Karis in her BumGenius!
Cloth diapers! There are so many cute diapers out there now and it’s so simple! No dunking necessary! Why in the world would I pursue this route? My main reason for cloth diapering was so I could spend more of our budget on good wholesome food (prioritizing my spending). But there are several other benefits…
Why Cloth Diaper?
Beth shares all about the benefits and reasons for cloth diapering. It is economical (far cheaper than disposables), you are not wasting anything (no adding to the landfills), nothing harmful for your babies bottom, and if you go my route you should be set for diapering a couple of kids on $300 (depending on how well you take care of your diapers)! They are a lot simpler than you may think.
Cloth Diapering Options
Prefolds & Covers – The most reasonable method is to go completely chinese/indian prefold and covers. This is cheap and they last a long time. The disadvantages: you have to have multiple sizes as your child grows, they tend to be very bulky, you have to wash the covers separately from the prefolds, and they tend to be more rash prone.
Pocket Diapers - A diaper cover that has an opening for a folded prefold or specially designed insert to be placed into the opening. This is a two part cloth diapering system (diaper & insert). Pros: they are very trim, dry quickly, diaper and insert can be washed together, and come in all sorts of cute colors and styles! Cons: you have to take out the insert after every use, wash, and re-stuff them. Middle of the road in the expense category.
All-In-Ones- have an inner absorbent layer attached to an outer waterproof layer with adjustable closures (either Velcro® or snaps). All-in-one diapers are just like disposable diapers except you wash them! Pros: most convenient, easiest to use, most like disposable diapers. Cons: one of the most expensive options, and take the longest to dry.
I personally use BumGenius one-size pocket diapers and love them! I originally started with prefolds and covers, but was constantly plagued with rashes on my babies bottom (now I know this is not the case with every baby). I also had to buy different sizes of covers as she grew, which I lacked the storage space for. I choose to invest in the BumGenius diapers because they have great reviews, are so easy to use, dry quickly and come in cute different colors. They also solved the majority of my rash problems. I use disposable diapers at night for best results in keeping rashes away. They are a one-size diaper and a snap adjustment system can be changed as she grows…and I can use the same diapers for more than one child, without having to think about different sizes (especially if I had two in diapers at a time! Ahh!).I would just change the snap setting and be set to go!
I spend just over $300 for 20 diapers which lasts me about 3 days. To keep my diapers in the best condition possible, I hang them to dry (to keep the velcro in good condition). The one disadvantage is that the insert is very thick, so I can normally only dry it half way before putting it in the dryer, because I am usually not quite on top of it for letting it hang dry for the length that it needs. I have had very few leaks (far less than disposables!), and they are comfortable for her bottom! They wisp away the moisture from her bottom, so I have gone up to four hours before changing without a problem (that is, unless she went a dupey).
One last note…you cannot use regular diaper rash creme on these diapers or else you will stain them (and it does not wash out)! I use Northern Essence diaper salve and it works great and has solved any minimal rash problem I have had with these diapers (I have only had a rash from leaving her in a dupey diaper for too long)!
For diaper detergent recommendations, visit here. I have used All Free & Clear with great success.
The only extra effort that cloth diapering takes for me is pulling out the inserts, placing both diaper and insert in a diaper pail, washing and hanging them every three days! In my book, the savings makes the tiny bit of extra effort worth it! And they are oh so cute, gender neutral colors!
Hang them to dry and always wash on a gentle cycle!
The manufacturer sent me the following information:
Basic Washing Routine:
1. Wash the entire load on cold with ¼ to ½ (¼ for high efficiency machines, ½ in regular machines) of the detergent manufacturer’s recommended amount. Washing (a full wash, not a pre-wash) once on cold water is important to remove leftover BM (even if it is not solid yet) from your diapers. This step also goes a long way to preventing stains.
2. Wash the entire load again on hot (up to 120 degrees) – also with the above-mentioned detergent amount.
3. Do a second (any temperature you prefer) rinse.
4. You can dry everything in a warm/medium dryer.
5. You may use ¼ of a cup of bleach in your hot wash routine once a month, without fear of harm to your diapers. Although some people consider chlorine bleach a harsh ingredient to use on baby’s clothing, tests show that babies are much more sensitive to unresolved bacteria in diapers than to the ingredients used in laundry products.
