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cloth diaper do-over

Cloth Diaper Do-Over

By Amalah

Hey Amy,

First off, we love your blog! My wife and I will be welcoming our first baby into the world this July and we have been researching cloth diapers for her. My MIL who is eminently crafty offered to make us cloth diapers, but as yet we have not seen any completed (though she has knitted some cute covers). I’m trying to prep for buying some diapers and I think we’d like to try GMD fitteds and/or prefolds. Did you find the workhorse fitteds to be worth the extra cost over the prefolds? I noticed you recommended the Thirsties Duo PUL covers. The Bumgenius Flip covers also look nice. Do you have any experience with them? I wish Rebel Baby Co would start making some as their fitteds look freaking adorable. Since your last posts on cloth diapering have you had any new products/tips you could give me?

Thanks so much for your help and time!

Best,
Steve

Cue up your best Kermit the Frog voice for MOAR CLOTH DIAPER TALK YAAAAYYYY!

So, first of all: Green Mountain Diapers, the site many of you may have stumbled upon in your cloth diaper research, usually in the form of someone mentioning “GMD prefolds.” And talking about how WORTH IT they are, and how much better they are than other prefolds, and blah blah blah.

Well, I’m certainly not going to reinvent the wheel today either: GMD prefolds are the best best bestest prefolds out there. Do not bother buying anything else. Step away from the Amazon Prime membership and the inferior options sold elsewhere and get the GMDs.

And I have similar levels of hysterical love for the GMD Workhorse Fitteds. They’re fantastic, especially if you compare the price to other, fancier fitted diapers, ESPECIALLY in the newborn size. Five dollars! Five!! They aren’t quite as snazzy/fancy as a lot of the options out there, but…I dunno. I think they’re plenty adorable. I love basic, old-school white diapers!

I did not necessarily do everything “right” while trying to cloth diaper Ike as a newborn, and so the most frequently-asked question I get these days is usually a variation on: If you had to do it over again, what would you buy?

Well, I’d have bought some newborn fitteds, right from the start. Probably the Workhorses. And preemie-sized covers. No, you won’t use them for very long, but 99.9999% of my frustrations in the beginning had to do with poorly-fitting diapers and covers. Ike was 7 pounds, 9 ounces and everything I had for him was comically oversized. I had some preemie prefolds — but they weren’t GMD, and sucked — but if the cover is too big you’ll get leaks out the leg holes, no matter what you do with the diaper or how you fold/Snappi/pin. The whole “one-size” thing is a TOTAL LIE, and I don’t care how adjustable the rise and/or leg holes are. They aren’t going to fit properly until at least 10 pounds, maybe 12, and will drive you insane in the meantime. Buy diapers that FIT, and save the one-size versions for later. Trust me, you’ll still get your money’s worth out of them, even if you wait a couple months.

(On the other hand, if I’d been cloth diapering the 9 pound, 15 ounce Noah as a newborn, I probably would have declared myself a genius for skipping the tiny-sized diapers and covers. So. GAH WHO KNOWS.)

Jason loves prefolds — he doesn’t usually bother with fastening them, but just lays them in a cover and velcros it up. But I love the extra protection from leaks and blow-outs that fitteds give you, with the waist and leg elastic. I also find them to be easier to double and triple stuff, especially if you plan to Snappi or pin and are dealing with a wriggly, squirmy baby. Like you, I very much wanted to replace my outgrown Rebel Baby Co. fitteds with bigger ones — by that point Ike was ready for one-sized diapers — but alas, life happens and Leanne is unable to take on many orders. So I went looking for the most economical replacement, and tried a few different styles and Etsy sellers (with not much success, alas) and got completely overwhelmed by Hyena Cart…and then placed an order at GMD for some medium prefolds and tossed a couple medium Workhorse diapers in, just for the hell of it.

