Monday, February 22, 2010

Mama Bean loves owls on Bean's diapers

We have been planning to use cloth diapers since before we got pregnant. Papa Bean is cheap, and he knows cloth costs less than disposable. We care about the environment, too, but if you asked him the primary reason, it'd be saving money. I'm not as interested in being frugal or preserving landfill space, but only because I'm lazy. Disposables are so easy! Just throw the pee and poo away! Not so with cloth...

We used disposables when he was a newborn, until his umbilical scab fell off. Then Papa Bean found a local company that rents out a two week supply of a variety of cloth diapers - prefolds, all-in-ones, pocket style. More prefolds than we knew what to do with. I found the kit overwhelming. There were instructions for cleaning them properly, but nothing on what bits to put where to make them work. This was frustrating, but especially because it was still in the Delirious Early Days, and I couldn't handle simple tasks like brushing my hair, let alone assembling a lumpy, fuzzy rectangle into a pee-pouch for my child.

We looked up all kinds of cloth diapering info online, which was layered and complex and conflicting, like all baby-related things on the internet. You'd think we could use this info to make heads and (more importantly) tails of the kit's components, but to no avail. Wet diapers soaked through to clothing, despite seemingly waterproof liners. Poop fountains exploded around legs and above waistlines - oh, the power of the double-gusset! Never buy a diaper cover without them! (Except we did...) When we returned the kit, I was discouraged. Waiting until he was a little bigger might have made the whole experience better - along with some instructions.

It did give us a crash course in the realities of controlling baby ejections with cloth, for much less money than buying one of each style of diaper and being stuck with the ones we don't like. And there were some key things not to like. I'm all thumbs with prefolds, can't pin them properly to save my life. All-in-ones take forever to dry, and Papa Bean is obsessed with hang drying (because the dryer uses electricity that costs money, so even in choosing cloth diapers because they're cheaper, we have to do it the cheapest possible way.) Any multi-part system requires an outer shell of some sort, which either come sized (so you buy a set multiple times as baby grows) or covered in dozens of snaps and velcros equally confuddling as securing a prefold. And they cost $30 or more apiece! At the time, we were changing him upwards of 8 times a day. When you figure for a 2-3 day supply of diapers (lest we be buried in diaper laundry...) it was just too much initial investment, for a very distant cost-savings over the long run.

We found some great deals on size one disposables (They really snag you with those coupons, hey?) which, along with some lovely diaper gifts, took us through Christmas and into the New Year. In that time, Papa Bean found this two-part system called Boobles Bottoms fontour diapers. This system gets around many of our hang ups. They dry quickly, the outer shell grows with the child without mind-boggling snaps, and they weren't terribly expensive. However, some informal polling in various forums found some reports of chafing when the flannel inserts are wet.

Then we found Greenline Diapers. They are really similar to the fontour diapers, but the liner is actually a folded microfiber towel that fits into a special waterproof holder, that then sits inside the cover. The microfiber is super absorbent, but stays soft when wet, and unfolds for easier cleaning and super fast drying (overnight, on the rack.) The holders are meant to keep the covers from getting dirty, so they don't need washing as often, plus they all dry very quickly, also. Final selling feature: price.

We tried the trial pack, a one-day supply of diapers, for $100, and found it very do-able. The covers don't have double gusseting around the legs. They have drawstrings, instead, to make them resize-able as Bean grows. The holders and covers are more water-resistant than water-proof, so they do get damp, which can make Bean's clothes feel damp. And so far, most poop explosions have escaped the confines of the holder, but hopefully this will change when he's on solids and the stuff is more formed, less soup.

We ordered the remaining components for the full system, which is $400 total, plus $40 shipping. This includes enough liners, holders, and covers for 3 days, although for us, changing him about six times a day, it may be enough for 5+ days. Our little pail holds enough liners for three days, so that's how often we'll be laundering, and never in danger of running out of any pieces. It's been really elegant, and we really love it. Plus they sent bonus gifts!

There was some unfortunate confusion when we were shipped someone else's full order, and they received our abbreviated top-up order, but the Greenline folks sorted it out very quickly and professionally. It's a home-based business in Vancouver, so extra fist-bumps for staying Canadian. Plus, they've been keeping it up while caring for a newborn themselves! I highly recommend these diapers if you're considering cloth. Don't bother with the trial pack, just go for the full pack. At $400 you will not find another system for less with enough pieces to keep you out of laundry hell, and that will grow with your bean-let. Plus, you get better bonus gifts with the full pack! Yay Cloth!!

[Just for the record: Greenline didn't ask for or pay for or donate for this endorsement in any way. They're just the diapers we chose, and I wanted to tell the WHOLE WIDE WEB about it (!!!)]

(uh-oh, 6:08 pm...)

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