Cloth diapers: reconsidering expensive pocket diapers

I’ve raved about inexpensive prefold diapers in the past, and I still think they’re a great entry into cloth diapering. They don’t require a huge financial investment, they’re easy to use, durable, and a snap to keep clean.

However. As many of you seasoned cloth diapering moms warned me, prefolds have become cumbersome as Judah is getting more mobile. I don’t think they’re interfering with his ability to move around (obviously), but I do wonder if they’re as comfortable for him now that he’s moving. And let’s be honest, wrestling a mobile baby into a prefold, Snappi, and cover while he twists and turns and moves is a lot harder than snapping him into a single diaper.

One other slightly TMI confession: I am not as wild about cloth diapers since we introduced solids. Prefolds were simple for an exclusively breastfed baby. Now not so much. I’ve tested some of the pockets I already have on hand, and I was amazed at how much easier it was to deal with solid waste with the fancy microfleece lining compared to the cotton prefolds that are folded to fit him. Let’s just say all those folds and creases make it a lot harder to dispose of the waste before washing. Moving on.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from prefold diapers. They have worked fabulously for me, and I will continue to keep them on hand and probably continue to use them under certain circumstances. I don’t regret buying them. I didn’t want to invest hundreds of dollars into a cloth diaper stash before I knew if it would work for us, and the initial investment to use pocket diapers full-time for a newborn who needs 10-12 diapers changes a day was just too much for me.

I’m just starting to wonder if I should add a few more pocket diapers to my stash to make things a little easier on all of us (and future babysitters). Now that we’re past the newborn phase of 12 diapers a day, I could probably make a dozen diapers last two days, especially if I had some prefolds on hand to fill in the gaps if he needs a few extra diaper changes on some days.

I have a BumGenius 4.0, a FuzziBunz Hemp Organic, a BumGenius all-in-one, and a SmartiPants pocket diaper. I like all of the pocket diapers a lot, but I haven’t used them enough to develop a preference.

I wanted to get opinions from my cloth diapering readers: do you have a preference for a certain pocket diaper? Which works best for toddlers? Judah is slim and small for his age (10th percentile for weight, 50th for height at his last appointment three months ago), so I suspect he will stay that way for the foreseeable future. He’s probably around 18 pounds now, so I don’t think fit will be a problem for a while. We hope to use cloth until he potty trains, so I want to make sure they diapers I buy now will fit a 3-year-old if necessary.

I like the idea of FuzziBunz hemp diapers, because they’re made from organic, natural materials. But they’re more expensive. I’ve also developed some brand loyalty toward Cotton Babies products. My favorite covers are Flips and Econobums, so I’m thinking I’ll be just as happy with the BumGenius. So I’m torn. Tell me what you think!

9 thoughts on “Cloth diapers: reconsidering expensive pocket diapers

  1. joanna

    I totally get where you’re coming from. We haven’t gone as far as considered pocket diapers, but I did order two new covers with snaps this week, after watching our baby picking at the velcro on the covers we currently have. I don’t want him to be tempted to take his diaper off! That would be a mess. I’m considering getting “insert socks” to making dealing with poo easier, but still being able to reuse covers. That might be a compromise between the two options.

    1. Karen

      We already have covers with snaps, so I think he’s a long way from taking them off, thankfully! I have some nice microfleece inserts, but the bulk they add contributes to the problems I’m having with prefolds. When I use the pocket diapers I have, I just prefer them so much more. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Just thinking on it for now. :)

  2. Nancy

    Are diaper pins a total thing of the past. I of course never had much of an option with my kids besides the regular cloth diaper, pins and vinyl rubberproof pants but hey, they worked, the kids grew well and had straight legs and grew to be successful adults :) Sometimes I think we overthink these rather basic things. Save some money, use what you already have and maybe just add some diaper pins if the velcro is becoming an issue. Just my two cents.

    1. Karen

      The Snappi is actually a great alternative to pins. It secures the diaper, can be fastened with one hand, and there’s no risk of pricking mom or baby. I’m not worried about him removing the diaper, but the new technology can certainly make diapering a lot easier. My current diapers have already paid for themselves and then some, and a set of 12 pocket diapers would pay for themselves in another 6 months of diapering. So it’s definitely something I’m considering.

  3. Kacie

    We’ve taken a break from cloth around here. I probably will start up soon after we move. I really haven’t missed cloth that much, except I don’t enjoy buying disposables.

    I have a BG 3.0 and some Smartipants and I think those are the only pockets I have left. I had a one-size Fuzzibunz that I thought I loved at first, but I just don’t like it as much and I sold it. It had a fleece liner instead of the microsuede.

    I have no idea what cloth diapering will look like for us now that Vivienne is at this stage. I’ll give my current stash a go and see what I think!

    OH and you could maybe try that newspaper-style fold I did with prefolds (on my YouTube video) and that could make it more of a one-diaper system. Now that he’s past the breastfed poo stage maybe it won’t be so bad. You could also put a liner in it that could help with the poop.

    Have you tried the Flip staydry inserts? They are very similar to the BG in feel on the top.

  4. Jennifer

    I was always partial to the prefolds and snappis, but also liked fuzzi bunz. amazon is running a promo right now, buy 6, get 2 free buy mail. Could help build your stash.

    1. Karen

      Jennifer – That promo sounds like a great deal! But I can’t find it on Amazon. Can you send me a link?

  5. Jill

    I’ve been very successful with prefolds. I’ve had two boys in them, one now trained and the other is 18mths. A few tips for you to motivate you to continue with prefolds. For covers I use Bummis Super Brite Wrap Cloth Diaper Cover. These have velcro and once the kiddos get older I make sure to keep them in shorts or pants so they are not tempted to take the diaper off. For these covers you do not need to use snappis, you can just fold the diaper over in the front (esp. good for boys) I agree, it is very difficult to get a busy little one to stay put while you change the diaper. When the solids appear you can start using Bio-Soft liners. They are relatively inexpensive and flushable. They make getting the solids off very simple. The set of diapers I am using have been through 4 kids and are still going strong! All the best to you!

  6. Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace

    Like you, we started with pre-folds. However, around 4-5 months, it was just too cumbersome for a squirmy baby. We switched to pockets, and have thoroughly enjoyed them!! I found mine on Craigslist and paid very, very little. If you’re not weirded out by used, I would check out your local Craigslist. If you are ;) then you should look into Kawaii brand. We love them! My stash has Kawaii, FuzziBunz, and BumGenius 3.0. I like them all equally as well. We do hook and loop and not snaps, but only because that’s what I was able to find pretty cheap. So far we haven’t had any trouble with them. My only random thought – Kawaii is easier to stuff in my opinion because of the inner lining. FuzziBunz is the hardest to stuff for me. Good luck! :)

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