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The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Cloth Diapers, Part Three

Jul27

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Dear Amalah,
Hi! What up? I hear you traveled to some little obscure blogging conference thing this week and took your delicious baby. AND your cloth diapers. How did that work out, hippie?
Love,
Amalah
PS Take a shower. You kind of smell.

Yes, yes. I am doing that thing where I answer a question no one has asked me. YET. Let’s just say I’m being proactive and be done with it. Traveling with cloth diapers. Gross, insane or just plain stupid? OH THE THRILLS.
First, I will admit to betraying the hippiehood and cop to using disposables during the flight. I just couldn’t spare any of the super-valuable space in my carry-on bag for cloth diapers. I couldn’t deal with worrying that I didn’t have enough diapers, since two bumGenius diapers take up more room than a good half-a-dozen Huggies. And the wet bag! And wadded-up dirty diapers! And the fact that my baby decided to poop three times at the airport alone! No. Disposables served their purpose very, very well.
They also, however, gave my baby a rash in just a few short hours. I don’t know if his skin has simply gotten a lot more sensitive in the months since I last used disposables with any regularity, but MAN. We had some angry red boy-parts by the time we arrived in Chicago. And I was grateful to swap back to cloth, especially since packing diaper rash ointment had simply never occurred to me. I am a ROCKET SCIENTIST at this baby thing, y’all.
Instead of packing both the outer diaper shells and microfiber inserts, though, I decided to try out gDiapers. (I paid for them my own self — this isn’t a paid review, there’s no giveaway at the end, blah blah integrity cakes.)
The gDiaper system intrigued me when I was pregnant and still undecided on whether I’d really go for the cloth this time. (And OMG, the outer pants are the cutest things I have EVER SEEN.) It’s a reusable cloth outer pant, pocket-style, and flushable/biodegradable inserts. At first I was all, ooh! Best of both worlds! And yet…also the worst of both worlds, kind of? You’re still washing half the diaper…AND still buying the somewhat pricey inserts all the time. I certainly got used to washing my diapers regularly so that’s SO not a big deal to me now, and I’m not sure why washing shells AND inserts together is any harder. And the fact that cloth diapers are basically a one-time initial investment is still pretty much the best thing about them. (Besides the cuteness. Oh, the cuteness. I cannot tell you how much I hated putting a Winnie-the-Pooh branded disposable on Ezra. Huggies! Pampers! My baby doesn’t know who Winnie-the-Pooh is! Make your diapers appeal to us grown-up women with cute, simple colors! Or just plain old white! WE WANT TO ACCESSORIZE!)
But for travel? I get it. The gDiaper inserts are small and thin and easily packable. Tossing the insert cut the dirty laundry load in half and meant I made it through the entire trip with only a medium Planet Wise wet bag. They’re very nice and absorbent and a couple times I confess that I simply replaced the insert and reused the same diaper shell since the fabric didn’t seem that wet. We had absolutely no leaks, even at night.
But oh my God, you guys. The inserts are HUGE. Long and wide, and weirdly reminiscent of the maxi pads you get at the hospital after having a baby. I simply could not believe these things were honestly really “flushable.”
And…that’s kind of the problem. I tested them out at home, in a toilet that I admit can be vaguely temperamental. And the gDiaper insert promptly clogged it, even though I followed the instructions and dismantled the insert before flushing. (I am not a huge fan of ripping the insert apart to let the inner core fall out, since I almost always have to touch it to get it loose. Shaking a microfiber insert into a pail is less gross, for those of you who are easily squickable.) And because I am, again, a total ROCKET SCIENTIST, I learned nothing from this experience and tried to flush an insert in my hotel room.
Scene, Thursday Night, 10:30 pm
Phone: Hotel Guest Services, how may I assist you?
Amy: AHHHHHHHHHHH OMFG FLOOD!
Two frantic phone calls later (hotel toilets don’t have a water shut-off valve! they just keep going and going! good to know!), an engineer arrived with a plunger and housekeeping brought a dozen more towels. I cowered in shame, wondering which was more embarrassing: knowing that I’d clogged the toilet by flushing a giant-ass maxi pad or the guy thinking that I’d clogged it the old-fashioned way, via poop. Fun times! From then on, the gDiaper inserts were disposed IN THE TRASH.
Of course, from an environmental standpoint, this is still preferable to a true disposable diaper, since the inserts contain no plastic and will not sit in a landfill for all eternity. Unless you stick them in a plastic diaper sack, or something, in order to contain the smell of a trash can full of pee-soaked pads. (gDiapers also mentions composting them, though as any good dirty hippie knows, consistently tossing something containing urine into your compost pile can really mess up the pH balance of your soil. Occasionally, though, this could work.) And while you’re still doing laundry, you’re doing less, which means less water and energy. No small thing, that.
(Hey! Look at this! I’ve never seen these at the store. Huh.)
So, in summary! gDiapers are indeed a great option for traveling with cloth. It’s not a system I would personally go with all the time, but I will likely keep an insert or two in my diaper bag for some added space-saving convenience while out and about. I have successfully flushed them in our downstairs toilet (it’s newer and more dependable than the upstairs one that clogged), so it CAN be done. Just…make sure you know the toilet.

