Cloth Nappies

I’d always been interested in the idea of using cloth rather than disposable nappies.  To be honest, my biggest motivator wasn’t about the environment or health concerns – it was about cost.

There, I said it.  It may make me sound like a cold-blooded Scrooge, but if using cloth meant saving money, then I was all for it.  Being kind to the environment was just a bonus, and I’ve seen enough babies live through disposable diapers to realize that they won’t kill you {although I am a bit alarmed by the materials that they’ve found in disposables, but that’s a topic for another day…}.

But this isn’t a post that’s set out to convince you to either use or not use cloth nappies.  That’s your choice.  All I’m interested in doing is sharing my own experiences with you and letting you know what I’ve learned in the process.

First up, I decided that I wanted an easy, simple system.  I didn’t want to have to mess with folding stuff or dealing with pins or having to buy some special detergent.  I wanted something that could be used pretty much from birth through potty training.  That meant going with an OSFM {one-size-fits-most} option.  The two biggest ones on the market were BumGenius 4.0 and FuzziBunz.  Looking at these 2 brands, I was drawn more towards the BGs, mostly because they were so popular and had a lot more reviews.  I decided to buy some of each, making sure that they were snap closure rather than velcro {velcro wears out after multiple washes and may need to be replaced, whereas snaps are more durable}.  I purchased 30 of the BumGenius 4.0s and 12 of the FuzziBunz {it’s recommended that you have a minimum of 3 dozen nappies – I decided to purchase a few more in order to do the laundry less often}.

All of my purchases were made on eBay.  The sellers I went through had “or best offer” options and were offering free shipping.  I looked at Google Product Search, found merchants who had better prices than those on eBay, then contacted the eBay sellers with links to the nappies I’d found on Google Product Search, asking them to meet or beat those prices.  As a result, I can say that I feel very happy with what I spent.

First up, the BumGenius 4.0 Brand…

Likes

  1. Look and Feel – I may be superficial, but I just like the way that these look on Joe.  They’re soft, have a smooth outer lining, and I’m happy about that.
  2. Ease of Use – The BGs only have 2 snaps on each tab and 3 snaps for the sized waistband.  You don’t have to worry about adjusting the elastics in the waist or leg openings.  Just snap-snap, snap-snap, and you’re done.
  3. Pockets – I wanted to have nappies with pockets because of the extra absorbency that comes from inserting a liner in the cover’s pocket.  The BG pockets have a fold-over flap that keeps the liners in place, and it was very easy for me to put the liners in and take them back out once Joe had done his business.

Dislikes

  1. Sizing – As much as I like how easy they are to use, I don’t like the way that they fit really small babies.  Joe was just over 9lbs at birth, and the BGs were a bit too big on him around the legs and waist.  They’re fine during the day when he has more frequent changes, but for overnights, I prefer the FuzziBunz because of the option to adjust the leg openings and waistband elastics.

Here are some photos of the BumGenius 4.0 brand…

Folded and set to smallest size

BumGenius Nappy with waistband set to smallest size

Laid flat and set to smallest size – you can see the fold-over flap for the pocket

Next up, we have the FuzziBunz OSFM…

Likes

  1. Sizing – I love that you’re able to adjust the waistband and leg openings on these.  It makes for a nice, trim-fitting nappy that keeps things well-contained and does a better job at fitting newborns.
  2. Look – Again, I really like the way that these look.  They’re not quite as big and bulky as the BGs, so they fit under Joe’s clothing just a bit better, too.
  3. Feel – These truly are fuzzy!  The outer cover is similar to the BGs, though not quite as smooth, but the inside?  So soft!  The inner lining reminds me of a soft, stuffed animal – so nice against baby’s skin 🙂

