Are you ready for me to tell you what the best cloth diaper is? I'm talking best of all time. The reason that I love fluff....the reason that I don't mind washing them and hanging them meticulously on the clothesline. Are you ready?
I recently have been on a diaper kick. My current, and unexpected pregnancy has thrown me for a loop, and I realized that I needed a new diapering solution. I had an entire stash of one size pockets, and although I like them incredibly, they weren't holding up to my expectation.
Here's my list of what I needed in a diaper:
- A cloth diaper that would get clean easily with a front loader washing machine.
- A cloth diaper that I wouldn't hate washing out in the toilet
- A diaper that I could recycle my huge stack of t-shirts into
- A diaper that's cheap to make. Making your own is cheaper....but still expensive sometimes
- A diaper that was fast to make. I make my own, but don't have time to - really!
- A diaper that the elastic/snaps would last a long time
- A diaper that would fit my upcoming newborn AND my 1 yr old
I have seen and read countless articles on how to use a front loader washing machine with cloth diapers. I've tried all of the tactics. When we moved in August to our new home and traded in 'old faithful' washing machine for a beautiful front loading machine, my cloth diapering adventures became a nightmare. I was stricken with soap filled, rash causing, stink laden, awful cloth diapers. I hated it. I began to hate cloth diapers entirely and put them away. I never got the stink to go away unless I washed them BY HAND in the bathtub. No thank you.
What I needed was something that was natural fibers that would open up to get clean. My microfiber inserts were 2-3 layers thick, and the alova suede just had an odor that I couldn't remove. Blast.
I started by using a diaper cover that I had made for claire 3 years ago. Yes, I put a zebra print on my son. He didn't care. :) I paired it with a prefold that I had laying around. To my suprise, I liked it. It c got clean. And I could re-use the cover. I used a snappi to close it, but it was hard to close around my tubby Elijah. Once he started to poop in them, I didn't like this plan so much. The poop came right out of the prefold and on my lovely zebra print. No thanks. So much for this plan. I wanted something inside that would keep my diaper cover semi clean....not plastered in poo!
Next I tried a contoured diaper. I had whipped up one of these in no time. I wanted it to work SO SO SO bad because it was fast! Nope. Poo-splosion happened and I had a royal mess to dip in the toilet. yuck.
I think it's fair to mention that the reason I kept on this idea, was because I knew that if I could get the cover OFF of the diaper, and any inserts/soakers removable, I would have a cleaner diaper. But the process of GETTING the diaper to the washing machine was making me gag.
That's when I started looking at the rest of my list. Maybe I could find a different solution? That's when I remembered my giant box of t-shirts. I wanted to recycle them, so I started to cut them up into 'prefolds'. I just layed them in the diaper covers like the prefolds, which didn't help my gagging issue at all. And I tried to make them into contoured diapers too....but it wasn't fixing the issue. I wanted to try elastic in the legs, but I DID NOT want to spend 45 minutes per diaper to make them, so I waited a very very very long time. I finally decided to test it. I put elastic in the legs of my contoured diapers and VOILA I had a poop-holding piece of fantasticness. It literally took me 8 minutes, the FIRST time I made one. I hadn't thought about the time factor being from the snaps - but by not having snaps on these, I can whip them out incredibly quickly.
By pairing this fitted diaper with a one size diaper cover, I officially have my ultimate favorite diaper.
So what about the rest of my list? Let me dive into my list of needs and how this diaper answers them all!
A cloth diaper that gets clean with a front loader
The fitted diaper is made of two layers. I leave the middle open so that I can (and do) add inserts. I literally take the bottom of a t-shirt and cut it off - then I fold it. These make the perfect inserts because they come out in the wash and open up. Even the small amount of water that is in the front loading washing machine is able to get these babies clean. Because they are a natural fiber (cotton) instead of microfiber or alova, they don't need as much agitating to get sparkly clean.
A cloth diaper that's easy to wash in the toilet
Because this diaper is separate from the PUL, I don't hate washing it in the toilet to get solids out. It seems that I hate rinsing any cloth diaper that has PUL in it because the PUL either splashes water at me, or holds water while I'm trying to rinse....thus, making it impossible to get all the yuck off. I also don't mind washing it in the toilet because it is very rare that anything gets on the cover, so I only have ONE thing to rinse off (as apposed to the prefold AND the cover during my testing phase).
A diaper that I can recycle t-shirts into
My initial thought with this, was to simply use the t-shirts as a soaker/insert. But I love that I can use a t-shirt for BOTH the diaper AND the insert. What a great way to recycle!
A diaper that's cheap make
I make my own cloth diapers and I wanted one that was cheap to make. Using the t-shirts for both the diaper and the insert takes a huge cut off the cost. Plus the one size diaper cover means that I only have to make a few of those as well....from newborn to toddler. A set of fitted diapers (20 or so) and 6 covers will literally cost less than $50!
A cloth diaper that's fast to make
Ok, I'm going to be honest. I love to sew, but I hate sewing things repeatedly. I want to be creative and be done with it. But when I sew cloth diapers, that normally take 45-60 minutes to make, I get overwhelmed after 2. I needed something that was fast to make, so that I could actually accomplish it! This diaper and covers do that. I can literally whip one diaper out in 8 minutes. A cover still takes about 45 minutes to make (because of the snaps), but in all, for a set of 20 diapers and 6 covers, Total time is less than 8 hours. That's something that I can come back to without feeling overwhelmed!
A diaper that will last a long time
I needed a diaper that would last a long time. There's nothing worse than having a beautiful stack of cloth diapers, that quickly turn into nasty velcro/elastic/PUL that are un-usable.
This diaper design keeps the important cover with the elastic and PUL in best shape of any other diapering system. Because you rarely have to wash them. The elastics in the fitted diapers might give out sooner than the covers, but at 8 minutes to make, I am ok replacing one or two eventually.
A diaper that will fit all sizes
This combines my 'fast to make' and 'cheap to make'. I needed something that would fit all baby sizes so that I can get away with as little sewing as possible. This diaper has the answer. Because it fits all sizes from newborn to 'big', I don't have to worry about making a separate stash for each baby.
I hope this helps you make a great decision on how to cloth diaper your baby. Enjoy the fitted diaper pattern
for free. :)