Is it really possible to buy a stash of one-sized cloth diapers and not buy another one throughout the life of the child? Is there a cloth diaper that will withstand years of use with multiple children?
Certainly the answer can be yes to both of these questions but there are limitations.
When many families discover cloth diapers saving money is usually on the top of the list. Who can argue with the stats. In the first 2 years of a child’s life they will go through about 5,840* disposable diapers. Multiply that times $0.25 (I looked at a few brands/sizes and took this as an average) and your spending $1460.
Pick any one-sized diaper and you’d hardly come close to a third of that!
Some examples from Banana Peels Diapers (free shipping over $50):
Bum Genius Organic AIO– 18 pack $397.44
Rumparooz– 18 for $405 (each diaper comes with 6r soaker)
Flip– 4 Stay Dry Day Packs $199.80 (8 covers and 24 inserts)
Bum Genius 3.0 One Size– 18 pack $305.10
Katydid– 18 pockets $323.10 (comes with 2 inserts)
Fuzzi Bunz One Size– 18 pack $323.10 (comes with 2 inserts and replacement elastic)
Blueberry Minky One Size– 18 for $593.10 ($32.95 is expensive!! but you’re still saving over disposables and they include an awesome hemp/microfiber one-size insert)
Softbums Complete Package (from www.softbums.com)- $362.95 You can easily use Softbums right from birth. This package includes 10 covers, 36 inserts, 10 doublers.
So what about the durability of one-sized diapers? Will they break down after 2 years of use?
In my experience, natural fibers like cotton and bamboo do break down much quicker than most would like. After using my Bum Genius Organic AIOs in heavy rotation for 1-2 years some are starting to show significant wear. I also had this occur with my Sustainablebabyish bamboo fitteds. Wear includes holes near the edges and seams. Are these diapers unusable? Certainly not. I use the holey pink BG Organic that was originally Paisley’s on Sterling often.
If the one-size diapers you choose contain a microfiber insert, plan on replacing those once a year. Microfiber tends to lose its absorbency not to mention stink like crazy. However, with the new detergents on the market like Clean B and Hard Rock an overnight soak has proven to give new life to dead inserts.
Where one-size diapers really hold their value is when you are cloth diapering 2 children. This can be a huge money, time and resource saver! We always have an overlap between children where I am cloth diapering 2. Inevitably, this drives me crazy. However, having a diaper that I can use for either child reduces my stress a lot.
Are one-size cloth diapers worth it? Yes! Are there good choices and excellent choices? Yes. But, remember, don’t buy 18 of any diaper without first trying 1!! You really don’t want to deal with the hassle of reselling them all.
*The number 5,840 was based on an average of 8 diaper changes per day. 8x365x2=5840.
***Congratulations, Serena!! You were chosen as the winner of the Cutiepoops Cool Seat! ***
Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ.
Elisa Low says
I love one-size diapers! We’re expecting our 4th in January and while we’ll use mostly prefolds for the first month or so, as soon as the baby is big enough we’ll switch to the one-size stash I’ve used for my other kids. For me, the absolute best thing about one-size diapers is that I’ve frequently had 2 kids in diapers, and it simplifies things tremendously to know that every diaper I have will fit either child. It also slightly cuts down on the number of diapers I need to have in rotation or the number I need to pack in the diaper bag.
With my kids the OS dipes never fit very well till they’re about 10 lbs, not 8. My kids have skinny legs though.
Kellie, I did not know this at first and also got frustrated with leaking. It takes 6 washes for your inserts to be fully absorbent.
Help! I am new to cloth and I’m having trouble with leaking on EVERY brand. I first thought it might be an absorbency issue and now ALWAYS double stuff. The inserts are coming out wet, but not nearly completely soaked. I’m still having leaks around the legs. Am I just not getting a good fit?
I have all one-size pocket diapers with snaps: fuzzibunz, happy heinys, tiny tush, tweedle bugs, knickernappies, and babykicks. Some have not been tried out more than a couple of times and my knickernappies and babykicks just got here today. So the leaking has happened with fuzzibunz, happy heinys, and now tiny tush. No problems with tweedlebugs yet, but he’s only worn it twice.
Double stuffing seems to make the leg holes gap, but before I was double stuffing he was leaking (around the legs) after only 30 minutes. I’m so frustrated. My husband does not want to cloth diaper and it is getting really hard to convince him since we are having so much trouble.
So basically, we started with an absorbency issue, which I addressed by double stuffing. Now the issue, I think, is gaping (sp?) at the legs.
