I titled this post with the my because I am posting what our experiences have been with cloth. Others may not have the same experience. You find what works for you and run with it!
When I first decided I wanted to use cloth for Cal I hadn't done much research. I am an impulsive person so without much thought, I purchased two diapers. One was a Flip system and the other was a Thirsties cover. Honestly, I wish I had thought out what I was going to buy because a little research would have steered me in the right direction.
After the research process I decided I wanted to go with one size diapers that could be used from the time the baby is a newborn (approximately 8 pounds) up to toddlerhood. That way I wouldn't be stuck buying new diapers as Cal grew. Many diaper companies offer one size diapers but I decided to buy some diapers from the following companies/brands: Flip (I had already purchased the one but I wanted more), Charlie Banana, and Sunbaby (for the price and the variety of patterns). I also purchased some pre-fold diapers so I could either use the inserts that came with those diapers or the pre-folds.
Here is a run-down of the diapers and what I like/don't like about them.
I originally bought these off of a recommendation from Erin. She liked them and I found a bundle package on Amazon that was affordable. I had heard that most one size diapers won't fit a newborn baby until they are towards the 12 pound range. I found that not to be true for Cal. He was able to wear the Charlie's right away. He is a pretty chunky guy so that could be part of why he was able to fit into them. I love these diapers. They are incredibly soft and the inserts are very absorbent. The inside of the diaper is micro-fleece and absorbs very well. These are probably the trimmest diapers that we have and that is due to the fact that they have an adjustable leg band on the inside of the diaper. It ranges from extra small up to a large. The bundle I purchased came with 6 diapers and 12 inserts (6 size small and 6 medium/large). The colors are very bright and fun. The only thing I don't care for on these diapers is the amount of snaps. However, that is part of buying a one size diaper. The snaps make it so you can adjust to the cows come home. I am just lazy and don't like fastening a ton of snaps especially in the middle of the night during a diaper change.
Here is Cal wearing one of his Charlie's. Don't let him fool you. He really likes them. And ignore my husband's lazy snap job on the diaper. He is still a newb at this. I guess this would be an example of what NOT to do.
I ordered these diapers mostly for the patterns because let's face it, solid diapers are cute, but patterns are MUCH more fun. The company is based out of China but don't let that scare you. The quality is decent although not stellar. I say that because some of the snaps on my diapers come undone easily. You have the option of buying no inserts with your diaper or with inserts. I chose 6 diapers with 6 inserts. The inserts are okay. Over time I have a feeling they will fray but for now, they are holding up well. We have had no issues with leaks and overall I am happy. The inside of the diaper has micro-fleece and absorbs well. The price is very affordable: $6 for a diaper and insert! The patterns are super duper cute too. When I ordered, the company offered a one size but they have recently switched to Size 1 and Size 2. I don't believe they offer a one size any longer. Cal was able to wear these diapers immediately also. He didn't have to wait until the 12 pound average that most people swear by.
Here is Cal wearing a Sunbaby. I wish this picture was a little better quality so you could see the whole diaper.
I ordered a Flip before doing any research on cloth but I am glad I did! They are a very good quality diaper although not the most trim against his body. I like the fact that the closure is snap but not a million snaps like some other diapers. It's easy for middle of the night diaper changes to fasten four snaps instead of six. The Flip system is neat because it's a cover with an insert so you don't have to stuff the insert inside the diaper. You can use your own pre-folds or the insert that comes with. The insert is sized so it's adjustable for a small baby up to a big baby. I like the system because if the cover doesn't get wet, you can just slap another insert in without having to wash the cover. Easy peasy! My only complaint is the lack of patterns, but seriously, that is a very petty complaint, I know. Cal was able to wear these diapers immediately. After my original purchase of one cover with one insert, I ordered a bundle package. Two additional covers with six inserts.
Here is Cal wearing a Flip. This color is called Ribbit.
These are by far my most favorite diaper. Although not the most trim, I just like the way they fit Cal and the bonus is the velcro/hook and loop closure on some of them. These diapers weren't purchased with my original stash. I bought them after the fact when I realized I needed more diapers otherwise I would be washing every day. This might not be an issue for some people but now that I am back at work and have a husband that stays at home, I wanted to alleviate our load a little. Doing laundry less often is definitely a plus.
