Cloth Diapering - downside

OK. I know I've been the crusader for cloth diapers, but they're not perfect... as I'm finding after months of use. And it's only fair if I share the bad as well as all that good I've mentioned.  For me, choosing a diaper that was a one-size-fits-all was a no brainer. About half of the cloth diapers available are this way, and it makes the most sense to me since you buy half of what you would if you were buying smalls, mediums, and large-fitting diapers. So that I'm sticking to... though with another baby on the way, it wouldn't have been the end of the world since Lily would be in size M or L diapers, while baby #2 would be in S.... but all in all I'm very happy with my decision to get a one-size-fits-all diaper.

What I'm NOT HAPPY with is the lifespan, just made known to me. I was heartbroken to find out this week that my Easy-Fits likely won't live as long as I'll need them to (for 4 kids, or maybe 3... we'll see!). Apparently, this is the all-in-one model's flaw which no Bummis personnel ever tells you. Don't confuse one-size-fits-all with all-in-one, now.  All-in-one diapers include everything in one shot - making them exactly like Pampers or Huggies in how you put them on. Nothin' fancy, no stuffing or folding or correct placing needed. Just put them on. That's what I LOVED about the Easy-fit. They were JUST LIKE PAMPERS (except they didn't destroy the environment or last for 12+ hours because they have no chemicals in them...). 2-Part cloth diapers usually consist of a leak-proof outer shell (that you can reuse a few times per day) and then the absorbent diaper inside. It's a bit more work. I've learned, though, that all-in-one diapers don't last as long and have slightly less absorbency than 2-part diapers.

2-Part diapers last longer (key if you are having more than 2 kids) and absorb more as per the absorbency rating on the Totsbots webpage.

I'm not happy because when I asked Bummis employees for a thorough comparison of the all-in-one and the 2-part diapers, the ONLY difference they stated was the simplicity of the all-in-one.  Though the 2-part is more work, I would have chosen it in the end, and now it's too late. Fortunately, as I did the math before, even using cloth diapers for one child is great for the environment and doesn't cost more money than Pampers. It actually saves about $500. When you introduce a second child, cloth diapers really start earning their keep, so even if my cloth diapers last for two babies well, then I'd have saved money and would be "happy". What I wasn't expecting, is that I'd need to buy more cloth diapers for my third or forth (and maybe even second!) child.

This is a good warning for you too, if you were considering buying your cloth diapers secondhand. If they're an all-in-one diaper, bought second hand, it may not last long at all, as they don't tend to last longer than a couple of kids (and after their use of 1+ kids, that's when they're being sold). I know my friend Loni bought Fuzzibunz secondhand and they mysteriously stopped absorbing after a few months. It could be because they are an all-in-one diaper with a shorter lifespan (Can you confirm that Lon?). The good news is, 2-part diapers last much longer, so buying them second hand (such as Apple Cheeks, AMP diapers, Bummis, Marvels - my new favourite, Bum Genius, etc)

My action plan is to keep my eyes peeled in Louisville this summer (there are just such greater deals in the USA than here in Canada, aren't there?) for a few one-size-fits-all, 2-part diapers to preemptively start my collection as I still don't technically have a full kit of diapers (20 is suggested, I have 17), and to look for 2-part secondhand diapers as well. If you haven't bought cloth yet and are thinking about switching or are pregnant, seriously consider this advice before you buy. I love love love my Easy-fit diapers, but I also love the idea of a big family and not buying diapers again and again and again :)


  1. We have Fuzzibunz(multi-sized, not the one size fits all) and several were bought second hand and we were able to use them with all 3 of our kiddos. There were a few times when they stopped absorbing for a while but that usually signals detergent build-up and a good "stripping" of the diaper generally takes care of it. I'm pretty sure Fuzzibunz are not considered and "all-in-one" but 2 part pocket diaper...but I could be wrong :)

    Sorry about the lesser life-span disappointment :( Though I generally liked my FB's, to do it again, I would probably try out some of the others you mentioned like Bum genius, apple cheeks, etc. I did have some issues with persistent diaper rashes with my FB's (despite trying to cleanse and disinfect them).

  2. Severine, many brands now have both, so maybe Loni bought the all-in-one type... or maybe hers just stopped absorbing for a different reason.

    I was so close to buying Apple Cheeks the first time around, but was really turned off by having to buy multiple sizes. I'll definitely be looking out for a one-size but 2-part one, like you said, maybe Bumgenius. They have a sale right now that if you buy 5 you get 1 free (or maybe it's 5 for the price of 4...) so that's appealing...

  3. ps - stripping, as in washing with water but no detergent? I'll keep that in mind when/if mine stop.

  4. Yes, you're right..there are a lot of different types in each band. Things were different when I started using cloth 6 1/2 years ago!!! There were way less options!

    Keep an eye on Baby Half Off and Baby Steals for some great deals on cloth diaper including Apple Cheeks, etc! They're on fairly regularly!

    Here's a post on how to strip diapers: http://www.zany-zebra.com/stripping-cloth-diapers.shtml

    Hope that helps!

  5. "brand" is what I meant :)

  6. Hey Em,

    We're going to be using the applecheeks system and they only have 2 sizes and (not multiple).
    size 1 for 6-20 lbs
    size 2 for 20 lbs and over

    and yes stripping them (see applecheeks website for washing instructions) always helps with absorbency.

    You might want to try the "prefold" or the "fitted" systems like Motherease for longevity as the lady at my cloth diaper store in Hamilton says they last for multiple kids. Also, any cloth diaper with velcro doesn't last for too long because the velcro deteriorates.

    You can always email her with questions. She is not biased towards one system, but will tell you the pros and cons of every system. She is very helpful!!

  7. Anonymous30.4.11

    Karen, yep I know all about Apple Cheeks - I seriously considered using them and even was given one as a gift. To me, buying any more than 1 size though is "multiple" and less simple, though I'm aware they only have 2 sizes. The pre-fold's you mentioned are what I mean by "2-piece" (the prefold, and then the outer shell.
    thanks for the links, I'm grateful to have them and will check them out!

  8. Severine, this summer since ill be in the US ill definitely look on those sites you posted (baby half off, etc). Ive seem them on them before, but the problem is when youc calculate shipping from the US the price is nearly the same s the savings are minimal. If im in ethe US though, it would TOTALLY be worth my while!

  9. I had "Blueberry" diapers.
    They died in the dryer after my mom bleached em. Double death. They were pocket diapers, may they rest in peace.
    DON'T BUY Motherease. They have never fit my babies even though they claim to be "one size" and the covers are so bulky looking and have always left red marks on their thighs.
    I've been meaning to check out Alvababy.com for CHEAP diapers. one size pockets, for 5 bucks each...crazy. The descriptions are not great on the site, but the reviews are not bad.
    But I agree, fitted it much nicer, but pricier!

  10. Loni, one-size, pocket (or as I've been calling them "2-part") diapers sounds LIKE A DREAM for $5! Must check out immediately! Oops, sorry for falsifying your experience, I thought they were Fuzzibunz! May they rest in peace :)