Cloth Diapering (One Week In)

12/15/2014

We have officially begun our cloth diapering journey! Today marks one full week of using cloth diapers, although we aren't using them at night because I just don't have enough {yet}, so I guess I should say one full week of part-time cloth diapering. I'm terribly behind on posts, and I figured this was just what I needed to get back in gear. 

***Oh hey... It actually took me a lot longer to get this post written and published, so this is technically a two week update. I'm just too pressed for time to make a new image.

We are currently using GroVia AI2 Hybrids with the hook and loop (Velcro) closure. We purchased these diapers from a friend who couldn't use them due to medical reasons. For those of you new to the cloth diapering world, AI2 means all-in-two, which is when there's a shell/cover and an insert that attaches to the inside rather than being stuffed inside of a pocket. The idea is to be able to use the cover for more than one changing, barring any soiling to the cover. We wanted to use this system to cut back on cost, as we imagined purchasing inserts would be cheaper than needing a whole diaper. We also have two BumGenius Freetimes, which are an all-in-one (AIO), meaning there are no inserts to change; it's all one piece, and the closest you'll get to a disposable in function. Since we began I've purchased prefolds, flour sack towels (FST), and covers from Flip and Econobum. These covers are wipe-cleans, which GroVia shells are not due to their mesh interior. 

I have tried different folds, combinations, and am still tinkering with a wash routine. I've tackled cloth on-the-go, and even went as far as to make DIY fleece liners to wick away moisture when using the prefolds and FST. (E was just too sensitive to being wet, and was getting a rash.) There is still much to learn, especially once we begin cloth diapering at night, but with one week under our belts, I do have some preferences I'd care to share.

One Gal's Thoughts on the GroVia System

Well, it's nice, but I have to go with what we're experiencing now, with an almost four-month-old who is around the 12-13 lb. range. So, it's nice, but it is also bulky in the crotch area, and I find the covers are rarely ever spared when she does number two. All that said, the inserts do a marvelous job of keeping her dry, and I should note here she is a medium wetter. I really like the covers, but I hate the hook and loop closure. They're supposed to be more convenient, but I find them to be a complete pain in the bum! The Velcro is like super glue, which makes changings take longer and with my wiggle worm, that's not what I need. I also don't like how stiff it makes the waist on the diaper. E has a really hard time sitting up comfortably in them. Another thing I don't like is the material used in the inserts. It smells. They have this musty smell to them, and after tinkering with my wash routine and switching detergents, and the fact that none of my other diaper laundry has this smell, I can only deduce that it is the material that creates this smell. No, thank you.

Now, I suspect I won't mind the crotch bulk when she gets a bit bigger. I have noticed that any cloth diaper becomes less awkward fitting as the child grows, so I'm nowhere near ready to throw out my GroVia stash. I am, however, definitely considering snap conversions. More on that later.

Prefolds and FST

I was really eager to try prefolds and flour sack towels as they're very inexpensive, especially the flour sack towels, which are basically a flat diaper you can purchase in the kitchen section of your local Target or Walmart for around a dollar a piece. I can't speak to the quality of Target's, because my store doesn't carry them, but Walmart's get the job done. Now, when using prefolds or FST, you will need to fold them in a manner you find most absorbent/containing/convenient. There are many different folds, some specifically tailored to suit a boy or a girl, contain EBF (exclusively breastfed) poo, etc. etc. All but one fold will require the use of diaper pins or a Snappi, which is an awesome product you can read more about here.

I have found the FST to be my most favorite insert-type product, as they provide the trimmest option in the crotch area. However, for E, she needs more absorbency than what they offer, so I'm going to have to figure out what to add to accomplish this. I am toying with doubling the FST, or adding a stay dry booster, but I can post an update as I find a solution. In the meantime, I'll stick with what I know so far. They're inexpensive, absorbent for light wetters, offer a trim fit, and wash and dry easily. I prefer the origami fold, but I also pad-fold them when I'm in a rush. I just can't get a snug fit around the legs with some of the other folds, or I find they're just too much of a pain in the tush to manage, even when I prefold and prestuff my diapers.

I also enjoy prefolds as they don't cause as much wetness irritation for E, but they are super bulky in the crotch at this point. They, too, are easy to wash and dry, but they cost more than FST. They're definitely more absorbent, though. I prefer to pad-fold these in my covers. I currently have Green Mountain Diaper and Econobum prefolds. The GMD are nice, but the Econobum prefolds have the seams to fold them long and skinny, or short and wide, so I feel they're more versatile. Both are soft and both are absorbent. I've noticed that most brands are pretty competitively priced.

AMM's Favorite Covers

I have the shells from the GroVia system, Flip, and Econobum covers. I have two Flip covers, one aplix (Velcro), and one snap. All three of my Econobum covers are snap closure. I think it's great the GroVia shells can be used with other options, but the mesh interior, as I mentioned earlier, isn't wipe-and-clean. I find they get damp-feeling when using prefolds and FST as opposed to their specific inserts, too.

The Econobum covers work, they're wipe-and-clean, and they're inexpensive. They seem cut a little bigger than my other covers, so they don't settle in as nicely around the legs, which makes them prone to leaking (at this stage). That's really my only beef with them thus far is that they're cut a little big.

The Flip covers are hands down my most favorite. They're made by the same people who make BumGenius, so I'm not surprised - those are freaking fantastic diapers! The Flip covers are wipe-and-clean, they fit E beautifully, and even though I'm not a fan of aplix/hook and loop closures, theirs is definitely less annoying than GroVia's, and E can sit much more comfortably in them. Flips also have flaps in the front and back that hold the insert/prefold/FST in place, and provide bonus leak protection, which I find to be really awesome. Sure, it's a small feature, but I like that I don't have the prefold/FST sliding around when I'm trying to change E's diaper. It's hard enough getting a diaper on that kid without constant readjustments. Flip covers cost three dollars more per cover than Econobum, but I think it's worth it thanks to the flaps and better fit.

Cloth on the Go

Second to nighttime diapering, cloth on the go is often a big concern. Honestly? In my experience thus far, my only grievance is that I need a bigger diaper bag, and that's only because I want to consolidate my purse and diaper bag into one, and I can't do that with my current bag. I wasn't even able to do it prior to switching to cloth, so it just is what it is. With regard to the actual nitty gritty of changing on the go, it's no different than before, except instead of putting my dirties into a disposable bag, I'm placing everything into a small wet bag.

What's a wet bag? It's a leak-proof, waterproof, reusable, zippered bag that come in a variety of sizes for both home and on-the-go use. They keep in messes and smells, can be used for diapers, swim gear, or diaper spraying accessories. (More on that later.) Sure, you can get by without one, but they really do make your life easier. Change a diaper, throw everything into the bag, then place into your diaper bag, and no mess, smells, or hassles. Then, when you get home, throw everything into your diaper pail and wash everything on diaper laundry day. Done and done!

Depending on which size you purchase, you'll spend anywhere between $10 and $40 dollars, but since they're reusable, it's a cost that pays for itself over time. (Much like everything else cloth diaper related!)

And that about wraps up what I've experienced over the last week or two! I intentionally left out laundry details, as that is a post in and of itself, so if you're curious, leave me a comment and I'll work on that next. Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I hope you found this informative and interesting, and I hope you'll follow along in our journey with cloth diapering!

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