A husband who says "I'll do the dishes as soon as I'm done with my paper. You play with the baby!"
Yes, I do have the best husband ever!
So Husband and I decided that we wanted to try to do the cloth diaper thing with P. For those moms and dads who are on the fence, you should know that it's not like when we were babies and you had a big square of fabric that you folded up, pinned on, then shoved into a pair of plastic pants. There are some pretty awesome options out there now.
I should preface this with a few things. First of all, everything I've written is my opinion and nothing else. Nobody has paid me or given me any sort of compensation to write any of this. Second, I have not tried all brands of cloth diapers, so this list is incomplete. Sorry if I missed your favorite brand. These are the ones that I had available or given to me. That said, here we go!
The idea behind the All-in-one is pretty self-explanatory. It's supposedt to be the closest thing to disposable - you don't need anything but the diaper. No cover, no pins, no nothing. Grovia is the only AIO diaper that we tried. My favorite part about it was that it was so thin - not bulky like a lot of other cloth diapers. However, it leaked. Twice. To be fair, it was very saturated, so it caught a lot of liquid before it leaked, but it did leak. I solved this problem by just putting one of our super-cute diaper covers over it. I realize it kind of defeats the purpose of the AIO, but it's still less bulky than some of the other options, so I'm willing to take the extra step for it! Another down-side: it takes a long time to dry. I don't put my cloth diapers in the dryer, so if there's a chance of rain, they have to dry on a rack in my laundry room.
All-in-twos and Hybrids:
These are the diapers that have inserts, but are different than pocket diapers. The reason these are nice is that you don't have to wash the cover every time. The "mess" should usually be contained to the insert, so you can, in theory, just change the insert every time and use the same cover several times. This is worked pretty well for me so far! Of the AI2s, we tried Flip, Grovia, and Best Bottoms. I'll start with the Flip diapers. If I had to pick a least favorite, it would probably be this one. The insert doesn't attach to the diaper in any way; it just sits in the cover. There are shallow "pockets" of sorts at the front and back of the diaper, but they don't do a ton to secure the insert. These are fine for P now when she doesn't move a whole lot, but I'd be nervous to use them when she starts crawling. However, I would still rather use this than a disposable! Also, both parts of the diaper dry quickly, so there's a faster turn-around than with other options.
The Grovia AI2 is pretty wonderful. There are a ton of super-cute cover options (and many neutrals, too!) and the inserts snap in, so you don't need to worry about them shifting. The inserts are extremely absorbant, which is great for baby, but not so great for drying. They take the longest, by far, out of any inserts or diapers to dry, so if you go this route, make sure that you have lots of inserts! Another down-side: they are fairly bulky, particularly in between the legs. Paige is only 6 weeks old right now, so as she grows, I see this being less and less of an issue. Also, the inserts only come in one size, so when baby is little and you use the smaller size, you have to take a couple extra seconds to make sure it's actually contained within the cover. Not a big deal. When it comes to the covers, I prefer the ones that snap over the velcro. Snaps are more durable, and the velcro tends to attach to everything if you don't get it lined up on the "laundry tabs" just right for storage and washing.
Last in the AI2 category: Best Bottoms. These are the winners in my book. The inserts are thin, but extremely absorbant. There are two different kinds of inserts: microfiber or organic hemp/cotton. I don't have a preference yet. They both seem pretty awesome. You can also purchase doublers that snap in with the inserts for when baby sleeps through the night (I hear that does happen eventually!) and you want some extra protection. The covers come in several cute designs and adjust to a wide range of sizes - and you can even purchase extender tabs so the diapers can be used for children up to 50 pounds or more. Aside from the Grovia AIO, they are the least bulky, and all parts of the diaper dry quickly. Now, I do have to find something to critique, so here it is: there is no part of the insert that you can touch to remove it that is waterproof. If baby thoroughly soaks the insert, you're going to have to touch part of it in order to change it. But if you're a parent, you're probably used to having your child's bodily fluids spewed at you on a regular basis, so this is a non-issue.
Pocket diapers are two-part diapers: they include a shell and an insert that you stuff inside the shell. The only pocket diaper I tried was Bum Genius. On the plus side, it worked extremely well. There were several times that I'm confident Paige would have blown out of a disposable, but everything was contained in her Bum
Genius diaper. On the down-side, they do take a little more work than some of the other diapers. You have to actually stuff the insert into the cover every time, which, while it only takes about 30 seconds, adds up when you figure you go through 8-12 diapers (or more) a day. Also, since the insert goes inside a pocket in the shell, you have to wash both parts after every use. However, both parts dry very quickly. And I would still rather spend 5 or even 10 minutes stuffing inserts than use disposables!
We tried two different varieties of fitted diapers: Kissaluvs and Thirsties. These diapers snap or velcro on, and they require a cover.
I am a big fan of Kissaluvs. They are ridiculously absorbant, and you can even purchase an extra insert to use at night if baby ever decides to sleep for longer than three hours at a time! They're probably the best for newborns, because you can snap down the top to make room for the cord stump. They're a little more bulky than some of the other options, but the extra absorbancy makes up for it in my book! They dry fairly quickly considering how much there is to them. On the down-side, the sizes don't span as wide a range as the AI2s or pocket diapers, so you have to buy more sets. However, they do go really small, (down to 5 lbs) so if you have a preemie or just a tiny baby, you'll get plenty of use out of the smallest size! I do not recommend the Kissaluvs covers. When you snap them down to a smaller size, they get funky and bunchy around the legs. Luckily, you can use pretty much any cover with the diapers.
The Thirsties were by far the bulkiest of all the diapers. They are very absorbant, and the sizing covers a wider range, but they take longer to dry than the Kissaluvs. When it comes to the actual diaper, I'm not a huge fan. However, the covers are great, and they come in some really cute colors and designs.
Whew! I hope this helps if you were on the fence about cloth diapering or even if you just wanted more information! The best resource I've found online to order diapers is Nicki's Diapers. They even throw in free gifts depending on how much you spend - I got some reuseable wipes. I haven't convinced my husband to give them a chance yet, but I certainly can use them! I'm so proud of my Paige...she's trying her best to raise an earth-friendly mommy!