By Maura Keating
My husband and I always planned on using cloth diapers when we had babies. We didn’t plan on colic, though, so all other plans were thwarted. My son outgrew his colic after three months and untold numbers of disposables clogging landfills, so we began to think about cloth diapers again.
Anyone who has looked into cloth diapers already knows how daunting the process can be. There are so many types of diapers–pocket, all in one, fitted, pre-folds, and more. Within each type, there are variations and different brands, and each brand has an adorable or witty name. My husband wasn’t up to the task of assessing the relative merits of each, and neither were my friends. I turned to websites and message boards like diaperpin.com and diaperswappers.com. Hours later, I was exhausted. I knew more about diapers than I ever hoped to know and was still no closer to a decision. Diapers, like so many things, are a personal choice. A system that works for one Mom and her Babe may be a disaster for another family.
In the end, I decided to try One Size Pocket Diapers. Pocket diapers have an ease of use that appeals to busy Moms and wary Dads and Babysitters. The pocket keeps the cost down and makes the diaper more versatile than an all-in-one style. But it was the one size that really sold me. My son never fits into clothes quite right, and he has crazy growth spurts followed by long periods of no growth at all. I didn’t want to invest hundreds of dollars in diapers that might not fit him a few months later. One size diapers are designed to fit babies from around 7 pounds to about 35 pounds, using an ingenious system of snaps, Velcro, clips, and magic. For this Kidoinfo review, we tested BumGenius One Size, Happy Heinys One Size, and Wahmies One Size cloth diapers.
I followed the same care procedure for each diaper–prewashing in cold water, washing in hot, and using only recommended detergents. I set the dryer to regular to dry the diapers (we don’t own enough diapers to line dry). Happily, we found that all of the diapers’ performance was comparable to our preferred brand of disposables. They rarely leaked (except in cases of user error) and did very well with most encounters with solid waste. Diarrhea did get through sometimes, but we had that problem with disposables as well.
The BumGenius One SizeÂ is a well-constructed, sleek diaper that resizes with three rows of three snaps. The details are what make this a nice looking diaper–from the trim fit to the plastic snaps that coordinate with the cloth color. The wide pocket on the BumGenius is located a little below the top in the back of the diaper and has a small fold that keeps the insert in place while protecting Baby from a wet insert. The pocket location became a problem whenever we had to remove the inserts of a poopy diaper. Extra hand washing required. The tab also makes it harder to stuff the BumGenius with more than two inserts. Because the BumGenius One Size is so sleek, it is also harder to stuff. My son can be a heavy wetter at night and occasionally during naps. During these times, I use two microfiber inserts and one Chinese pre-fold. The BumGenius does not fit well with this much stuffing. The BumGenius also has a gusseted elastic leg band that can leave red marks on pudgier legs.
I like the stretchy Velcro tabs of the BumGenius. They work well and they lie flat on the diaper. There is a space on the inside of the diaper to stick the Velcro during a wash and we have never had a problem with the Velcro sticking to anything other than its assigned area. The BumGenius has a soft interior that still looks and feels as soft now after daily washing as it did out of the package. The interior is smooth which makes it easier to clean if a mess is inside. The BumGenius includes two Cotton Babies microfiber inserts–a newborn size and a one size that is resizable with snaps. Since my son is a heavy wetter, we use both at all times.
The Happy Heinys One Size has four rows of three white snaps that
resize the diaper to an even greater range of sizes.Â The Velcro tabs are wide and can cross over one another–a great feature for leaner babies. The Velcro tabs can fold over onto themselves for laundering, but they never stayed fastened and always ended up stuck to other items in the wash. Since I never wash diapers with other clothes, this hasn’t been a big deal for us. The interior of the Happy Heinys is made from soft, custom-milled fleece. The fleece pills a bit over time, but still feels soft to me and to my son.
The fleece rolls out on these diaper (don’t try to tuck it back in)–that wicks the wetness away from baby while keeping messes in. It also means no elastic leg casings, eliminating the red marks that elastic can sometimes cause. The Happy Heinys waterproof outer layer comes in a rainbow of colors and a popular (and ridiculously cute) cow hide print. The Happy Heinys One Size includes a small and a large microfiber insert. I use both hourglass-shaped inserts for extra coverage, folding over the longer insert for even more coverage. The best feature of the Happy Heinys is the wide pocket located at the very top of the back of the diaper. The pocket location and width makes it easy to stuff the diaper easily and–even better–to unstuff easily. I add a Chinese pre-fold at night into the Happy Heinys with no problems, making Happy Heinys my preferred night time diapers. Sometimes, the inserts do stick out from the back of the pocket, a downside to the pocket location but not a deal breaker for me.
If Velcro isn’t your thing, then the Wahmies One Size diaper is the diaper for you. The Wahmies One Size uses a system of hooks and loops to resize and to fasten. Four rows of two white snaps adjust the rise of the diaper. The interior is constructed from soft velour that has remained soft without pilling. The waist includes a bit of elastic at the front to help with fit at the newborn stage. The pocket opening is wide like the Happy Heinys, but set back from the top like the BumGenius–making the Wahmies easy to stuff and unstuff, while keeping the inserts from sticking out the back of the diaper. The Wahmies One Size does not include inserts, so I appropriated the microfiber inserts from the other brands for testing. The hooks and loops of the Wahmies take some getting used to–we encountered several instances of user error that resulted in leaks and one instance when the diaper fell off at the playground! However, once you get the hang of the Wahmies, the adjustability of the hooks and loops system is quite impressive. While all of these diapers are designed to fit a range of sizes, the Wahmies fit well and look good on all sorts of sizes and shapes. My husband and babysitter aren’t as impressed with fit as they are with convenience, and they reach for Velcro every time. For a newborn or for any kid where fit is an issue, the Wahmies hooks and loops are worth getting to know.
The Real Diaper Association estimates that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are thrown away in the U.S. every year. The disposal diaper industry consumes vast amounts of petroleum, chlorine, wood pulp, and water every year to create diapers that won’t biodegrade once they end in a landfill. On the other side of the debate, critics contend that cloth diapers also require large amounts of energy and water to create and use the diapers. One fact is inarguable: While the cost of Pampers and Huggies are going up this year, an investment in cloth will do your cash strapped wallet some good, especially if you can reuse and pass it on.
BumGenius 3.0 One-Size Cloth Diaper, $17.95; check the “Retailers” link at the BumGenius website to find them at a store near you.
Kidoinfo Deal: Enter the coupon code BESTDEAL at checkout at www.cottonbabies.com for 5% discount
Happy Heinys One Size Pocket Diaper, $18.95; check the “Find a Retailer” link on the Happy Heinys’ website to find them at a store near you.
Kidoinfo Deal: Enter the coupon code THANKYOU at checkout at www.happyheinys.com for 10% discount
Wahmies One Size Diaper, $17.95; check the “Retailers” link at www.wahmies.com to find them at a store near you.
Is there something that you’ve been eyeing? Let us try before you buy! Send ideas, questions, and comments to me at maura (at) kidoinfo (dot) com.