One of my very first *baby decisions* as soon as we found out we were pregnant was that I wanted to cloth diaper! I like to think I’m pretty “green” and try to help the planet where I can, so this was kind of a no-brainer for me. A disposable diaper takes 500 years to decompose in a landfill… so the disposable diapers *I* used, that my sister used, that my husband used, that YOU used – aren’t even CLOSE to decomposing. And then I thought of how many babies there are in my city alone… it seems like our great grandchildren will just be wallowing in diaper garbage because – where would it all go eventually?
There are other reasons I wanted to go this route. The thought of never ever running out of diapers was huge for me. I live in southern Ontario. We have cold winters and hot summers. We get -40 degree Celsius and +40 degree Celsius weather. If I was forced to go outside in terrible conditions because we ran out of poop catchers, I would cry. With cloth – hey, I just do laundry!
The financial benefits were also extremely attractive. I’m pretty frugal, and don’t like cases where I feel like I’m throwing money away (like parking, shipping, and tolls). With disposable diapers, I am literally throwing money down the garbage. “Oh, this one has a busted tab.” Garbage. “Oh, she peed in this diaper before I could even secure it onto her.” Garbage. What a waste! I would get so annoyed. You should see how I open presents at Christmastime – I save about 80% of all the gift wrap and ribbon haha. What. Judge me. I really took “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” to heart when we learned about it in third grade. I also do a lot of paper crafts like cards and scrapbooking, and that crap is expensive. You really see the value in stuff like that when you’re paying $30 for 48 sheets of paper and $12 for a slice of ribbon. But I digress…
I also researched the health benefits of cloth diapering.
1) No chemicals.
Cloth diapers use CLOTH. Fabric. Soft, fluffy pieces of lovey dovey material that feel cozy against your skin. What’s in a disposable diaper? Sodium polyacrylate: floral gel! Also used in those “just add water” toys that start out mini and then grow to like 5x the size. Ew. We can’t even use sunscreen or bug spray on babies. They can’t eat honey. Some even need a special detergent for their clothes because of sensitive skin. I really don’t think I want some plant goop leeching into bubs’ hoo-haa for the next 2 years.
2) Fewer rashes.
I’m not saying that diaper rash doesn’t exist when you use cloth diapers, but it sounds that there are way fewer of them as opposed to disposables. As long as you have a good and thorough washing routine, most rashes can pretty much be avoided in cloth. I don’t know what causes them, but it sounds like the absorption capabilities of disposable diapers make some parents leave them on for longer than a couple of hours at a time, which can augment the possibility of a rash.
3) Fewer leaks and “poop-splosions”.
One of my friends was disgusted by the idea of me using cloth diapers. “I just don’t wanna be putting that stuff in my washing machine,” she said. Whether you’re doing cloth or not, poop is going into your washing machine!! Don’t Google “diaper blowout.” It’s not pretty. But nevertheless, it happens in disposables, and seldom happens in cloth. So if I have to do poopy laundry anyway, I’d rather not spend the money on disposables that can’t do their job properly.
4) The kids will potty train faster.
Because of the lack of absorbing chemicals, they’ll never actually feel dry in cloth. There are stay dry materials like suedecloth and microfleece that will wick away moisture from their bottoms, but the truth is they’ll walking around with a bunch of wet fabric in between their legs. I can only imagine how heavy and uncomfortable that would feel! So they learn to associate that feeling early on with the consequence of going to the bathroom in their diaper. Sounds good to me, sign me up!
Lastly, not a health benefit – but a benefit none the less – cloth diapers are CUTE!!! They’ve got fun patterns and bright colours and just look way better than a piece of plasticky garbage! A-dorable.
