To cloth or not to cloth? From a dude's perspective...
It all started roughly 3 years ago when Shandy came home from work after a Pinterest and moms blog binge. It must have been a slow day. She looked at me late that night and asked my thoughts on cloth diapering our second (monster) child. Mind you she wanted to do cloth diapering for our first, but with diapers as gifts we did not pursue that route. All that crossed my mind (again) were the Rugrats and their close pin towel things. I immediately said a big "HELL no!". In my head I am thinking, "changing diapers is already one of the worst parts of parenthood and you want me to clean it with my hands?". I just could not grasp the concept. I am more of a practical guy, ya know if it's not broke why fix it? Nonetheless, I knew her mind was made up...
Shandy being the different thinker she is, made me look at it from a different perspective. It consisted of research regarding the environmental benefits, as well as the possible financial savings. It is however an upfront investment. Shandy is really good at making a single family income work for us. Our total start up cost was around $400. With amazon being around, and buy buy baby being owned by bed bath and
beyond, we were able to stretch our dollar with coupons and points. We both naturally have a "think green" attitude and try to be as conscious as possible about where our waste goes. With all this in mind, I slowly began joining her on the research and began the hunt for the most reputable diapers. This was not an overnight task! Many nights after little man went down we cracked open the computer or a book on cloth diapering, and read, and read, and read. Some nights it felt as if I was reading the same reviews/articles over and over. There is so much info, and every story was different. For those who do not know my wife, she LOVES research. For those that do, you know how brutal this process was for me.
No surprise, after the countless hours of research, all of the information was coming from women. I figured for any male that is getting pinned in the same corner as I was, here is a good review for you. This is what we went with, in order of MY favorites. I will address the pros and cons of each diaper.
The Bum genius all in ones are by far the most convenient when it comes to grab and goes, you get to skip the tedious stuffing part. Ladies, if you're trying to sell your man on cloth diapering, start by showing him these and explain the ease. Really, the only downfall of the all in ones is the initial rinsing of the diapers (unless you hang them on a clothesline and spray). With there being two "flaps" connected to the diaper, one flap tends to fall in the toilet.
The next in line are the Alva baby pockets, not all pocket diapers are created equal. Quick tip with the pocket diapers is to double stuff the pockets to allow for more absorbency. I prefer these over the Bum genius pockets because the inserts feel more secure. The Alva baby pocket inserts stay where you put them, not much movement able to happen here, this helps prevent any leakage. With this being said the Bum genius pocket diaper come in at 2.5. As I mentioned above, I prefer the snug tight fit of the back elastic pocket. The Bum genius and the Alva baby both require the extra stuffing step.
The final diaper in the line up is the Best bottoms, all in two's. These are essentially as easy as the all in ones due to a quick snap and go. Great for short quick runs in and out of the house, but not good for longer wear. Cool thing about the Best bottom, it doubles up as an excellent swim diaper. Just take the insert out and splash away. These diaper's are perfect for traveling, as you can pull the insert out and just wipe down the shell and resnap a new insert in. Good as new. Speaking of traveling don't forget to purchase a couple small wet bags. They are basically smell and water proof bags, made for traveling and keeping any smelly diaper out of your diaper bag.
The "hardest part" of cloth diapering is really the wash. I wish I could say we were pros from day one, but we weren't. We had some set backs and it took us a bit to find the correct "wash routine". Fortunately there are TONS of others that experience the same problem. My wife found a really helpful website, which led her to join the Facebook group of other moms and "experts". Once we got dialed in, we were cruising. We went with hemp liners for overnight use, and we have biodegradable poop liners. Fun fact, even with disposables did you know you are still supposed to flush the poop down the toilet?
In summary, cloth diapering is not "hard" nor really a difficult task. It takes dedication, a good schedule, and in the end it is just extra laundry. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. We have enjoyed cloth diapering, and our little man is pretty cute in his big fluffy butt. So I say cloth!