If you should have problems with diapers that leak or stink after wearing or washing, your problems are fixable!
1. Wash once in hot water with Dawn liquid dish detergent in the original blue formula (yes, it must be Dawn). Use one teaspoon for high efficiency machines or one tablespoon with a regular machine, including ½ cup of bleach in the wash cycle.
2. Do two additional hot water washes with no detergent, just clear water.
As for rash creams, you may use the type of cream that you feel is necessary, or one that your doctor recommends. You will need to use a bumGenius Stay-Dry liner or a piece of fleece between your baby’s bottom and the diaper to prevent the cream from transferring onto the diapers. After use, wash the liners separately to avoid the oils in the creams or lotions from transferring to the diapers through the wash cycle. The ImseVemse disposable liners are not a good option as a cream barrier. They are so thin that the cream can seep through. We have found that the bumGenius Bottom Cleaner works well for bottom cleaning during a diaper change and does not leave a residue in the diaper that will block absorbency. We do not recommend cornstarch or baby powder.
Diaper Swappers – for all your cloth diaper questions, to buy used, and resale – a great forum!
Diaper Pin – a great resource with tons of reviews for all cloth diapering products. This site has been a lifesaver! They also have a lot of articles to answer questions.
NOVEMBER 2008 UPDATE
I have enjoyed my experience with my BumGenius for the year I have been using them (purchased originally in Sept 2007). Unfortunately, they are starting to fall apart now, even after taking the best possible care of them. The diapers look great overall, but the elastic around the legs is pretty well shot on most of my diapers now. Cotton Babies (the manufactorer) does offer a year warranty, and I was able to get several of my diapers replaced before the warranty expired, which was a blessing and will help extend their use longer, but I have come to the realization that they will only last through one in diapers. They informed me that a larger supply is best and will endure longer as each diaper isn’t getting so much wear. I was using around 22 diapers, and they recommended 24-36 diapers. Overall, this is still a significant savings versus disposables, but I am still doing further research as to if I will restock to use them with our second child.
MARCH 2009 UPDATE: My Bum Genius diapers have been redeemed! Read more about it here. They once again receive my vote!
For an excellent selection of diapering supplies, including the recommended items above, I highly recommend Kelly’s Closet. Excellent customer service and they reward you with points from each purchase you make towards future gift cards!
I initially started with prefolds but my son got wicked rashes with them. I eventually gave up on them and sold them on Craigs List and tried Bum Genius. This was a huge step in the right direction. The only frustration I had was that my already thick son was even thicker and couldn’t fit into any of his clothes. We eventually gave up on this as well and went to the G Diaper. This was yet another great idea, but having to purchase a variety of different size diapers and inserts was expensive, not to mention the cloths would shift and my son would have leaks. After that failed attempt we landed on the Grovia diapers and we will never turn back. The covers are absolutely darling, you can remove the inserts and snap in a new one, you can use disposable inserts on them and the are easy to clean. The only draw back is the cotton inserts take a little longer to dry, just like the Bum Genius diapers. However, I have found that adding 6 felted wool dryer balls to the drying load cuts my drying time in half and I get the added bonus of removing static cling.
As for detergents we use Country Save for our clothing and Tiny Bubbles for our diapers. We started off using the Country Save on our son’s diaper’s but it still had a strong ammonia smell to them even after a few washes. The Tiny Bubbles detergent leaves the diapers smelling fresh and gets them nice and clean.
I have been using Flip and Econobum covers with prefolds. These are one size and are made by CottonBabies who make bumGenius, but they are more economical for us (I got 3 dozen Econobum inserts as seconds for around $25). However, my sixteen lb, 10 mos. son (I know he is small) still wears the smallest setting. We originally used gDiapers which were terrible, and he started wearing these less than 2 lbs ago. I am really concerned that they will not fit my newborn, due in October, but no one else seems to have a problem with one-sizes fitting an 8 lb. baby. Am I crazy to think that one setting on a diaper will not fit both a 16 lb and an 8 lb baby without leaks?
