.
You've gotta find what works for your situation, and I tried a variety of methods before settling on my current one. If you have regular water and a top loader, try this:
  • Use a diaper sprayer (we use Bum Genius Diaper Sprayer - love it!) to spray yuckies off your diapers before putting in the pail (I'd squeeze/wring out excess water). Put plain ol' wet diapers straight into the pail.
  • Do laundry every other day so that nothing gets too smelly in your dry pail. I, and almost every modern CD'er, do not suggest the wet pail method favored by our mothers.
  • Do a cold rinse and if you are not exclusively breast feeding, include a pre-wash solution, like Thirsties pre-wash or Bac-Out, to get rid of bacteria.
  • Do a HOT LONG wash cycle with the appropriate amount of detergent (varies based on what you're using. For RiG I use 2.5 tbsp, for PFC I typically used 1/4 of the way to the number 1 line).
  • Double HOT rinse.
  • Do another cycle to make sure all bubbles are gone, if diapers seem like they need it.
  • Line dry many items, but usually I tumble dry because it keeps them soft. I ALWAYS line dry my pail liners and my covers.  
line drying my diapers
 Diapering Product Reviews. 5 point scale based on ease, fit, and protection in my experiences with my daughter who is very long and average weight, with chubby-for-her-size thighs
 - Click on the diaper name to be linked to manufacturer's information.

*Thirsties Hemp Duo 4 
These are great absorption diapers. They definitely cost more than plain cotton prefolds, but they are worth it for heavy wetters/over nights. They do take a bit longer to dry, and are white so they may stain (nothing a little sun won't cure). They are easy to fold and are trim/thin under covers and clothes. I'd suggest having these in your rotation for sure. 
*Econobum 100% cotton 3 
These are pretty thick prefolds, which is a good thing for absorbency but bad for fitting under clothes. We used them even when G was to small to wear them. We put them under her while changing her so that the changing table stayed dry if she decided to go mid-change. She has just begun wearing them in the past 2 weeks. They aren't perfect fits when trying to fold 'angel-wing' style, but are great for 'twist' or 'newspaper' folds. For the cost, just get run of the mill prefolds, but I do like them. 
*plain cotton prefolds 4 
Cheapest way to diaper your baby. We got ours at our local diaper store, $20 for 12. I think you can find them even cheaper online. You can get a few different sizes that fit babies from newborn to toddler. They are easy to clean, and once you get used to them, they are fairly easy to put on. I would love to give them a 5 because I don't think they are that hard...but of course there is some work involved and they can add bulk to babies' bottoms.

*Thirsties Snap Duo Covers 4.5 
These, as I stated in my first blog, are great because they have the ability to fit what are normally two sizes of babies. They snap up or down to fit what equates to size 1 to about size 3 in disposables. They are great at keeping wetness in, and have only had a few blow-outs (nothing a disposable could have done about those either!). Come in snap or aplix close, but we only have the snaps and I highly recommend them, as aplix (velcro) will be easy for growing hands to rip open.
*Thirsties Regular Aplix (non-duo) 4  
These don't do the snap up or down thing, but fit great for the size they are for. I have the extra-small size aplix closure in these, and they were great for little babies growing fast in the waist. Aplix really allows for a customizable waist fit. The Duo type costs a bit more than these, but as stated, these will only fit a specific size, so you'll buy more in the long run. 
*Econobum Snap One-Size 2 
Don't waste your money. They came with a package deal I received, and I'm glad I got the prefolds that came with them, but the covers are nothing compared to the Thirsties, so don't buy them separately. 
*Bummis Super Bright 4 
Received hand-me down and despite being older, it's in good condition and hasn't leaked yet. I think the leg 'gussets' could be nicer. Overall, no complaints. 

*Kissaluv Organic Hemp 4
Completely different fit than the regular (see below). I really like this fitted. It comes with an extra snap-in insert that makes cleaning dirties off a lot easier. Change these pretty soon after they get wet because it doesn't seem to keep moisture off G as much as I thought it would. I really like fitteds in general because they contain dirty messes even better and work nicely under wool covers. Not a perfect score because it is harder to get a cover over these than prefolds.
*Kissaluv (regular) 3.5 
The worst thing is the fit. I think these are for skinny thigh, chubby belly babies because the sizing is completely opposite what G needed. She's not 15 lbs yet but has been out of the "up to 15 lbs" size for a month. Also note, they will never be as soft as they are when you buy them. 

