A Year in Cloth Diapers.

I have been cloth diapering Babystar for one year today.

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OMG what happened to my tiny baby?? Hold on while I go cry now.

I started when she was exactly one month old mainly because I wanted cute pictures and have not really wavered from the cloth. Mostly. We currently use disposables at night. And I have been known to take disposables on vacation. I know that doing something for one year does not make me an expert. At all. But it does mean I at least kind of know what I’m talking about.

I would like to share four ‘lessons’ I have learned that I wish I knew last year.

But first, I just need to get this out of the way. My mother is a freaking badass. She had two babies in cloth diapers (my little brother and sister, born fifteen months apart) back in the early 80s and we did not have a washer or dryer. I repeat, we DID NOT OWN a washing machine. Luckily, the laundromat was only about a block away. She took the diapers and the babies (and me, but I was a big girl that could walk) in a red wagon to the laundromat and then brought them home wet to hang out on the line. OG bad ass mama right there.

And now, my dad is so fascinated by Babystar’s ‘fancy’ cloth diapers. It’s adorable.

We use all-in-ones (AIOs). I tried a few all-in-twos (AI2s) and I think I could have liked them but I found it difficult to match up the correct insides when I only had a few different types, and they were all different sizes and different snap set-ups. I did really like the Funky Fluff diaper and it’s actually the only AI2 that is steadily still in the rotation. That hip snap is SO SMART. Plus, I have used the unstuffed shell as a swim diaper the three times she has been in a pool because I have not purchased a swim diaper. I will look for one at MommyCon on Saturday. (Yep, I’m going to MommyCon DC! Are you?)

I started with about fifteen bumGenius Elementals. They are the ‘new’ style Elemental, which basically means that the outer (waterproof) PUL cover is not covered on the inside with cotton. The new style is on the left. See the difference? (I later bought four of the ‘old’ Elementals and they are waaaay better.)

 

LESSON ONE: DO NOT BUY ALL OF ONE KIND OF DIAPER TO BEGIN WITH.

I don’t hate the Elementals. In fact, they were perfect when she was super small because they are very trim and the tabs are very stretchy. But now that she is bigger (and peeing more at one time and her poop is no longer just breast milk poop), the Elementals do not work as well. They sometimes leak because the interior cotton gets pushed to the side as she crawls or walks around. The Elementals do still contain poop blowouts but they are a bitch to spray clean because it gets under the cotton and directly on the PUL and ew gross.

However, bumGenius Elementals might be your favorite diaper. And that is fine and ok and wonderful. I have learned that there is no ‘perfect diaper for every baby all the time.’ There is only a ‘best diaper for your baby for the moment.’

LESSON TWO: DIVERSIFY YOUR DIAPER STASH.

Once you find your favorite diaper for your baby, you should STILL not buy only that diaper. Especially if you like snaps. (I prefer snaps but they are less flexible with sizing than velcro.) There will be times when your favorite diapers just don’t fit as well as others. I like the idea of a cloth diaper stash with an equal mix of your three favorite brands. That’s not what I have; that’s what I think would be ideal. But definitely at least two different kinds. If you do covers, I guess you could go crazy and have all the brands. I’m not sure. My knowledge here is mostly limited to AIOs.

(I wish I had done covers and maybe like, flats. Flats or prefolds but probably flats. I think it would have been easier overall, and way more adaptable. And cheaper. But I didn’t and I’m a year in so I’m not about to switch it up now. Probably.)

I mainly use bumGenius Elementals, Smart Bottoms 3.1, and Blueberry Simplex for Babystar. Sometimes the Smart Bottoms fit like a dream and other times the Blueberry are clearly made for her. It changes over weeks though, not days. Thank goodness.

BumGenius Elementals are made with all organic cotton and the stretchy tabs really do help them fit well. I far prefer the old style Elementals that I own, but I only have four. We use the new style Elementals as a last resort when diaper laundry is late. I have tried stuffing them behind the cotton and it does stop the leaks but first of all, who wants to stuff AIO diapers, and second of all, they get waaaay too puffy.