It has been found that there are many natural remedies to help calm the symptoms of eczema. One of the most popular ones is Aloe Vera. Aloe is awesome for the skin and will help you to feel much better.
I just started using Country Save detergent for cloth diapers, it is free of enzymes, dyes, perfumes, brighteners and softeners. I decided to go with this one after seeing it recommended on multiple cloth diapering websites and having great reviews. And to make it even better, from amazon.com it is cheaper per load than the All Free & Clear I was previously using (which does contain whiteners).
I also am using smartipants diapers, which are a one-size cloth pocket diaper that don’t require removing the insert prior to washing…they come out on their own! They were the cheapest yet easy style of cloth diapers I could find when researching which ones to invest in.
I love Fuzzi Bunz perfect fit! Easy to use, easy to clean, quick to dry. I love the snaps instead of velcro. No leaks either! Besides loving Fuzzi Bunz, I love infant potty training even more! Get those little ones started early so you won’t even have to use diapers very much, if at all!
You noted that you had had problems with the premature failure of the elastic on your BG’s. You say you had used All – Free and Clear. The website you reference states that only the All – Free and Clear (Military Version) is free of optical whiteners. The comercial variety does contain optical whiteners.
From BG website:
What detergent can I use?
You should only use detergents that are free of dyes, enzymes, perfumes, whiteners and brighteners. Using detergents containing these ingredients will cause damage to your diaper including elastic failure and leaking.
What should I avoid?
Do not use extra additives in your wash (like baking soda or vinegar). These ingredients are unnecessary and will cause problems in your diapers. Do not use fabric softeners.
So unless you have access to the Military version available at military commisaries then you are getting optical whiteners. These whiteners are left on the diapers and may impede absorption. Can they also damage elastic? I don’t know.
BTW: On the recommendation of a very good local cloth diapering shop I use Allen’s (also on the list of approved detergents on the above site). …but it’s very expensive.
Oh, and one more thing in regards to the post I just left above, do you always use liners or is this only at night? Are they like pads that just lay in the diaper. When my son was little, we used diaper cream ALL the time with him. Is this not necessary with cloth diapers?
I will be cloth diapering for the first time when my little one arrives in June and I am VERY excited about it! For those of you who are experts, please tell me what fold you prefer when it comes to the pre-folds. I have read about the angel fold, bikini twist fold, lay in method and I am thoroughly confused! It seems that the lay in method is the easiest, but it would seem that poo would get on the cover. How does the snappi work? I really don’t want to use pins. It seems more reasonable to get the pre-folds because they are so much cheaper than the fitted cloth diapers. Any advice would be great!!!
Interesting to hear that Bumgenius didn’t hold up for you, even when you were careful to line dry. I also used Bumgenius, and really liked the fit, but they fell apart after using them for not quite two years. I just posted about the cloth diapers we use at my site, so this is on my mind these days.
My favorite newborn diapers are Kissaluvs! They are a very soft, thick terry cloth feel. The fitted legs have great holding power for that soft breastmilk poop! They are a fitted diaper that require a cover. Chinese prefolds were also a staple for us in our diapering. My favorite covers are Bummis Super Whisper Wraps and Thirsties. My first baby had skinnier legs than most babies and the extra gussets on Thirsties worked great for us. My favorite pocket diaper is FuzziBunz, hands down! Elise is now 2 (and still using size medium) and potty training and she can take them down to use the potty all by herself. I found the BumGenius to wear out over time, which made me sad, cuz I expected the life of the diaper to be for more than one child, let alone to get me through one child. I did not always hang mine up to dry, which would have helped.
I’d like to share about a cloth diaper friendly diaper salve I have enjoyed. It is composed of natural ingredients, and is made right in my backyard, in Woodward, Iowa. It is called Herbal Healing Salve by http://www.prairielandherbs.com. Check them out! Donna and Maggie grow all their own herbs and make all their natural body care products right there on their farm! They have great customer service and will ship anywhere in the world. I love that the salve does not stain the diapers and that I can be sure that no questionable ingredients are going onto my daughter’s skin (or mine!).
