Wednesday, May 27, 2009

8 Month Cloth Diaper Review Part Two: The Poop on Brands

Melba asked for some input on some diaper brands I would recommend, and where to buy them. I'm happy to oblige! One caveat, however: there are many moms out there who would disagree with me on some, if not all, of my recommendations. What works for Evie doesn't work for every baby, which is the beauty of modern cloth diapering, and the torment of modern cloth diapering. So many options!

(Also, I apologize to all of you, and most especially to Evie Bea, for her facial expressions in some of these photos. I took pictures of her in a lot of her diapers for the original cloth diaper review when she was 3 months old. I just focused on capturing the diaper and didn't take multiple shots to get a cute facial expression.)

Prefolds: this is a staple of cloth diapering and I love them because they hold up beautifully through many washings, dry quickly and are flexible, meaning there are many ways to fold them depending on the size, age and gender of the baby. We used G*reen M*ountain Diapers (GMD) orange edge newborn prefolds for Evie when she was a newborn and they fit beautifully under newborn covers. She never wore many of her infant sized prefolds because they were always in use as burp cloths for our little formula fountain. Now we have some GMD large brown edge prefolds that work great for her at 19.5 pounds. In my opinion, GMD prefolds are the best because they are soft, fluffy, wonderfully absorbent and well-made. I prefer the unbleached cotton because it is hypothetically more absorbent than the bleached, though I haven't personally done a side-by-side comparison.

Here is Evie in a GMD orange edge prefold at one week old:

We also like the B*abyKicks h*emparoo prefolds, which are a hemp and cotton blend, but they are much more expensive than GMDs so we haven't used them as much.

Fitteds: we had a few small fitteds for Evie, but when she grew out of them we replaced them with OS (one size) fitteds instead of buying mediums (and then, eventually, larges). The downside of OS fitteds is that they are more bulky on an infant than a small fitted would be. Some moms want trim diapers and some don't mind the bulk, so it's a personal preference. You can see in this picture how bulky this OS fitted is on Evie at 3 months old, but today it fits great:
ETA: here is the same diaper this week (she's learning to cruise on the toilet...nice):The diaper in the above picture is an OBV (organic bamboo velour) G*oodmama. I like the OBV G*oodmamas much better than the print G*oodmamas because the prints don't hold up to repeated washings very well. Our M*uttaqin Baby and B*agshot Row Bamboo (BSRB) prints, on the other hand, have held up well in the wash. Another benefit of BSRB diapers is that instead of snaps, they close with a S*nappi, which allows for more of a custom fit. Right now Evie has some fitted diapers with snaps that are too loose on one snap setting and too tight on another, which is annoying. Here is a concerned-looking Evie in a BSRB (one-size) fitted diaper at 3 months old:

You may be wondering, why fitted diapers? They are so expensive! How are they better than prefolds? Here is why they are worth the money for many moms:

*elastic at the waist and legs holds in poop

*plastic snaps (which are on many fitteds) are easier to negotiate in the middle of the night, while sleep deprived, and for husbands and other helpers who are scared of pins and S*nappis

*they are often made of organic, super-absorbent materials such as hemp and bamboo

*they have snap-in doublers for extra absorbency. The snap-in feature keeps the insert from bunching up.

*they are less bulky between the legs because they are...well..fitted. Fitted to the shape of a baby, unlike prefolds, which start out as a square or a rectangle.

There are many brands of fitteds available, many made by WAHMs (work-at-home moms) here in the U.S. In addition to the brands I named above, we also like S*cuttlebutts, B*aby B*eehinds, S*un S*eedlings and B*ubuBebe. If you want to buy the cutest fitteds, there is really only one place to go: H*yenacart. Enter at your own risk and with plenty of PayPal available.

Pockets: The only pocket diapers we've liked so far have been B*umgenius, which are one-size pocket diapers that use a snap-down rise to fit different size babies. They are the only pocket diapers we've tried that didn't leak or wick moisture onto Evie's clothes. We used them at night, stuffed with a hemp and microfiber combination that kept her dry and comfy for up to 13 hours when she was sleeping through the night from ages 2-4 months old. (However, now we are using fitteds and wool covers at night. The combination of Evie becoming a tummy sleeper and drinking 3 bottles each night (at bedtime and two wakings) led to leaks at the front of her waist in our B*umgenius pocket diapers.) Here she is at 3 months in a B*umgenius 3.0:

Personally I prefer not to use pocket diapers during the day because:
*the waterproof outer layer doesn't breathe and Evie gets more rashes
*it's harder to tell when they are wet, just like with a disposable

We used to use pocket diapers on Evie when we were going out shopping or to church, but now we usually just put a disposable on her when we're headed out because there just isn't room in the diaper bag to use cloth while we are out and about. Since we formula feed and she is a spitty baby, our entire diaper bag is taken up with formula dispenser, bottles, burp cloths, bibs, etc. Squeezing in cloth diapers is almost impossible.

