Sunday, May 15, 2011

Intro to Hybrids and All-in-Twos

Hybrid is commonly referred to as a cloth diaper (an outer shell that can be reused) that has a disposable option. It's not uncommon for a cloth using family to use these while traveling so that they can trash or flush the inserts and not be carrying dirty diapers while they travel. G-diapers is a commonly known example of hybrids - it can either have cloth pads in it or a disposable (often flushable) pad. Others include Grovia and Flips - we've used all three of these diapers, but in the end they didn't make it into our final stash.

I will try hard not to gush about all-in-twos (AI2s) but they are my favorite. I will TRY to be objective. Here we go.

Imagine a diaper cover like you'd use with a prefold or fitted. Make an absorbent pad with a stay dry top. Make it so you can snap the pad into the cover. Now you have an all-in-two. As with prefolds and fitteds, you'd rotate between a couple covers in a day, but there is no folding or fastening the absorbent layer. They can come in snaps or velcro. They are often OS (with either a snap down design or adjustable leg elastic) but can come in sized options. For the review I'll be Using Softbums (Echo and Omni), Best Bottoms, and Ma Petite Mama diapers.

I'll admit I started my AI2 week a day early and I'll tell you why. They are so easy to travel with! They take up less space in the diaper bag because the inserts are slim and I just have one or two extra covers to rotate between. It also means I can fit more diapers in my wet bag (the bag that holds dirty diapers) as I often have to go more than 2 days without washing.

**WARNING** Softbums are my favorite with Best Bottoms coming in a close second. I might not be the best one to look at these objectively, but I'll try the best I can.

The Fitted Verdict

There are a number of features that are available in some fitteds and not others which makes reviewing them a little tricky. Being as general as possible, here we go.


Absorbency: Like prefolds, the entire fitted is absorbent.

Elastic: Unlike prefolds, fitteds have leg elastic that will help contain messes.

Breathable: Like prefolds, fitteds are very breathable especially when paired with wool or fleece.

Variety: Fitteds are available for any price range and need making it a good universal diaper.

Easy to tell when wet: You can tell by sight if a fitted is wet, making it easy to change promptly. I imagine this would make for a good newborn option. The elastic would hold in watery newborn poop and the material would help a new parent know that their child is wet (& count wet diapers if needed) before the diaper is overfilled.


I could only think of 2 "cons"

1) Might not be babysitter/daddy friendly: Obviously, some fitteds will be easier than others. Some are sized and have a simple velcro closure (like snugglebottoms) while others might require folding down, pins, or snappies.

2) You have to cover them: I'm not saying "why buy a cute diaper if it just has to be covered up" - I get that argument. Cute diapers are fun because you know it's their even if it's not seen. Heck, I've been able to see BSRBs through econobum covers, so it's not about that. It's about the extra step. I know, I know, some people go coverless, but let's face it - if you're going to put your kid in a car seat or in clothes you're not going to let them go coverless. Sometimes just getting a diaper on Claire is a struggle enough and then to have to cover it - essentially putting another diaper on - is a daunting task. Still, if you're using a wool or fleece cover as clothing - or even letting a PUL cover show as part of an outfit - it isn't any different than putting pants back on.

So the final review. There is likely a fitted out there that will work for you and for your budget. If you use wool or fleece or are okay with them going coverless at home, they'll be great for combating rashes. If you don't plan on having covers double as clothes, think about if you want the extra step of putting on a cover - it might be a big deal, it might not matter at all. If you are easily addicted to cute things RUN AWAY. It is very easy to get swept away in stalking new, cute diapers.

The Fitted Variety

I know, I know, it's been awhile. I promise I've kept up with the schedule but haven't had time to post.

We spent Mother's Day weekend at the Hall household. We had fun celebrating birthdays and enjoying the family. The kids had a blast playing with their grandparents, cousins, and many many more. I think the kids want a teeter-totter of their own (which would be a workout for me!) and a Wii (though wii bowling can be dangerous - though quite fun). I was surprised at how well Isabelle was doing with Wii bowling.

