Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Did We Decide Which Cloth Diapers to Use?

Ultimately, the cloth diaper style we chose was a balance between the amount of effort we were willing to put in to preparation (do I really want to deal with flats/prefolds and snappis?) and the amount of money we were willing to put in to cloth diapering (all-in-ones are convenient…but also very pricey). 

I wanted something that was convenient, but reasonably priced, was comfortable for baby to wear, and would contain all messes (I do not want poop and pee leaking out everywhere)!!

Getting started in the search for cloth diapers is absolutely overwhelming. There are SO MANY OPTIONS!

To get started, I read as much as I could on the topic. I found the New To Cloth Diapers section at Jillian's Drawers to be particularly helpful, as well as the Cloth Diaper Channel on youtube. I also read as many reviews on retail websites (like nickisdiapers.com and kellyscloset.com) as possible. 

By doing this, I was able to pick up on what some of the more commonly used brands were, and to make my life simpler, I decided to operate under the assumption that the more popular brands were also somewhat more reliable and more likely to give us a good experience – which may not be true, but it gave us a starting point and we were able to narrow the field from literally hundreds of options to only a few dozen or so. 

We also knew that we wanted to go with a one-sized diaper since it would cut down on the number of diapers we had to buy over the long-run…but what kind should we choose?

I liked the idea of a pocket diaper for a couple of reasons: 
  1. They aren’t as pricey as the all-in-ones and they are almost as convenient
  2. The pocket diapers use an absorbent liner stuffed between a waterproof outer layer and a soft, fleece inner layer – so whenever baby goes pee, the moisture is wicked away from baby’s skin and absorbed into the liner, which (supposedly) keeps baby’s skin a bit drier.

I ordered a pocket diaper sampler pack from Nicki’s Diapers so that I could get my hands on several types to see what I liked best. (You can also customize one at kellyscloset.com.)

Many one-size diapers use a snap system on the front to customize the rise and have multiple waist settings that are adjusted using either snaps or Velcro (see photo). 

Rump-a-Rooz diaper on largest rise setting - no snaps fastened
Medium rise setting

A notable exception to this are the Fuzzibunz, which have an adjustable elastic in the leg. The leg elastic helps to customize both the rise and the leg opening size, and the waist is adjusted with snap closures. Tons of cloth diapering moms rave about these diapers (seriously, just “google” it or check out youtube!), and they definitely weren’t the most expensive pocket diaper option (Fuzzibunz usually sell for around $19.95 a diaper) – so they definitely made the list!

[insert photo of fuzzibunz – illustrating adjustable elastic]
Fuzzibunz on largest elastic setting
adjustable elastic in the back...

and the front

Fuzzibunz adjusted to smallest elastic settings

I also liked the idea of the “hybrid” diapers (particularly the Best Bottoms diaper, pictured below), mostly because they seemed like a reasonably convenient and cost effective alternative to pocket diapers. Plus, they have these amazing leg gussets that help hold in all kinds of messes. The Best Bottoms are $16.95 per cover (shell) and $3.95 per liner, and you can change the liners multiple times before you have to change the shell (usually you can get 2-3 liner changes before needing to change shells). If you average and an average of 3 liners per shell on an average day, that’s a cost of $28.80 for three diaper changes (or the equivalent of three diapers) – compared to $59.85 (3 x $19.95) for three diaper changes in Fuzzibunz!

Best Bottom Shell

absorbent liners snap in to front and back of shell

leg opening has gussets to help contain messes!

Despite all of the great things about Best Bottom diapers, I still had (have) a few concerns. I was (am) worried that the liner snaps may fail (pull away and tear the diaper cover). Jason and I googled this repeatedly trying to find instances where people complained about this happening…we weren’t able to find any, so I’m guessing that it hasn’t been an issue so far. 

What I DID learn is that some moms complained that with their young babies (especially those on the slim side), that when the waist setting was correct, the leg openings were too tight (and those amazing gussets were digging in and leaving red marks on baby’s thighs. Yes, I want to contain poop…but, I don’t want my baby to be uncomfortable in the process. 