I primarily use prefolds and Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers and love them. I have 4 of the BumGenius and like to use them for going out because they’re easier to change and not as bulky under clothes. I too have had problems with the velcro, but plan to replace that sometime soon. Other than that, the BGs are holding up well. As for detergent, I use Charlie’s Soap (charliesoap.com) which uses only a Tbsp per load and is all natural coconut oil based detergent. I use it on my clothes too!
I use flats and covers. With Triplets this was the cheapest (and easiest) way to go. Flats run about $13 per dozen (Little Lion brand new, but I got all mine used). I use about 1-2 covers per baby and I wash once a day. The flats dry so fast hanging up! There are so many different ways to fold them, which means they are one-size. I know these diapers will get me through the next baby (or babies)!
I also use the bumGenius diapers and absolutely love them. My little guy is 3 months old, so in a few weeks, we will be starting him on some rice cereal. Up to now he has been solely breast-fed, and the diapers have washed up beautifully, without any pre-rinsing or anything. I was wondering, as you have gone through different “poo stages” with Karis, have you had to adapt your routine with these diapers, i.e. have you had to start rinsing and ringing out the diapers prior to a wash cycle, or do you still just throw the diaper as-is in your diaper pail and then wash? Just curious what we may be facing in the future! Thank you for your input, and for a wonderful blog!
Hi Stephanie! I am glad you are enjoying the BG diapers. Mainly I just dump solids into the toilet before throwing them into the pail. BG actually sells a special sprayer for this task, but I have not found it necessary. I will spray them with BioKleen Bac-out to help prevent stains and odors on the bad diapers. I have found the best solution for keeping them stain free is the sun! Even if the sun is not out, they lighten up nicely. After putting them in the pail I wash as instructed by BG. One cold wash, followed by a hot wash and an extra rinse. I use a small amount of detergent both times.
On another note, you may consider reading more about introducing solids here: http://westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/nourish-baby.html. It is actually best to not start with rice cereal due to the difficulty of digesting.
Hope that helps!
I am a little late switching to cloth but since we may still be having more kiddos and I am amazed at the waste as look at a pile of used disposables we decided to make the switch.
I ordered a bumgenius and a swaddlebees one size bamboo diaper. I decided that although you technically need a cover I like the bamboo the best. You may want to look into that diaper as an alternative. I got them at nickisdiapers.com for 19.95 each, so they are just a bit more than bumgenius but my three year old had no problem staying dry through the night with a PUL diaper cover and just the two inserts they provide with the diaper. And she is a very heavy wetter! And with my son I have noticed I do not really even need a diaper cover although if we are out and about I will put one on to be safe
I have a question for you if you have a second. My little guy is known around here for having a stinky first thing in the morning but doesn’t always cry right away. The result of not having it changed immediately is enough to melt fabric! Well, not really, but you get the idea. I washed the Bumgenius three times to get them smelling fresh and realized from doing research that everyone washes differently.
What is your wash routine? How much ecos do you use? Do you prerinse in cold? Do a hot wash? Then rinse again in cold?
Never thought I would spend so much time contemplating washing cycles!
Thanks so much!
Hi Willow, I use Bum Genius, and I follow the directions that came with them to a T and they it works beautifully. One wash on cold (with detergent) and one wash on hot (with detergent) and I usually hang dry the covers and tumble low the inserts. I also live in the city, and we have hard water which tends to build up and get a little stinky. So, I use about a half a capful of Calgon water softener also with each load, and that seems to work well.
Good luck! HOpe you like them as much as we do.
Willow, I follow the updated washing instructions for BumGenius, which is 1 cold wash with 1/4 cup detergent, and then 1 hot wash with an extra rinse with 1/4 cup detergent. Once a month, I throw in a 1/4 cup oxygen bleach as they also instruct. Currently, I am using my homemade detergent, but may be switching back to Ecos or Country Save soon, as they clean better I believe. If you are having odor issues, try spraying them with Bac-Out. A great odor eliminator!
I have been using polar fleece to line my son’s prefold diapers when he needs to use diaper rash cream. Not only will the diaper rash cream stain prefolds, but it decreases their absorbancy. Polar fleece is cheap enough that if the liners get badly stained, they can be thrown out and you can cut new ones. I bought my first few microfleece liners from http://www.little-lions.com.
