OK, so we gave up on our first attempt at cloth diapers, and then settled into a good routine. But our stash was a little too small to keep the babe in cloth all the time, without 1-2 days off for laundry cycles and drying. And, my very favorite diaper (the GroVia Hybrid) we had only one of. I wanted more. MORE! So as the next (and final?) step in building our cloth diaper stock, I purchased:
- The GroVia Economy Package ($93.00, configured as I ordered it)
- One extra 2-pack of no-prep soakers ($16.95)
This added to our stash 3 additional hybrid diaper shells (I went for snaps rather than hook & loop closures this time), two extra easy snap-in soakers, and 12 prefold diapers.
This is where the “economy” piece of this package kicks in: for under $100, you get up to 12 diaper changes here. This is so important, and I did not understand it at first, AT ALL. At first glance, this looks like $100 for three diapers. How is that a good deal? But here is the thing: you can just keep re-using these three covers with fresh prefolds inside until they get poop on them or you decide human decency demands that they be washed.
For comparison, a 12-pack of GroVia All-in-One diapers is $259, and a 12-pack of Hybrid diapers with the snap-in soakers is $385. Boom: ECONOMY.
So I was pleased to save some money, and figured I’d just learn to how deal with these weird-ass-old-fashioned-diaper-squares. Here’s what I did not expect: these weird-ass-old-fashioned-diaper-squares are just BETTER. In practically every way.
Well, first, let me clarify: we’re not really doing the prefolds in the “old school” way, where they get pinned or “snappi’d” around the baby. Instead, we’re just using them as soakers inside the diaper shell. All you do is fold the diaper into thirds, lay it in the shell, fasten on the baby. Done. With these diapers, the snap-on shell does the work of fitting the diaper snugly to the baby; the pre-folds are just there for the absorption.
It could not be easier. They are super absorbent. Because they are flat and square instead of weird, customized, ergonomic shapes, they rinse off pretty easily without bouncing crap back up into your face or onto your work shoes.
Not to overstate the matter, but these diapers make me feel like pocket diapers–and even all-in-ones!–are a crazy scam designed to eat parents’ money and drive them insane. The washing, the stuffing! Why? Why!?!?
Well, for daycare. When you’ve got a handful of caretakers and a handful of babies and a handful of different kinds of diapers, that means you’ve got a handful^3 of possible baby x diaper x caretaker combinations. I feel like we’ve gotta keep this as simple as possible, for their sakes, and also to ensure less random error for me to clean up at home. Pocket diapers are more annoying for me ahead of time and they are the least cute of the bunch. But for a caretaker, they are the closest to a normal disposable diaper. Nothing to do, no choices to make, nothing to touch….just take it off, put it in a bag, new diaper.
So at home, my order of preference is: GroVia prefold, GroVia snap-in, BumGenius AIO, Charlie Banana pocket. At daycare, it’s the exact reverse.
The biggest benefit of having enough diapers (or diaper changes) is just the reduction in mental energy expended on diapering. Previously, I would spend a lot of time calculating how to ensure we would build up a good sized load of laundry quickly, and how to avoid isolating a single dirty diaper on its own for a few days waiting for its brethren to catch up in the cycle. Every diaper change and load of laundry was a carefully plotted strategic move. Now, we’re really never “out.” We just use them, all the time, every day, and we do a load of wash every other day, regardless of how many are in the bin (plenty). There’s really no thinking or choosing or being judicious about the use of the diapers. We just USE them. That alone has reduced the energy and attention that this whole endeavor requires.
So: if you are starting from scratch, and you want to cloth diaper full time, what should you do?
- I prescribe two GroVia Economy packs. And here’s a pro tip: it’s hard to tell from the website what size prefolds to choose. If you’re using prefolds “properly,” like, folding them around the baby and pinning them on, you should follow the size guide. But if you’re just using folding them in thirds to use as a soaker, buy size 2.
- Optionally, buy 2-4 GroVia snap-in soakers for anyone who is confused by or anxious about prefolds.
- If your childcare will use cloth but has a certain preference for AIOs or pocket diapers, then it’s worth investing in these (and if you do this, you’ll need only one of the economy packs, above). But for me, that’s the only good reason to even deal with these.
So, that’s it: the end of our saga. We are quite happy and in a pretty good routine with all of this now. And we only have to buy disposable diapers like once every 90 days. (In fact, I just gave away 150 that she outgrew before we got around to using them). Go forth and diaper on!