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Cloth Diapers

Disposable -vs- Cloth Diapers: I Switched After Six Months

Have you met mamas who are diehard cloth diaper fans? Or if not met, read their blogs? Sometimes they are so passionate they will either convince you wholeheartedly, or, err…scare you off from the idea altogether because you can kind of picture them foaming at the mouth while they type. On the flip-side, have you met a mama who rolled her eyes at the very mention of cloth diapers, perhaps muttering the word “crunchy?”

I’ve met both!

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I wasn’t sure what to think about cloth diapers while I was pregnant, and the default mode when you aren’t sure about cloth diapers is to stick with disposables because they are what you’ve most likely seen more of and they don’t seem as complicated.

There isn’t too much to say about disposables. We all know them and love their convenience. We know how they work. There is even a nifty little line that appears on modern disposables to let you know they are wet. For the first 6 months of my daughter’s life I used several brands, depending on what people had gifted us, and honestly didn’t see a major difference in how well they worked. I ended up buying Target brand diapers because the cost, at around .13c each, was great, and I liked how they worked just fine. But here’s my story.

As you know if you’ve read many of my other posts, I’m really big into second-handing things: thrifting, Poshmark bundles, and especially yard sales. Well, in my area in the triangle of NC there is a huge event sponsored by “Parents of Multiples,” which is basically a huge consignment sale of all baby and kids stuff. They hold it in the gymnasium of a large church in Chapel Hill twice a year. There was no question, as a pregnant lady who was having an absolute blast scouring for great deals on baby gear for my first, that I would be there.

At this event I ended up finding (in a “free” box) eight cloth diapers with the brand name “bumGenius.” I had not spent any time researching cloth diaper brands, so I wasn’t sure if this was a good brand or not, but since they looked nice and clean and I had briefly considered cloth, I figured I would take them and I could figure out more about them later. And hey, maybe I would use them. If not, I could donate them.

I washed them and put them away neatly (they were so pretty, each was a different solid color, so they looked like a rainbow inside her pristinely nested closet)…and promptly never gave them another serious thought. Go figure.

Fast forward to six months later. I revisited said closet because it was NOT as pristinely nested as it was at first. “Oh, right…these cloth diapers!” I pulled them out and researched the brand to try and figure them out.

I always assumed that all cloth diapers needed inserts of some sort, and because I didn’t know what I was looking at, I assumed that something would need to be added to these diapers. But turns out, I had on my hands eight ready-to-go diapers.

These were bumGenius Freetime All-in-Ones, (AIO) and, as the name implies, they had everything you need to use them already built-in. They have two overlapping semi-attached, stay-dry inserts each that you can adjust for your absorbency needs. For a boy, you might fold the flaps to be thicker toward the front, for instance. You just throw the whole thing in the washer!

Wait … what if there’s poo on them?! you ask. See my post Cloth Diapers and Poo and How to Wash Cloth Diapers.

I tried them out on my daughter and actually loved them!

In my ignorance, I didn’t realize at first that the elastic on these eight were pretty shot, but honestly they still worked and I didn’t noticed any leaking. (The elastic is replaceable, btw, so I did that later. See my post on how to replace elastic in cloth diapers! )

I scoured Poshmark and bought a bundle of 24 more cloth diapers from a very nice seller. Her bundle did not include just bumGenius brand, it included also GroVia and Smart Bottom 3.1 diapers. Honestly, I like them all. Maybe I am just not hard to please. I do compare the features of these three brands’ all-in-one styles in Three Major Cloth Diaper Brands’ AIOs Compared.

So, I switched completely! There were a few other things I needed to make cloth diapering easier besides the diapers themselves. In another post I tell you Everything You Will Need to Start Cloth Diapering.  

I already had a pack or two of disposables on hand in each size that we had been given (leftovers from friends who had a sleeve or two out of a box leftover after their baby outgrew it) so I kept them on-hand, but day-to-day, I use the cloth.

As someone who has used both, I can honestly say that although cloth takes a couple minutes longer IF there is a poo, I do not find it more difficult, and I feel nice about not adding so many diapers to the landfill. Bonus: cloth diapers these days are SO pretty and honestly I fight the urge to collect them just for fashion’s sake.

As for the cost, it’s at least $20 per diaper, so if you are buying them brand new, you do have to factor this in. You will need around 30-ish diapers (maybe you could get away with a few less) so that you’ll have some wiggle room and so you aren’t having to do laundry every single day. That’s a pretty sizable up-front cost, plus a few diapering “accessories” you’ll want to have on hand.

(For a comparison of a few choice cloth diaper brands (all-in-one styles) see this post breaking down their features.)

However, my bundle of 24 diapers cost me only $225 on Poshmark, and I believe you can definitely use these pre-loved and they are totally fine. Because washer’s are for washin’!

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