I also make my own wipes using paper towels (2 half rolls at a time) using about 1-1/2 tbsp of Dr Bronners with 2 cups of water (per half roll) and about 3 drops of tea tree oil (to prevent mold). This has been really great for my son’s skin – I couldn’t ever figure out until recently that it was the cheap baby wash I used to make the wipes that was irritating my son’s skin.
Thanks for the article on diapering! Do you have any advice on nursing pads for the bra, to avoid milk leakage? I have heard that the disposables can cause nipple irritation? Any advice anyone?
Samara, I personally prefer the washable nursing pads…they are more comfortable and avoids extra waste. I tried many varieties but my favorite were the simple ones that Motherhood Maternity sells. They only sell one variety so they should be easy enough to find.
My favorite reusable nursing pads are Knickernappies Stay Dry Nursing Pads, available from Nicki’s Diapers. They’re large, very absorbant, waterproof on the outside, and have a fleece lining that keeps the moisture away from you. They’re basically like an all-in-one cloth diaper.
I used some wool nursing pads from DanishWool.com and they were awesome!The absorb a ton, and I never had them leak through. I had some other breast issues, and wool has lots of healing benefits as well…they saved me! Very worth the money.
You can also find the Danish Wool nursing pads on http://www.babyworks.com. Last time I looked, the “Ekstra” on Babyworks was a better price then on DanishWool.com.
I wish more people would cloth diaper!!! It is really so much easier than one would expect. It only adds 2 loads extra a week (when you have a kid that really isn’t much). I find it SO much easier to just wash diapers than having to run to the store to buy more when I run out. That wastes my money, my time, the earth’s resources including gas to fuel my car to get them. That said I always have some disposables on hand…just in case I don’t get to the laundry or I want to put on an outfit that requires a really trim diaper. I really love the Nature Babycare diapers http://www.naty.com. They are sold at Target. They are great they are compostable and biodegradable.
Hi Lindsay. I was wondering if you have an update on BumGenius. I have used fuzzi bunz for a year now and have loved them. However, I have a similar sensitive hiney on my little man. I can’t use cream with them, so I ordered the Northern Essencse stuff you recommended. The lady there also said they should work with FuzziBunz, but they quickly stained them, so apparently i can’t use that either!
I have been considering selling my FB and swithcing to BG (we plan to have one more baby as well)I’ve been checking out reviews of BG on Diaper Pin and it seems like a lot of them love the dipes, but that they were showing wear on the stretchy sides and velcro. Just wondering what your thoughts are…
My BG diapers are standing up well. I hang them to dry, which helps preserve their life. The tabs are definitely showing wear after the last year, but it seems with the newest edition(3.0), they are solving this problem more. Mine are the 2.0 edition. They still work totally fine though, and the wear doesn’t prevent them from staying on tightly. I have read that the velcro is easy to replace if it gets really bad and unsticky.
With the new baby I will definitely be adding a few more BG to my collection.
The newest edition goes even smaller as well, which will be great for our newborn! It is just worth it for me to have one set of diapers that fit them both whatever their size!
I am sorry the NE cream stained your diapers. I have never had this problem with the BG.
I used pre-folds and covers with my first child for the first three months or so, then got mother-ease one size (8 1/2 to 35 lbs., I think) and covers that I used until she was potty-trained.
My second daughter had thirteen extra small sandies (size 6 to 12 lbs., maybe, from mother-ease) that I used with assorted covers and supplemented with pre-folds until she grew into the one size. She used them until she was potty trained. When we moved back to the US, we didn’t ship the diapers (except for the newborn sandies) because they were not as absorbent as they had been and shipping internationally is very expensive, and even more so with the tanking international value of the dollar. Besides, Mother-ease recommends that their diapers be used for two children (at least they did then). I didn’t know about stripping diapers then, though, so now I think they could have gone longer. (I did leave them with somewhere there, so they were used longer anyway.)
With my third I am now using infant pre-folds and covers handed down from a friend. (We’ve already outgrown the sandies.) I have just bought supplies to make flannel and bird’s eye fitted diapers and wool covers, that will work until about 20 lbs. Sometime before he outgrows those I plan to infant potty train.