This weekend, yesterday to be specific, we celebrated the wedding of Aly and Hiram. It was a wonderful experience and we were so glad to be their for it. The kids had fun and practically stalked the photographer like the little hams they are. Sorry Aly and Hiram if half your wedding pictures include my kids.

Now I'm home with a bit of a stomach bug. From reading facebook, it doesn't look like I'm alone. Oh well. At least it's giving me a day to slow down and hopefully catch up (or get closer to catching up) on some blogging.

So fitteds.

Here's the problem I'm having with reviewing fitteds - there is such a variety! That's not a bad thing, but it makes it hard to lump them in a single category. They can be pinned or snappied or come in velcro or snaps. They can come in an array of fabrics. They can be stuffed or unstuffable. They can be plain or elaborate patterns. They can be $5 or $30.

So, what's the variety breakdown? The simpler you get, the less expensive it is. A simple cotton is going to cost less than a bamboo or hemp (which tend to be more absorbent). A plain looking one is going to run less than a "cute" one. Snaps or velcro versus snappi or pin will change price slightly, but doesn't make much difference. If you're looking for a cheap fitted, Snugglebottoms and Green Mountain Diapers cloth-eez (aka GMD workhorse fitteds) are good options. Depending on size they'll run anywhere from $5-$8 each. If you're looking hemp, we really like our Sugar Peas fitteds. They run about $17 and are fairly plain (some have colored trim). For bamboo (especially if you're looking for organic bamboo), I've heard Sustainablebabyish is a good way to go. They can be plain, have colored trim, or have solid colors (they also come out with seasonal diapers) and will run around $21-$27 each. If you're looking for cute fitted, WAHMs are the way to go. We've had good luck with Bangshot Row Bamboo (BSRB) and Cow Patties but I've heard good things about Rumple Fluffy, Bright Star Baby (formerly Fishnoodle), Bugga Bugga Boutique, and so many others. Seriously, if you're looking for cute - stalk Hyena Cart and lurk on cloth message boards for good WAHM recommendations. They can run $15-$30. Why don't I use WAHM diapers anymore? Well, most of them use bamboo and Claire is allergic. They worked great with Maddy - we used the BSRBs at night with her - but she doesn't wear diapers anymore so I have no need to look at them.

So there you go. A fitted for every budget and need. Now off for a very difficult review.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Intro to Contours and Fitted

Imagine a prefold that is cut into the shape of a diaper. No folding, just wrap, fasten, and cover. Nice huh? That's contours. Most contours don't have elastic. I don't have any contours. Why? Because I think it would be easier to take my prefolds and cut them into contours than buy them. Why don't I cut them? Because I don't want a diaper shaped rag or burp cloth. That's really all I have to say about contours. I have no experience with them.

Now take a contour, add elastic, make it sized or one-size, and close it with pins, snappis, velcro, or snaps. Now you have a fitted. They come in a variety of cuts (pocket fitteds, fitteds with snap in soakers, ect) and fabrics (cotton, hemp, bamboo). There are commercial ones such as Sweet Pea, Happy Heinys, Thirsies, ect but are also commonly made by work at home moms (WAHM). I really like some WAHM designs - I've used Bangshot Row Bamboo (BSRB) and Cow Patties Pocket Fitteds on Maddy before she was potty trained. However, they tend to use bamboo and Claire is allergic to bamboo. So I've taken to making my own using a modified Rita's Rump pattern. For my review I'll be using Sweet Peas, Happy Heiny Sherpas, Snugglebottoms, and fitteds made by yours truly.

Prefolds: The Verdict

If I was to say that I'm sad about prefold week ending I'd be lying. Honestly, if I had to do prefolds, I could do it. Maybe if I got better at it I'd even start wanting to do it. Right now, I'm not there yet. So, when it came down to pros and cons I tried really hard not to let my bias get in the way. Here we go.