Previous Articles on Cloth Diapers:
Cloth Diapering 101 (aka the Lazy Mom’s Guide to Cloth Diapering, Part 1)
Cloth Diapering 101 (Part 2)

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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29 Responses to “The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Cloth Diapers, Part Three”

  1. eva Jul 27 at 1:23 pm Reply Reply

    I also use bum genius, but have previously used 7th generation disposables for trips.
    The best looking feature of g-diapers (which I have never used) seems to be that they velcro at the BACK! Genius!!! All diapers should do up at the back. I may give these a try when we go camping later this week. Thanks Hippie!

  2. Melissa Jul 27 at 1:32 pm Reply Reply

    I tried gDiapers for about 2 months. I really gave it a good shot because I wanted to like them. They were so cute and the concept was good. But man where they expensive. And messy. No leaks, you’re right about that, but taking the insert out and ripping it apart and taking it to the bathroom to flush was just such a pain. I had poop and diaper pulp all over the rim of my toilet! Then there’s the issue of what to do with your screaming newborn while your ripping and swishing and flushing. Too many steps! My husband refused to do it and I found myself with stashes of disposables for when he changed the baby and gDiapers for when I did. It was just too much. There’s a reason people use disposables – they’re easy. I really think the answer is to make an environmentally friendly disposable. All of you cloth diaper users have my respect – you are better people than me.

  3. Olivia Jul 27 at 2:50 pm Reply Reply

    I was intriged by g-diapers before my baby was born, too. The expense of the inserts had me on the fence, and then we were gifted some fuzzi bunz so I never bought the g-diapers.
    What size inserts did you use for Ezra?

  4. Amalah Jul 27 at 3:18 pm Reply Reply

    eva – Every time I’ve tried Seventh Generation diapers, they leak like crazy. Do they work for you? Do I just have weird-shaped babies maybe?
    Melissa – SERIOUSLY with the “what to do with the baby while you fuss over the insert” thing. With regular cloth diapers, I can shake out poop into the toilet and shake out the insert into the pail with one hand, holding Ez the whole time. Ripping the g insert definitely takes both hands.
    Olivia – I bought mediums. They fit into both bumGenius and Fuzzi Bunz covers really well.

  5. rachel Jul 27 at 3:28 pm Reply Reply

    oh, how I wanted to love gDiapers. well, I do love them, just not to use? I have the same problem with gDiapers as I do with using fitted cloth/covers. Sam gets poop on every cover, every time so I have to wash them every time… How do other people’s kids not always get poop on the cover? Will it stop when it’s no longer the runny breastfeeding poop? Will then I miss the fact that it gets on every cover because it’s going to smell.
    (gDiapers has cloth inserts now… but I’ve heard rumors that they bunch up–actually a problem I had with the sposie inserts too. We can’t win here at Chez Rachel)
    Poop just sucks.

  6. Karen Jul 27 at 3:49 pm Reply Reply

    I haven’t seen these in the store yet, but gDiapers just came out with a cloth insert. Sounds like you can also use prefolds instead of the Gdiapers version. Doesn’t help the “disposable for travel” issue but thought I’d mention it.

