Choosing the Right Cloth Diaper

dipes

The amount of different cloth diaper brands and styles  is baffling, and the number of opinions about the best cloth diaper is even more overwhelming!

I am going to go over a few different styles  and brands of cloth diapers, hopefully making your choice a little easier!  Because there isn’t a store that sells cloth diapers anywhere in my area, I did all of my research online before purchasing.  What I chose to use, I immediately fell in love with, but keep in mind that my favorites may not be best for you and your family.  It’s all about preference!  No one diaper is better than another, it’s really just about what works for you!

Prefolds

These are what your grandma used.  And these are what people think of when they first hear “cloth diapering”. Prefolds are just that, prefolded pieces of fabric that need to be held together with either safety pins, covers, or a type of elastic fastener that you can purchase. The waterproof covers for these can be found for only a couple bucks, making this the cheapest way to diaper.

Although these may be the most affordable and the easiest type of diaper to clean, I didn’t go with prefolds because they seemed too complicated. Because I was used to disposables, I wanted something similiar to that. I thought it may be hard to teach a babysitter to use them, too. I have prefolds that I love to use as burp cloths! That may be saying something about how absorbant they are!

Fitted

fitted diaper

This kind of diaper is much more similar to disposables.  They fasten with either snaps, velcro, or loops and are fitted to baby’s bottom.  They are not waterproof so they still require some kind of shell.  These diapers are a little more expensive than prefolds, but cheaper than most other styles. Another plus is that there are all kinds of cute designs and colors.

We decided against fitted diapers because we wanted something that grows with our baby, as in usable from birth to potty training.  However, I’ve recently read that a few brands have introduced one-sized fitted diapers.

All in Ones

If you’re looking for convenience, this is probably the diaper for you.  The All in Ones have a waterproof outer shell, an inner lining, and an absorbency layer (the soaker or tongue) that is usually sewn in.  Because of the soaker, drying time can be a little bit longer than other diapers (you don’t want to put the whole diaper in the dryer), but some brands have created All in Ones in which the soaker snaps on and off.  For more absorbency, you can double up on the soakers for overnights, long trips, or heavy wetters.  They fasten with either snaps or velcro and have elastic around the legs to make for a better fit.  This is a great diaper, but depending on the brand can be pricier than all of the others.

Pockets

The pockets are very similar to All in Ones, except rather than having a soaker tongue, they come with an insert that needs to be stuffed in between the lining and the waterproof cover.  There are all kinds of different inserts: microfiber, bamboo, hemp, ect.  so you can adjust the absorbency based on the type of fabric you prefer and make them as organic as you’d like. They also fasten with snaps or velcro and have elastic around the legs for a snug fit.

These are the diapers that my family uses.  I like that you can add more inserts for super absorbency, and they also tend to be a little cheaper than All in Ones.  I guess the biggest disadvantage would have to be un-stuffing a messy diaper, but I honestly haven’t had an issue with that.

What Brands I use

Trying to search for the perfect brand can be a little intimidating because there are so many.  After all the research I did, it seemed that the general consensus is that the top of the line, best brands are FuzziBunz and bumGenius.  That also means that they are much more expensive than others.

Because I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on each diaper, I decided to try three different brands that were significantly less than $25 per diaper.  Also, all of the diapers that I got are one sized.  That means that the same diapers my two month old daughter wears still fit on my two year old son!  It seemed like the most economical choice.  I wanted to try out more than one brand because I wanted to get a feel for the differences and decide which ones were my favorite.

These were the brands that I chose:

Charlie Banana

charlie banana dipe

These are my favorite to put on my daughter.  They are generally more expensive, but with a little bit of searching and haggling, I got six brand new diapers for $6 each on ebay.  What drew me to Charlie Banana initially was the fact that they are an eco-friendly company, striving to produce as little waste as possible, and they are also big supporters of different charities including Operation Smile and Healthy Child Healthy World.