However, many people use pocket diapers exclusively and strongly prefer them. One of the primary benefits of pocket diapers is that they are the most like a disposable in design, so babysitters, dads, friends, family, church nursery workers, etc. are generally more comfortable using them. Many of them, B*umgenius included, use velcro, just like disposables do. They work just like the name suggests. The diaper is a shell with a waterproof outer and a stay-dry inner that wicks moisture away from the baby into the diaper's pocket, which you can stuff with whatever absorbent materials you want to. Most people use cotton prefolds, microfiber, hemp or bamboo to stuff pocket diapers, but I've read threads on D*iaperswappers about using things like flannel receiving blankets and even a S*hamwow, in a pinch.

(Not all nursery workers can figure them out, however. Our church nursery worker once put a pocket diaper on Evie backward. Yes, she fastened velcro over her bum instead of over her abdomen. The diaper in question (a H*appy H*einy) was almost identical in terms of design and function to a disposable diaper. To the diaper's credit, it did its job despite the misapplication and when we discovered the mistake during Evie's next diaper change, it hadn't leaked at all!

All-in-ones: Many people like them because they are virtually identical in form and function to a disposable diaper, but I haven't found a single one that I like. Each that I've tried has leaked and/or taken days to dry. I just can't personally recommend them.

Covers (for prefolds and fitted diapers; pockets and all-in-ones have built-in covers):

I've written so much above that I'll try to keep this section short and sweet. We love L*oveybums wool wrap covers because they are soft, stretchy, have snaps and work great! They are best under loose-fitting clothing. Under tighter clothing you might get some dampness from compression of the wool, allowing moisture from the diaper underneath to wick onto clothing. Here is Evie in a small L*oveybums crepe wrap at 3 months:

We also love T*hirsties covers, which are waterproof, but breathable, "plastic" covers (not really plastic, but they are waterproof like old fashioned plastic pants). The "plastic" in modern cloth diaper covers is called pul, which is short for polyurethane laminate. We prefer T*hirsties because they are generously sized to fit over one-size fitted diapers or fluffy, high-quality prefolds. They have leg gussets that work superbly to contain leaks and poosplosions, and they are very thin, to cut down on the bulk of cloth diapering. Here is Evie in a small T*hirsties cover at 3 months old:

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that my current favorite cloth diaper cover is knit wool. I'm not going to go there in this post because the topic deserves its own space, in my opinion. If Melba or anyone else wants me to go there, just say the word. :)

I know there are readers out there with opinions that are different from mine, so please feel free to champion your favorites in the comments. :)


  1. Great post... I think I agree with you on all counts. We started out with a stash of BGOS pockets with McQueen, and switched to fitteds and wool w/ some Thirsties covers almost two years ago. Our stash for McQuackQuack is made up of Mutts and OBV Goodmamas, with GMD prefolds (by far the best I have tried) and Thirsties covers. We had a lot of newborn wool, and love, love, LOVED our Loveybums covers, but with two littlies, wool was just neglected and I never sold our nb stash and upsized. Now that he's bigger, McQueen's woolly fluff will fit soon and we'll be back to wool again, especially overnight! I find we don't deal with any rashes with fitteds, but if I see him start to get a little red, 10 minutes or so of nakey time (no small feat with a mobile baby!) clears it right up, and we often go coverless at home.

  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Now I can finally relax because all of these have been explained in one coherent place. There is so much information out there, and much of it is clouded by selling points that I've been more than a little overwhelmed with the decision! This really helped me clear up some confusion and...I think...make an informed decision about what to buy for Charlie. :) I really appreciate your time and attention to my questions, you're the best!!



  3. I had a church nursery worker put a disposable diaper on Andy backwards can't be just the diaper. There are just some people that aren't "street smart" when it comes to diapers I guess. I laughed so hard when I got home and changed him...I think I even took a picture!

  4. Hi Karen:
    I've been following your blog since before Lucy was born and I just love watching Evie grow! She's so gorgeous!
    Based on your recommendation, I ordered some LoveyBums wool wraps yesterday for our new baby due in 9 days (fingers and toes crossed for a successful adoption) and I let them know that I was referred from your blog (even sent them a link)


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