My experience with ECOS detergent wasn’t too good. I’ll have to read your review of it to see if maybe it was user error… We use Kirkland Signature free and clear (got to love Costco…)
I use a combination of prefolds and pockets. I have to agree that the BumGenius are great for church nurseries and babysitters (and my husband…he will only use a pocket diaper or disposable on our daughter). I will confess that I didn’t like pockets until I tried the ones sold by Green Mountain Diapers (sized for a better fit for your baby). I hadn’t heard of ECOS laundry detergent before. I may have to check it out. I use Charlie’s Soap laundry detergent (also considered a “green” detergent without additives).
Sorry, I meant to say that I didn’t like prefold diapers until I tried the ones sold by Green Mountain Diapers.
What kind od detergent do you use with your diapers?
I use ECOS Laundry Detergent (Read my full review here). I use it for everything! Works great!
I actually learned how to sew my own pocket-style diapers and have had a blast using them and making them. Anyone who can sew a straight line can make them and they cost around $1-$2 a diaper and look exactly like the Bum Genius one your daughter is wearing. I buy my waterproof fabric online at http://www.greenacredesigns.com
There is info on my blog about how to make diapers posted under the sewing projects tag!
Lindsay~ I was wondering if you would also recommend using the bumgenious on a newborn? Just wondering if they would be too large. I’ve looked into using prefolds or fitted diapers in the very beginning and then switching over to pocket diapers. Just wondering what your thoughts were.
Thanks for all the great information. It has really been a blessing to me as I try to sort through the enormous amount of options out there.
Good question. It really depends on how large your baby will be at birth. They say these fit on 8 lb babies, but I have heard that they are a little large for small babies. I personally used infant prefolds and covers with my girl (she was 7 lbs 6 oz at birth), and they lasted her the first two months. The bumGenius might have worked earlier, but I didn’t have them until she was 5 months, so I wasn’t able to confirm that. I would recommend going with prefolds and newborn covers if you think you will have a smaller baby (I have three dozen prefolds and 6-7 covers, which was a good amount, as they go through a lot of diapers in those first few weeks!). They are a more reasonable route over fitted for such a short use, and then you have the prefolds to use as burp cloths afterwards! Hope that helps!
Yep you can use bum genius on newbies. just snap it all the way down. Like lindsay said it depends on your babe.
I am so happy to have found your site! I have been on the same road you are on… trying to raise my family as naturally and healthily as possible. I have BumGenius Diapers as well and love them. I wanted to say that you can buy flushable and fleece liners if you need to use diaper rash cream. My daughter has food allergies that seem to trigger eczema and diaper rash, so when she has one, I use a liner and cream.
I’m another prefolds and covers fan…I only have five covers in each size, and some of them fit for so long, it made it worth it at $5 a cover. I’ve used small, medium, and large. I had six infant prefolds but just creatively folded the regular sized prefolds that I am still using over two years later. Pockets seemed to run out the sides for me, but I know that some people swear by them! To conquer the diaper rash, I just change my kids often, do an extra rinse and make sure I don’t use wash products that build up in my diapers. At night I lay a piece of microfleece between the skin and the prefold to wick away the moisture.
Your daughter is adorable in this picture. )
I am another prefold fan, but would be interested in trying pockets should we blessed with another little one. A friend gave me several WAHM pockets, but my little girl is super skinny, and these never worked as the prefolds did. It was too bad as they were really cute!
We use these as well. I got them for a babyshower gift so we diaper for free! We use disposables at night because my son has ezcema but otherwise we don’t have a problem with diaper rash. I have used regular cream on it too. It stains a little bit but I’m not too worried about that since we recieved rash cream as a gift.
Thanks Linds, very helpful info for my new cloth quest! I am borrowing some diapers to try this out before I invest in a supply of the diapers. Thanks.
I personally am a prefold fan. That’s what we use at home. They are simple and easy to wash. When we go out, we use pocket diapers. We have several pocket diapers, but our favorite is the one size BumGenius, as well. Since pocket diapers are simply to change (they fasten like a disposable), they are great for the church nursery or babysiter!