Cloth Diapering in Humid Climates – New & Updated!
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.
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?
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.
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).
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).
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?