8.25.2011

Forward Thinking: Diapering, Trial & Result

When starting on this journey, I was so excited that I bought the only cloth diaper I could find in a brick and mortar store and jumped in bum first. But, as soon as I got started, summer brought a yeast rash, which took two months to get rid of, which required disposables. But, did I let that slow me down. No way! I used that time to step back and research all types and brands I could get my eyes on and develop a "want-to-try" list. So, here is my list and my reasoning behind each trial purchase, along with my trial experience, conclusions, and final result.

TRIAL

I described the different types in my first cloth diaper post but will summarize briefly as I explain my experience with each that I tried. My baseline goal and, therefore, litmus for all dipes was this: easy to change (like changing a disposable cuz that's what I and everyone who might possibly change my baby is used to), trim (cuz let's face it, I'm a baby clothes fanatic, so no matter how cute the dipe, it's gotta fit under the clothing cuteness), easy to travel with (don't want to change my whole system just to travel), easy to launder (I'm no Betty Draper/Francis, so the easier the laundry the better), stay-dry (cuz no way do I wanna risk yeast again, and I'm not into changing a diaper every 2hrs), comfy for baby (obvious), one-size (will truly fit newborn to toddler), absorbent (day: 3+hrs between changes, nap: 3+hrs, night: 11+hrs), and price.

The three types I settled on trying were covers (with insert lain inside), pockets (with insert stuffed), and all-in-ones (w/ insert sewn in). I chose to forgo fitteds (basically a non-waterproof diaper) since they require a cover, and it seemed like diapering twice, which I thought was weird. Although, I hear it's a good night option. Maybe I'll try that if I ever get desperate. Not even going there with prefolds. No...way. More power to ya, prefold mamas!
I initially settled on the cover/insert method because I was scared of going "full cloth." My reasoning behind this, besides being most cost-effective, was that it seemed easier to just lay the insert in the cover and at change time let it air-dry (or wash it out if poopy) and reuse it. This also meant only needing special laundering for the inserts since covers can launder with regular clothes. After trying this for a few weeks, I came to hate the cover/insert combo for full-time diapering. Why, you say? Because it's the least like disposable diapering, time-consuming, complex in laundering, difficult to get stay-dry, and confusing for others who might change my baby. The fit is flexible, the absorbency is customizable, and the trim factor is high. But, the ease of use really depends on what kind you use, so let me break down the different kinds I tested out and explain why I ultimately decided on this option for the occasional need.

gDiapers
This is probably the cutest, most modern diaper cover system out there. I love, love, love them...but only for the cute factor.

easy to change: Nope. This system comes with snap-in insert pouches (which you can read more about here), so not only do you have to take out the insert, but you also have to unsnap the pouch, rinse that if it's poopy, and resnap a new one into the same cover (or use a different pre-prepped one, but that leaves you to deal with the used one still), and if the cover gets leaked on (which will happen despite the manufacturer's assurance that it won't) you have to get a new one. Then, there's the laundry prep. The pouch goes into a lingerie bag so it doesn't get stretched out the in wash, the insert goes into a wet bag, and the cover goes into the regular clothes laundry. Complex. Also, putting this diaper on isn't easy. Even gDiapers has a special video and tips online helping parents figure out how to put this one. Once you get it though, it's not that hard. Just a big learning curve. You have to make sure the pouch fits in the leg creases like underwear and the velcro, that is backwards from regular diaper fasteners (it close in the back), takes some getting used to. Can't do it too tight or it'll leak, can't do it too loose or it'll leak, can't do it too high or too low or it'll leak. So, all to say, not an easy diaper for someone who's unpracticed to use. But, after I did it about 5 times, I was a pro. But we all know diapers fit differently as baby gets older, so new learning curve with every new fit.

trim: Very! This is the trimmest diaper out there because it's a cover (which is trimmer in general) and sized, small to xl. (They do have a newborn too, but it's a different product altogether.)

easy to launder: Yes and no. The complex laundry prep really affects this. The laundering itself is fine. The covers and pouches wash easily with regular clothes and line dry in a couple hours. The inserts wash like all cloth inserts do. The grade down here is because of all the diverse parts. Just not a simple system.

easy to travel with: Absolutely not. Because of the complexity involved in the changing of the diaper and the laundering, this diaper drove me nuts on our Beach Trip this summer. Again, this is affected by all the different parts of this system. Even when out for just a couple hours, the pouch will eventually need to be unsnapped and put into the lingerie bag, the insert into a wet bag, and the cover into the hamper. It's not as simple as just taking it off and putting it all into a wet bag, all to be dumped into the wash later.