My baby is 13 months, 25 lbs, and has a long torso and skinny-ish thighs…if that helps.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Autumn Beck says
what type of inserts are you using?
That last line is a very good suggestion. Never buy several diapers with out trying one first. What works great for your friends might not work for you. Diapers are like clothes and they don’t fit every baby the same way.
Michelle M. says
I use one-size pocket diapers (the type that Gene recommended from ebay) and I am really happy with them. I have two children in diapers and using a one size diaper made such a difference when my third was born and our second was using medium-large sized position of snapping. I LOVE using one-size diapers! They also make storage easier. You don’t have to worry about sorting through the find the correct diaper for each child. And now that both of my kids are wearing them as large as they can, I would have to have a huge stash of large diapers in my collection if I wasn’t using the one size. This was a great article. Thanks!
After reading this, it got me thinking how long does a diaper last? How many dozens of diapers do I need if I want it to last four kids? I’ve heard that prefolds last for many years. But how about fitteds, AIO, and Pockets? How about if I just used prefolds at home and AIO when we go out. Will a dozen of AIO be enough to last me for awhile? Hmm . . . I wonder!
Autumn Beck says
I’ve actually seen pockets last the longest. Prefolds often get ratty, fitteds can as well. AIOs can be great just depends on the overall structure. Pockets are very durable and inserts are easily replaceable. If you are only using the AIOs when you go out then they’ll last a long time. I’ve used our stash of bum genius aios for well over a year in heavy rotation and they’re still holding pee :)
Angie Bocksell says
this has been my favorite article of yours so far! thanks!
Great Comparison! People are always asking me if using cloth is really WORTH it. My answer is ALWAYS YES! I’ve used all kinds at this point, and by far, my favorite is SMARTIPANTS! Inexpensive for a pocket AIO and they never leak. And the inserts ALWAYS come out in the wash, making them the easiest to use. (Even when my husband does the diaper changes or laundry) :)
Humph! Interesting! I didn’t realize that my microfiber inserts might be the source of my recent leakage problems. The majority are a little over a year old, and though the diapers aren’t repelling when I test them, I’ve had lots more leaks. I never thought it would be the inserts. A perfect excuse to try the Hard Rock!
I appreciate this blog so much….I had a hard time finding a diaper that would handle overnights, and ended up using paper diapers most of the time. I took your advice and tried out the flip and the bumgenius AIO, both of which have been awesome. We haven’t had any leaks overnights and I’ve just purchased several more!
I like sized diapers. Mostly because after 4 months of the same rotation of diapers I am ready to order new prints/colors. I am an addict though. I’m with the others about one-size being too small to make it to potty training. Although my child is a bit larger than most. With my next baby I do have several one-size diapers to try including RaRs, BG Organics, Piddle Poddles, and some others, but I plan to mostly use them when we are in Medium and Large diapers. I just can’t give up the sweet newborn and small diapers!
Oh this is a great comparison! I wish I could have seen this when we were first preparing to buy diapers for our daughter. Of course they didn’t have flips back then and those are my ABSOLUTE favorites! :)
Anyways I posted this on my FB account because it is so helpful to see what the different styles cost up front. They really aren’t that expensive compared to sposies and they are so easy to use and cute! :)
We started with gro baby but if Flip stay dry had been available I would have just used that. One size didn’t fit until my son was over a month so I plan on getting newborn sized diapers when we have our next kid. Gro baby was bulky and my son hated feeling even a little damp. They are also way overpriced.
I haven’t tried any of the other brands outside of BG 3.0, but I only use those when going out or occasionally over night. I like BG 3.0, but Flip is by far my favorite! No stuffing but with a stay dry option and they are so trim! I also love the snaps and they are so affordable. Only, my son sleeps on his side so we had to get some fitteds for overnight. BG’s worked last night, but I don’t trust anything that has no absorbency on the sides. I can’t wait to try the Kiwi Pie fitteds one size when they get in.
MieVee @ MummysReviews.com says
Sized diapers make up the bulk of my stash as I prefer to deal with less snaps at the rise and they look neater.
For one-size diapers, if they are meant to last through a few children, then snaps are much more lasting than Velcro tabs. Suedecloth also lasts through washes better than microfleece or bamboo.
Britt Hailstone says
Based on my experience, I can’t say I’m all that impressed with the supposed “one-size” diapers. I prefer the sized diapers myself … I feel like I get a better fit without all the exposed snaps. My daughter wore her supposed “one-size” (mostly BG 3.o pockets and the BG AIO organics) diapers right around the time she was in Med wraps & prefolds. We got them when she was about 3 or 4 months old and used them (on the med setting very briefly) and by 6 months we had them on the “large setting”. At that point she was still in Bummis med covers. By the time she was 1 yr she had outgrown her “one-size” diapers and her med covers because her rise is so long (20″). Now at 20 mos we are still using large Bummis and med & large Thirsties covers with prefolds and getting a lot more mileage out of them than we ever did with the supposed “one-size” dipes.
