Cloth Diapers 201: Pocket Diapers

Welcome to Part 3 of my cloth dipaering series. Be sure to read Cloth Diapers 101 & Prefolds & Covers, if you missed them. Today’s post, brought to you by my friend Dara from the Not in New Jersey blog, is all about her experience using pocket diapers. If you are considering going this route, her review of a number of different types of  pocket diapers will be invaluable.

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After having two kids who were in disposable diapers for three and a half years each, I decided to do something different with my third. I had heard some rumors that perhaps cloth diapered babies potty train faster than those not using cloth. Just that possibility was enough for me to want to try cloth diapering.

Getting started with cloth diapers can be overwhelming, as there are so many different types of diapers, brands, materials, etc. to learn about.

Luckily, I had Mara to help me figure out what was what. I started out borrowing diapers from her – a set of prefolds & covers, some fitteds and a bunch of pockets. From there, I realized that I preferred pocket diapers. I then discovered one-sized diapers and decided to buy my own diapers that are meant to last from infancy through potty training. {Note from Mara: One sized diapers can be adjusted to fit your baby with a series of snaps to make the diaper smaller or larger, as necessary.}

Using Diaper Swappers, I was able to score some great deals on gently used and brand new cloth diapers.

Right now I am using a small stash which includes the brands Bum Genius, Nubunz, and Kawaii Baby. I have one All-In-One diaper and the rest are pockets. Some have snaps and some use hook and loop fastening – like very strong Velcro – called Aplix.

I’d like to share with you the pros and cons that I have discovered thus far on my cloth diapering journey.

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  • I fully expected my Bum Genius AIO (All-in-One) to be my favorite diaper, as it was the only diaper I spent over $10 on. Technically, AIO’s are easier than pockets because they are all-in-one – no pockets to stuff. However, when set to the small size setting, I find it bulky and awkward on my baby. Also, washing is more difficult — because the diaper parts cannot be separated — and drying takes longer.
  • While some people don’t like stuffing their pocket diapers with their inserts, I have not had this problem and don’t mind doing so. As well, I have not had to pay extra for my inserts – in fact, Kawaii Baby diapers each come with 2 microfiber inserts. Some people prefer using bamboo or hemp inserts, but the microfiber does a great job of absorbing wetness and is the most economical type.

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  • As I mentioned, some of my diapers snap closed and others use Aplix. I find the Aplix to be the easiest to fasten and the most like disposable diapers. Some people feel they can get a better fit using snaps and some do not like the fact that the Aplix tends to attract random hairs and fibers, and will stick together in the laundry. Almost all of my Aplix diapers have diaper tabs to stick the Aplix to while washing, but the occasional diaper chain does not bother me.
  • When it comes to brands, it is usually a matter of preference. Sometimes the fit is different depending on the brand. Some people choose brands based on material – for example, Bum Genius uses suede cloth, which  some babies are actually allergic to.
  • Others like to try a variety of brands before choosing their favorite, which is what I did. Out of the diapers I have tried, I have found the most love for Kawaii Baby diapers. (Note: The Kawaii diaper is made in China, which leads many people to prefer not to use it). They are inexpensive, effective, and adorable on my baby! My ultimate favorite would be the One Size Snazzy Minky Pocket with Aplix, followed by the One Size Heavy Duty Pocket.

I am happy to answer any further questions you may have about what I have written above or otherwise!

{Note from Mara: Another very popular brand of pocket cloth diapers is FuzziBunz. Stay tuned for a reader review of those diapers later this week!}

Dara Granoff is a stay-at-home-mom of a girl (fully potty trained) and two boys (one almost potty trained and one wearing cloth). A transplant to Kansas from New Jersey, she loves knitting, reading, and writing. She blogs sporadically about her family’s adventures at Not In Jersey.

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. also, some babies can’t wear pockets b/c the PUL is too warm for them and causes rashes – w/ my daughter we loved our Bum Genius 3.0 onesize pockets and our Fuzzi Bunz size Large pockets, but our son can’t wear PUL so we’re selling those off and he is wearing fitted diapers w/ fleece covers which breathe differently!

  2. Oh- and if you are in the market for diapers a better place to try, rather than diaperswappers which can be manic is the bargain basement at babycottonbottoms store, http://pub33.bravenet.com/classified/show.php?usernum=2827280515 there might not be the variety and so you might have to wait a little longer until you find what you want, but it’s much more laid back.

  3. oh – last comment here – one of the biggest reasons people don’t like Chinese made pockets is because the PUL is inferior and has a tendency to de-laminate making the diaper worthless much more quickly than PUL that is manufactured here in the US. If you want to be able to re-sell your diapers, or if you want to be able to use them for more than one child you need to be aware of this MAJOR problem that pretty much every brand that is made in China suffers from (even the FuzziBunz made there – their newer ones – the old ones were made in the USA.)

    • Are cloth diapers required to have a “Made in…” tag? And do sellers of used diapers mention this in their listings? I don’t remember this in my stash, but it’s been a couple of years since we’ve actually had someone in diapers.

