Cloth diapering a skinny baby? Just starting out — The Bump
Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapering a skinny baby? Just starting out

I've been looking at starting cloth diapers and could use some tips, suggestions. Yes there's info out there but it's overwhelming and I could use tips coming from parents individual experience. We had to start using formula full time due to intolerance to breastmilk so hoping to cut some cost in the diaper department. Looking around there's a couple things I've picked up. I like the idea of apocket or hybrid diaper. I liked what I've seen on gDiapers but concerning cost I know something one size would be better.

Now to a more direct question. What diapers work best for skinny babies? LO is a twig generally but he has thick, muscular thighs and that's where he tends to outgrow the diapers. He's been wearing a size 2 huggies with tabs overlapped around his waist but already getting redmarks around his thighs from being tights and needing to go up a size. For this reason I've been looking at Charlie Banana with the adjustable leg but before investing in the cost I'd love to hear from someone that's tried them.

I'd also love to hear any cleaning tips and suggestions for accessories we may need. This is probably the part I have the most questions on. We already have a bunch of prefolds we'd gotten for burp cloths and wet bags. I've heard different ideas on soaking dirty diapers in bucket between washes or storing them in a lined pail. What detergents are best? Would the same mild detergent I use with baby's clothes work?

Re: Cloth diapering a skinny baby? Just starting out

  • You might look into a diaper trial to try different types/brands of diapers. There are trials that will give you a set list of things, while others let you customize.

    DS is skinny in the thighs and the waist, so it's hard to say that what works for us will also work on your baby.

    Prefolds/flats with covers will be your most budget-friendly option. Greenmountaindiapers.com is well-loved on this board.

    If you get into fitteds, pockets, AIOs and hybrids, you'll start to see the cost per diaper go up, especially if the brand is made in the USA or by a WAHM with a great reputation. There are also a few non-USA brands that are well-regarded. Or, you can go with China cheapies if you like. But the good news is that your diaper stash doesn't need to be built out of all one diaper. Most of us recommend having a diverse stash. Some options to try in these catergories: Oh Katy, Kawaii, Thirsties, Blueberry Simplex, Totsbots Easyfit v4, Best Bottoms. There are others but I limit my recommendations to diapers that I have personal experience with.


  • I would just echo what has already been said about being able to get the best customized fits with prefolds/flats and covers. I was very intimidated by prefolds at first, but they truly are a piece of cake. Plus, they're cheap. If you get some flats, you can fold them in different ways that they will fit your baby through potty training, and that's even cheaper!
    freezorburn
  • I didn't read the PPs, so please excuse me if I'm repeating anything.
    Bumgenius has great one-size diapers. Your baby won't outgrow them, because the same diapers can fit them all the way through PT.
    The prefolds you got for burp cloths might not be the best (most absorbent) prefolds for diapers.
    IE, Gerber makes two kinds of prefolds, and one kind is not suitable for CDing.

    We use BG 4.0s. In the beginning, we bought both BG Freetimes (AIOs) and 4.0s (pockets). I wasn't sure which one I liked better. Now that LO is 5 months old, I am able to see which style fits him better and works best for how much he pees. BG has great retention value, so it's easy to sell the type you don't like, and buy more of the kind you do.
    I like the pockets best because you can easily change the absorbency and buy some new inserts if they start to get dingy. But, they are totally a pain to stuff, and some people really hate doing that.

    BG Flips are also great, and you can use them as covers for your prefolds if you decide to go that route. You can also use the same flip over again throughout the day as long as there's no poop on it. Very cost effective.

    We use Tide. Most people here like it. It's relatively fool proof (although don't listen to the FLCDS group and use twenty pounds of detergent each time you wash... to the line 1 is a good place to start). Wash routines are different depending on the type of water, washer, and detergent you use. So you will probably need to do some experimenting before you figure out what works best for you.

    Good luck! And feel free to PM me if you have any questions :)

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  • I use gdiapers and I love them. They have worked great for us but our daughter is skinny everywhere, legs too, so I can't say if they would work as well for you. There is a great swap and shop group on fb where you could find some used for a great price if you want to try them out. You can find everything from play condition to new.

    I got lucky in that the first brand I tried worked for us. But a lot of people hate gdiapers. They work great for some, not for others. Everyone else's advice to try some different brands is good advice.
    Me:41, DH:41 Positive for MTHFR mutations- one copy C677T, one copy A1298C. One daughter born on Thanksgiving in 2013. Six losses.
  • @missmimsyy He's 3 months old, just over 10 lbs and 26 inches long.

    I've checked out the link to Green Mountain Diapers and can see why it's so well liked on these boards. It looks like it will be a huge help and answered a lot of my questions on washing/care. My plan has been to buy one or two in a couple brands and try them. Some more sized and some one-size. Right now just trying to get information and how much money it will take to start and if I still want to try it since I know it'll be on me.

    Thank you everyone for the quick responses. This has given me a lot to think about going forward.
  • My son has always been on the slender side. Flats with Thirsties covers have worked wonderfully for us, especially at night. DS is a side sleeper, and pocket diapers (including BG 4.0) leak at night (compression leaks, I've figured).

    We use a dry pail with Planet Wise pail liners to store dirty diapers between washes. While out and about we use a Planet Wise wet bag for carrying wet or soiled diapers. I tried Boingos to fasten our diapers but they didn't work on our flannel flats, so I started using old-fashioned diaper pins six months ago. Have you considered cloth wipes? We bought a couple of packs of cheap wash cloths from Wal-Mart and dampen with water from a peri bottle. The wipes get sprayed if necessary and then tossed in the diaper pail with the diapers until laundry day.

