**Lisa notes: Stephen takes FOREVER to get around to this editing business. I promise that there is nothing controversial in this post. So, I just decided to go ahead and publish it.
So as I said in my last post, a lot has changed when it comes to cloth diapering. While traditional prefolds and simple covers are still the cheapest way to cloth diaper your child, there are so many more options now that are even easier to use.
In this post, I am going to attempt to discuss the various styles of diapers, some of the brands that are available in each style and their price ranges.
Prefolds are called as such because you have to fold them before using them as a diaper. When people think of a cloth diaper, this is usually what they think of.
Most people now use cheap Gerber prefolds as burp rags. I received a few at one of my showers with some cute fabrics sewn on to make them a little more decorative. From what I understand though, the Gerber prefolds are pretty much only useful as burp rags.
Back when our parents and grandparents used cloth diapers, they had to use saftey pins to secure them into place. Many parents worried about pricking a squirming baby. Plus, it can be quite difficult to get a diaper on tight with just saftey pins, I know attempts on my dolls as a kid never seemed to work quite right. These days, with the right cover, you actually don’t even have to pin or secure the prefold. You fold the diaper into thirds, stick it in the cover and then place it on your baby just like you would a disposable.
If that isn’t secure enough for you though, there is a great new little invention to help you out. It’s called a snappi. They come in a variety of colors and it is basically a three pronged rubbery tool with hooks that grip the diaper and hold it in place without you having to worry about poking your child with a safety pin.
As I said before, prefolds and simple covers are definitely the cheapest way to cloth diaper your child. Diaper service quality Chinese prefolds are about $1.50 per diaper, sometimes even cheaper if you buy them in bulk.
Covers can be a bit more expensive depending on what you want to buy. If you want really cute designer covers in fun patterns, you can expect to pay $12-20+ per cover. If basic white and cheap is the route you want to go, you can expect to pay $5-10+ per cover. Also, you don’t technically need as many covers as you do inserts. As long as nothing gets on the cover you can reuse it again with a fresh insert.
Snappis are about $3 each, but you can use them over and over again so you don’t need a ton of those either.
Contours and fitteds
For those of us that find folding a diaper to be too much work with a squirming, naked baby on the changing table, there are now diapers that are preformed into the diaper shape and ready to go.
Contours are just preformed diaper inserts that you can choose to use with or without a snappi like prefolds. Like a prefold, you also have to use a diaper cover with these diapers.
Fitteds are also preformed diaper inserts, but they usually have elastic at the leg holes and built-in closures such as velcro or snaps. You have to use a cover with these as well.
The first few weeks with Bean, we borrowed my friend Tiffany’s newborn stash until our BumGenius diapers fit. From that experience, I can tell you that I like fitteds way more than I like contours, as does my husband. He did not like dealing with the snappi. We had more problems with leaks when we used the contours, I think mostly because of error when putting the diaper on.
We particularly loved the two Thirsties Fab Fitted diapers that she had (an example of which is shown in orange above). Though, if I were to go the inserts/covers route, I’d probably consider something like the Swaddlebees One-Size Fitted (below) because I like the idea of not having to buy a new set of diapers every time my child gets a little bigger.
Contours start at around $7 and go up from there depending on the brand and fitteds start at around $13 and go up from there, again depending on which brand you decide to get.
Pocket diapers and all-in-ones
These are what we use! Pocket diapers are comprised of a shell made out of waterproof material such as PUL, with a liner that has an opening at one end that creates a pocket. You can stuff the pocket with a prefold or the insert that usually comes with the diaper. Once the insert is in place these diapers are ready to go. They go on just like a disposable with either velcro or snap closures.
All-in-ones (AIOs) are similar to pocket diapers, but the insert is built into the diaper and you do not remove it for washing purposes.
Some of the more well-known brands of pockets and AIOs are BumGenius (what we use), Mommy’s Touch, Thirsties, Fuzzi Bunz, ImseVimse, Dream Eze, Bumkins, Blueberry and I think I would probably also include the GroBaby system in this category. These diapers start at around $15 and go up from there depending on the brand you choose and whether or not you buy them in bulk.
One-size diapers actually span a couple different styles: you can get them in an AIO/pocket diaper or as a fitted insert. When I was researching diapers, the idea of a one-size diaper that would last the whole 2-3 year diapering period really appealed to me because it meant one investment up front and then we’d be done. The way one-size diapers work is that they have snaps that adjust the rise of the diaper to fit down to a newborn or up to a toddler.
gDiapers are sort of the hybrid between cloth and disposables. They have fun fabric covers (gPants) and then you buy flushable/compostable inserts for them.
I think they’re a good way to get your feet in the water if the idea of cloth diapering scares you. I even have one friend, who at last check told me she was continuing to use her gPants, but was using prefolds with them instead of the flushable inserts. I’ve seen the gPants on sale for around $10 each, but they are normally $17-19 each. gDiapers recommends starting out with 4 pairs of their gPants. On their website, a package of 40 refills of the inserts is $15, and a case of 160 is $52.
So that about covers the various styles of diapers that are available today. Within all of these styles there are so many different choices in brands, colors, and patterns as well as price ranges. Picking out new diapers can be yet another fun way to dress up your baby (I mean how cute is that little ruffle butt gPant? Eek!).
I personally love that our BumGenius diapers come in fun colors. I rarely have to put bloomers on Bean when she is wearing a dress because her diaper is already plenty cute. Which is great because one side effect of cloth diapers is a bigger tush and most bloomers, especially ones that come with the dress in her size, don’t fit over them.
In my next installment, I’ll talk about the other applications for cloth: swim diapers and training pants (aka an alternative to Pull Ups).