I like these diapers because they are trim and fit snug on baby’s bottom.  When we started my daughter on cloth, she was a month old and I was worried that she would be overwhelmed by the diapers that we put her in, even on their smallest settings.  The Charlie Banana diapers were the most comfortable looking when she was that tiny.  I haven’t used them on my son because he is so much bigger and adjusting the size is a bit more complicated than the other diapers that we use, which is my biggest complaint.  There are adjustable straps on the inside of the diaper’s lining that are similar to a bra strap.  The other difference of this diaper is that the pocket is in the front of the diaper rather than the back of the diaper.  There isn’t really a positive or negative about this that I have come across yet.  What I love about the insert is that they have a blue Charlie Banana tag on them.  When I stuff these diapers, I make sure that the tag is facing up, pocket side so that they are easy to grab and un-stuff when taking the diaper off, which makes no chance of having to touch anything icky.

Another negative, however, is that the insert is much smaller than the others.  However, that is part of what contributes to how well they fit itty bitty babes.  So far, it hasn’t been an issue because my girl is still little, but I’m sure it will make a difference as she gets older and bigger.

I’ve yet to have any leaks while having babe in Charlie Banana dipes.  Plus they are super cute!  I would totally recommend checking these diapers out at the Charlie Banana website!  Especially if you have a small babe!  These are my favorite dipes for newborns!

Kawaii

dipe

 These are really excellent diapers and perhaps the most underrated cloth diaper out there.  At about $6 or $7 per dipe, they are much cheaper than other brands, but still a really great, durable quality.  The snaps are simple to use and adjusting between newborn bottom and 2 year old bottom is super easy!  They come with two large micro-fleece inserts which are super absorbent!  I’ve never had a leak from these with either of my kids.  This brand doesn’t have as many cute designs and patterns to choose from if that’s what you’re looking for, though, but they have packages to give you a better deal.  Check out what the Kawaii website to see what they have to offer.

UPDATE: We’ve been using these cloth diapers for just over 2 months now, and I’ve noticed that the threading on a couple of my Kawaii diapers has started to come off.  It hasn’t ruined the diapers…they are still wearable, but I thought it should be noted.  I have two babes in diapers and we don’t have a giant stash (we have more on order) so they have gotten a lot of wear; however, I did expect them to last much longer!  I still like the Kawaii, especially if you’re wanted to go the cheaper route, but this is saying something about the quality.

Alva

 alva 1 alva 2

These are the cheapest and most adorable diapers that I have found!  I ordered some for as low as $4.49 and never paid more than $6 for one.  They are very similar to the Kawaii diapers that I have.  The only main different is that the pocket doesn’t have a flap to keep the insert from slipping out, but honestly, I haven’t had a single instance where that has happened.  I’ve never had any leaks from these diapers (they also come with micro-fleece inserts), and they really helped fill out my stock.  If you’re just wanting to try out a few cloth diapers to start or just don’t really want to spend too much on filling out your stock, I absolutely recommend Alva!  So far, these diapers have been just as good as the others that I’ve used!  Look through all of their adorable prints by checking out their website alvababy.com.

UPDATE:  These have really become the favorite for my husband and I.  We really like the prints that give them personality, but they are just an overall good, affordable diaper.  We have 4 minky which I try to only put on my daughter, and they have all stretched out a little bit.  This hasn’t made them unusable, we just have to tighten them more than the PUL around the waist.

Another thing that should be noted is that they aren’t based in the USA, but rather China.  Ordering can take a while, especially when they are backed up.  When we put my son in cloth along with my daughter, we realized that we were going to need more so that I didn’t have to do diaper laundry every day, it has been 3 weeks since I ordered more diapers and they still haven’t arrived!  Their customer service is very hard to deal with!  If I didn’t love the diapers as much as I do, I would just say forget it and not order from them again.  They recently posted on their website that they have opened a US based service center, but they don’t have any product in it yet.  Hopefully, their service greatly improves within the next few months!

Keep in mind that everybody has their own preference.   Research and trial and error are going to be the best ways for you to learn which style of diaper and brand is right for you and your babe!  Good luck!

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