Our Cloth Diaper Journey

Our cloth diaper journey began early in 2013 when we started looking into using cloth diapers for our first baby – and like all new parents, we were more than a little overwhelmed at the choices out there!! But, seeing as I was going to be staying at home with our new bundle of joy for at least 12 months, I was determined to give cloth a go.  We ended up finding a great second-hand deal through a friend for a lot of Grovia hybrids. I was so excited to try cloth when our little one arrived at the end of August, and I was sure that we were all set – but when our wee peanut arrived at just 6 pounds, 4 ounces, I quickly discovered that she was MUCH TOO SMALL for our stash of one-size diapers!

Now, as a brand-new, first-time mom, I was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t use cloth from the get-go, and that I had to go out and buy disposables – but, as we survived our first month and everyone began to adjust to our “new normal,” Lexi put on enough weight that we started to get a much better fit with cloth diapers – so, we are all set now, right? Wrong again!!! Even though the Grovia hybrids fit our skinny little one, she turned out to be a super pooper! The inserts would not contain her poops, so I was stuck having to use a fresh, clean cover with every diaper change. I felt that there had to be a better cloth diaper out there for our wee girlie, so I purchased a new lot of Kawaii Green Baby bamboo diapers (also in one-size). I know what you are thinking – are cheapy diapers from China really going to be that great?? Well, let me tell you: these diapers arrived, and they were sooooo incredibly soft!!! The outer layer is minky PUL, while the double inserts and inside are super-soft bamboo. I couldn’t wait to get these washed and try them on Lexi! Being made from bamboo, these diapers were really absorbent, and the generous cut across the bum meant that the Kawaii diapers contained her super poops – hurray!!!  You might be thinking that the double inserts were probably a little bulky on my petite girl – and you’d be absolutely right! However, I was too new to cloth to realize that I might have been able to use just a single insert in her diapers – and if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

I had tucked our Grovia diapers away for the time being, and as we started solids at six months and the numerous super poops began to slow down, I decided to try the Grovia system again. I loved how trim these diapers were on our little string bean, but I did find that I was still washing the covers a little too often for my liking.  Now, over the course of Lexi’s 2.5 years in diapers, we tried a couple different brands including Alva and Omaiki.  Here are my personal likes and dislikes:

  • The microsuede inner lining of the Alva pockets was not fast-absorbing enough for our super girl, so we always had leg leaks. To combat this, I ended up using the pocket covers as an AI2 system with the charcoal bamboo inserts laid on top.
  • I did prefer the Kawaii bamboo inserts over the charcoal bamboo, as I found the Kawaii to be softer and more absorbent.
  • The Omaiki AIO diapers were probably my least favorite for Lexi – the fit wasn’t the greatest for her, the AIO design takes way longer to dry, and the hook and loop was wearing (although I did purchase these second hand).

Now, enter our second child: a boy, born in July of 2015, when Lexi was 23 months old. At this point, I considered myself a veteran cloth diaper mom, and I was very enthusiastic about using cloth for the newborn stage too! I knew that my stubborn Lexi would still be using her one-size diaper stash for at least another few months. She just didn’t care about potty-training – and plus, the newborn diapers are just so darn cute!!! A wonderful friend had agreed to lend me her Little Joey newborn diapers to use, which I combined with a set of 10 Blueberry newborn diapers to start out with. Well, wouldn’t you know it, but our little Luke would out-pee the Little Joey diapers EVERY SINGLE TIME. He would end up with a soaked back and onesie, because he peed right out the top of the diaper! With extra laundry quickly piling up, it was a race against time to find different newborn diapers. I ended up tracking down a handful of Softbums and Sweet Pea diapers. The Blueberry and Softbums (adjustable leg elastics for a perfect fit at every stage) were definitely my favourites, as I found that the Sweet Pea diapers needed an additional booster in order to hold up for absorbency. I didn’t have long to celebrate this success, though, because by 8-10 weeks old, Luke was more than ready for a one-size diaper stash of his own –and what better excuse to try all the diapers?? I purchased some Greenline (Canadian WAHM brand!) covers to use with prefolds for Luke. I loved that these covers had a toggle string at the leg for another perfect fit, as well as a back blow-out blocker (which can be unfolded as the child grows) to prevent any messes from escaping! Additionally, with Lexi finally potty-trained, Luke was free to adopt her Kawaii diapers as well.

At about this point in time, we began to look for business opportunities that would allow us to move closer to both of our families. We were living 4-6 hours away, and those trips were becoming increasingly challenging with two little ones. When my husband Steve mentioned the idea of starting cloth diaper delivery service, my interest immediately was immediately piqued. What a fabulous fit for our family! Our journey as small business owners was set to begin in May of 2016, with Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery. As confident as I was that I now had tons of knowledge about cloth diapering to help families enjoy the journey as I had, I knew that there was still more that I needed (and wanted) to learn.

The first step was committing to using cloth overnight. I had briefly tried to make this happen with Lexi, but only by attempting to use her current pocket diapers with double inserts, and a wool cover on top of the whole getup. Needless to say, she still leaked – I just couldn’t get enough absorbency without building an absolutely ginormous diaper! We did some more research, and purchased some Bummis flannel fitted diapers to try with Luke. When we paired these with a wool cover, we were finally successful! The only downside was that I was slightly intimidated by the handwashing and lanolizing that wool required, so when I discovered that fleece covers can serve the same purpose as wool, but without the extra maintenance, I was sold!  At 2 years of age, our nighttime diaper for Luke is still a fitted flannel diaper, with fleece shorts overtop.

As part of the services that we offer at Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery, we provide a stripping service for those who own their own diapers, but need to have them stripped and bleached, for a variety of reasons. This has given me a chance to look at and feel ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIAPERS!!! So, as you can imagine, our own diaper stash has changed slightly over the last 12 months. I fell in love with the softness and stretch of Totsbots – and with the release of Applecheeks’ new one-size cover, I was finally a convert! Luke’s diaper stash now consists of Kawaii bamboo (still my husband’s preferred diaper choice), Totsbots AIO (fabulous for day home), Applecheeks and AMP one-size pockets, and a variety of fitted diapers and fleece shorts for nighttime.

My words of wisdom after all these years: try a few different types and brands of diapers at the start of your cloth diaper journey until you find the ones that you love!!! Yes, your preference can change as your baby grows, but this is the best way to experience one of the standout benefits of cloth diapering – all the variety and options that are out there to choose from!

My last learning curve has been with the very real struggle of washing diapers in hard water! Prior to our move, our home had relatively soft water, and aside from one stink issue very early on in our cloth diaper days that I was easily able to remedy, I thought I had an unbeatable wash routine. Well, I quickly learned after moving just how fast your diapers can develop ammonia when washed in hard water – yikes!! After making a quick detergent switch, and adding Borax to our diaper laundry (plus extensive research, and many conversations with our local diaper laundry guru!) I now know that I have the tools and experience to help others who may also be experiencing diaper issues at home. So, please don’t be shy about reaching out with any questions – I absolutely love to help keep all the babies in cloth!

Whew…what an experience these past few years have been! Thanks so much for reading our novel about our journey with cloth diapers! I feel that our experience has given us so many great tips and tricks to help our clients deal with their own struggles when it comes to cloth diapering, and has instilled in us a very real passion to see every family succeed in the world of cloth diapers!

Happy Cloth Diapering, from Our Family to Yours!!