I'm a planner by nature. I focus on goals and sometimes can't see past them. Once I found out I was pregnant, I started planning things we would need to buy, as well as parenting standards I wanted to implement. After finding out our daughter had Spina Bifida, the planning changed lanes into things we needed to learn, buy, or prepare ourselves for her condition. I didn't have a chance to consider if I wanted to use cloth diapers because I didn't know what factors were present for such a thought process. Then we learned that we had to start cathing her. Not to mention we were living in a townhouse that had public washers and dryers, not a conducive environment for washing diapers. Then we started looking for a house. Ah-Ha! We would have a washer and dryer ALL. OUR. OWN.
I started researching cloth diapers. Then I started using cloth diapers. Due to costs, I tried a few different kinds. Here is a run-down of what I like and don't like about the ones I've used.
The Bum Genius is what I chose after researching diapers. It was, in my opinion, the Cadillac of clothe diapering. I liked the idea that it fit a child from 5lbs to 35lbs. I liked that they had a dry-wick covered super soaker (a term I coined) which ensured that the hiny stays dry.
Bum Genius comes in two different models. An AIO (all in one) which means that there is no insert to wash seperately. Then there is the One Size. When I was buying them, it was version 3.0, something I giggled to myself saying since I felt like it was a computer or a car. Now they are onto 4.0, something I salivate thinking about, wishing I had bought them instead of 3.0. But such is the life you live when you invest a lot of money in something that evolves.
The 3.0 features two super soakers, a long one that has three snaps which helps it 'grow' with your child. It also has the extra shorter super soaker which helps for overnight, or with trifolds which I will go into later. It also has Velcro, something I was adamant about having when I researched diapers. I couldn't imagine wanting snaps since I pictured the ease of the plastic breaking, the problems with sizing, and possible discomfort for a child when laying on their belly. If I only knew then...
Another downfall to the BG is that it can leak. The wonderful dry-wick fabric works so well that it can actually prevent wetness from going in. Something that makes me grunt and roll my eyes in frustration. Supposedly you can strip the diapers and it will help, but I'm still having problems. Genny isn't such a big deal because I cath her every 3-4 hours, so there isn't much liquid trying to break through that dry-wick other than when I'm controlling it, not to mention I can stab the catheter into the fabric, forcing a way in for the urine.
The 4.0 has a version of something I wish mine had: SNAPS! As stated above, I had considered snaps when choosing my cloth diapers, and decided against them. Boy was I wrong! The Velcro gets old. Ever had something with old Velcro? Not good. I have to choose leggings or jeans for Genny most days just for the fact that she needs something to help her keep her diapers from coming undone. You can also get the 4.0 in velcro, but let me just steer you away from that. Don't do it!
There are several ways to do trifolds. You have to start with a trifold (Uh, hello Kari, we're not idiots!) but then you get to choose a diaper cover. I have chosen Bummis and have liked them. But to repeat my earlier rant, the Velcro is a terrible idea unless you plan on replacing it or switching it out for snaps (more on that later). Bummis have great choices of colors and they have sizes from newborn (with a cut out for the belly button!) to extra large. I will be investing in extra large diaper covers soon since Genny is growing out of the BG 3.0 and she'll still need diapers until she's about five or six depending on when she's able to learn to cath herself.
Thirsties are another option. I just bought an adorable diaper cover for Glenn that has snaps and is a one size, which means that it will grow with him as he grows, something that equals less money spent on diapers and diaper covers. If this is your first intrigue into cloth diapers, let me explain how it will grow with him. There are snaps vertically: two females and at the top, one male. You can snap the male snap into the bottom female snap for a smaller baby. Glenn has the male snap secured to the top female snap, and soon enough will not need them snapped at all. The waist synching snaps have two male snaps on the backside flaps, and a continuous row of female snaps across the front belly portion. This allows adequate fitting each time.
You will need to choose a size for your trifolds. Glenn is wearing smalls right now, and will need mediums soon. Genny has been wearing larges for over a year now. I also inherited over a dozen cloth diapers from my MIL. They are super soft, but a little thin. To make them work for me, I implement the extra super soaker from the BG 3.0. I lay the trifold flat, put the small super soaker on near the edge, and fold over.
There are other options out there, but these are the ones I've tried. If you are considering trying out cloth diapers (please do, disposable diapers don't break down for at least 250 years!) check your local baby boutique. I've mentioned before that mine, Babies in Bloom has a cloth diaper garage sale, a great way to try out different kinds of cloth diapers for a fraction of the cost. If you don't have a local baby boutique, you can check online for used cloth diapers. It may sound gross to someone who hasn't used them, but a double wash in hot water will kill anything you're worried about.
If you have any questions about cloth diapering, please feel free to comment, or if it's been a week or two, e-mail me. I enjoy giving advice and would hate for anything to be unclear.