A friend of mine will be having her first child in a couple of months and she's interested in cloth diapers. She wants hassle-free cloth diapers. Well, it's not that cloth diapers are a hassle, they're not. However some types of cloth diapers would definitely be a hassle for some types of people. My husband, for instance, is not amused with my love of prefolds and flats with pins or snappis. If he can't put it on in one step, he's not using it. He needs pocket diapers for cloth diapers to work for him. If prefolds and flats were all we had, I don't think he'd be with me on this cloth diapering journey. This is why it's really important that you choose a type of cloth diaper that will suit your family's needs.
So what are my friend's requirements? She doesn't want any extra steps and she doesn't want to deal with poop. She's pretty sure that if there's too much extra folding or if she has to touch poop at all, she'll just give up. Of course, she also wants an economical diapering option. So, what do I think will fit the bill for her? Well, I had a couple of ideas.
Prefold and flat diapers are definitely the most economical cloth diapering choice, but they often require extra steps. My friend doesn't want a diaper with extra steps so those are out.
Pocket diapers can be bought for as low as $10.00 a diaper here in the States and can be as pricey as over $24 a diaper, but stuffing and unstuffing a pocket diaper may or may not be something she's willing to do. Granted, at the changing table a pocket diaper is a one-step diaper, but they do need to be stuffed first when they come out of the wash. Also, the diaper shell needs to be line or air dried while the insert can go into the dryer. I'd probably suggest she get one or two pocket diapers so she can try them out for herself.
All-In-One diapers would definitely be the best choice, in my opinion, but they're harder to find in the one-size-fits-most variety and they're usually a bit more pricey. All-In-Two diapers are also a great option because they're easy with lay-in or snap-in absorbency, and they're also cheaper because one cover can be used for up to six diaper changes. In addition, many All-In-Two systems come with a hybrid optionyou can either stuff them with a cloth insert or a disposable one.
Fitted diapers can be great, but I'm not sure that they're what she's looking for. Again, she wants a one-and-done system and fitteds basically require putting two diapers on since you have to fasten both the diaper and the cover. I like fitteds because you can let your baby run around coverless which is not only breatheable but allows a parent to understand their peeing schedule when it comes time to potty train, but she's not really looking for that information at this point in time.
So, what did I recommend for her? I recommended she start with the Flip system. It's inexpensive and super easy to use. Baby pees, slide out insert, slide in new one, close the diaper and you're done. Baby poops and you start with a whole new cover and insert. It's economical because it's a one-size-fits-most system and you use one cover for up to six diaper changes. However, I don't feel that anyone should just go with one diapering system, and she may find that she doesn't really like having to slip in her inserts so I actually recommended she get some of a couple systems to see what works for her. A couple of Grovia One Size AIO diapers would be great. They are on the more pricey end of the diapering system but they last a long time and they are so easy to use and the organic cotton is super gentle against your baby's skin. I think it's worth the investment to bulk your stash up with a couple them. I also think she should get some pocket diaperspreferably ones with all natural fibers for the inserts so she doesn't find herself having to strip microfiber a couple of months down the road. The Diaper Rite Bamboo pocket diaper seems to be a good option for an inexpensive pocket with natural fibers, though I never had the chance of trying it myself since my daughter was nearly potty trained when they came out. In general pocket diapers are more expensive than the Flip system, but require less steps during the actual diaper change. The stuffing is an extra step but it happens when you're folding and sorting your diapers, not when you're putting them on your baby.
But none of these diapering options deal with the no touching poop clause. She said that if she has to spray or dunk, she'll probably just give up the whole thing. First of all, since this is her first kid, she doesn't know yet that this baby's poop won't be nearly as disgusting to her as everybody else's kids poop. I used to gag when I had to change other babies' poopy diapers during nursery duty at church, but it was never a problem changing my daughter. However, in case her child's poop is really as much of a hassle as she envisions, there are optionswell, one in particular: disposable liners. Pee seeps right through these thick, rectangles of biodegradable paper right into the absorbent layers of your diaper while the solid stuff stays on top making it easy to simply shake it into the toilet. They aren't fool proofsometimes a wiggly toddler will get them scrunched up as they run around and play, but most of the time, they do a great job catching most or all of the poop and you can dump the offending stuff hands free.
So, that's the advice I gave hersome AI2s, AI1s and Pockets to start plus some biodegradable diaper liners. I hope it was helpful and that it doesn't end up turning her off completely to cloth diapers. Honestly, one can't really know what they're going to like until they start using some styles so I think my final tip to her and her husband would be just to get a couple of diapersone or two of each style she wants to tryand supplement them with disposables until they figure out which system works best for them. Then, once they've used them for themselves, they can make the financial investment.
So, do you agree or disagree with my diagnosis? What advice would you give instead, or what would you include that I might have left out?