Smart Bottoms 3.1 are made with the softest organic cotton in the galaxy. They also have the cutest prints by FAR. I love solid color diapers but I don’t own a single Smart Bottoms solid because the prints are STOOPID CUTE. The fit is very particular, though. Sometimes they fit really really well. Right now they are leaving red marks on her back but if I loosen the diaper rise or waist snaps she either gaps at the leg or waist. Which means she sometimes leaks. (Not badly but still.) But I know she will fit them perfectly again. It’s a cycle.

The soaker on Smart Bottoms 3.1 can be folded however you like. I suggest tucking it under to make cleaning poop easier, but you might need different absorbency if you have a baby boy.

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And I wasn’t lying about those cute prints!

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Blueberry Simplex are our current favorite but they are not our always favorite. I love the design of the waist snaps; they are on a diagonal so that the top row of snaps closest Babystar’s waist can be a little tighter than the lower row near her legs. This usually seems to fit her the best. For her body shape. Not every baby’s body shape. I also love the flexibility of the Blueberry Simplex. They are made with a soaker that can either stuff behind the built-in pocket or lay on top of the cotton. If the soaker is stuffed inside, the cotton is next to baby’s skin and we usually choose that option. However, if we are going out and I know I might have to wait a few extra minutes (like 60) to change her diaper, then I can lay the soaker on top of the cotton and there will be stay-dry microfleece next to her skin to help her stay comfy. (Blueberry also makes an Organic Cotton diaper without the microfleece option. We have one and it’s great but it is not as soft as the organic cotton in Smart Bottoms and it’s the most expensive diaper I have ever purchased at $35, so I stick with the regular Simplex.)

In the pictures below, the soaker is lying on top of the cotton on the left, but tucked in on the right. I love options.

And this is what I mean about the diagonal snaps. Brilliant.

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LESSON THREE: BUY A DIAPER SPRAYER.

As a small child in the 1980s, I always had to check the toilet before sitting down to pee. More often than not, there was a cloth diaper soaking. Sometimes, I could make it to the upstairs bathroom but sometimes, I just peed right on top of the diaper. (Sorry, mom.) I hope I was the only one in the family that did this, but I sort of doubt it. We made mom’s job triple gross. (Sorry again, mom. And dad. Sorry sorry sorry.)

I am not about that Dunk and Swish Life.

I do not think I could have continued with cloth diapers after Babystar started solids if it wasn’t for my diaper sprayer. The change in poop is astounding. I never thought I would be nostalgic for poop but now SEVEN MONTHS LATER I still miss the newborn poop. Comparatively, I mean. (I have the bumGenius sprayer and I highly recommend it but I don’t really know if it is better or worse than any others. Just get any sprayer before baby starts solids.)

LESSON FOUR: RESIST THE AFTER MARKET.

Did you know there are Limited Edition diapers? Exclusive prints? Solid colors specific to one retailer? Did you know there are diapers that sell out within a literal minute and then are sold for twice the retail price on swap pages or eBay?

Hey, I’m not hating. Babystar has a few of those limited edition diapers because they are usually suuuuuuper cute and if I’m going to buy diapers anyway, I might as well get the cute limited edition ones. If I can. But I will only pay retail. (That does not in any way make me better than anyone that chooses to pay more for something they really want.) Just be careful because it is very easy to become addicted to diapers.

(I know that real addiction is a serious thing and I do not at all mean to belittle that.)

Some people have hundreds of diapers. For one baby. And I get how it happens. It can be really exciting to be one of a few (hundred? thousand? I have no idea) people that get something that sells out so quickly. And they do look so freaking cute on the babies. Especially in the summer time. Babystar’s uniform is basically just a t-shirt and a cloth diaper. But just remember that you aren’t WINNING the diaper. You get to PURCHASE it. Yay? There are actually many contests that you can enter to win a ‘right-to-buy’ a diaper (or a baby carrier or a special magic blanket) and ok, I really do get it, but also, WHAT.

My personal solution is to try to buy the diapers that I want at retail when they are released but stay off the Buy/Sell/Trade aftermarket sites where the prices skyrocket. EVEN FOR USED DIAPERS. Think about that for a moment. Then stop because you might get mad.