    I live in an area with soft water. I do an initial rinse in cold water, followed by a hot wash cycle (with soak), and two rinses in cold water. I use Tide detergent. This routine has worked well for nearly 2.5 years and we've had no issues with stink or unclean diapers. I add bleach about once every month or two.
  • I used Nicki's, I forgot the original name. Kawaii was my other favorite. Both girls were skinny overall, including legs. For covers, most for a while had a good deal of overlap and I used old fashioned diaper pins vs snaps/Velcro.

    My biggest issue was 13 month old bladders in a US sized 6 month old sized body. Most of the favorites, I simply couldn't stuff enough in so they weren't soaked through in 30 minutes. So I got into hemp and bamboo, my girls had fluffy butts which was pretty darn cute. Then I took to sewing ruffle butt covers because again, cute on a fluffy butt.

    Wash wise was as follows

    1 - Diaper sprayer. Get the poo off, rinsed some pee out also. Toss in a lined, open garbage pail. Yes, open. If they stay damp, they reek. Dry out, it's ok. Plus I was doing a load daily with two kids.

    2 - Pre wash round - shortest cycle, cold water, no soap. It has to spin and empty to get the first major yuck off.

    3 - Wash - Tide Free & Clear at heavy load line (I was washing ~30 diapers at a time, it was a big load) plus washing powder (hard water) and Biz (the F&C just wasn't quite cutting it, but regular Tide or any other brand gave both girls nasty rashes wherever the diaper touched, worse when wet) at amounts indicated on packages. I used warm water, worked fine for me. Ran the longest cycle I had to completion.

    4 - Rinse - Short cycle, nothing added. Back to cold water.

    5 - Second rinse - Most people don't need this. My girls did.

    6 - Line dry. I line dry nearly everything, I have it set up anyway. It's better for the diapers anyway.

    7 - Quick dryer round. Hey, stiff diapers aren't very comfortable. I gave them a 5 minute round with dryer balls that release steam. That's only for flats and prefolds.

    I have the standard top load washer vs front load. Most of my wash issues related to kids with serious detergent reactions. Straight Tide didn't need the add ins, but it did not work for my girls. So I had to find something that worked.

    I did have to mineral strip pretty often, thank you icky hard water. It pulls out some nasty looking water, but it was just minerals for me, not unclean diapers. I have to mineral strip anything pretty often, this isn't a huge issue to me.

    Bleach stripping occurred from the nasty rashes, which did culture out both fungal and bacterial. The diapers didn't smell like a barnyard, but killing the fungus and bacteria required bleach. When those showed up, I switched to using only hot water.Those are a crap ton of work and very annoying. Which was far preferable to not being able to cure the rashes.
  • I forgot to include my spiel on detergent options: 

    Detergent choice comes down to a few different things --

    Do you want the convenience of a mainstream detergent that you can pick up while doing your other shopping? Tide is very popular. But in some parts of the country, you can also get Charlie's, Nellie's or Country Save at the grocery store.

    If allergies or chemical sensitivities a concern, then you will want to stick with something that doesn't have fragrances, and you may also want to avoid enzymes and brighteners. Most CD-safe detergents will fit this description. F&C detergents are generally not recommended for CDs.

    Do you have hard water? Tide works very well in hard water. Or, if the detergent  you choose doesn't seem to work very well in hard water, adding Calgon to it will usually improve matters. I use Tiny Bubbles with Calgon added, and my water is in the ~300ppm range for hardness.


  • Another option, if you like the adjustable elastics at the legs, and you want flexibility is SoftBums. I've used both the Omni and the Echo with prefolds and flats and their inserts. The Omni can also be stuffed like a pocket if you prefer that option too. Everyone else has good info on washing/detergent so I won't repeat all that.

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  • I had asked about detergent before because baby's dad and I both break out horribly with Tide, thus I haven't bothered trying it with Baby's things because I'll usually wash a couple of my t shirts or bras in with his stuff. Generally what works best for us is All free and clear. Would that work or something like Dapple is easy to find around here. I haven't seen Charlie's or any of the other brands mentioned.

    It hasn't been tested but it seems like we have hard water based on the mineral build up everywhere in the place. As for a washing machine we have a top loading HE.
  • Free & Clear detergents are generally not recommended. According to the detergent page at Jillian's Drawers, a lot of people using them have reported stink issues. They think it might be because of the microbiostats, which are supposed to suppress things like dust mites. But you wash your diapers so frequently and in hot water, that dust mites should never get a chance to get established in your diapers. At any rate, I'm pretty sure we have at least one person in this forum who is using Tide F&C with no issues.

    If you have hard water, it's a good idea to know how hard -- if you run into problems, this will help inform you as to whether you should adjust your detergent amount or would benefit from using a water softener like Calgon. Your local water authority should be able to provide you with this information. If not, you can test what is coming out of your tap by getting test strips or a test kit. If your local hardware store doesn't carry them, you can find them online.

    All the brands that I mentioned in my post above, other than Tide, are great for sensitive skin. There are others, but those seem to be the ones that are most widely available. Generally you want to avoid fragrances, brighteners and enzymes. Some babies do okay with enzymes, others don't. Not familiar with Dapple, but I took a quick look at their ingredients and looks like it has enzymes. If you look around some of the CD vendors, they might offer sample sizes of CD safe detergents. Maybe get a few of those before committing to a larger package.


  • t loves rt loves r member
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    edited January 2015
    I haven't read the comments yet, but Softbums might be good on your baby. The aplix allows you to get a good fit around the waist and you adjust the leg elastics with a toggle. I love them :)

    Eta: I read the comments and see someone else suggested Softbums already. Sorry for the repeat, but it might be worth getting one to try! They fit my son as a newborn and still do at 33 lbs and 35 inches! And there's still room for him to grow and the diapers to still adjust and fit.
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