I’ve been using cloth diapers now for only a couple of months with my 11mo son, so I’m certainly not an expert. I have, however, done a lot of internet research and I’ve bought and tried a lot of diapers so far. I, um, might have a diaper addiction. I thought I’d jot some notes down about the various cloth diapers I’ve bought.
Note: Since my daycare requires either pre-stuffed pockets or AIOs, that’s all I’m reviewing here. I know a lot of people have success with prefolds/covers, AI2s, or fitteds, but we don’t have a ton of experience with those. Also, keep in mind that every baby is different! Some have chubbier legs or waists, some are heavier wetters, some diapers might work better on a boy or a girl. You’ll have to try yourself and see what works. I recommend using a Buy/Sell/Trade group on Facebook for your local area for an economical way to experiment and find what works for you.
Another note, on stuffing: I pretty much stuff half of my diapers with a single charcoal bamboo (or 4 layer bamboo) insert, and the other half I’ll add a flour sack towel (FST) or extra insert. The double stuffed ones (or the ones with FST) I’ll use for outings and naps. The single stuffed ones are for lounging around the house when I know I’ll be changing every 90 minutes – 2 hours.
Final super note: Spoiler alert, I actually don’t dislike any of these diapers. I’ve never had a leak or a blowout with *any* of them. So you really can’t go wrong. I used to have blowouts and leaks all the time with disposables, so I’m still in this blissful state of disbelief that CDs are so great at doing their one job!
Pocket diapers are great. My favorite thing about them is how easy it is to customize them for the situation. If I’m just hanging out at home, I’ll use a single insert. If we’re going on a long outing, I’ll double stuff (like an Oreo, lol). I use these for 90% of my home diapering, because I have a ton of them. I basically bought like 75 inserts from Amazon of various types (charcoal bamboo, hemp, and 4 layer organic bamboo) and now I can obtain pockets on the cheap from various sources. And after they’re stuffed, they’re super easy for care providers/partners/babysitters because they go on basically like a normal disposable. Win!
Normally with reviews of just about anything, “you get what you pay for” is the standard mantra. I expected, despite positive reviews, that Alvababy diapers would be crappy because they’re cheap. You can buy them on Amazon in bulk orders of 6+, or you can buy them individually from Alvababy (or ecoclothdiapers) for like $4-5. You can also join co-op ordering Facebook groups to get Alva diapers even cheaper. These come standard with microfiber inserts, which are basically crap, so you’ll have to swap them out if you want any kind of real long absorbency.
Alvababy are kind of my daily workhorse pocket diaper. They make up the vast majority of my collection because they’re cheap, they have tons of cute prints, and they fit really well. They have hip snaps and adjustable rises and I’ve never gotten *any* sort of leak or blowout with these. They feel very sturdy, and the elastic feels tight as if it will last for a long time. I’m definitely a believer in Alvababy and though I think my collection of them is “complete”, I’ll probably pick up a couple of their holiday ones.
I bought these because they popped up in my search on Amazon. They’re a slightly lower quality diaper than Alvababy and do not have hip snaps. But otherwise they’re actually really similar. I like my Mama Koala diapers, and I’ll reach for them interchangeably with the Alvababys. I actually like the outside material slightly better too, because they’re softer. They don’t come in as many prints though.
AngelicWare diapers are also made in China and they’re ‘cheap’. I actually like these ones a lot. They have hip snaps and fit very similarly to an Alva with slightly more relaxed elastic. The outside material has almost a shiny quality to it that I like a lot. But my favorite thing is that the whole inside is made out of a very soft charcoal bamboo. I’m a fan of these and would pick up more if I needed more pockets (which I don’t. don’t let me do it. hold me baaaaack!).
I only have a couple of these, bought on a whim to try them out since I love my Blueberry Simplex AIOs so much. They seem great. They fit fine, they’re actually the softest of any pocket diapers that I own, and they’re trim. The place where you stuff the diapers is wide, so the inserts will probably agitate out in the wash, which is great. I question how long the elastics will hold up, but that’s something that only time will tell. Altogether, I’d buy more of these.
If I were a millionaire, I’d replace my entire stash with AIOs. Talk about EASY PEASY to manage. No need to stuff, no need to remove inserts to wash. Just throw the entire thing on in. They’re pretty much foolproof as far as caregivers go, and they’re just great. But, in most cases, they’re expensive. Most of the good ones are $30 each brand new, so buying used from a B/S/T group seems like a killer way to go. There are a few brands that are closer to $20, though I haven’t tried many of those.
Caveat here: I haven’t bought/tried many AIOs. I also have a Luludew AIO that I haven’t tried yet. I’m also not counting my GroVia O.N.E.S overnight diapers as an AIO for the sake of this post, even though they technically are.
You guys, I’m in love. If this was the Cloth Diaper Bachelorette, I’d just tell all the other contenders to go home because I’ve already found “the one”. These bad boys are basically $30 each, come in a bunch of ridiculously cute styles (especially if you’re willing to hunt for exclusives, which I am obvi), they’re trim, and they fit so great on my boy. The insert is a long cotton piece that’s attached on one end, can be folded or doubled up in any way you desire for the absorbency you need, and you can also stuff extra inserts into the pocket. They have newborn and one-size options. Let me just say that if I were expecting another babyboo, I’d load up on these suckers. They’re so well made. I’m going to stop gushing now.
I really wanted to love these because the prints are SO cute and the colors are vibrant. But, it isn’t really love. They come with a really long insert attached on one end like the Blueberry Simplex, except you don’t tuck them back into the pocket. So you end up with this somewhat bulky long skinny insert and you can’t really add additional doublers since there isn’t a pocket. Also, the “Smart Bottoms” tag on the back is so large that I feel like Bonkers is a walking advertisement for them (well, a crawling advertisement) and for some reason that rubs me the wrong way. But, they fit well. And again, the prints are ridiculously cute.
Not pictured, still left to review: Applecheeks. It’s not love with them, but I’ll update this post to include them ASAP. 🙂