To be clear, this is an opinion piece. If you want me to tell you which brands of diapers to buy and which materials are best and what sort of system makes the most sense, well, I can’t! I can’t do that because if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this crazy cloth diapering carousel, it’s this: every baby is different, every bum is different, and different bodies make for different diaper experiences.
For example, I know this sweet new vegan named Sula. Just a few months older than Waits, we met her parents by sharing a table at our favorite, particularly crowded, Sunday brunch buffet. Months later we ran into them again and discovered that we were both pregnant! And now when we bump into each other at brunch we talk babies, as new parents tend to do . . . and of course we also talk cloth, as crunchy folk tend to do.
Sula’s parents swear by the gDiaper system. LOVE THEM. They’re all she wears, with their cloth insert for home or the flushable option for going out, they say it’s the perfect diaper. Which is lucky for them, since gDiapers are one of the less expensive brands. I wish I could love them too – but I don’t.
I have one lovely lipstick red gDiaper and I every time Waits wears it, I end up getting peed on. It leaks. Every. Single. Time. And it’s not just him – I hear this complaint a lot from [ex] g-users. You either love ‘em, or they’re worthless. It totally depends on the shape of your baby.
This anecdote is meant to illustrate why I couldn’t just tell you which brand is ‘the best’. And, why I caution against investing in an entire single-brand system before your baby is even born. If I’d bought only gDiapers, I’d be screwed!
So here’s what I CAN tell you, and if you read this site I’m sure it will come as no surprise. When it comes to cloth diapers: 1) organic is better, and 2) shop secondhand. Here’s what I did . . .
I had *no* idea what I was doing when I jumped into the grand cloth-diapering game. All I knew was that cloth was in line with my values, so cloth it had to be. I imagined the diapers I wore as a baby, bulky fabric held in place with pokey pins, but we’ve come a long way since then. From prefolds to pocket diapers, all-in-ones to ‘longies’, there is an entire world of technology beyond the relics of our own infancy.
Someday Waits will inform me of his own gender identity. But for now, I have no qualms about putting my little boy in hot pink hand-me-down diapers. These are from Bonzai reader Eden – thanks again lady!
So I read the reviews, settled on pockets and covers, found a few highly-rated brands, and then I began my search. I’d hit the used baby store, which became one of my favorite haunts while I was pregnant. The good diapers disappear fast, so check back often! Craigslist is another excellent resource for secondhand diapers. Etsy is amazing if you want ‘new but ethical’, just be warned – it’s easy to lose control over there in the face of all that cute. You could do some serious financial damage!
Over the course of my pregnancy I amassed a modest collection of various brands, from bumGenius (my faves, but expensive) to Fuzzi Bunz (widely available, but S-M-L means you need more of them) to Swaddlebees (so awesome, organic and soft, but also come S-M-L) to Blue Penguin (really not my favorite), to the gDiaper and more. Some were pocket diapers (the Fuzzi Bunz and the Swaddlebees), some were size-adjustable (the bumGenius), some were all-in-ones (the Blue Penguins), and a few were off brand/homemade fitted diapers with off brand/homemade covers. All said and done I started motherhood with roughly 20 diapers.
I suggest starting with 15-25 diapers, depending on how much time you’ll have. You’ll need more eventually, but it’s better to start with a small varied supply. Then you can figure out what works for your baby and stock up on that. However, with only 15 diapers you’ll be doing laundry every day, so if that doesn’t seem realistic for your lifestyle you may want to start with a bigger stash. I should also note that we began with a box of newborn-sized disposables, which we ended up using almost exclusively for the first 2 weeks. Newborns are just so small for all that fabric! It’s a good idea to always have ‘sposies on hand (like for when the laundry slips your mind). We just started using them for overnights too, since Waits sleeps through the night (bless his heart!) and cloth ends up leaking. A lot. And we share a bed, so . . . yeah no.
. . . To Be Continued . . .