stay-dry: Yes, as long as the insert being used has stay-dry material on top, which means either buying those rare and expensive stay-dry inserts or laying a stay-dry liner on top...every...time...you...change. (or disposable inserts...LOVE gDiapers disposable inserts!) No, if the cover gets wet, and it will at some point, cuz it's just cotton.

comfy for baby: Not really. Noah never complained, but the pouch leaves red marks in the leg creases, and the waist band can get tight and pinch in cuz it's thick elastic.

one-size: No. And the sizes run small, so you have to size up before expected. Also, since the pouches lose their waterproofness over time, you have to replace them every 6 months, according to company suggestion. Even after a few weeks of use, some of mine were already showing signs of wear.

absorbent: No, not to my standards, at least. You can use whatever inserts you want, but I couldn't get 3+ hrs out of it without it leaking, no matter what cloth insert I used (disposable inserts rock my socks off but are expensive to use full-time), since there's less room for liquid containment in the pouch as opposed to a whole diaper.

price: about $17-$20 (2-pack at Babies R Us for $27)

Ok, the cute factor is great here. Really love the prints of these covers. Hate the velcro. Gotta go with snaps. Not loving the plasticky-ness.

easy to change: Moderately. Remove the insert, place it in a wet bag, and either let the cover air-dry (or wash out poopy and then air-dry) between uses. I like the fact that you can reuse the cover and that there are only two pieces to mess with. However, when putting on a new dipe, you have to make sure the insert doesn't shift in the cover. This and many covers have flaps in the front or back to hold the insert in place, but this doesn't really work that well, and since I have a boy, I need the insert on top of the flap in front. 

trim: Yes. Most cover and insert systems are going to be trim, depending on how many inserts you use. This one isn't as trim as gDiapers because it's not sized.

easy to launder: Yes. Covers go in regular clothes hamper. Inserts go in wet bag. Pretty simple. Still not as easy as just dumping it all in one place though. And if you're using velcro, you have to fold it back on the laundry tabs so it doesn't catch in the washer. It's just one more step, but when changing a baby, every little step affects things.

easy to travel with: Not really. Because you have to air-dry the wet cover, if you want to reuse it later. And the insert goes in a wet bag. Where does the cover go while air drying? Do I put a poopy cover in the wet bag with the insert if I can't rinse it out? Sure, it can go in the insert laundry too. Well, now I'll have to remember to pull that cover out of the wash before drying so I can line dry it. Not the simplest system to travel with.

stay-dry: Again, as long as your insert is.

comfy for baby: Pretty much. It's comfier than gDiapers, for sure, but this cover is so plasticky feeling to me.

one-size: Sorta. Thirsties is a two-size system. I don't mind this.

absorbent: Again, depends on your inserts. There is a lot more room here than gDiapers, so I had no problem during the day. I did have some issues going over 3hrs at naps and couldn't for the life of me get two inserts to work at night in this cover. I used Kawaii microfiber inserts, which give me no problems in pocket dipes.

price: $13 for solids, $14 for prints

Grovia Shell
Love, love, love this cover! The velcro is amazing (which is so nice for quick changes), and the prints are the best! My favorite feature besides these is the cloth-like feel. It's not plasticky!

easy to change: Somewhat. My feelings here are pretty much the same as for Thirsties. You can air-dry if wet, but you can't wash out if poopy since the inside is material instead of waterproof. But it gets a boost in this area cuz of the velcro.

trim: Yes. Very trim.

easy to launder: Yeah, pretty much the same as Thirsties.

easy to travel with: Again, same as Thirsties. The drawback to this one is actually a pro for me. Since it's not waterproof, you can't reuse it if it's poopy. But, this makes changes more like disposables since you toss it with the insert when poopy.

stay-dry: Again, same as Thirsties and gDiapers. Just depends on what inserts you use. I've pretty much resolved to using covers with disposable inserts only.

comfy for baby: Absolutely. This cover isn't plasticky at all, so it feels like a regular cloth diaper. The trimness between the legs also helps. Thirsties is bulkier between the legs.

one-size: Yep! And still not too bulky when on the smaller settings.

absorbent: Again, depends on your inserts. I've only used disposables in this and had total success, but you can't really go wrong with those.

price: $17, kinda pricey for a cover you can't rinse and reuse.