Fit - Great customized fit - especially newborns.

Easy to wash - Easy wash routine, gets really clean, no stink issues. I'd say that I wouldn't be nervous letting my husband wash prefolds because you're not likely to screw them up. Also, I've never had to sun out stains on prefolds because washing has been enough to keep stains at bay.

Air Flow - Nothing better for combating a red tush like airflow. It's the next best thing to a bare bum.

Natural Fibers - As a mom to a baby that might as well be allergic to her own shadow I can appreciate this. Many sensitive kiddos can't handle man made fibers like microfiber (which many other diapers consist of and those that don't tend to be pricey).

Price - Prefolds are a very inexpensive option (generally $3 or less per prefold when using cotton).

Absorbency - As opposed to diapers that just have an absorbent layer in the "wet zone" the entire diaper is absorbent.

Use - Even when baby grows out of a size it can be useful (if you don't want to sell them). They can be used as extra absorbency/stuffing in other diapers. They can be burp cloths or cleaning rags. Just because baby is growing doesn't mean they've grown out of their usefulness.


Folding - It's a learning curve. Some are going to be better at it than others. Wiggly babies (see: toddlers) aren't always the best for prefolds.

Bulk - Depending on the fold, they can be bulking. The easiest fold (trifolding) tends to be the bulkiest and can bunch.

Not Stay Dry - Baby can feel when they are wet. This can be remedied by liners as mentioned in previous posts.

Poop - As mentioned in previous posts, sometimes poop sticks to them. Also, because they don't have elastic at the legs it's more likely that runny poop will get on the cover.

Not Sitter Friendly - Unless you have an awesome sitter like we have that used prefolds on her kids - sitters (and dads!) might look at you cross -eyed if you expect them to change a prefold.

The verdict: If you have an easy going kid, patience, and origami skills, prefolds are a good option for you. If you have limited funds and the will power to make it work, prefolds might be good for you. If you want cloth made easy, stay tuned there are other kinds.

PS - Once I'm all done with my cloth reviews I'm going to go back and add links and pictures. Right now I barely have time to get the writing in.


I wrote a big long post - it took me 3 days to write - and it just went poof when I tried to post it. Trying to retrieve it now and repost it. If I have to write it all over again, please be patient with me - my computer time is limited and I'm splitting it between this and writing a book.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Poop on wool and other things that ruin my day

This week has been rough - not due to the prefolds, but rough in general. One of those no good, very bad days that turn into a week.

To understand why poop on wool can ruin your day you have to understand 2 things. 1) Poop and cloth and 2) Wool covers.

Let me start with poop can cloth. This is one of those questions I hear alot: What do you do with the poop?! Well, it's simple really. If your baby in exclusively breastfed their poop is water soluble and can go straight in the wash. Claire is completely on solids so her poop is solid. I just turn the diaper upside down over the toilet and it plops right in.

**Okay, that's partially true. When you have a diaper with stay dry it comes off easily. Prefolds have been a little more difficult requiring spraying or dunking (mentioned later) to fully get off. Also depending on the fold it can get on both sides of the prefold - so I can't just open it up and dump as easily. **

It's the transition time between exclusive breastfeeding and exclusive solids (or if baby is formula fed) that can get sticky - no pun intended. For this time there's a variety of things that can be used such as disposable liners or a handy dandy diaper strayer that attaches to the toilet (or a shower head that reaches to the toilet would work too!). There's also the dunk and swish method, diaper scrapers, and such but I can't say I have much experience with them.

***WARNING: If you can't take the poop talk, I suggest you stop reading. Then again, why are you reading a blog post about cloth diapering if you can't take poop talk?***

Another thing about poop and cloth is blowouts. Blowouts are when poop comes out of the diaper and onto baby's clothes. This is more of a rarity in cloth. As in I've done cloth for 7 months and had poop get on her clothes maybe twice - and it was when we found out she was allergic to dairy. Yeah, there's no stopping that - it's gross. Since it's so rare, I've heard people in the cloth world call "blowout" when it gets on the cover. The cover normally contains it then.

