after a week of stressing over cloth diapers..
This week started with a hell of a bad news, at least for me. I am easing into the third trimester of my third pregnancy, and finally starting with much-delayed nursery preparations–doing an inventory of baby clothes, equipment, cloth diapers. As I tried to make arrangements for the pick-up of a crib that was no longer used by Turo’s sister, I found out that my stash of Tushywushy pocket diapers were missing. In addition to an electric breast pump, the Tushywushies are some of my biggest motherhood investments. These set of cloth diapers have been used by at least 2 children, from infancy to toddlerhood, and I took pains laundrying and drying them just so they would last long. They cost me an arm and a leg (note: I bought them 5 years ago) but they also allowed me to save on disposable diapers and a LOT of non-biodegradable waste.
I fumed when I learned that my beloved Tushywushies were gone. I’m the type who take cloth diapering seriously. Aside from avoiding diaper rash on my babies’ bottoms, and being more economical, the unforgettable flood of 2009 was a major motivating factor for us to cloth diaper our children full-time (we only use disposables when travelling). So I was in a not so good mood for a couple of hours. And then the cloth diaper system search began.
It was natural for me to start my research with pocket cloth diapers, as this was the system I was familiar with. Aside from Tushywushies or Next9, I looked into similar brands like Baby Leaf and Clue Bebe, cheaper brands like Alva and Sun Baby, and more expensive US brands like BumGenius and Wahmies. I’ve successfully used pocket diapers for nighttime diapering with Uri before. During daytime I use gauze clothe diapers for breathability and because these dry easily. But to ensure that baby get’s a good night’s sleep and doesn’t get bothered by wetness or constant changing, we used Tushies at night. I did experience a few leaks here and there but this was fairly manageable since this happens at home and it’s only a matter of changing into a new set of clothes, cloth diapers or crib sheets. This time however, I am hoping to cloth diaper exclusively, even when travelling or going on out-of-town trips. Given my experience with some minor leaks with pocket diapers before, and knowing the amount of laundry we could end up with using pocket diapers full-time and away from home, I felt I had to look for other alternatives.
First, I considered using a combination of pocket diapers for night-time use at home, trusty gauze diapers for daytime, and all-in-one diapers (AIOs) for day-outs or when travelling. I was wooed by GroVia AIOs because of the trim and fit design, and Bumkins Snap-In-One because of its fast-drying design, and their Dr. Seuss line of diapers (wink). I was thinking that if I had a stash of cheap pocket diapers and slightly more expensive AIOs, this would be enough for overnight trips, or maybe even a couple of nights away. But this means I’ll be carrying a bagful of dirty diaper laundry during the trip. If we travel using our car, this would not be a problem. But what if we need to take a plane? Or a ferry? Imagine having 2 kids, 1 infant, our luggages, a bag of clean diapers and another bag of soiled diapers in tow. Definitely not a pretty sight. So while I think, pockets+AIOs could work, maybe there is a better option.
Here come the hybrids or all-in-twos (AI2s). I’ve heard of diaper covers before. I’ve used them over folded gauze diapers but never really liked them then. This time, I gave them a second look. I read up countless reviews on Thirsties Duo, Best Bottom, GroVia Hybrid, Bummis and Flip Covers. What I love about the hybrid or AI2 system is that the diaper covers/wraps/shells are made from a waterproof material, thus leakproof, which can be used for more than one diaper changes by just wiping off or air-drying.
The diaper covers may be used with absorbent inserts, made from microfiber or cotton, that can be snapped into place. Additional boosters, made out of bamboo or hemp material, may be added to increase absorbency. Having tried pocket diapers before, the use of inserts are not new to me. I am very familiar, even abhor, the fact that the inserts take eons to dry. So while having to carry just a couple of diaper covers and a few more inserts to a trip may sound appealing, I would prefer to look for options that doesn’t take too much time for washing and drying.
And then I discovered the world of pre-folds. Folding flat cloth diapers is nothing new. I’ve done this with both Ari and Uri and I stuck with it because flat diapers are super easy to wash and dry, poop stains and all. For my third child, I still plan to use flat cloth diapers during daytime. Even if I end up with 10 or 20 diaper changes in a day, washing and drying time would still be shorter compared to laundrying multi-layer inserts. But as I got familiar with the AI2 system, I realized that pre-folds may even be better to use than inserts, especially for newborns who poop many times in a day. Pre-folds are absorbent, easy to wash and quick to dry. They are less likely to retain odor, stains, or soap residue than inserts.Plus, you can customize the absorbency of pre-folds just by changing the fold (i.e. thicker fold in front for tummy sleepers, fan-fold to better catch watery newborn poop). Best of all, they are so much cheaper. You can have a dozen pre-folds (read: 12 diaper changes) for the price of 1-3 pocket diapers.
Using a diaper cover+prefold system is practical for me because it’s similar to the flat cloth diaper system I’m used to. A lot of people may have trouble with having to touch soaking or poop-stained cloth diapers, which is why they dislike using pre-folds but not me. This system makes doing the laundry more economical, because not only do pre-folds wash and dry easily, but the diaper covers also wash and dry easily. And because the covers are supposed to be reusable (unless soiled with poop when they can be easily washed and hanged to dry even in your hotel room) I could practically cut my luggage load and dirty diaper load by half when going out on trips. To me, that’s some real value right there.
After poring over reviews of AI2 systems, I finally decided on my initial cloth diaper purchase:
Bummis Newborn pack – includes newborn-sized diaper covers and preemie-sized organic cotton pre-folds;
GroVia Shell set – includes the waterproof shell and organic cotton soaker pad.
I’ve seen good reviews for the Bummis pre-folds, plus they’re organic and relatively affordable, which is why I decided to try this brand. They also have a washable fleece liner, which I plan to use. I also like the mesh lining inside the GroVia hybrid, as opposed to the plasticky material of Thirsties and Best Bottom covers that may irritate baby’s skin. I am planning on getting stay-dry booster pads for the GroVia so each diaper change could hold up for longer. I am also keen to try out Flips diaper covers perhaps later when I need to reinforce my diaper stash, as well as stock up on Thirsties Hemp pre-folds when I need more absorbency if baby will be a heavy wetter.
I guess that losing the Tushywushies were a blessing in disguise. Now I can start fresh with a new cloth diapering system, which I’m hoping will work better this time around.