Monday, October 11, 2010

CD 101 - New (to me) Diapers

I started cloth diapering in April 2009.  Okay, so we did sposies for the first 6 or 8 weeks, so it was more like end-of-May-2009.  So who's counting?

I had seriously researched cloth diapers while I was preggo.  I mean, there's nothing better when you're pregnant than sitting on the couch stuffing your face and surfing the internet reading about baby stuff.  And fun baby stuff, not stuff about how horrible labor and delivery are, and all the things that go wrong with a newborn, or how you'll never sleep again until she's 22, and all that holy hell.

Some time after I had settled on a cloth diapering system that worked for us, Cotton Babies, the makers of the BumGenius brand of cloth diapers, came out with two new diapering "systems".  I pretty much stayed away from the whole conversation, for a couple of reasons.  (1) I had tried the Gro Baby system because people were so excited about a new type of diaper coming out, and I hated it.  I didn't want to get caught up in the hype of a new diapering "system".  (2) I knew what I was doing was working, and I didn't want to be tempted to try something else that might not work as well.  (3) I had a whole lot of diapers already and didn't need to spend the money on more.

But when I started getting titles like "Queen of Cloth Diapering" and "Cloth Diaper Czar", and also had some paypal that I needed to spend, I thought of you, my dear readers.  How could I, in good conscience, have those titles if there were cloth diapers out there that I haven't tried? 

So I bought the Flip and the Econobum systems to try out.

The Econobum system is just a prefold and cover system.  I knew that going in.  I have enough prefolds to diaper a small army of differently-sized children (except I gave some as a baby shower gift this weekend, so if a small army of diaper-needing children show up at my house, I have to call someone for backup.)  But the cover closes with snaps, and I am in need of snapping covers, since I have a child that strips naked at any opportunity to take off a velcro cover.  So I bought a single cover/prefold package.

The prefold is a little different than standard prefolds.  It doesn't have the extra thickness in the middle.  And instead of being three long panels, the stitching divides the prefold into six sections.  The prefold is still a rectangle, longer in one direction.  The instructions say that you can tri fold one way for smaller babies/covers (with the shorter length as the long length of the diaper), and then use the longer length as your baby grows.  The prefold is unbleached cotton, which I prefer for prefolds anyway.
Econobum prefold on left, Flip organic insert on right

The system holds up to its name.  Prefolds and covers are the most economical approach to cloth diapering anyway, and this system packages differing numbers of prefolds with covers so you can buy exactly what you need.  At 9.99 for a prefold and cover, that's a good deal.  The site recently had seconds of a prefold and cover package for 5.99.  That's an amazing price for cloth diapers.

While the cover works fine, it is definitely a cheap cover, compared to others I am using.  There is only a single row of snaps, which sometimes makes the fit a little strange.  The PUL is very thin, and I'm really afraid of the snaps holding up well.  I would hate for the snaps to tear through the thin PUL.  But at this price, it will be affordable to replace the cover if anything happens.

Covers come only in white, which is a drawback to me personally, but it's not a reason to not use the system.   Especially as affordable as it is.

I had a hard time choosing a color for the Flip cover.  Again, I wanted to buy the minimum to try - I was just doing this as an experiment for you people anyway.  I bought the Bubble colored cover with the organic insert, then I bought a standard insert to see how it differed.  I adore the color of the cover, it's a light grayish-purple color.  It's basically my go-to cover now.

The Flip cover is a snap-closure PUL cover with flaps in the front and back, which I think are pretty freaking useless.  They're there to hold the inserts in place, which they don't really do a good job of doing, and you don't need to hold inserts in place in the first place if the cover fits properly.  I've been using it as a cover to prefolds for a couple of weeks now, and I never use the flaps.  But they're there, and others may have a different opinion about their usefulness.
Standard (stay-dry) insert on left, organic insert on right

The organic insert is basically an organic prefold diaper.  You fold it in thirds to put it in the cover.  So if you're using the organic "inserts", the Flip system is basically a cover and prefold system anyway.

