I began my cloth diapering experience by searching the internet for different kinds of cloth diapers. I had no idea there were so many different styles of diapers. With so many to choose from, where do you start? That’s a good question. It was somewhat overwhelming to me at first as I Googled the different types of diapers, their pros and cons, and tried to find patterns to make them. Pocket diapers, AIO, AI2, covers, Snapis , prefolds, microfiber, hemp, bamboo… the list goes on. There is so much information with everyone saying their system is the best. I wish I could tell you exactly which kind of diaper fits the best, is the least bulky and keeps everything inside, but every baby is different and what works for one baby may not work for the next. In fact, what works for one baby may not work at all as she grows and her shape changes. I made the mistake of using the same diaper pattern for all of my diapers. Now that my LO is bigger, I have needed to experiment with my diapers and change them to fit my needs. I have also invested in a diaper cover. This has been a lifesaver for those diapers that don’t seem to fit quite right.
It is best to is to diversify your stash. Whether you make your own diapers or buy them, be sure you have several styles and even different closures. Velcro is easy to close and it is good to have a few for those who aren’t quite so thrilled about cloth diapers such as daycare, babysitters, Dads and grandparents. Diapers with snaps often fit better and are harder for little ones to take off by themselves, but they can also be hard to put on a squirming 8 month old who wants nothing more than to crawl away diaperless.
What I can tell you is what the results have been with my LO. I have been cloth diapering for about 5 months. I found several patterns online and finally settled on one from “Cloth Revolution.” This is a free pattern for several styles and closures. My first completed diaper was a complete bomb as I tried to put several techniques together without first mastering any of them. The velcro bunched because I tried to couple it with front elastic, My FOE looked awful, and I changed the placement of the velcro tabs making the overall diaper much larger than it should have been. So, I began at square one. I invited several ladies over and we cut out PUL, microfleece, and soaker pieces for about 20 diapers.
It took me about 45 minutes to put together the first newborn and medium sized pocket diaper covers.
I made several this way and made the soakers in the pattern. I used things around my home for the soakers such as old towels and t-shirts, old flannel and jersey baby blankets. The results were cute little diapers with extremely bulky soakers that leaked like a sieve. I was changing pants and onesies with just about every diaper change. I tried tightening leg elastics to tighten them around my LO skinny little legs. Part of my problem, I’m sure, is that my 3 month old girl was only about 11 lbs, so her legs were so tiny that none of the leg openings could possibly be small enough.
I settled on a soaker made of flannel and a microfiber towel.
Jackpot! Finally, There came a point where her diapers began fitting her and I had a soaker with enough absorbancy to hold everything in for more than an hour. For about 2 months, we were leak free. Until one day, they began leaking like crazy. I have had diapers in need of stripping repel so badly it is as if she were wearing no diaper at all. I have had diapers that I thought needed stripping, so I stripped them, with four different methods, all with the same results. I have come to the conclusion that while the diapers I had made worked well for a time, they no longer work for one reason or another. I tried adding leg gussets, and using the same pattern to create a diaper with built in gussets in which you simply lay the soaker in.
All of these leak around the legs even when they are so tight they leave her poor little legs red and raw.
From what I can tell, the microfleece was wicking the moisture onto her clothing. In addition, it seems that the shape of the diaper played a part in the fit. I can’t say that I have arrived or know everything about cloth diapers. I am open to any suggestions or comments on how to make my diapers better. Are there any other suggestions as to why these diapers have all of the sudden sprung a leak? I have stripped them with vinegar, dish soap, hot hot water, and a sport wash. I bought a diaper cover from Best Bottoms that works like a charm. It’s shape is completely different. I have only had 2 or 3 leaks in this one, mostly because I didn’t put enough absorbancy in it during a long nap. I love it. So, I stretched out my new Best Bottoms diaper and made a pattern from it. I have created several different styles of diapers using this pattern. If nothing else, I have learned to diversify.
***Update February 9, 2013***
All of my Cloth Revolution diapers are working like a charm again. After talking with my sister who cloth diapers as well, I discovered that the laundry detergent I was using was the culprit. I had decided to make my own detergent after reading many blogs from moms who use homemade detergent say that they have never had any problem. I did not note what kind of diaper they are using, however. It seems that the microfleece in a pocket diaper builds ups a residue much more quickly than soakers themselves. I had tried to strip my diapers with several rinses, but because my detergent is boiled, there is no suddsing to speak of. I had no way to know when the detergent was all rinsed out. So after 2 or 3 rinses, I gave up and tried another method believing that this was not the issue.
Then, I switched to Tide original after reading on one site that there have been no complaints using Tide. My sister sent me this website that compares laundry detergents based on their ingredients and rates their cloth diaper friendliness. This site shows that because of the optical brighteners, enzymes, dyes and fragrance in Tide it is horrible for your cloth diapers. It may work well okay when there is no stay dry layer present, but it coats the microfleece rather quickly. I stripped with several rinsing again after switching to Tide and was horrified at the 6 rinses it took to wash out all of the buildup in them.
It is still best to diversify your stash. Some designs and diaper shapes work better for nighttime and naps than others. The Cloth Revolution diapers work great during the day, but anytime my LO is sleeping I use the Best Bottoms because I cannot stuff enough absorbancy into the CR ones with them fitting properly.