YOU GUYS SHE’S SOOOOO BIG NOW!! Where did my baby go? Also, literally, where is my baby going?? 😉

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tl;dr: my mama is a badass, cloth diapers are easy now, get a diaper sprayer, be careful the diapers are addictive.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $10,702.55

21 thoughts on “A Year in Cloth Diapers.

  1. Cloth diapering man – what a crazy thing it’s become since we were kids. My mother in law said my husband used to wear “rubber pants” which was just the cover, but it makes me think of really awful, airtight, thick latex covers. Blech.

    I knew very little about cloth diapering going in (2+ years ago) but I somehow got a good “system” with Thirsties covers and prefolds. I had no idea about all of these inserts and AIO/AI2s and I’m pretty darn happy with what we ended up getting. (We also use disposables on trips and sometimes during the day if we’re out for a long time, and when I’m stripping the diapers – that’s always fun.) My friend who is done with diapers sold me a few of her covers and after using those brands I can say I chose a great brand to begin with. Lucky me, I know!

    Good on you for using cloth and keeping up with it! 🙂

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    1. I WISH I had not known about AIO/AI2s! I still would’ve cloth diapered but I would have saved a ton of money. That said, I do really love how easy the AIO are. The husband and teenagers all diaper her with no trouble at all. I am not sure that would have been the case with covers. But maybe. I mean, we wouldn’t know the difference, right?
      Yay Team Cloth! However it’s done. I have heard really good things about Thirsties but I kind of don’t want to add anymore brands to the mix, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so envious you succeeded in this! My baby lasted about 2 months before the slightest trace of a wet diaper woke him from any nap/sleep. I tried fleece liners but he just wasn’t having it. I have a big sack of various AIOs and prefolds stashed away in a closet in case baby #2 ends up being less of a drama queen about it all.

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    1. Good luck for next time. It definitely depends on the baby!! We switched to disposables at night once she started waking up after soaking her cloth. I will do just about anything for more sleep.

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  3. Love this. And yup cloth diapers (nappies on my side of the Atlantic 😉 ) are so addictive. And cheaper than wraps and slings too. I have so far managed to resist nappies made by SAHMs. That’s a whole other rabbit hole to fall down. Lol.
    We don’t have sprayers here but I used fleece liners which were easier to tip pop off of before chucking in bucket for wash day. Others used disposable liners which just went to bin.
    We started with all pockets for daytime and fitted and wraps for night. After a while I diversified and fell in love with flats and prefolds. But woollen covers for nighttime was a game changer!
    Great post.

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    1. Oh my goodness you are so right — the WAHM diapers are ridiculously adorable. I knew if I tried one I would need them all. I SO WISH I had switched to flats and prefolds. At some point I just had to stop buying new diapers and working with what I had. And I have plenty! I have even lent out or given away about twenty diapers (always trying to convert) and I still have enough the keep Babystar in cloth. We use disposables at night though. It’s not so much the leakage but the ammonia. She doesn’t always pee at night anymore, but is she happens to pee on the early side, it has turned into an ammonia burn by morning. Does that happen in wool?

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      1. I found the ammonia smell really bad when Little Paddler was teething. Their saliva gets acidic to help the teeth cut through the gums and that sends the pee and poo off the charts. 😷
        Or else sometimes the nappies needed a strip. Here I would do a cold rinse, long hot wash at 60 with full dose of powder, then rinse again and hang outside in the rain for a few days. That usually cured most problems.
        Over here as well we have a Cloth Nappy Library do you could get kits on loan to try different types or long term loans if you are on a budget, or bed wetting kits for older children etc. Fab resource to have. Although not necessarily the cute nappies in the kits.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We used cloth nappies for both our children. They were the best and what we spent initially, we certainly saved in the long run not having to purchase disposables. I would definitely recommend them to new parents. And while we’re not planning on having more children, I have kept some of our nappy stash, they were some prints that I just could not pass with.

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  5. This post had me cracking up but was also very informative! “I am not about that Dunk and Swish Life.” I NEVER KNEW THAT WAS A THING. I never used cloth diapers and had a hard time wrapping my head around cleaning them, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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