Dislikes

  1. As much as I like the sizing, I don’t quite care for the way in which you adjust the waistband and leg openings.  Each leg opening and the waistband has an elastic that needs to be unbuttoned, pulled to the correct size, re-buttoned, and then threaded back into the lining.  The leg openings & waistband are adjustable at both ends, so that makes for a total of 6 adjustments per nappy.  If you’ve ever had the string come out of your adjustable hood, or the elastic waistband come out of your pants, and you’ve had to re-thread it with a safety pin, then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s time consuming and I didn’t particularly care for having to sit and adjust them one by one.  I also know that once he’s older, I’ll have to go through and adjust them all over again.  Blech.  That being said, I don’t know how else you would go about making adjustments and getting such a good fit, which is something that I really like about the FB nappies.  All in all, having to adjust the elastics is something that I’m happy to do if it means that we don’t have major leakage.
  2. Pockets – I like that they have pockets.  I don’t like that they don’t have a fold-over flap at the end of the pockets.  It makes it look unfinished and if you’re in a rush, the liner might edge out of the pocket and hang over the waistband.  Just imagine what happens then, when the nappy gets wet.  The moisture wicks its way up the liner and if it’s not tucked in, it can get on baby’s clothes.  That’s happened to me once, and I learned my lesson.  Also, the pockets are just a bit narrower than the BGs, and therefore a bit more difficult for putting in the liners.

Here are some photos of the FuzziBunz

FuzziBunz {in green} next to BumGenius 4.0 {in blue} – you can see that the FBs are a more trim fit when compared to the BGs.  The FBs in this photo were set to one of the smaller size settings, whereas the BGs were set to their smallest size settings.

View of FuzziBunz from the back

FuzziBunz laid flat, set to one of the smaller size settings

One of the numbered size settings in the elastics

BumGenius 4.0 vs FuzziBunz

So, what’s my final verdict?  Which one do I like better?  The answer is…

Both.

I love the FuzziBunz and I’m really glad that I bought them.  I wasn’t sure about them, but I can now say that I’m glad that I gave them a shot.  They make for such a great fit and I wish that I had more evenly divided my purchases, getting half FBs and half BGs.

I love the BumGenius brand, too.  I think that they’ll be a great nappy once Joe is a bit bigger, and I’m guessing that they might last a bit longer because they have more room.  They’re easy to use, and I don’t have to adjust any elastics.  I like that both of the brands come with 2 liners per nappy – small ones for newborns and larger ones for when they’re older.  You can also use both a small and a large for overnights once your baby is a bit older and needs the extra absorbency.

That brings me to another comparison – the liners.  The BG liners are a bit bigger overall, but the FB liners are much fluffier…

BGs in the foreground, FBs in the background.  The FB liners are noticeably fluffier.

I use a disposable liner in each nappy.  These are the ones that I’ve been using lately…

Using a disposable, flushable liner makes changing time much easier.  I don’t have to worry about scraping or rinsing out soiled nappies.  I just open the nappy, clean off Joe, put the soiled {flushable} wipes on top of the open nappy with the disposable liner, then turn the whole thing over the toilet and “flush”.  I take out the inner cloth liner {very easy to do} and put that and the cover in a nappy pail with lid.

That brings me to another item – the nappy pail.  Some people use a “wet bag” that you can just turn upside down and inside out over the washer, then throw in with the rest of the nappies.  Other people advocate using a pail, which can either be a “wet pail” {nappies are kept in a pail with a few inches of water + cleaning solution of some sort} or a dry pail {only the nappies and nothing else}.  I decided to go with a dry pail.  I didn’t want to have to deal with a bag hanging around somewhere in the nursery, and I absolutely did not want to put a pail on the floor that had water in it.  Can anyone say drowning risk for babies?  Even with a tightly-fitting lid, you’d still have to be incredibly careful.  So, we use a dry pail and I add a few drops of essential oil in the bottom to help with the smell.  If you have a pail with a tight-fitting lid {like ours}, then you shouldn’t notice any odor at all except for when you open it up.  Still, I like for things to smell fresh, which is why I put 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil in the bottom of the pail whenever I do a load of laundry.