*Tots Bots 5
My absolute favorite diaper. I knew they would be from all the reviews I read before buying one on amazon during a sale. They are pretty expensive (in my opinion), but totally worth it...though I'd hold out for a sale and buy several. The insert is connected and easily doubled over inside. The velcro is amazing. The fit is PERFECT and there have been no leaks. This is a quality diaper imported from Scotland. Very soft too. BUY BUY BUY!
*FuzziBunz 4
Great option, very popular. The model I have doesn't have double gussets and that's my only complaint. It's very easy to stuff and add extra hemp inserts into. They fit very well--I like the double rows of snaps. Good middle of the road option.
*Happy Heiny's Mini One Size 2
These were a complete disappointment!!! I bought two and wish I hadn't. They leaked a lot! I think it had to do with G's shape, but still. They didn't fit great and after a few wet leaks and a few unfortunate dirty leaks, they're out of rotation. They may work well for some babies, but not ours. The positives were the size options and the very sticky velcro. They were absorbent, but the leaks came out the leg holes.
*Rumprooz 4
I thought I would like this diaper more than I did, but it is still a great diaper. It is super absorbent and contains practically all messes. We did have one dirty leak--but it was user (re: daddy) error. I really like the double gussets and the option to use one or both inserts it comes with. The inserts are very absorbent...the manufacturer calls them 6-r soakers because each insert is 6 layers and can typically handle even the heaviest of wetters. I also really like the double rows of snap closures. It didn't receive a 5 because it is pretty bulky when stuffed with both inserts. Also kind of pricey! 

All in One's.
*Lil' Joey's (by Rumparooz) 4
Very handy for little newborns and tired moms & dads who want to cloth diaper with no added hassle. This diaper requires no stuffing and even has an umbilical cord snap-down feature. It washes and dries pretty easily, but didn't really fit G very long. It says it goes up to 10 lbs, but seeing as how she was born almost 9 lbs, this was an expensive, short lived diaper. We have two that are in perfect condition for our next newborn ;-). Though they seem costly, if you don't give birth to large(r) babies, I think the ease may justify the price.

*Thirsties Hemp Insert 4
Many, many layers of absorbency. Add to any pocket or prefold diaper...not perfect because it NEVER gets dry in the dryer when everything else does.
*Baby Kicks Hemp Insert 5
"Body shape" style insert, very absorbent and fits perfectly into most pocket diapers.
*Hemp Babies Little Weeds Insert 5+
This is a large wash cloth size, fold-able hemp insert. Perfect option to add absorbency for overnight. Add this to a Thirsties Hemp Duo and you've got a no-leak-guaranteed option for night time heavy wetters. My husband tried to use it a stand-alone prefold, but it didn't wick away moisture at all, so I wouldn't suggest it.
*Bum Genius Microfiber Insert 3
Compared to hemp inserts, these just aren't as absorbent. They do great at pulling moisture in and away from baby, but I wouldn't put it directly next to her skin. Use these to stuff pocket diapers or add absorbency to cotton prefolds.
*Kissaluv Pail Liners 4
The only reason these aren't perfect is because the inside of the liners seem to attract detergent in the wash and not rinse completely (so I take them out and rinse separately so the diapers aren't affected). Keeps pail dry & fits a kitchen size trash can (I use the step-can kind with a lid).
*Planet Wise Wet Bag 4
I use this for my on-the-go bag. I've never had anything leak through and the prints are really cute. The zipper is nice to close everything in. It hasn't seen a lot of use, but so far, so good.

*Huggies Pure & Natural 4.5
These are the only disposables we've ever used (except the Pampers Swaddlers they used in the hospital) and the only ones I ever care to use. They are better for her bottom and better for the environment because they biodegrade faster and are made with more natural ingredients that typical disposables. They are, however, still a disposable diaper. That does mean, though, they are very EASY to use and get rid of. They are a pretty good fit. G is long and lean, but has chubby thighs (she got it from her momma). The tabs are very easy to apply and quite stretchy. I also like the 'wetness' indicator. I've only had one through-the-diaper leak due to heavy wetting at night. She has had a few blow outs in these diapers that got ALL over her clothes and anything near them...but I honestly don't think any other diaper could have contained those bombs. You will pay for the Huggies name brand, but if you are trying to find a 'green' disposable, you will pay more anyway...I highly recommend these.

We've not made the switch to cloth wipes. Perhaps with the next baby I'll suck it up and go for it!
*Huggies Natural Care 3
My biggest complaint is that they tear easier than expected. There are just better options out there, but they do their job.
*Kirkland's Signature (Costco Brand) 4
We received these as a gift and I liked them a lot. Hypoallergenic/unscented. They come in a big box, but each pack of 100 inside has its own reseal-able, travel-like package.
*Pampers Sensitive 5
My favorite wipe, especially the thick type.
*Up & Up Hypoallergenic (Target Brand) 4
Very good economical option.

I'll write more about the actual process of cloth diapering in another blog, I think this is plenty of information for one post :-)

One month old in her fuzzibunz

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