  7. annemarie Jul 27 at 3:55 pm Reply Reply

    Just an fyi, gDiapers has just started selling hemp inserts through their website (gdiapers.com), making it possible to switch from the disposable liners to cloth with their covers. You can also get cloth inserts for them out of bamboo and other fabrics on sites like etsy.com. Yay gDiapers! If this 10-day-late baby in my uterus is a girl, I am so buying the pink ruffly-butt cover.

  8. Jen Jul 27 at 4:00 pm Reply Reply

    I just went on a trip and took both- disposibles and my BumGenius diapers. I’ve found that the Seventh Generation leak badly too. The Huggies Pure and Natural weren’t quite as bad, but still leaked a lot more than I am used to with cloth at home. I ended up using both. I put her in the Huggies disposible and then put an empty BumGenius cover over it. No leaks and no washing cloth diapers in the hotel bathtub. (I did take along a sample size of Crunchy Clean diaper detergent from Etsy, in case I needed to wash.)

  9. Kate Jul 27 at 4:10 pm Reply Reply

    I use BumGenius for my daughter 99% of the time. I just don’t use them when we are traveling for more than four days and don’t have access to a washer/dryer.
    During these times, I go with a disposable and GDiaper combo.
    My daughter doesn’t have problems with diaper rashes when using disposables but does occasionally have a blow out. My solution is to use a disposable and with a GDiaper cover on top as a precaution against blow outs and this has saved me several times.
    When we find ourselves behind on diaper laundry, we use GDiapers at home with two of the BumGenius infant microfleece doublers and a layer of fleece on top. I find this convenient because the GDiaper outers DON’T have to be washed every time, as Amy pointed out. They often don’t get wet at all and poop is usually contained in the plastic liner, which we switch out. And since the infant doublers came with the BumGenius diapers, we didn’t have to purchase special liners for the GDiapers.
    *On their own, I find GDiapers quite disappointing in terms of cost and dependability. My daughter NEVER soaks through a BumGenius but can soak through one of those maxipad GDiaper liners in no time.

  10. J Jul 27 at 4:35 pm Reply Reply

    I just recently started using gDiapers with cloth inserts (BG or FB microfiber inserts or hemp with a stay dry liner on top) and so far they have worked well for me. Minor leaks a couple times but I think that was due to not getting a good seal at the legs. I wanted to get some “made for gDiapers” inserts to get a better fit with less bulk so I just ordered some from the Nappy Shoppe. I was going to buy the gCloth but they have already sold out of the medium/large size.

  11. eva Jul 27 at 4:56 pm Reply Reply

    Our 7th Generations haven’t leaked ever, but our bum genius do occasionally if daycare doesn’t cinch them up tight enough.
    My big tip is to buy a size bigger than the package says – we’re using size 4 for Megan and she weighs 20 pounds and is 19 months old. Size 3 was supposed to fit from 16-28 lbs! Not a chance! Megan’s body type is short, um…tiny-everywhere-but-solidly-paunchy-haunches. So in conclusion as weird as any other toddler out there.

  12. Jennifer Jul 27 at 5:09 pm Reply Reply

    I love gDiapers and will be ecstatic to try the new hemp inserts! And I am SOOOOO with you on the Winnie-The-Pooh disposables! I mean, really–who wants Eeyore (sp?) shining through their kid’s clothes? Plain white, people. Plain. White.

  13. Nicole Jul 27 at 7:36 pm Reply Reply

    I started with a diaper service and recently cancelled them because they are expensive and I am on maternity leave with my income cut in less than half (I am Canadian so we get a year employment insurance). They supplied cloth diapers and you had to use covers which I bought and her skin got really red. Not angry red, but the diapers were always kind of crunchy.
    We had to put her in disposables for 5 days one time because she outgrew the size of diapers I had and I am just not doing that much laundry. And yes, she got a rash because Pampers = Evil. It went away within 48 hours of going back to cloth.
    Recently, Bebebums was having a sale on one-size pockets so I bought 3 and love them. So I ordered 10 more and cancelled the diaper service. They should arrive in the next day or two. They are, unfortunately, only available in Canada but I think they are similar to BumGenius. Or maybe its Fuzzibuns.
    I got a sample of the “green” huggies recently, and they are okay but don’t seem to be as absorbent as regular Huggies.