      • many of the “larger” companies do include this info. It’s important only if you end up w/ a situation like what happened w/ the FuzziBunz where their PUL from China was clearly not a quality product (many WAHM diapers now are using the PUL from Joanne Fabric which is the same) so you do want to keep your eyes open or you will end up with delaminating.

    • I just asked about this on the diaperswappers forum and got this reply:

      I think they are TPU now, not PUL. The older style that was PUL had a cloth like coating over the PUL. Anyway- I have had some of mine for 6+ months and have had NO issues with the TPU. The velcro is still great, too.

      • Thanks for doing that research, Dara. This is a new issue for me as well, as most of my stash is either WAHMs or the older FBs and BGs.

      • I would be suspect of anyone on diaperswappers selling FuzziBunz that gave that answer as there is a WHOLE lot of them out there that are Chinese PUL, and I would definitely ask to see the tag. – and Fuzzi Bunz are snap diapers so I am not sure what forum you were asking in regarding your velcro diapers… – and what is TPU? PUL stands for PolyUrethane Lining…

  4. We use exclusively pockets here too!! My favorites are SNAP-EZs, but since those are a little more expensive and harder to find used, we do have quite a few Fuzzi Bunz and various other brands including WAHMs. I do like the hemp inserts, especially Swaddlebees. I get my microfiber inserts at Costco – they are sold as automotive wipes for less than 50 cents each.

  5. Thank you so much! I am expecting child #3 and hoping to switch to cloth. Great tip Rivka on the Costco microfiber inserts sold as automotive wipes.
    Is there something I should know about sizing a newborn? What should I have ready when I go to the hospital? And does anyone know of someone in New York who can show me the different options???

    • hi Jordana, I’d definitely check the forums at diapperswappers.com, you can ask your questions there! One sized diapers are meant to fit newborns as well, but I didn’t start using them until my baby was 2 months, so I can’t vouch for whether that will work, but I know people at diaperswappers would be able to answer you or lead you in the right direction!

    • I didn’t use cloth on my newborns – my babies are really skinny so even the xsmall/newborn size pockets were gappy at the thighs, plus I took a break from the diaper laundry for about the first month. I think it depends on the size and shape of your baby – some people don’t even bother with the newborn size but we used ours for a couple of months at least.

    • If you don’t have a Costco membership, you can also get microfiber towels at Target or Walmart for less than $1/each. Just fold them into thirds and stuff them into your diapers! (We did that, too.)

      I also have skipped CDing for the first few weeks – even my “big” boys were too big for their size small FBs. And I just couldn’t see buying an x-small, for him only to wear it for a few weeks.

      DD, on the other hand, was born smaller (although she was 10 lbs by a month). Around 3 weeks, we put her into prefolds & covers. One of the things I like about PFs for newborns is that you can really play with the fit, so the smallest size will fit from tiny to about 12-13 lbs. And they are cheap enough that I didn’t worry that she’d outgrow quickly and make it a “waste” of money. Oh, and you can then use those prefolds as “inserts” for your pocket diapers by trifolding them – another trick we used to save on inserts.

      I know my friend Amy used cloth right from birth – and brought with her to the hospital, if I remember correctly. I’ll ask her to jump in here and leave a comment.

    • Many people wait until they get home from the hospital to start. We used our BumGenius 3.0′s and a set of Kissaluv size O fitted diapers w/ Bummis SuperWhisperWrap covers on our son from the time we got home until his Brit when we switched to disposables for about 5 days b/c the cream the mohel wanted us to use is not compatible w/ cloth diapering and while it is possible since it was our first time w/ a boy I decided to not have that as something to think about.

      I wouldn’t want to bring my cloth diapers to the hospital only b/c I wouldn’t want to lose anything especially b/c both of my births and subsequent stays were fast and a bit hectic w/ people in and out. However, having everything ready at home is important, including diapers, wipes, a pail, etc. email me – rachelsteinberg @ optonline.net and I can help you out.

  6. stephanie says:

    I waited until both girls passed all the meconium and had normal bowel movements. The black, sticky newborn tar is nearly impossible to wash out easily and after a week or two the diapers fit better anyway and the cord stump is well on it way to healing so less concern about irritation if the cloth diaper touches it.

  7. Are pockets okay? We already use cloth but I was recently wondering if it was a problem to us polyester, if it some how broke mixing fibers? Like should we only use cotton and wool? What is your opinion?

  8. We’ve been doing really well with alva pockets. They’re probably the cheapest route you can go while using pockets and they’re holding up surprisingly well. Baby #2 in the same 24 diapers and we’ve only lost 2 snaps in probably 2 years of use so I call it a win. I like to double stuff with microfiber and bamboo (all alva brand). I also really like assunta store pockets.

    • Mara Strom says:

      That definitely sounds like a win to me! The cost analysis almost always swings in favor of cloth with more than one baby — and definitely when you get such a great diaper!

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