Conveniently Green Presents…Cloth Diapers: A Beginning Guide for Beginning Beginners Part 2

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So let’s talk about diaper covers. I mentioned in Part 1 that there are some diapers that need waterproof covers. Those are the ones we use, so I’ve traveled the globe in search of the perfect diaper cover. What follows is my own personal opinion and experience…

First and foremost, Diaperpin’s review section is a great places for looking up specific covers. I’ve gotten a lot of good information there.

Diaper covers come in several different kinds of materials. Gone are the rubber and vinyl pants our mothers used. Now there’s wool vs. fleece vs. PUL. Wool is, well, wool like a sweater, and PUL is a soft polyester fabric that is totally waterproof. Fleece is fleece, like the polar fleece you’d find in a jacket. Both wool and fleece are water-resistant, not waterproof. Now people who are into wool really love their wool, but unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get wool to work.

Since this post is all about my personal experience, I’ll talk about PUL. Now there are a bunch of different “features” on diaper covers.

Thirsties single-layer PUL cover with velcro

Snaps vs. Velcro (or “aplix” or “touch tape”): Basically, snaps last longer, have a higher resale value, do really well in the washing machine, and have fewer problems overall, however it can be difficult to get a good fit sometimes, and they can be hard to put on in the dark if there are a lot of snaps involved. On the velcro side, velcro is easier to get a tight, custom fit, and it’s easier to use. On the con side, velcro breaks down in the laundy, can stick to other items in the wash, wears out faster, and stuff can get stuck in the sticky side if you’re not careful. I have a both snaps and velcro covers and like them for different reasons. There are also a few pull-on covers out there. Mouse has figured out how to undo the velcro, so when I dress him in a t-shirt and diaper, he gets a snap cover. Train Guy prefers the velcro.

Single layer of PUL vs. cloth-covered: This refers to what the inside of the cover looks like. A PUL cover can be a single layer of waterproof PUL, a layer of PUL and a layer of fabric, or encased in fabric. The main advantage of a single layer of PUL is that you can just wipe it off and use it again. The disadvantage is that they’re often not very cute and some people don’t like the PUL right up against the baby’s skin. Personal preference on that one. PUL that’s sandwiched in between cloth should  be washed after each use because the cloth has absorbed the urine. A PUL cover with a cloth outer layer is where you’ll often find the really cute patterns. Any cover with poop on it should be washed, obviously.

Sized vs. One-Size: A one-size cover is one that has a series of snaps that fold the fabric together and secure it to make the cover bigger or smaller. Advantages of one-size is obviously that it grows with the baby and you have to buy fewer covers. Disadvantages are that there are a lot of snaps involved, and despite Train Guy’s commitment to cloth diapering, he hates using the one-size because of the multitude of snaps. I personally disliked the one-size because I felt like I never got a good fit, especially in the early days. Mouse was swimming in the cover even on its lowest setting and they all leaked all the time. I personally think sized diapers have the best fit, and their resale calue can be high so it’s not hard to sell them when you’re done. A middle ground would be Thirsties Duo diapers, which are one-sized in two sizes.

Single gusset vs. double gusset: This is at the inner leg where a lot of leaks happen. All covers have a gusset (elastic at the leg) in there, but some add an additional inner gusset for leak protection. If your kid is a heavy wetter, these double gussets can be invaluable. For a while, Mouse could only wear double gussets on his covers.

Another thing to think about is red marks on the legs, waist, or both. Many covers do leave red marks, particularly on chunky babies (like mine). The type of elastic used can contribute to that a lot, as does the fit.

All that said, the following are covers I use/have used. Keep in mind that Mouse is a POWER wetter, so leaks have been a constant problem. Eliminating leaks has taken up an inordinate amount of my time.

Thirsties

Pro: Single layer of PUL, can be wiped clean, velcro, double gusset, rarely get a leak in these
Con: velcro wears out, only come in solid colors, can cause red marks

Thirsties also makes the Duo-Wrap, which is a one-size diaper cover. I haven’t used these so I can’t comment, but I love the sized Thirsties and the Duo pocket diapers.

Froggy Bummi Super Whisper Wrap

Bummis Super Whisper Wrap
Pro: adorable prints, cloth-covered elastic is gentle on skin, sandwiched between two cloth layers, wrapover velcro tabs gets a tight fit
Con: single gusset can lead to leaking (that’s why we stopped using them), need to be washed each time

Proraps
Pros: Cheap as hell (prob. the cheapest on the market), double gusset
Cons: Unbelievably scratchy and literally broke the skin on Mouse’s tummy :(. Lots of people love this cover but I can’t for the life of me understand why

Imse Vimse
Pros: Double gusset, cute prints, soft outer
Cons: velcro wore out FAST and it was tough to get a good fit. We had leaks, especially when he got bigger.

Mommy’s Touch one-size
Pros: cute, sandwiched PUL makes this cover soft inside and out, one size
Cons: We never got a good fit and they leaked like hell. Lots of moms love these, though.

Stacinator So Simple
Pros: NEVER had a leak in this, fleece legs and waist have never left a single red mark, fantastic for nighttime, single layer of PUL, snaps are super easy
Cons: Pretty much the ugliest cover on the face of the planet, and really billowy although it does bunch down. This cover is STRICTLY utilitarian.

Mouse and his Dr. Seuss Bumkins size small

Bumkins
Pros: Single layer PUL, wipe it off and go, wrapover velcro tabs for great fit double gussets, DR. SEUSS!!!!!
Cons: harsh elastic left tons of red marks, just didn’t feel comfortable to me.

Mother-ease Air Flow
I just got one of these but I like it so far. The snaps are easy to adjust, there’s a single layer of PUL, cute fabrics, and the wings have a kind of fold-over design so you get air flow, but I haven’t had any leaks

GEN-Y

Here we come to my very favorite diaper cover of all time: GEN-Y covers. For starters, they’re adorable, but they also work like crazy. They’re one of the only covers I have with single gussets that don’t leak. They’re also really good at reducing red marks.

Rockin' his Argyle GEN-Y Minkee cover

Pros: Single layer of PUL you can wipe down, adorable prints, very gentle binding leaves virtually no red marks, couple of different snap settings help with fit. Also available in a soft Minkee cover that needs to be washed each time.
Cons: run a little bit more expensive than other PUL covers (but worth it!), you can’t delay in buying one if you find one you love–each cover is made with small batches of various fabrics, so fabrics come in and out and you have to grab them while they’re in stock.

Overall, my favorite covers are GEN-Y. The snaps are fabulous because Mouse can’t get them off, and the prints are so much fun. I need to stop checking their site because I’m always tempted to buy more!

I love my Stacinator So Simple at night. It’s hideously ugly (sorry guys), but talk about a workhorse–I know I can totally rely on it and it looks absolutely comfortable on Mouse’s Jumbo Thighs. Train Guy really likes the Thirsties because the velcro is very straightforward and they’re essentially bulletproof.

So that’s my big fat opinion on diaper covers!

Please also see our Conveniently Green–A Word About Energy and Water Consumption post.

Happy cloth diapering!

The Scrivener

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2 Responses

  1. […] Conveniently Green Presents…Cloth Diapers: A Beginning Guide for Beginning Beginners Part 2 &laquo… […]

  2. […] Don’t worry, I’m not going to get on your case about disposable diapers. We use them too sometimes. But if you want to make the switch to cloth part-time or even full-time, start here and here. […]

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