The standard insert is too freaking long.  If I had a bigger, older, taller kid and was on the full rise setting, I might feel differently.  Come back and see me in two years and ... she'll be potty trained well before then.  The idea is that you're supposed to fold over the extra length, but it creates quite a bit of bulk that way. (Please remember that microfiber cannot go next to the skin, it is too irritating.)  I bought some bamboo/zorb inserts from a mama on Etsy that I absolutely adore - I'm doing a rave next on those, so come back to see photos of those inserts in the Flip cover.  If I was doing the Flip as our regular system, I would either do the organic inserts or homemade ones that aren't as long.

I love that the cover has two rows of snaps, that helps the closure feel secure and fit correctly.  And I adore the colors that it comes in, even the darker ones.

Here's my honest takeaway on both systems:  if you're really strapped for cash and need the absolute cheapest diapers available, and want brand new, never used diapers, the Econobum system will help meet your needs.

I still prefer Thirsties covers for the leg gussets, though.  You can get used covers for what you're paying for the Econobum covers, and the Thirsties are better quality. 

If you like the idea of the insert-and-cover system in the Flip, you can still do that by just laying your insert in the cover.  You don't need half-an-inch of fabric to NOT hold it in place.  So if you like the Flip inserts, buy a bunch, and use them in a regular cover.  If not, find a favorite homemade insert (see next post for some good ideas).

I'm glad I tried them.  I have two snap-closure covers now, and that has helped my stripping-naked toddler keep her diaper on under dresses.  I really like the two-row closure on the Flip, as well as the color, and I use that cover all the time now.  But neither system seemed that revolutionary to me, and neither are that different than a regular prefold-and-cover that we use on the weekends anyway. 
Yes, she is sitting on her potty chair in the middle of the living room with her diaper on.  I was doing something other than cleaning, obviously.

And there you are, dear readers, the next installment in the Cloth Diapering Queen/Czar/Master of the Universe's Cloth Diapering 101 series.  The things I do for you ladies!


Jellybean Mama said...

I was never tempted to cloth diaper, but I could look at pics of your kid's tush all day long. Did that come across as weird? SO CUTE though!

MommieV said...

No more wierd than me taking the pictures and posting them on the internet for complete strangers to see :)

Serifm said...

Really? She'll be potty trained in 2 years? You want to put that on the Internet for Lily to read?!?! (kidding)

I appreciate you taking one for the team and buying new diapers to review for us. I've got four Flip covers and lots of inserts/prefolds to use in them. Glad you like them!

Serifm said...

Wait. So if the Flip is now your go-to cover, does that mean you like it better than the Thirsties covers? And do you think it works best with its own inserts, the Etsy ones, or prefolds? Summarize, please...I am scoring low on reading comprehension today.

MommieV said...

I think there is nothing better in the world than Thirsties covers. Leg gussets and all. However, all the ones I have are hook-and-loop (velcro) closure. They do make snap ones. I have not bought these.

I was expecting more out of the Flip system - more than two flaps of fabric, I guess. But I like the color and I like the snaps, so I find myself using it all the time now.

If I had been planning to buy snap covers, rather than trying out a new diaper system, I probably would have gone with Thirsties Duo Wraps in Size 2. However, I like the Flip cover, so I use it alot. I might get the Sweet color. But then Thirsties is coming out with the Blackbird print.

And how many gosh darned covers does one person need, anyway?

Does that help?

MommieV said...

I didn't answer your other question. Actually, I think the Flip cover works best with prefolds or the Etsy mama's inserts. The stay-dry insert is too long, and you have to fold it, and it doesn't stay under the darn flaps. The organic insert is just like a trifolded prefold, so why not use a trifolded prefold? I just lay the prefold in there, I don't try to put it under the flaps or anything.

If you do want an insert that goes under the flaps, the Etsy ones would be the ones I'd recommend. She sells small ones and then M/L ones (that are really just M size). So that's the problem, you would need to buy more inserts as you size up - the Flip insert is designed to fold down so you don't need to buy another insert.

I hate bulk. I hate folding down. I would rather buy a whole 'nother set of inserts (besides, they do get stinky and less absorbent after a while) than to fold down excess and have a bulky diaper. But that's just me. Some mamas would rather "one size" everything and fold and snap rather than have to buy more.

I'm lucky with Ms. Petite over here. We may potty learn out of size Medium, so buying another set of inserts won't be an issue for us.