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I feel pretty confident on this topic, because I’ve been using pocket diapers for almost 2 years, and sewing them nearly as long. Well, I guess longer, technically, since I sewed all my own diapers. I’ve used many different designs and styles, including fitted pockets and covers, one-size pockets, sized-pockets, ones with back openings, sham openings….
So I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about these diapers so far!
Pocket diapers are the most popular type of diapers out there today. They are diapers which have an opening somewhere (either at one edge, two edges, or somewhere in the middle of the diaper) so you can stuff in an insert of some type. This allows the diaper to be fully customizable. You can add less stuffing for daytime use, and more stuffing for night or naptime use, or while traveling. You can also adjust it for different babies, different ages…and so on.
That is a picture of a Bum Genius one-size diaper, taken from their website. This diaper is currently the most popular one-size pocket diaper out there. Notice that the opening is towards the back of the diaper, but not at the edge. This is how my diapers are, too. I believe this makes the diapers a lot easier to stuff, they look nicer, and they fit baby better.
One thing many don’t like about the Bum Genius, however, is that it is a hook-and-loop closure. There are other brands that use snaps instead. Bum Genius’s organic diapers also use snaps. Other diapers that use snaps are Fuzzi Bunz, Tweedlebugs, Blueberry, SnapEZ, Swaddlebees EcoNappi, Mommy’s Touch, SmartiPants, and most companies have a version (usually organic) that is snaps. Most “standard” pocket diapers are hook-and-loop (like Velcro but better for diapers).
Personally, I prefer snaps. There are those who prefer hook-and-loop because there are more “fit options” — that is, you’re not locked down to whatever you can get with the snap settings, you can make them as tight or as loose as your baby needs. All babies fit differently, but mine have never had this problem. We have always been able to find a snap setting that fit. It also takes little fingers a lot longer to learn to undo snaps than to undo hook-and-loop! Bekah learned to undo hook-and-loop at 5 months old…but didn’t get the snaps until close to age 2.
Pocket diapers are an average of $18 each, although they range from $13 to $30 for individual diapers (typically cheaper if you buy in packages of 3, 6, 12, etc.).
There are reviews of the various options on DiaperPin, but be aware that every diaper will fit babies differently (i.e. a long, skinny baby would do better in a different diaper than a short, chubbier baby). If you are not sure which brand to use, you can try them out through special programs so you see which your baby really does best in!
Most pocket diapers require you to pull the insert out before you wash, which is something to think about if you don’t want to touch dirty diapers. With other styles, there is no insert, so no need to handle the diaper much after you change it. However, other styles may not get as clean and will not dry as quickly for the same reason. Some brands have a wide enough opening that the insert will simply come out in the wash (I NEVER pull my inserts and 95% of the time they do come out in the wash. And if they don’t it’s a lot less gross to pull them out after washing but before drying!).
Most diapers need to be washed in a small amount of detergent. I recommend washing in soap nuts. I love my soap nuts and have been using them for almost two years! These are completely natural, so you don’t have to worry about any chemicals or residue in the diapers. I really recommend them! Diapers should be washed on HOT, and dried on HOT. Some will tell you not to put diapers in the dryer because the PUL will last longer (that is the stuff on the outside that makes them waterproof). However, I’ve washed and dried diapers every 2 – 3 days for over 15 months with no issues at all, so I don’t think the diapers would really last that much longer if you didn’t put them in the dryer.
In the warm months, it is good to hang the diapers out to dry sometimes, because the sun can kill any bacteria that might be left in the diapers, as well as getting rid of stains. I hang mine out whenever I can, because they require less washing and work.
Typically, if I’m drying in the dryer, I will do two washes, and use RLR laundry additive every 3rd or 4th wash. If I’m hanging outside, I only wash them once and then just hang them. Much easier, and they smell much cleaner. Be aware that they will be a bit “crunchy” after hanging out though!
If you are feeling adventurous, you could try sewing your own diapers. I have a good tutorial on making pocket diapers. I made all of mine (8 dozen or so) plus several for friends (I keep thinking about selling diapers, but that’s just ONE MORE PROJECT, you know…). I have taught a few classes on sewing diapers, we are planning to sell my patterns (once they’ve been tested more and professionally drafted) and we also plan to make a video tutorial on sewing diapers. Things for the future….
Now that you’ve heard my 8 dozen figure, how many do you REALLY need?
12 will just barely make it.
18 will “cover” you (I recommend no fewer than this).
24 will make things pretty good.
36 will mean you always have a diaper, even if you leave some at Grandma’s, in the car, etc.
I have 24 newborn, 36 small, and 36 medium, which is where my “8 dozen” comes from. Yes, they are all pocket diapers.
Newborn pocket diapers — should you buy them?
My babies are born weighing barely more than 7 lbs. I sew my own diapers. The cost to sew a pocket diaper is only about $2. The cost to buy is about $18. My babies wear newborn size for about 2 months before they can reliably fit into a small or one-size diaper (around 10 lbs.). So, for me, yes, it’s worth it to have newborn pocket diapers. If you have larger babies, or have to buy them all, it’s probably not worth it.
That is my haphazard, all-about-pocket-diapers post!
What style of diapers do you use? Why? What brand is your favorite?
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