I was going to write a whole, long winded, page on cloth diapers. But you know what? I’m not going to. I just don’t have enough first hand knowledge. But in my quest to try each cloth diaper type, I will keep you informed.
So first I’m going to talk about pockets. Pockets were my first love and my gateway drug. Diaper. I mean diaper.
A pocket diaper is very modern and looks nothing like what your mom or grandma used in her day. It is shaped sort of like a disposable, with two layers of fabric sewn together. The side that goes against baby’s skin is usually a soft, moisture wicking material, the side on the outside is called pul, plu or tpu. This is a sort of plastic fabric, usually comes in pretty colors and prints, and is water proof. There is a gap between the two fabrics, usually in the back of the diaper, but sometimes the front or both, for you to put an absorbant material in. The leg holes and back have elastic, the flaps that come around to close the diaper are either snaps (my preference) or velcro. Velcro can be called hook and loop or aplix, by the way, don’t let the different names confuse you, it’s velcro. Most pockets come with something called microfiber (or MF) inserts. These are a synthetic material, can handle high dryer heat, are cheap, fairly trim and did I mention cheap? You can not put this fabric against baby’s skin, but it doesn’t need much prepping either- just wash and dry once and you are ready to go. Easy! Same with the pocket part of the diaper- wash and dry (on low heat or hang) and ready to go. But mf is not very absorbent. Don’t even bother with mf for overnight use, not even doubled. If you pay a bit more you can get hemp or bamboo, and these are much more absorbent. Or you can stuff the pocket with almost any absorbent material that you don’t mind getting pee on. Prefolds, flats, dish towels, an old t-shirt. Whatever you’ve got. Just remember, natural fibers like hemp and bamboo will soak up much more pee and I suggest you use a combo of these for overnights and naptimes.
Many people start with pocket diapers because they are:
*Easy. Once stuffed a pocket diaper goes on just like a disposable diaper. No pins, folding, covers. And when you take it off instead of rolling a burrito, you just slide out the insert and dump the whole thing in your diaper laundry. Easy. A few diapers have a gap on both ends, front and back, so you don’t even need to unstuff them- the insert will agitate out on it’s own.
*Cute. So many cute prints! You could go broke on them. Really. Who needs expensive bloomers, or heck, pants? These are too cute to cover up.
*Plentiful. It seems everyone and their pet monkey is selling pockets. You can find them super cheap. You can find them anywhere. I think every diaper company has figured out that to get someone hooked, sell them a pocket. They are simply a great introduction to the cloth diaper world for those that are used to disposables. At least that’s how it worked for me.
With pockets you get what you pay for. You can get some great deals on diapers from China, for example. Really cheap. With no shipping. Just check E-bay. That’s where I got started. But they won’t be all that nice. The inside, the part against your baby’s skin, is kind of rough, the pul fabric may delaminate (yuck!) and snaps may come off. These are simply not a work horse diaper. But perfect for those special occasions when you just need your baby in a camo diaper.
Pay a few dollars extra and you get nice fleece against your baby’s skin, support a US company, and get a product that lasts. Pay a lot more and get a custom, hand made, frilly, diaper that has the exact pattern you want. Of course, when you pay 25 a diaper cloth diapering starts losing it’s cost effectiveness, no?
Pocket Diaper Pros:
easy, plentiful, cute, wick moisture away from baby to prevent pee from sitting on skin, custom absorbency (add as many or few inserts as you want), dry fast because the soaker part comes out. Cheaper than most fitted diapers and all in ones. Some are cheaper than more expensive flats. If you change enough you shouldn’t have leaks- tight leg gussets (the elastic around the legs) and pul fabric make these a great naptime/going out/ sitting the carseat diaper.
can be more pricey than prefolds and flats (depending on how you shop). Most are not workhorses- better for special occasions. If you want nice things like fleece insides and hemp inserts then you will pay more. You need to unstuffy most of these, I’ve only ever found one kind that agitates out. You need to stuff them all before use.
Closures: these come with snaps or velcro. While velcro gives a custom fit and is easier to use, great for dads, daycares and sitters, it doesn’t hold up well, creates “diaper snakes” in the wash (all of it sticks together!) and gets poo trapped in it. Trust me. Yuck. Snaps last longer (through more than one kid), stay on better (harder for little hands to get off) and I find them less bulky under clothes. I much prefer snaps, but to each their own.
Sizes: most pockets are one size. This means they have snaps down the front and you adjust the rise (how far up the diaper comes on baby’s belly) yourself. These usually last from 8-36 pounds or so, obviously depending on the brand and the child. These can be a bit more pricey than sized diapers but last from birth through infancy. They are a bit more bulky than sized diapers though.
Sized pockets are pockets that vary in size and have no snaps to adjust the sizing on baby. This means as baby grows you put on a bigger diaper. It means buying new diapers with each increase in size of baby, if that makes sense. Costs more in the long run, but they are trimmer so some prefer this style. And you can always sell the size your baby just grew out of.
Pockets were great for me for 6 months. But I’m falling out of love. At first stuffing the diapers every laundry day was exciting. Then just part of the ho hum everydayness of life. And now I’m dreading it. So in the last few weeks I started wondering if there wasn’t something else out there. I pulled out my fitted (an obf sloomb, the “magic” diaper, more on this later). I bought it as a nighttime solution but never used it, because I found a pocket combination that worked for me. But then my pockets started leaking overnight. More nights than not. SO I’ve pulled out the fitted and my WAHM wool cover. Now, I’m guaranteed a dry bed. At least every few nights, when my fitted is clean and dry. And then Sustainable Babyish (known as Sloomb or S’bish) had a sale- and I jumped on board. I’m expecting my fluff mail today. Once my new fitteds are prepped and in regular use I will update you on my next experiment in cloth diapering: fitted diapers.