  14. Kathleen Jul 27 at 10:18 pm Reply Reply

    Two questions:
    a) Can you use the gdiaper inserts with bumgenius outers??
    b) If not, about how many gdiaper shells did you need per day?
    I am DONE with disposables. We just used them for a three-day trip and had two blow outs. Wah.

  15. Amalah Jul 27 at 10:36 pm Reply Reply

    Kathleen – Yes, I used the gDiaper inserts with my bumGenius and Fuzzi Bunz outers. Was very pleased with the combo, other than the flushing process. I brought enough outers for about five diaper changes a day, but ended up using slightly less than that since I could replace inserts and re-use the outer when he was just wet.

  16. Amalah Jul 27 at 10:42 pm Reply Reply

    (Oh, man. I just reread this and JUST NOW realized that I left that fact out — or had it in there and deleted it in a cut-and-paste gone wrong. I did not buy the gDiaper outer pants for this trip. I bought the inserts only, and used them with my existing pocket diaper outers. That was kind of a big detail to leave out. Eeesh.)
    (I AM SO TIRED.)

  17. Kathleen Jul 27 at 11:32 pm Reply Reply

    Awesome – so much better than buying **more** shells -or bringing five extra outfits for the disposable leakage. Thanks so much for this post (great question :) )!

  18. geek anachronism Jul 28 at 3:53 am Reply Reply

    I feel like the only mother out there who not only got hideous rashes with cloth, but more blow outs AND my daughter screams the entire time she’s in them. I’m using terry squares though, so I think I might try out one of the fancier kind. But she’s so unimpressed with the wet (and the lack of freedom to move as well I think).

  19. Erin Jul 28 at 9:04 am Reply Reply

    OK, now I have a stupid question…did you put the gDiaper insert into the pocket of the bumGenius or just lay it on top of the microfleece? I currently have 5 useless bumGenius diapers (they’re repelling, but I don’t know if it’s my detergent, hard water, or other mysterious factor), and I like the idea that I could get some use out of them with a gDiaper insert!

  20. Isabel Jul 28 at 6:05 pm Reply Reply

    This was very informative. Thanks!
    You see, we used gdiapers with our kid for a long time and loved every minute of it (well, except for the minutes where my hands had to touch poop). I admit that we did have a few “Oh my gosh, our toilet is clogged!!!” issues, but we soon figured out when to use the toilet and when to compost. And how to use flush the toilet just right! (Yes, it took a little time to perfect.)
    After reading some of the comments here I think why we had such success with gdiapers is because we didn’t start using them until our kid was over a year old, so his toilet habits weren’t the same as a newborns. I’m sure the consistency of his poop helped to keep any leakage issues under control.
    And now I’m nervous about using gdiapers if/when we have another baby. We have quite a stash saved up that I’d hate to have go to waste.
    Something else that I noticed, I didn’t really ever consider myself as a “cloth diaper user”, even though I guess I really was one. To me, gdiapers felt less “hippie” and more “green”. (which is probably the same thing.)

  21. charlotte Jul 28 at 6:39 pm Reply Reply

    We’re apparently special in our household–Little Miss Kickboxer has been wearing Seventh Generation diapers since she was born (with the exception of a half-assed attempt at the gDiapers), and not one has ever leaked. We love us our Seventh Generation.
    And yeah, I wanted to love the gDiapers, as well. But the plastic inserts made LMK’s butt sweat really badly, and contain her massive blowouts they didn’t. So, I ended up selling them. Too bad because I love me this concept.
    And you weren’t the only one who clogged a sensitive toilet with the inserts. Ahem.

