I always knew I wanted to try cloth diapers with our baby. Well, the baby is here, 2 months old, and we’ve been using cloth diapers since week 3.
It was pretty easy to convince my boyfriend to jump on the CD wagon; the savings made so much sense. Initially, he was reluctant to try because he didn’t want to deal with poop. But when I reminded him that we would deal with poop anyway using disposable diapers, he was in.
I then started my quest to find the best cloth diapering system for us. I was immediately excited about gDiapers. Not because they are hybrids, but because I thought they were cute, trim, and I liked how it was only the separate absorbent part that truly got dirty.
Brief description of gDiapers
What you need to know at a glance:
- 3-piece system
- Fastens in the back with velcro
- Sized diapers: newborn, S, M, L
- Versatile: can be used with any type of cloth inserts and gDiapers’ disposable inserts
Below you will find the different ways you can use the gDiapers and how they are once assembled. Most of the time, I use combo #1. The gCloth can be replaced by any inserts you have on hand. But that may make the gDiaper bulkier. The gCloths are pretty trim; they’re made from 4 layers of absorbent fabrics – 2 layers of baby-soft microfleece draw moisture away from baby’s bottom, and 2 layers of hemp/cotton trap the wetness so baby stays dry. Once assembled, they’re super easy to put on baby. My boyfriend said it was just as quick as putting on disposables. The only difference is that the velcro tabs are fastened at the back. So you can get a few ready by your changing table and diaper changes are quick, easy, and fuss-free.
How do they hold up against leaks and blowouts?
I will admit that I had a few problems with leaks with these diapers. When we started the smalls at week 3, the fit was perfect. The gDiapers contained poo and pee so well. I was thrilled. But by week 6, the gDiapers started leaking. When we had leaks with disposable diapers, we used to fasten the tabs tighter. So when we did the same with our gDiapers, they leaked even more. I was getting really annoyed. I really wanted to defend my use of gDiapers but it was not working for me. I finally realized what I was doing wrong. Well, two things wrong. With gDiapers, it’s really important to have a good fit.
How to get a good fit?
First, I realized the smalls were now way too small on my tall 11lb baby. So we switched to mediums (and I cried a bit because my little boy was growing too fast). But then, the mediums were leaking too! I thought that maybe he was a little too small for the medium, so we fastened those tabs tighter. Wrong! What we finally understood is that you need to make sure that the edges of the pouch fit comfortably in the fold of the leg and hip. It should fit like underwears basically. As for the tabs, they shouldn’t be pulled tight. Simply fasten them where they fall naturally around the baby’s belly. You should be able to easily slip a finger or two in the waistband.
Once we had the proper fit figured out, we were golden. The pee no longer seeped out from the sides. And we never ever had any problems with blowouts. All the poo, even the most extremely explosive ones, were neatly contained in the pouch. I was happy…until he started sleeping longer stretches at night.
What To Do With Heavy Wetters?
Our baby Helix used to wake up every hour and a half or two hours at night to feed. And I used to changed his diapers every time he woke up. So I didn’t run into any major nighttime leaking problem until week 8 when he started having bigger pees and sleeping longer stretches. He would now wake up not out of hunger but because he felt wet. I would find him completely soaked at least 2-3 times a night! I was so bummed and again, I was getting really defensive on my choice of cloth diapers and denying the reality that it really wasn’t working out at night, pee-wise and sleep-wise. It had to work! I did not and could not accept defeat!
I asked other moms who were using cloth diapers, although not the same kind, and they all admitted to using disposables at night. I really didn’t want to do the same thing. In my opinion, It defeated the purpose of CD. So instead, I doubled up the inserts. I used the small gCloths that I had already stored away along with the small gPants. I stacked the medium gCloth over the small gCloth into the pouch and made sure that the thicker double-layered edge was at the front of the diaper since my baby is a boy. And guess what? It worked!
So every night now, I prepare at least 3 diapers with double inserts. I even use a cloth liner that wicks away moisture on top of the two layers instead of the paper liner so that my baby stays dry and feels dry at night. And he has been consistently sleeping longer as well.
Since gDiapers are versatile, you can probably swap the double-layer gCloth with a single layer of an insert that is more absorbent, like Thirsties or something. But since I don’t have any on hand, I can’t tell you for sure if Thirsties on their own hold up to the task.
How many gPants and accessories do I have?
gPants: You probably only need 6 – 8 gPants in each size. I got more than needed because I keep getting suckered into buying gDiapers cute limited edition prints like the one below. So cute! I love my gPants! They’re so colourful and cute!
Pouches: You also don’t need that many pouches. Each gPant you buy comes with one — I had ordered more in medium without realizing I could’ve simply used the pouches that came with the large gPants.
gRefills: Normally, I would not have bought any gRefills, the disposable inserts, but they were on sale for only $4 at my pharmacy (regular price: $16.99!!!). You’re supposed to be able to flush these (or compost them). However, I have a giant fear of clogging our toilet, so I simply toss them.
The inside of the disposable insert is designed to be flushed down the toilet. The wet-only inserts can also be composted as they break down in 50 to 150 days. They can also be tossed in the garbage since they contain no plastic preventing them from decomposing.
GRefills are expensive; they cost more than disposable diapers unless you find some at a really good price. For that reason, i don’t intend to buy any extra once I’ve depleted my remaining stock.
Liners: I went through 2 boxes of liners already! I don’t plan to buy any more after I get through the last 4 boxes. Instead, I use strips of fleece I cut up from a pink second-hand bed sheet I got from my sister-in-law. They wick away moisture so my baby doesn’t feel wetness on his bum. Helix never had a diaper rash, but it’s a good barrier in case you need to use any bum cream.