So, there you have it.  I’ve been really happy with our decision to use cloth.  I think that it’s a personal decision, and you shouldn’t feel bad for not agreeing with me.  We’re very flexible about it.  I used disposables for the first 2 weeks postpartum because I figured we had enough adjustments to deal with at that time.  I’ll also use disposables whenever we go on extended trips in order to avoid having to cart around soiled nappies in a suitcase.  I think that, overall, using cloth has been really, really easy.  I’ve had to do at most 2 extra loads of washing per week and using the flushable liners has really helped.  I’d say that if you’re interested in using cloth but not 100% sure, buy 3 or 4 cloth nappies, give it a try, and see what you think!

Last but not least, I’d like to say that if I were still living in the States, I would try out another brand: Charlie Banana.  I’ve heard that they’re very similar to FuzziBunz, plus they have the option of using a disposable insert {similar to a disposable nappy} that attaches to the inside of the cover for when you’re out and about and don’t feel like carting around soiled nappies in your bag.  I found a great deal for them on Amazon.com that I’m highly tempted to take advantage of, though Chris would probably have a conniption if I did!  They look really cute, and if any of you feel like buying one and sending it to me to try out, then feel free!  Perhaps I should contact the manufacturers about introducing them to the New Zealand market… 😉

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7 comments

  1. Jenny @ Practically Perfect... says:

    Hey Sara,

    I bought disposable liners from a baby supply store online. I’m not sure what stores are around you, but maybe try looking at them. I just put the flushable liner on top (between baby’s bum and the cloth) and then when I change them, I just flip the flushable liner into the toilet. Completely removes the need for a sprayer and definitely less mess to deal with 🙂

  2. Sara says:

    I have a question about the disposable liners as well. I have a stash of the BG AIOs and while I like them, the poo clean up is tricky. The sprayer is nice, but it’s hard to get it all off without spraying the walls. Also, I think daycare would like me more if I had a liner in there for her…

    Did you just put a sheet over the cotton? And, then kind of fold it to catch everything? Thanks!

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Jenny- I just started following your blog a few weeks ago and really enjoy it. I am an American living in the Bay of Islands, and we’re expecting our first baby this March. I had a couple of questions about your cloth diapers, which we are also considering – did the sellers you used on ebay ship to NZ for free, or did you have them shipped to friends/family in the US, who then shipped them to you? And where do you purchase the flushable liners? Thanks! Sarah

  4. d.a.r. says:

    Okay, baby shopping has begun. BG had a great sale on dipes last week so we started our little stash. I also grabbed some Flip one-size dipes as well. I am just waiting to hunt down a better price on the FB!

    Questions for you:

    1. what do you do when you are out and about? do you have a wet bag that you throw in your diaper bag?
    2. how many of these suckers do I really need?
    3. did you guys go straight to cloth with your little man or did you wait and use disposables until his umbilical cord fell off/he got a wee bit bigger?
    4. for the disposable liners, do you just lay them on top of the diaper to “catch” everything after you have stuffed the liner into the pocket?

    Ahh thank you 🙂

  5. varunner7 says:

    We love our fuzzibunz – we’ve been using them on the twins for almost a year now, and they’ve held up perfectly! I actually use the long liner with the short liner on top inside them – it really doesn’t seem that bulky and my twins never seem to leak with both in there. When I do laundry I just go ahead and stuff all the liners in so that they’re ready to go each time we need a diaper. I’ve used the flushables on top when they had diaper rash so I could use desitin but then I found a rash cream that’s safe for cloth diapers so I don’t use them unless the boys are having stomach issues. The other thing we love is the sprayer that attaches to the toilet and let’s us spray the diapers off right into the toilet – I waited to get one but once I had it I wished I’d bought that first, lol! Congrats on going cloth – they’re wonderful 🙂

  6. d.a.r. says:

    Yup, you have confirmed my choice of FB and BG. Thanks so much for this post!! Now I just need to get shopping/bargain hunting!

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