So I keep hearing that prefolds and covers are awesome for newborns. I understand the fit factor since nearly all one-size (OS) diapers don't actually fit a newborn - or at least wouldn't fit my little newborns. Also, a newborn wouldn't be as wiggly as say my toddler so getting one on would be easier. BUT THE POOP! Maybe it's just that I don't have the origami skills, but I'd imagine I'd be going through an awful lot of covers.

On to 2 . . . Wool. To understand wool - and particularly why poop on it can ruin my day - we'll need to look into the different kinds of covers.

First, PUL. PUL is a polyester laminate as its name suggests. It can have closures in snaps or velcro. It can be sized or one-sized. It can have a single band of elastic or an additional band of fabric and elastic called a double gusset. The good part of it, it can be wiped down and easily reused (though it's good to rotate between two as discussed earlier). You can also trifold a prefold and lay it in a PUL cover if you aren't up for using a snappi, pins, or octopus wrestling which isn't as possible in fleece or wool. However, I'm finding trifolding a bit bulky and sometimes they don't stay in place and bunch. The bad part, it doesn't let the booty breathe as well which doesn't help if baby has a rash. Though I will say that I've found rashes in cloth to be less frequent in general (provided I'm not putting her in a fabric she's allergic to) and clear up faster.

Fleece. Fleece is perhaps the easiest cover to use. It's sized. It has a variety of styles - diaper covers, skirties (think diaper cover with attached skirt), shorties (shorts), and longies (pants). It can be washed with anything, dried in the dryer - it's like the super cover. The bad thing? It's not as reusable as other covers. Once the diaper it's covering has been soiled, it will often hold the stink (even after airing out) and need to be washed. BUT if you're semi handy with a sewing machine you can snag a free pattern online (might I suggest the Katrina's Sew Quick pattern), get some anti-pill or blizzard fleece, and have an army of fleece covers for cheap. I got some in the clearance section (ie leftovers from a bolt that had already been cut) for under $2 and was able to make 3 large covers for Maddy to wear at night over her panties - just in case.

Now, wool. (WARNING: This is the section I had to completely rewrite because it went poof. I hope I can remember everything I put!) Wool is the same as fleece in that it's sized and has the same variety of styles. It has a great breathing quality - if Claire gets a rash, one diaper change in wool and it's normally cleared up. Also, it makes for a great bulletproof nighttime cover. It can be knit or sewn. Knit tends to be more expensive but the quality is wonderful (I have seen a breakdown of the costs and will post it if I find it again - the price is completely warranted). For sewing, it's the same as fleece - buy wool fabric, use a pattern and sew. If you're like me you can make wool covers easier (and cheaper!) buy scouring your local thrift stores for wool sweaters. I can get about 2-3 covers out of an adult sweater that I get for $3. If you're a rockstar shopper like my mom you can find a wool cardigan (that made adorable longies and still has enough material for a soaker) for 85 cents. To be water resistant wool has to go through a lanolizing process (check out for details because I don't have time to rewrite it all). You can buy lanolizing wash or make your own using pure lanolin (like lansinoh - yes, the breast stuff) and baby wash. Because of how long the lanolizing lasts and the properties of wool it really only needs to be washed every month or so - unless it gets soiled. Then, the cover has to be washed (and lanolized) by hand - never the washer or dryer. Now you see why poop on wool can ruin your day?

Anyway, to end on a good note before my final review - laundry. Prefold laundry has been the easiest diaper laundry I have ever had to do. It's a simple wash, prefolds in the dryer and PUL covers hung to dry. They really get a thorough clean so stink really isn't an issue. By the time the dryer is done the PUL covers are dry. You could easily have a smaller stash with these because the wash time is so short. That's a plus for people on a budget and those that are scared of the wash routine.