I bought 6 KaWaii diapers because not only were they economical (about $7 for a diaper with 2 inserts) but the colors and patterns are darling! I opted for four diapers that have a velcro closure. When they came, I realized just how much we were going to love these. My husband still has a hard time with the snap diapers but when I showed him the velcro, he was all over these. Every day, these diapers are the first to go. Jason has no issue with tightening the diapers to fit Cal since it's super easy to tighten velcro.
You can buy either a micro-fleece or micro-suede lined diaper. I got two micro-suede and four micro-fleece. Some babies have an issue with rash using the suede, but Cal hasn't had any problems yet. The liners are absorbent and you have the option of doubling them up since the company sends two liners per diaper that you order.
If I need to order more diapers in the future, I will definitely be buying more KaWaii.
Here is Cal wearing a KaWaii Baby diaper. The diaper is actually red. Not sure why it looks orange in this picture.
Finally, we have one Thirsties cover. I ordered this before I knew a lot about cloth. I didn't know when I was ordering that you need to provide your own insert or pre-fold to stick in it. I also didn't know that it wasn't a one-size diaper. This cover only fits babies from 6 to 18 pounds. Considering Cal is close to 13 pounds right now, this diaper only will have a short lifespan.
Overall, I like this cover. I have stuck a Flip insert in there so it gets some use. I don't have much else to say other than it's a good cover. But again, we are an AIO one-size family so it doesn't really fit our needs.
Here is Cal wearing the one Thirsties that we have:
On a side note, I love the funny facial expressions that Cal has in these pictures. They were all taken at different times.
Here are some other fun pictures. This is our entire cloth diaper stash (with the exception of the extra inserts, pre-folds, a pink diaper that Jason hates and the yellow diaper that Cal was wearing at the time):
And some of my favorite diapers because the patterns are so stinking cute! The first is a KaWaii Baby and it's a Snazzy Minky in camo. The material is almost like a velour. The second is also a KaWaii and although the material isn't denim, it looks like denim. The third is a Sunbaby and what baby doesn't need argyle?
I prepped our diapers before use by washing them twice with Tide Ultra powder. This was a detergent that was recommended by the Cloth Diapering board on The Bump. I set our washing machine to heavy soil and did both a prewash and an extra rinse. I did this routine twice and wash all our diapers with the heavy soil/prewash/extra rinse and they come out nice and clean.
I do not clean or rinse the diapers before throwing them in the washer. Babies that are breastfed before they start solids have water soluble poo. You can throw the dipes directly in the washer, poo and all. I do this and it works great! When Cal starts solids, this will change. To ready myself for cleaning poo, I have a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet as well as a Spray Pal.
As for storing the dirty diapers before washing, I use a regular trash can with a wet bag liner. So far, there have been no issues with stink. On wash day, I can just dump the entire wet bag into the washer and that's it!
Unrelated to washing but we have a tube of California Baby diaper cream for Cal if he starts to get a diaper rash. This is a CD safe cream as others can cause issues with stink or repelling. For a barrier cream, we use virgin coconut oil on his heiney. It is safe on cloth and it smells pretty good.
I will try and include every item that we have purchased for our cloth diapering adventure. These costs include shipping if applicable.
Spray Pal - $30
Two large diaper pail wetbags - $31.45
Diaper sprayer - $39.95
Four small wetbags - $21.06
California Baby diaper cream - $11.99
Diaper pail (trashcan) - approximately $12 at TargetCoconut oil - $6.99 at Trader Joes
Tide Ultra powder - approximately $10 at Target
6 Sunbaby diapers with inserts - $36
6 Charlie Banana diapers with 12 inserts - $109.99
2 Flip diapers with 6 inserts - $49.95
1 Flip cover - $16.95
Thirsties cover - $13.75
6 KaWaii Baby diapers and 12 inserts - $53.91
24 pre-folds - $23.98
Grand total $467.97
If you do a cost breakdown of what it costs to diaper a child in disposables, that is quite the savings! Even with all the "extras" like extra wetbags and a diaper sprayer which most people would say are luxuries and not necessities.
Here is a rough calculation. I buy disposables at Costco so these will be Costco prices. 8 diapers a day (on average) for a child through potty training. A box contains approximately 195 diapers (Size 1 has 216 in a box whereas Size 5 has 168 in a box). Each box would last approximately 24 days. That would mean 15 boxes of diapers a year. Each box of diapers is $39 (or less with a coupon).
$39 per box of diapers x 15 boxes a year = $585 per year
And that is just one year! My 2 year old is still in diapers.
I hope this post has been informative. Even if it's not, I wanted to put my own thoughts down in case I need to reference them later.