My stash these days is now almost exclusively GMD products: Two dozen medium prefolds, six medium Workhorses, six large Workhorses (Ike’s 20 pounds so we’re gradually sizing up, spreading the cost out as much as possible), and about a half dozen Workhorse doublers. I’ll also double up with our small/infant prefolds, or OCCASIONALLY stuff them into our much-maligned, leaking pocket diapers. Although the Rebel Baby Co. fitteds are too small, I still use the snap-in doublers from them. They’re very long and a thin combo of bamboo velour and hemp, and I add them to the GMD offerings for nighttime or long car rides, outings, etc.

I went doubler-crazy for awhile when Ike was soaking through EVERYTHING at night, so I have a ton of hemp/bamboo/velour/whatever doubler options. Then the heavy wetter stage passed and Ike now longer requires so much fabric at night. Which I didn’t know was something that…you know, happened. Oh well. I have enough doublers and extra inserts to cobble together extra whole diapers, if I had to.

We still use all Thirsties Duo Wraps (though I agree — the bumGenius Flip covers look awesome as well), and some wool covers. Bummis fleece and flushable liners. Snappis, cloth-diaper-safe ointment (GroVia Magic Stick, Grandma El’s, Earth Mama Angel Baby, etc.). Charlie’s Soap, plus a little OxyClean every once in awhile to fight staining.

And that’s about everything in the exciting, thrilling world of cloth diapering. Except for the part about how oh! Our utility sink is hopelessly clogged and the washing machine drains to the utility sink so GUESS WHO CAN’T WASH ANY DIAPERS until the plumber comes out later today? Blech.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

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 Ama...

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 [email protected].

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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Kate
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Kate

You will never, ever get consensus on a cloth diapering issue. Never. So me agreeing with Amy is probably as close as you’re going to get! I’ve cloth diapered two kids and 1 newborn (my second). I tried to go at the newborn thing a totally different way than Amy did — I wanted all pockets and All-in-Ones. It was a total fail — nothing fit and everthing leaked. So I ended up in the same place Amy did — fitteds rock, especially for the newborn stage. (Now that my baby is 8 months, I do use all pockets, and… Read more »

David
Guest

As a stay at home dad (part time writer and blogger) I spend a good portion of my day changing cloth diapers.  The prefolds work decently but I personally am a fan of the all in ones.  Bumgenius, Fuzzibunz and Kawaii.  I love the Kawaiis, very breathable, hold in more liquid than their much more expensive counterparts and are unbelievably soft.   Have to say cloth is a great way to go.  It’s no burden, better for the environment and your baby’s bottom.  The ability to adjust is necesary and annoying at times but its nice to have a perfectly… Read more »

Debra
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Debra

I was so disappointed that my son is allergic to that GroVia Magic stick!  I was excited about he mess free application, and then the hives. Oh the hives!  
Oh well. 🙂  At least the Earth Mama Angel Baby helped clear it back up.  

Steve
Guest

Hey Amy! Thanks so much for responding to my email. I am so happy that you found the GMD Workhorse fitteds to work great. We will definitely be investing in some GMD stuff soon along with a few PUL covers (maybe the bumgenius Flips). We had a heart to heart this weekend with my MIL regarding diapers and she said she will be making some fitteds among other types for us as well. But it never hurts to have a diverse arsenal! Hope the plumber gets there soon for you!

Ang
Guest
Ang

As first-timers, we decided to use disposables until the umbilical stump fell off and our one-size covers fit (about 1 month old). We’ve only ever used prefolds so I cannot attest to fitteds, pockets, etc., but the prefolds we use are OsoCozy brand (4x8x4). We have both Rumparooz one-size covers and Flip one-size covers. I go back and forth on which one I prefer, but both work pretty well. Congrats on your little one!

Karen
Guest
Karen

Just want to go on record as the only person in the world who prefers Thirsties sized covers to the Duos. I used sized ones with my first, loved them, and sold them. Then got Duos for my son and hated them. He was 8 lbs and I pretty much used them with all the snaps open from the start which sort of defeats the purpose of him growing into them. If I snapped them down to the middle fit, then the snaps would open up as I pulled the Duo up to make sure it covered the snappied prefold.… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