So, I was torn between the adjustability of the Fuzzibunz diapers and the convenience of the Best Bottoms…and I literally froze with indecision.

What did we Choose?
After a couple of weeks of wavering back and forth and irritating my husband with my incessant cloth diaper talk (and my inability to make a decision), I started asking around to other cloth diapering moms. (I may not know any personally, but the internet is full of them…and most of them are dying to talk to you about their experiences and personal favorites.) 

I learned that it is generally not a good idea to put all of your “diaper stock” into one brand/type of cloth diaper. It seems that different diapers work better for different babies at different ages/stages (who knew?)…and that until you absolutely 100% know what works for you and your little one (which could take months or years of experimentation), you should keep at least a few different brands/styles on hand to ensure that you have diapers that will work and that you love to use!

Alright, so maybe we should just split our stash between Best Bottoms and Fuzzibunz? 

This was the original plan…until a fellow cloth diapering mom pointed me in the direction of the Kelly’s Closet retail site (www.kellyscloset.com). Kelly’s Closet periodically offers promotions where if you spend a certain amount, you get a free one-size or one-size pocket diaper (depending on the promotion) with your order. The catch is that you don’t get to pick the diaper, you get whatever Kelly’s Closet gives you…but it’s free! I thought this might be a good way to build our stash more cost effectively, so I went with it.

As I’ve been building our stash of Fuzzibunz and Best Bottoms, I’ve also received several Rump-a-Rooz and Happy Heiny’s (both one-sized pocket diapers). 

I had never seriously considered either of these brands until I received them in the mail, so I turned to the internet again…I checked out the company websites (and descriptions), read reviews from moms who have used them, and scoped out youtube for some video of these diapers “in action” – and yeah, it turns out that tons of moms LOVE these diapers as well!! Now, I am all the more excited about trying them. I’ve even branched out and ordered a few of the Happy Heiny’s and Rump-a-Rooz on my own…and now our stash is officially made up of 4 different brands of diapers (so far)!!

Speaking of Best Bottoms Diapers…
These are made by Nicki’s Diapers (nickisdiapers.com) and are available on her website, as well as through other online retailers. Each week, Nicki’s Diapers hosts an online giveaway – this week the prize is: a Best Bottoms Diaper!! 

So, head on over to their weekly giveaway site and enter to win your own!


  1. Ricci, I love your site, so informative too :)
    Ok, this comment is kind of gross so WARNING to others if you are easily grossed out don't read....

    Another consideration regarding diaper "failure"/leaks since you mentioned the side gussets, there's also the "up the back" poop situation...sometimes so much at once that you have diaper failure and it comes out the top at the back and the sides and all over the person holding baby :( :( If baby is lying down it goes up their back and into their hair...I think proper fit might help with this? Sometimes nothing can be done :(
    -Christine J

  2. Oh my goodness! Thanks for the warning Christine! I've heard of those kinds of "blow outs" with disposables (not sure about cloth)...I would imagine that a snug fitting waist would help prevent that from happening, but who really knows? I certainly hope I don't have to deal with that (at least not often!)

  3. I started late so I haven't cloth diapered a newborn, but from what I heard blow out are extremely rare with cloth diapers. So much that people will even list that as a benefit to cloth diapers!

    I didn't know the fuzzibunz had adjustable legs like that! That's pert awesome! When you have it tightened, does the extra elastic tuck in somewhere? Does it seem like it would get in the way or anything?

  4. Sarah - yes, there is a little hole for the elastic to slide in to so that it is not hanging out...I should have posted a picture that showed that!!

  5. Sarah, I was thinking newborn blowouts, but I've had it happen all too much even at later ages--I don't use cloth, that might be why! :( It was way worse before solids. Once things firmed up, not an issue.

    Found this site, it has good troubleshooting for blowouts and other leaks for cloth specifically:

  6. Thanks Christine! I bookmarked it for future reference!! :-)