Kawaii Cover
This...is...my...cover! I love, love, love this cover. It's not the cutest, but it fits beautifully, feels soft and thin (so is trim and comfy), and is reusable like Thirsties but without being as plasticky. I won't break down all the categories cuz it's basically the same as the others but with those little differences. AND...here's the kicker...it's only $6.45 ($4.90 if you buy direct)! Need I say more?

Covers Conclusion: I will definitely keep the Grovia I currently own and possibly get another one when I see another cute print. I love that it's one-size, soft material, and has killer velcro. Thirsties is a good cover. Love the cute prints and double leg gussets. But, since it's not one-size, I'd have to buy more. Oh darn! Honestly, I don't think I'll go with this cover because of the plasticky feel and the thickness. Very thick material. Which is good for waterproofing, but not the best for wearing. Again, might have one on hand for those "just in case" moments. gDiapers, probably won't ever use these. I sold all mine. And gMoms are NUTS! Seriously, that community is like beanie baby fever on crack! If I get interested in them again simply for the cute factor (and cuz I just know how to use them now), I'll most likely just purchase a couple, use the disposable inserts, and save them for special occasions or "just in case" moments. But, when I need to use a cover, I'll go with Kawaii. It's the cheapest, softest option I tried, and since I won't be using this system full-time, there's no reason to get anything else.
I decided to give pockets a try simply because most cloth diapers are pockets. I had to see what that was all about. I was hesitant at first because you have to stuff the insert inside the diaper and then remove it before washing, so it seemed like a lot to do. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I'll do the break-down all in one swoop, noting any variances, since these are all pretty similar.

easy to change: Yes. Pretty much just like changing a disposable, except that you have to remove the insert before putting the diaper in the wet bag (unless you wanna mess with that at laundry time, but no one wants to do that). Note: Charlie Banana and Bububibi have the pocketing opening in the front, which elliminates the need to touch poo when changing a dirty diaper. I'm a fan of the front opening. Also, the flap over in the front of the CB allows for a seamless, easy change, instead of having to mess with tucking any material in as you do with most pockets.

trim: Charlie Banana, yes. The trimmest all-cloth diaper I've used. Others, no. The snap-down rise system of the others create a massive bulk between the legs when on smaller settings, and on the large setting the others are bulkier either because of their bulkier inserts, girth of material, or minky fabric outer.

easy to launder: Yes, just dump everything in the wash together then dry in dryer or line dry.

easy to travel with: Yep. Since the change is so similar to a disposable, you just put the whole thing in a small wet bag and put a new one on. Charlie Banana is the best here because the trimness makes packing easy.

stay-dry: Charlie Banana and Kawaii Snazzy Minky, yes. Others, no.

comfy for baby: Yes. All the ones I tried have soft microfleece or bamboo everywhere they touch baby. The only drawback to comfort is with the bamboo dipes cuz I put a stay-dry liner inside, which can bunch up, and the snap-down rise snaps can bother baby's legs (not a problem with Charlie Banana, see below).

one-size: Yep. I discovered that I prefer the leg elastic adjustment of Charlie Banana over the snap-down rise system of the others. It leaves a cleaner look, gives a more customizable fit, and doesn't hurt baby's legs like snaps can.

absorbent: Charlie Banana wins hands-down. It lasts well over 3hrs with only 1 insert while still remaining very, very trim. The others have good absorbency but are much bulkier.

price: Really varies depending on the diaper. Kawaii and Bububibi is a very inexpensive option, with dipes ranging from $6-$13. Charlie Banana is about $20. Blueberry is more expensive, the one I tried at $24.
Kawaii Snazzy Minky
Charlie Banana




Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter 








Bububibi Bamboo



Kawaii Bamboo Minky Mom Label



















Blueberry Bamboo Minky



















Pockets Conclusion: Charlie Banana is the winner! Not only did this diaper pass all my absorbency tests, but it's simple to use, stay-dry, trim, one-size, and clean looking without the snap-down rise. The only drawback is the need to stuff and unstuff the insert. If this were made into a sleeve diaper, it'd be my perfect diaper. It's also available at many locations, including Amazon, Babies R Us, Target, Diapers.com, charliebanana.com, and various online stores. I'll keep the minky dipes just for fun since I love how soft they are.
There are two kinds of all-in-ones (aio): those with the insert sewn completely into the inside of the diaper (takes forever to dry) and those with the insert on the top sewn down on one end (dries quicker). I prefer the latter since it dries much faster, as fast as pockets. I love the aio because of its ease of use...the closest to changing a disposable that you can get with a cloth diaper. They're a bit pricier than pockets, but rightly so. The biggest negative is they rarely come in stay-dry materials.