I just wanted to chime in and say that I’ve used a lot of PUL covers over the course of cloth diapering three children, but Flips are my favorites once we pass the newborn stage (during which I have an undying devotion to Thirsties X-Smalls).  I use Flips over Snappiable fitteds mostly, but I also have a large stash of Little Lions flats that I pad fold and lay in (pretty much the same as using a tri-folded prefold).  Between the flats and Flip covers, it is a really cheap and effective CD strategy, though I do love my fitteds… Read more »

maya
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maya

i cloth diapered my baby from about a week old. i tried everything, pockets, fitteds, aios, prefolds, flats. hands down am in love with my gmd workhorses. you cannot go wrong with natural fibers (in fact i replaced all microfiber from the pockets with gmd doublers). if you want to go the cutesy, high end route, orange diaper company makes newborn and one-size fitteds that work really well (bamboo and cotton). if your MIL wants to help and make fitteds, it would be easy and more economical to convert the GMD prefolds to fitteds. My favorite pul cover has actually… Read more »

Erin S
Guest
Erin S

Karen, you are not the only person who loves the Thirsties sized covers! I don’t know how it’s possible but the size small cover fit longer and better than the Duo size 1. And the size medium cover? Fuggidaboudit. My 1 year old might still fit into it had we not switched over to Flip covers. Steve, the Flip covers are great, but they are WIDE. Like, wiiide wide. My son didn’t fit well in them until he was 6+ months (a big 6 months, too, 18+ lbs). But they are great with either the organic Flip inserts or the… Read more »

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

O know you are already getting way more information about brands people love so i will skip my recommendations. HOWEVER I will say this. We love our gro via magic stick, but I think it contributed to some of the stinks in our BG pockets (way too lazy to use a liner, I know my fault). So with number two (Same diapers ) I use breast milk. Seriously nothing has worked better. As soon as her bum gets red, I squirt a little in my hand, pat it on her and let it dry for a minute or so. Next… Read more »

Jenna
Guest
Jenna

Cloth-diaperer of twins here….my first choice is a Flip cover with a Mother-Ease fitted.  The Thirsties x-small were great for the newborn stage, but I like my Flips more than the Duos.  I’ve tried a lot of different prefolds, and I agree with Amy–GMDs are the best.  We also actually used flats that we folded until the “airplane” fold didn’t fit anymore.  Don’t do that unless you really like spending your limited free time playing origami.

Amy B
Guest
Amy B

I live in St. Louis, where CottonBabies, the makers of BumGenius is headquartered, so most everyone around here uses BG diapers. I didn’t even really consider any others, I just bought a bunch of BGs and Flips….and I have had wonderful success with them. Not to discourage you from the other brands, just to let you know Flip and BG are indeed great. :o)

Jennifer
Guest

The trick with prefolds, honestly, is not to buy the Gerber ones! (Unless you can get your hands on some antiques…) I’ve used Bummis, Imagines, CottonBabies, Econobums and some we swiped from the NICU (they use them for messes), and they’ve all worked just fine. As long as they’re prepped properly, they will work great.

Elena
Guest
Elena

Canadian here, and a shoutout to APPLECHEEKS (applecheeks.com) which are AMAZING and worked great from the getgo (7lb 6oz baby to now 19lb-er 7mo) – super cute, super practical and no I don’t work for them. (just my 2 cents)

April
Guest
April

Love my Bum Genius diapers! Have used them exclusively since my daughter was 3 weeks and about 8 lbs and still using them at 2 years and 26 lbs. Easy for dad/grandparents to use, no problems with leaks.

MomSmoo
Guest
MomSmoo

I stared CDing my second at 4 months and was a pockets girl all the way. Towards the end I went to fitteds with longies, so I was SURE I didn’t want prefolds for a newborn, even though everyone insisted. I, of course, we wrong. Imagine prefolds and thristies sized covers all the way! Easiest laundry in the world too. That is what my now 7m old is in on the weekends and evenings as well. Pockets are still a huge hit at daycare though.

