After 17 months of diapering, I think I may finally have reached a personal diaper nirvana. Dissatisfied with the standard options, I began looking for an alternative. What I found was a sea of options, though many of my friends thought the only other alternative were difficult prefolds (prefolds, incidentally, aren’t that hard at all!). Parents look for alternative diapering options for many reasons including environmental concerns, fear of toxins, or a need to protect sensitive skin. Whatever the reason, looking for the right diaper can be very confusing, so I’ve attempted to consolidate the choices.
You don’t have to switch to cloth diapers to have good alternative options. Companies like Earth’s Best and Seventh Generation offer a nice chlorine-free alternative. Nature Babycare makes a chlorine free, biodegradable diaper. Tushies offer a gel-free paper alternative. These diapers, my personal paper-diapering choice, are eco-friendly, non-chlorine, TBT-free, and GMO-free. Other diapers that I haven’t tested include 365 (Whole Foods brand); Tendercare (owned by Earth’s Best, have not checked on availability); and Bamboo Nature (so far I’ve only seen these on Amazon).
If parents want to start moving toward cloth, but can’t quite stomach saving poop-smeared cloth in a laundry bag, an alternative like the flushable G-Diapers may be the answer. G-diapers consist of a diaper cover with a paper insert. They require a bit too much work for my own taste, requiring peeling apart layers and swooshing it around your toilet with a stir stick before flushing. Cloth inserts are available as well, and their helpline is very friendly and informative, should there be any problems with the diapers. Also, the makers of the popular Bum Genius cloth diapers recently developed the Flip System. These diapers come with a choice of disposable, organic cotton, and stay dry inserts.
Should parents wish to jump into cloth diapering, these diapers range from the incredibly cheap Gerber pre-folds (they can be found for less than $10) to the luxurious Bum Genius organic cotton one-size all-in-ones (around $25 each). Prefolds are, admittedly, a bit more work, requiring a brief origami lesson, a fastener, and a diaper cover. Also requiring a diaper cover are fitted diapers, like prefolds without the origami. More self-contained are pocket diapers (my preference), which have a cover with an opening into which one or more inserts may be stuffed. Finally, all-in-ones are just what they sound like, they work just like a disposable, no stuffing, folding or flushing required. Cloth diapers may come in several sizes, like disposables, or in one size, used from birth through potty training. Pocket diapers and all-in-ones are more expensive then prefolds and fitted diapers. One-size is more expensive than multiple sizes (though the payoff is, arguably cheaper).
Cloth diapers come with a caveat. One must use a proper detergent, with no additives, such as Allen’s Naturally or Charlie’s Soap. A diaper pail, washable diaper liner, and wet bags for on-the-go changes are necessary accessories. Additionally, one can buy a diaper sprayer (for a quick rinse on poopy diapers before they go into the diaper pail), cloth wipes, and wipe sprays (homemade spray recipes may be found online).
No matter why a parent wants an alternative, there are options for everyone. Each baby is different, so the best way to decide what you want is to experiment! You can buy different brands of paper diaper and hybrids until you find the perfect fit for you (and keep an open mind, that fit can change). If a parent wishes to experiment with cloth diapers, companies like Cute Caboose (link to http://www.cutecaboose.com/category_289/Cloth-Diaper-Trial-Package.htm) and Jillian’s Drawers (link to http://www.jilliansdrawers.com/products/clothdiapers/tryclothfor10/tryclothfor10) offer cloth diaper trial packages. Additionally, parents in the