So the next step, after deciding to go the cloth diaper route, was deciding which kind to buy. Now, I love to research, so this was fun for me – but there are a LOT of options, with a lot of pros and cons. One of the things working against me is that I don’t have a peeing and pooping baby yet to base my decision upon, so I can’t exactly confirm what works for me until a few weeks from now. It seemed that a new style of diaper was popping up every 2 minutes: flats, prefolds, fitteds, contour, pocket, all-in-one, all-in-two, hybrid! And then after that, you had to decide what kind of fabric you wanted to go with! Cotton, hemp, suedecloth, bamboo, micro-fibre, wool, micro-fleece, zorb, organic… It took me WEEKS to decide. Then I would switch. And switch. And switch again and again until I finally decided on an all-in-two, bamboo cloth diaper from a company called Funky Fluff. I went to their website and purchased the Bamboo 2.0 All-in-one bundle – 12 pack for 24 changes.
I bought the package a while back when I thought I was having a boy, so that’s why I ended up with the boy/gender neutral package. The patterned “bubbles” print isn’t included in the bundle, so I purchased it separately because damnit, I wanted a patterned diaper!
It came with 12 Bamboo all-in-two diapers, each with one small and one large insert; and 12 extra bamboo heavy duty soakers.
When I opened up the package, it felt very different from what I imagined a cloth diaper to feel like. I figured that the “shell” part of it would feel a little more vinyl-like, because of everything I read about the waterproof PUL (poly-urethane laminate), but it was very soft and flexible. The bamboo liners and inside of the shell were so cozy, like a really luxurious towel.
These are the two bamboo inserts that come with the diaper – the small one is three layers of bamboo, and the large one is four layers of bamboo. If you look closely you can see where they’ve made a crease to fold up when using a smaller rise setting on the diaper.
I went with the bamboo package over the stay-dry fabrics for several different reasons.
1) I liked the idea of having natural fabrics against baby’s skin. If these things are gonna be on Sweet Pea’s tush 24/7, they may as well be breathable and healthy!
2) The stay dry package included micro-fibre inserts. I’ve read a lot of complaints about micro-fibre – it absorbs pretty quickly, but is prone to compression leaks. Imagine pouring a cup of water over a dry sponge. It soaks it up nice, right? But take your hand and put some weight on the sponge – the water squeezes out with very little effort. This is similar to what can happen with a soaked micro-fibre insert. Members of the cloth diaper group I’m part of are trying to ditch their micro-fibre in lieu of something less susceptible to compression leaks. Bamboo absorbs liquid slower, but doesn’t let go of as much moisture when it’s squeezed.
So the all-in-two aspect of the diaper is what ultimately made my decision for me. These cloth diapers have a snaps on the inside of the shell where the inserts can attach.
It’s called an all-in-two, because it ends up being two parts. If you attach the insert/soaker on top of the fabric in the shell, you create a hybrid diaper. This means that when you change the diaper, you can simply remove the insert and snap in a new one, reusing the shell (if it isn’t wet or hasn’t been pooped on). I really liked this because it potentially meant less laundry.
However, I know that when family is babysitting, they may not want to deal with all the nonsense of the inserts and snapping them on and off. They might be more comfortable with a pre-stuffed pocket diaper, which would pretty much be the closest thing to a disposable diaper in their eyes. That way, we would just send the cloth diapers ready to go, and all they have to do is change baby without any added stress.
Another factor that led me to cloth diapering is the option of buying a one-size-fits-all product, where you adjust the snaps in front to fit baby from birth to potty training. What a deal! I’ve heard of stories where parents would be halfway through one size of disposables only to find out that they don’t fit anymore and have to move up to the next size. Oops.
This is a photo of 4 of the diapers on each of the rise settings.
Obviously all babies are built differently, so there may be a period of adjustment where they’re either too big for the newborn, or too small for the toddler before they’re fully potty trained. I have a stash of prefolds on the way for that very purpose 😉
For a visual comparison, this is the smallest setting up against a Huggies newborn sized “Little Snuggler” diaper.
Obviously, the disposable diaper is way more trim, and the crotch area is narrower than the cloth diaper. I have no idea how well these will fit my baby, or even if I’ll like funky fluff at all. Maybe I’ll get fed up and switch to birdseye flats! Who knows! I’ll let you know in about a month 🙂 (eek!!)
*note: I did not and do not receive any compensation or products from Funky Fluff to write this article. All opinions expressed are my own.