Total value: If you choose to go with gDiapers, please note that it can cost a lot up front. But that’s a one-time expense for something that has good resale value or that you can use again with a second or third baby. I calculated the total value of my stash (including what we were gifted) and it came to a little over $1,000. That’s a little excessive. Ok, a lot excessive. But that’s just in our special case because I love the limited edition prints and I got more of each accessory than I actually need. The total value for the gDiapers basics is a little under $700. I think gDiapers are one of the most expensive cloth diapers out there among all the choices available. If you’re on the fence about cloth diapering, feel reassured that there are cheaper and easier options out there. But compared to disposable diapers, they’re still a better price.
We were lucky and got most of the gPants gifted to us at the baby shower. gDiapers are harder to come by in Canada so I didn’t have much luck finding secondhand ones on Craigslist or Kijiji. And at the cost of shipping, it wasn’t worth buying off eBay. But perhaps you will have better luck in your area. Crafty mamas can also make your own gPants and gCloths. I tried, but it takes a lot of dedication. I was lucky to find gPants and disposable inserts on liquidation at my local pharmacy: I got 2 small gPants for $5 each and 3 bags of gRefills for $5 each. If you wish to save, forego the gCloths. You can make your own cloth inserts or use prefolds.
- Cost of diapers: $0.20 – $0.29
- Diaper changes per day: 8 – 12
- Average # of months before your kid is potty-trained: 18
Even if I take the lowest most conservative value, the total cost with disposable diapers is well over $800, and that’s only if your kid is potty-trained by 18 months. It can easily go over $2,000 just like that.
When did we start using them?
For the first two weeks, we used disposables because a) I didn’t know how long we were going to stay at the hospital, b) I wasn’t sure how sticky meconium was going to be, and c) we had received a few disposable diapers as baby shower gifts. Once we got home and got settled in, we started with the small gPants. Our son was born at 7lbs 11oz, so we saved by skipping on the newborn cloth diapers. And to our surprise, at 6 weeks and 11lbs 7oz,he no longer fit the smalls. So we continued on with the medium.
What’s our laundry routine?
I am really proud of our setup. We live in a small 1-bedroom apartment. With the crib and the dog bed in our bedroom, we really didn’t want to add to the mix a changing table. So my crafty boyfriend made a hanging changing table that folds down in the bathroom. Everything is at arm’s reach. I made the changing pad and the mesh netting.
So when I change his diapers, the dirty inserts and dirty pouches go into a wet bag hanging next to the table. I bought two medium bummis wetbags. I find that getting a medium-sized bag instead of a large one forces me to do laundry at a better pace to regulate the ratio of clean inserts vs dirty inserts. Once the bag is full, I throw the whole thing including the bag flipped inside out into the wash. I have an old washer, so I use the following settings:
First cycle set to a medium load in warm water and a tablespoon of detergent for sensitive skin with a cold rinse.
Second cycle for a medium load in hot water and no detergent with a cold rinse. And before running the second cycle, I remove the plastic pouches and the wet bag.
Finally, I hang everything to dry with IKEA’s little octopus hanger.
If I follow it with a load of clothes and towels, I wait until that’s done to throw the inserts in the dryer with the load. The gPants can be washed with your clothes; just remember to fold the velcro tabs in so that it doesn’t snag and ruin your clothes.
So far, I haven’t run into any absorbency or rash issue using my baby tide detergent. But it hasn’t been that long.
As for poo stains, I simply leave the stained inserts on the windowsill on a sunny day and the stains disappear like magic.
What do we do when travelling?
When we’re out for a couple of hours, my routine doesn’t change. I bring an extra assembled gDiaper and an extra pouch and insert. I also carry some disposable inserts just in case, but I rarely need to use them.
When I change him, I simply unsnap the pouch with the insert and liner, fold it in half and put it into a wet bag or a plastic bag.
When we travel for a few days, we bring the disposable inserts and the gCloths. So that on the last day before coming home, I can use the cloths and wash them right away when we get home.
Are gDiapers the right fit for you?
First question to ask yourself is: “Are cloth diapers right for me?”
- Cloth diapers mean frequent diaper change
That’s right! Forget about “up to 12 hours of protection”, as toted by disposable diaper companies. As good as your brand of cloth diapers may be, you’re not going to get that. I feel better changing my baby frequently anyway. My baby never developed a diaper rash. I also feel that in the long run, it’ll be easier to potty-train him since he’s already aware of the feeling of wetness.
- Cloth diapers mean more laundry
I do the diaper laundry every morning because I like to hang dry the inserts so that they’re ready for the next day. But I could just as easily do them every other day and throw them in the dryer instead. It really doesn’t take a long time to do.
- gDiapers require assembly
I’ll admit to one weird thing: I really enjoying assembling my gDiapers. I like seeing all the cute diapers stacked up. I enjoy doing the diaper laundry and hanging everything to dry. It has a calming effect on me. But if you’re reading this and cringe at the thought of sitting on a couch or a bed snapping pouches onto a dozen gPants and slipping inserts in each one of them, you’re probably better off with an AIO type diapers.
- Fitting can be tricky to avoid leaks
As I explained to you before, there is a bit of a learning curve to fitting gDiapers. Be proactive when you hit a snag: don’t just assume that’s how it’s supposed to be and that there are no solutions. I gave you my fixes. I hear gDiapers customer service agents are very helpful. I’ve never had to call, but I found their blog helpful enough.
So there you have it, my gDiapers review. Needless to say, I love them. They’re not for everyone: they’re more expensive, they require assembly, and they’re not as easy to find in Canada. However, they are cute, comfortable, cheaper than disposables in the long run, have good resale value, and they’re easy to fasten. My kid doesn’t eat solid yet, so stay tuned for that wonderful adventure.