GoGreen Champ 2.0
Ok, I know this is technically a "sleeve diaper," but I'm lumping it in with aio because you don't have to take the insert out when changing.

easy to change: Very. Don't have to remove the insert.

trim: Not really. The one I tried was minky though, which contributes to bulk. It does have a snap-down rise though, which also makes it bulky when snapped to smaller settings.

easy to launder: Yep. The insert agitates out in the wash. You might have to restuff if the insert comes unsnapped. (snaps inside on one end) And the suede cloth lining doesn't stain as easily as microfleece.

easy to travel with: Yes but bulky to pack.

stay-dry: Yep. Suede Cloth.

comfy for baby: Yes.

one-size: Yes.

absorbent: Not to my standards. Only lasted 2 hours with me.

price: $14


Grovia AIO
If this diaper had been stay-dry, it would've been almost perfect!

easy to change: Extremely. Don't have to do a thing. Exactly like changing a disposable cuz the insert is sewn in on one end.

trim: Very. This was the best fitting, trimmest looking diaper along with Charlie Banana. Except at night...had to add extra snap-in booster and stay-dry booster, which created more bulk.

easy to launder: Very. Just throw it in, dry, and ready to go. However, the drawback to organic cotton is that it absorbs so much that if it sits too long it'll start to disintegrate. If you don't wash 24-48hrs after changing, you could lose your diaper. Not cool.

easy to travel with: Yep. Easy to change and trim to pack.

stay-dry: No. :-( They do make stay-dry liners, but having to add that not only added another step but also bulk.

comfy for baby: Mostly. The sides are very stretchy, but the trimness caused it to be a bit small for my toddler at 33lbs.

one-size: Yes, but probably won't go all the way to 40lbs.

absorbent: Yes. Passed all my tests but got bulky at night with all the inserts I had to add.

price: $23


Itti Bitti Bitti Tutto 
My very least favorite diaper. Technically a snap-in diaper, but because you don't have to unstuff the inserts before washing, I lumped it into aio.

easy to change: Depends. Don't have to do anything, unless you have the extra snap-in booster, which you have to unsnap and resnap after washing.

trim: A resounding NO! Fattest diaper on the planet, in my opinion. Noah was literally waddling.

easy to launder: Yes, because the inserts stay snapped in and flap around in the washer and dryer.

easy to travel with: Sorta. Easy to change makes it easy to travel with, but the bulk doesn't.

stay-dry: Yep.

comfy for baby: The waist seemed tight and had an awkward fit for Noah, so I'd have to say "no" here, simply based on that.

one-size: Yes, the company claims the diaper will fit up to 45lbs, but at 33lbs it was tight on the last waist snap.

absorbent: I don't really know. Noah only wore it less than an hour before he pooped in it. It did contain the poo, but I was so turned off by the other negative features that I didn't even bother with it again.

price: Crazy expensive at $27.

*side note: the snap-in inserts are so crazy and complicated that it turned me completely off from the beginning. I'm sure once you give it a fighting chance and take the time to test out each option, you'll get the hang of it. But, no thanks! I want something simple!

AIO Conclusion: If the Grovia had been stay-dry, it would've been my fave next to Charlie Banana. I might consider getting some again for times I need an easy change (babysitters), but the added need to put in a stay-dry liner bums me out.

Result

I'm going all cloth with Charlie Banana pocket diapers! All cloth, all the time...well, most of the time. I'm reserving cover and disposable insert times to any time a rash needs treatment with chemical-based ointment or when all the cloth is being washed. I thought I'd use the cover/insert system while being out and about, but it turns out that all cloth is easier cuz I can just dump the whole dipe in my wet bag and put on a new dipe, just like changing a disposable. And as far as accessories go, well that's a whole different post. I'll get to that and laundering. Two words though: flushable liners.

Where to buy: For Charlie Banana, go here for a list of vendors. For all other diapering needs, I suggest Jack Be Natural

3 comments:

  1. Great Job Melody!! Now I know why you had all those different diapers!!I have been building a stash of pocket diapers and I hope to add CB to it: ) This is really helpful.

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  2. Stacy Shinas1/16/12, 7:26 AM

    Wow! You did a really great job! I'm sure this will help a lot of readers!

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  3. Thanks, Stacy! and Tiffany...still figuring out this reply mechanism. :-)

    ReplyDelete