Side note: I do have to thank my family for dealing with my crazy. :) I know they aren't as in love with them as I am, but they don't complain about them while changing the girls and I appreciate that.
What we don't love
There are a few negatives that I can't forget to mention. The main one is that you aren't supposed to use diaper creams with them. It adds a layer to the surface of the insert (or liner for the pocket diaper) that deflects the liquid (hello, the whole point is to absorb liquid) and then makes it useless. You can sometimes get that layer off by stripping the diapers with bleach (not recommended by the BumGenius brand) or Dawn dish soap (I know, crazy, but it works). It isn't a guarantee, though, so it's better to just avoid diaper creams altogether. Even though some advertise that they work on cloth diapers, don't risk it! You'll ruin your nice, expensive diapers.
So what do you do when you need some kind of rash cream? That is a predicament I've found myself in. For both girls, around 10 months old, they got a terrible rash from acidic urine. It was horrible, and if they sat in it for even five minutes, it got much worse. The only thing that helped was rash cream, so I had to buy disposables for that particular week or two until the rash healed and the urine adjusted back to normal (not so acidic). I also stripped the diapers to make sure that the acid was completely gone. Only after all of that could we go back to cloth diapers. After two babies, I'm now more aware that this just happens and that it isn't a poor reflection on cloth diapers or a cause for a drastic change that will last forever. Instead, it is just a temporary thing that you need to get through, like all the other things that change with growing babies.
Leaking used to be a bigger problem for us than it is now. With Josie, it seemed like they leaked if they were wet almost every time. It drove me crazy, but not enough to give up on them. Then, we got the Flip diapers, and that problem practically solved itself. With Audrey, she very rarely leaks and I think this is because of three different things. One, the diapers fit her differently, so they seal to her better which holds the liquid in better. Two, we change her more often. Seems silly, but I do think we go through two more diapers a day with her than we did with Josie, just because I'm aware of this. It isn't much, but it makes a difference. And finally, she just doesn't drink as much liquid as Josie did, so there is less that can leak. The combo of these three things adds up to hardly any leaking.
(To be fair, though, leaking is annoying but blow outs are worse! We never have blow outs with the cloth diapers. We almost always do with disposables. Maybe it's just us, but it is frustrating when we do wear disposables to always worry about that.)
The other negative thing with cloth diapers is the bulk. Having to pack them in a diaper bag means you need a bigger diaper bag. It can be frustrating if you are used to packing disposables, but since we hardly do that it hasn't been that much of a bother to me. They also make their little bottoms bulkier, which means that some pants don't fit. I've found that we have to go up a size faster with bottoms than tops. Once you just realize that and adjust their wardrobes, it's no big deal. I personally love the look of a cloth diapered bottom. It's too cute.
|Josie, around six months|
|Audrey, about seven months|
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Here are the Flip diapers. I like that you can reuse the liner (less laundry) but have noticed that you can't reuse it too often because it gets stinky even if you wipe it down in between wears. I'd say 2-3 times at the most. It's actually less smelly and easier to reuse if it is a BM instead of urine as long as it is all contained on the insert. As the child starts eating real food, the urine smell is very acidic and hard on the child's bottom, so generally you wouldn't want to reuse anything that has that strong scent on it. It's just common sense (I hope). They hold up awesome compared to the pocket diapers, and they should because they cost a lot more. The one drawback is that you have to put them together while changing the diaper so as the child gets older and more squirmy, it gets harder to put the diaper on. Not a huge deal, as it is hard to put on anything when the child is squirmy, but something I noticed in particular with this kind of diaper.
Clean upWe use Planetwise wet bags for the dirty diaper storage. They work great, but the biggest thing I can say I've learned is don't dry them in the dryer. We have three medium size bags that we have always dried in the dryer and they are pretty spent. One has a dime sized hole in it while the others have tiny holes in random places. We also got a large bag when we were pregnant with Audrey and I have made sure not to dry that one. It is almost as good as new almost a year later, so it really does make a difference. We don't dry the liners for the Flip diapers either, and that has helped them stay almost as good as new as well. I wish I would have known not to dry the wet bags when we got them, so if you take anything away from this post, let that be it!
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As far as how we wash the diapers, I make our laundry detergent and have always used it on the diapers. It works great and there is no more build up on them than if we used a store bought diaper. In fact, I'd say it seems to be less. If for some reason the diapers have sat longer without being washed or still have that strong acidic smell, I just cycle them through the wash one more time and that takes care of it. We do two wash cycles (the first being cold water, no detergent and the second being hot water for sterilization with detergent) and then dry them in the dryer or hang them outside. Hanging them in the sun helps bleach them back to almost as good as new. I know it sounds crazy, but it works.
We usually do use cloth diapers when travelling. I either pack them in a separate bag, all clean and ready to go, or just stuff as many as I think we need in their suitcase. It's a little more to pack, but because we have a lot of them, we hardly ever have to wash them away from home. There are usually enough to make it through a long weekend.
Let me know if I forgot something or if you have any questions. I love to talk about what I've learned and my thoughts on them (of course I do, this post is long enough to prove it!) and don't mind if you disagree with me respectively.