Steve
Guest

Thanks everyone for your comments and advice! We just placed an order this morning for some GMD newborn pre-folds, fitteds, a few Thirsties x-small covers, and one BG Flip. We also picked up some doublers, terry/flanel wipes, and a GroVia stick! Hopefully she is able to fit into the newborn sizes for at least a little while. 🙂 Is it weird that I am looking forward to when she is born in July so that I can start changing diapers? lol

Erica Douglas
Guest

We got some Litewraps as hand-me-downs and wow, do those things leak. Not so much through the legs, I could deal with that, but straight THROUGH the diaper. I realize that they are used and that makes a difference, but those are our last-choice, must-do-laundry diaper covers. After reading Amalah’s praises for the woolies, my MiL has knitted some and I am totally convinced. The woolies are my favorites for overnights because I think it’s better for Baby’s skin to not be encased in plastic all night. Thank you SO much for the woolies info! They’re harder for me to… Read more »

Heather
Guest
Heather

I like the flip covers, and have used BG pockets for over 2 years, first with my 2.5 yr. old (now out of dipes) and my 7 month old. BG all the way for my older son, no problems with leaks, not a super heavy wetter I guess. Did not cloth diaper him as a newborn though. He is petite and never soaked out of one insert in the BG until he was almost 2 years old, even overnight. Now, for my 7 month old super soaker girly, she has been soaking out of the BGs since like 3 months… Read more »

Jen
Guest
Jen

I’m in love with Flip covers. Surprised at the poster who said they didn’t fit until their baby was 18+ pounds! I started with Flip covers at 4 months and my DD was about…oh…10 pounds? I don’t remember but she’s a 10th percentile weight baby (She’s a year old and is 18 pounds now). But she DOES have a big butt! 🙂 Otherwise, I’m a pockets gal, so that’s not going to help with newborn CDing probably. But a shoutout to Fuzzibunz sized diapers – I like them better than any other pocket I’ve tried (and much better than FB… Read more »

Corinne
Guest

I would also like to share my love of Thirsties sized covers. My baby was 6lbs 12oz at birth, and xs fitteds and xs Thirsties covers (with velcro) were the only thing that fit him and didn’t leak. That’s totally what I’m doing all the time with the next one. I also love Applecheeks and those started fitting when he was about a month-ish old. I used Thirsties XS and Small covers and then moved onto Duos size 2 snapped all the way down for a tri-folded prefold, but on the second snap for a snappied prefold, and all the… Read more »

Becca
Guest
Becca

Hi, Been using Bum Genius and Pop’n’gro nappies since birth and just had to buy some new nappies as the pop’n’gro were size ones and my boy is now 11 months.  I’ve just got a few ‘Baba and Boo’ nappies…. super cute fuzzy on the outside pocket nappies. Seriously easy to use and also birth to potty efforts so should do the next baby(s).   Also have just bought Itti Bitti Tutto – australian company and totally brilliant design – again birth to potty and these really do go down to tiny. Gorgeous colours and a choice of how to… Read more »

Corinne
Guest
Corinne

If you’re looking for fitteds, I really like Old School Cool on HyenaCart and she usually has stuff in stock and will do customs. I’ve heard good things about MamaMade too, but haven’t had a chance to try them. But yes, for daytime, GMD prefolds are the awesomest

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

I love GMD Prefolds and Workhorse diapers as well!  My 10 month old (24 lb) is in a brown edge Workhorse with an Econobum cover right now.  For newborn fitteds, I am going to give a couple recommendations – Little Boppers on Hyenacart (http://hyenacart.com/stores/LittleBoppers/ ) makes a size called Big Newborn that has a snap-down for the umbilical cord, but it for bigger babies.  It worked great on my 8 1/2 pound chunker who gained a pound a week.  She stocks her store on Tuesdays so you have to be a bit of a stalker to snag one 🙂  My… Read more »

Camille
Guest
Camille

Our plan before our little boy arrived was to do disposables until he put on some weight. Then we’d look into cloth diapers. And I’m so glad we did. He arrived 4 weeks early, taking us by surprise, and there was no way I was going to deal with snaps/velcro/snappies/prefolds. The nursery wasn’t even ready when he was born! A few weeks ago, I did as much research as I could online, and was completely overwhelmed by the choices, and all of my friends and family had their own suggestions. Ultimately, every diaper and every choice will work for the… Read more »