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baby lying down in red Cloth Diaper

Cloth Diapering in Humid Climates – New & Updated!

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

How are you? I just stumbled upon your cloth diaper review online. I am desperately looking for the buttoned cloth diapers as an alternative to pampers/ merries tape diapers.

Brands like Mama Koala and Alvababy — is all that I’ve come across on amazon … However, I live in Jakarta, Indonesia which is hot-humid-tropics. What would you recommend for this weather situation?

The buttoned cloth diapers have a fleece lining which isn’t suitable for this weather at all. Look forward to your guidance as I need to internationally ship them across asap.

Thank you!

Cloth Diapering in Humid Climates

So I actually wrote about cloth diapering in humid climates once before, but that article is now quite a few years old, and since I have not given birth to another butt to cloth diaper since writing it, I am admittedly Not Hip To The Cloth Diapers Of Today. (There are so many new styles and brands! It’s delightful and yet SO OVERWHELMING.) But it’s hopefully still worth a read, if only to give you a contrarian perspective on “hot”-sounding fabrics like fleece, and even wool.

So the main things you want in a humidity-friendly diaper are:

1. Breathable + moisture-wicking fabrics that can dry quickly and easily

2.
Enough diapers to allow for a LOT of frequent changes. Frequent changing of the diaper and as much bare-butt time as your lap/furniture can handle really will be key for preventing diaper rash.

3. You want a diaper that breaks down into multiple smaller parts
As for the drying quickly and easily aspect — you don’t want diapers that come out of the dryer even vaguely damp (MOLD), and you don’t want to have run the dryer over and over again (SUCK IT, ENVIRONMENT). Clothesline or air-drying is always recommended for odor/staining prevention, but that’s a lot harder to pull off when there’s a lot of rain and humidity in the air. Because of all of that, you want a diaper that breaks down into multiple smaller parts. So, stay away from All-In-Ones (AIOs; nothing wrong with them, they just don’t disassemble), and look for Pockets, or just fitteds or prefolds with separate snap-on covers.

Let’s talk about Pocket Diapers

Pocket diapers are really wonderful, especially for first-time cloth diaper users. I know you’re seeing the fleece linings on some and freaking out, but they’re really much cooler and breathable than you’d think!

The linings are sooooo very thin and the fleece fabric wicks moisture off your baby’s skin and absorbs it into the diaper. And then you can stuff the “pocket” part of the diaper with all sorts of wonderfully cool, breathable fabrics. I’d probably recommend hemp, since it dries faster than bamboo. I used microfiber inserts/boosters with my pockets as well, but found them much more prone to stink than the natural fabrics. (I don’t live in the tropics, but we do have very humid summers here where I live) Not the end of the world, but stripping cloth diapers is a pain in the butt and time-consuming.

I never once encountered a sweaty, overheated butt with any of my cloth diapers — and I used everything. Pockets, AIOs, fitteds, prefolds, fleece, PUL and yes, even wool covers. The real concern was moisture/dampness from urine, not heat. And the only way to really prevent that was to change the diaper whenever it was wet. This can seem like a huge pain if you’re used to the idea of a disposable that lasts through several wettings, but…I dunno. I never minded! Cloth diapers are so very (very) cute and I always felt good knowing I was taking good, frequent care of my babies’ skin and that they were getting wrapped up in soft, fluffy fabric rather than…whatever the hell is inside a disposable.

Although SPEAKING of disposables, another terrific benefit to Pocket diapers is that you can stuff them with disposable inserts. This is a GREAT option to have when you’re traveling or anytime you want to cut back on the amount of laundry you’re dealing with. I had VERY  VERY MIXED RESULTS on the so-called “flushability” of these inserts, however, so if your plumbing is anything other than fantastic, you need to either really, really mash it up and let it soak before flushing…or just toss it. They’re biodegradable, at least. You can also compost the just-wet ones. (No poop, though.)

So specific brand recommendations for Pocket Diapers?

1.  bumGenius
I’ve never even heard of the brands you mentioned, but perhaps the commenters can chime in. I really loved the fit and design of bumGenius, though I typically swapped out the microfiber inserts with cotton prefolds during the day and used the microfiber as occasional nighttime boosters.

2. Fuzzibunz
Fuzzibunz were the very first cloth diaper system I ever used and appreciated its simplicity and affordability (though I had better luck with the Perfect Size diapers vs. the One Size).

3. gDiapers
gDiapers are pricier but worked great for me and the covers always won extra Cuteness Points.

4. Green Kids
While updating my research for this post, I came across a LOT of praise for the Australian brand Green Kids from fellow humid-climate moms (since you’re already shipping internationally, probably worth checking out).

More options

I got all my Indian cotton prefolds, hemp inserts and doublers from Green Mountain Diapers, though it sounds like shipping internationally is kind of a hassle. Amazon sells plenty of hemp inserts and boosters, and OsoCozy makes similar prefolds and doublers, but I’m thinking Indian cotton diapers might not be impossible for you to come by locally? (Totally worth buying a pack or two — I have all of mine to this day and use them daily as household rags and paper towel alternatives.)

(And don’t forget to buy cloth-friendly diaper creams to avoid product build-up/absorption problems. I LOVED Grandma El’s and am pleased to see it’s still available and highly-recommended on cloth-diaper-centric sites. Bourdeaux’s All Natural Butt Paste [in the green tube; not the Original stuff in yellow] is another good one that’s widely available here in the States. If you’re not sure about a particular brand that’s available locally for you, just give it and/or the active ingredient a Google with + cloth diapers. Some wise Internet soul will guide you.)

Fellow sweaty readers, what say you?

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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LIZPNILisa RoperKay Recent comment authors
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Kay
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Kay

Alvababy is inexpensive enough to build a good sized stash. You should also consider secondhand. I got some great diapers on Ebay, including some where the mom never used them but had already unpackaged/washed them and so had to sell them secondhand. Another reason you’ll want more diapers is a lot of brands advise hang-drying, which is not necessarily going to work in really humid climates. I can definitely tell the difference in my daycare cloth diapers, which I always have to put through the dryer in order to have them ready in time, and my at-home cloth diapers which… Read more »

Lisa Roper
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Lisa Roper

When I lived in Jakarta I totally brought our Grovia cloth diapers! At the time, we used their complete system including the stay-dry style of inserts.

I can’t remember if the problems we had that summer (north hemisphere’s) started in Indonesia, or were just in California. I did end up feeling like they were partly from heat, but I am sure I also didn’t have the best wash routine with the borrowed washer that I only used for 5 weeks.

In any case, I am sure you can make it work in Jakarta, and have some rendang for this current midwesterner!

LIZPNI
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LIZPNI

I live in Micronesia, similar weather…100% humidity every day. We used Nicki’s Diaper’s pockets, coconut oil, and changed frequently and had no problem. Nicki’s are reasonably priced (plus the donate one for every one you buy) and they lasted, I was able to use them on two kids that were 3.5 years apart.