  22. angie Jul 29 at 3:22 pm Reply Reply

    We had to use Seventh Generation diapers for a bit with my son after he got a HIDEOUS diaper rash that wouldn’t quit. I tried gdiapers after that but, even following the instructions to a T, we had to pay a professional $250 to unclog the toilet after two days of flushing. He was pretty skeptical about my story until I showed him the actual diapers. He said flushable diapers were the craziest thing he’d ever heard of and if we wanted to send his kid to college we should keep using them. But man did Sam’s butt look adorable in those things. Too bad! Maybe with this next baby I’ll just toss them. Hmm. Something to think about.

  23. Kathy Jul 29 at 6:11 pm Reply Reply

    I recently made the switch to cloth from disposables b/c gDiapers were on sale at the local grocery store. I really like the concept of them but soon realized that I would go broke buying the inserts for my two kiddos in diapers. I did some research and found Cotton Wood Babies makes inserts for the gDiaper pants. I love them and their customer service is wonderful.
    My question is what other covers work with the inserts? I don’t really like the pocket idea since I want to be able to reuse them , trying to work with a very tight budget.
    Any input would be great!

  24. Sabrina Jul 29 at 8:42 pm Reply Reply

    high five for cloth-ing on vacay. i’m too chicken. since you like BG you should try http://www.rumparooz.com one size pockets. they’re awesomely amazing / have inner gussets … seriously. they.are.great.

  25. Susan Jul 29 at 10:30 pm Reply Reply

    Umm, yeah, if you didn’t buy the gDiapers covers then you didn’t get the Swishstick, which is the key to flushing the diaper without clogging the toilet – you use it to break up the inner diaper core in the toilet before flushing. You usually have to hold on to the outer part – yeah, where the poop is – and flush it on the second go-round, or just leave it in the toilet (since double flushing is not terribly eco). Yes, it’s a lot of work, so we have just tossed most of the inserts (except the SuperPoops). I did have a moment of uber-hippie-ness where I sewed my own inserts for the gs using microfiber and minky, which work just dandy, too.
    I love the gs and have been using them on SnackBox since he was born. My problem is when he gets in between sizes, like he is currently with the M & L, then both sizes leak like crazy. So we’re using Huggies Pure & Natural for now – which, at least they use less dye, but I need a watercolor Pooh on a diaper even less than I need a technicolor Elmo.
    You can sign up on the gDiaper website to be a gMum and they’ll send you coupons and SWAG (no elbows involved). There is also a Yahoo Group devoted to gDiapers where you can get all your questions answered.

  26. Heather Jul 30 at 2:08 pm Reply Reply

    We use gDiapers at home (our daycare person prefers disposables, so we get the Huggies Natural Care for her. Still gives baby a red butt, but it’s less heinous than with the regular ones). And yes, the outer diaper always gets messy when she poops, we end up throwing the inserts out instead of flushing ~70% of the time, and when we are out and about with her we’ll use disposables to keep travel crap to a minimum. But I still love them. They are adorable, her gDiapers never leak, and her skin is *so* much happier.

  27. stacy Aug 21 at 5:10 pm Reply Reply

    Never tried gDiapers since they seem like a lot of hassle, but GOOD ON YA for halfway cloth diapering on vacation! That’s pretty impressive.
    When on vacation, we use Bummis liners inside disposable diapers, to prevent diaper rash. It works a charm.
    :)

  28. Brittany Jan 03 at 1:10 pm Reply Reply

    So, am I retarded? I cannot figure out how gDiapers are good. I got size small with correct size inserts (decided to try sposies first since I’ve never CDed before) .. The shell thing seems bizarre to me, and the inserts were weirdly huge for the shell so that I couldn’t get them inside the shell without major bunching and squishing (I have checked and rechecked to make sure they’re the right size). And the very first time (and second, too) they leaked BF poo. But everywhere I look people are raving about them. *sniff* what’s wrong with me waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (sleep deprivation .. I have a night-waking 3.5 mo old sorry:/)

    Thanks in advance! Never read your blog before but you made me chuckle several times already:)

  29. Brittany Jan 03 at 1:13 pm Reply Reply

    Oh! And is it just me or is the elastic not very nice around the belly (kind of sharp at the top edge)? And the belly not very adjustable? .. Maybe my baby is just fat idk.

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