Love the blog! One Size diapers are the best, but no discussion of OS dipes should omit Motherease! I know they aren’t trendy and cute like many of the others out there, but they are the best OS I’ve used. At one point this past fall I had a 3 year old, almost 2 year old, and a newborn in them. All had a great fit and I’ve had the bulk of my MEOS stash for 2 years and they still look brand new. I have 4 kids and will have more. My MEOS are showing no signs of wear and fit many different sized kids at once. I can’t say enough about the durability and versatility of this diaper. We had a stash of BGOS for about 15 months and all the elastic died and they stunk! It was really disappointing. If you’re looking for a workhorse, look no further than Motherease One Size. I don’t work for them ;) I just can’t believe the money I’ve saved thanks to these awesome diapers!!
Autumn Beck says
I agree, MEOS are great. I listed only AIO and pockets for simplicity.
Same here! I use my ME dipes at home mostly & when visiting. But if I’m out & about I LOVE my OS pockets for quick changes! Add to it that they fit both babes relatively well & they can’t be beat! Fitteds at home (for airing little tushies & for potty training) & pockets on the go! & even though my toddler is training I still have a dipe or 2 “just in case” that I know will fit, lol!
Natalie Caldwell says
I started using Smartipants on my baby when she weighed about 10 pounds and the smallest size fit her fine. She is now almost 15 pounds and we have adjusted the snaps in the waist, but keep the snaps for the rise on the smallest. So far they have been great diapers!
I found after almost 2 years cloth diapering, & my baby now is a toddler, I prefer sized diaper best when he gets older. Most one-sized get a little bit tight especially Bum Genius, Blueberry & Fuzzi Bunz. Of all the one-sized, my favourite is the Happy Heinys, because of its generous sizing, nice prints & soft PUL yet strong.
And, OS AIO hard to come by & not so generous in sizing…
Great article!!!! We are just now going through this! I mainly use BG OS on our 22 month old son and our newborn Addison…well, she is one month now…SWIMS in the one size (she is 10 lbs)! While we didn’t have great luck with fuzzybunz with our son, they seem to fit our daughter pretty well and we have had great luck with small BG AIO’s. The Cutiepoops OS is the closest to fitting both my son and daughter at the same time!!! (Thanks again, Adrian! Can’t wait to try more!!!)
All that said, we have gotten our money’s worth buying most of our OS diapers used or during seconds sales and they are 95% of our stash. I should have expected needing more than OS for the newborn and her teeny deliciousness, but we are sure she will fit in them soon! (I am not too upset about having to buy a bunch of cute pink diapers ;) )
My first OS was a Haute Pocket – it’s in the repair pile right now – but I have to say that I never really liked it tons until it was on the largest size setting.
We also have HH, RaR, FB, RMD, goodmama, OS dipes and really like them all. Although the FB OS seem to weep at the seams :(
Amanda Miller says
I have all one size diapers and have used them on 2 kids for over a year now. I mostly use Happy Heiny’s. I recently had 7 diapers, either PUL was pulling away or the aplix folded down and was rubbing my little ones tummies. I emailed happy heinys and they told me to send them back. 4 were replaced and 3 were band-aid fixs and all i paid for was shipping them there. I agree they can last through years and multiple kids.
This is great to know. We are awaiting our new bundle due October 1st . I have chosen to give cloth diapers another try. We used pre-folds and covers first and second baby and have chosen to switch to one-size pockets this time. Hopefully I have better results with them.
Hi, Thanks for the numbers! I just finished making some onesizes for my little guy. The smalls were way too small and instead of making mediumms this time I tried some one sizes. Love them and am sure they will last til he is 3 if he is that long to train.
Thanks for all your info and encouragement!
Or, you can try your luck with various brands on eBay. Most are made in China (though quite a few “well known” brands (like FuzziBunz) are as well. My BumGenius are made in Egypt, my old style BlueBerry are from the US (can’t vouch for the newer versions). I’ve purchased minky fabric one size pockets similar to the Blueberry Minky for under $6/each (a savings of $27/each). I’ve also bought some that are indistinguishable from BG for $5/each. I’ve seen some styles that go for as little as $4 each. And when you can “try” a pack of ten for $50-60 dollars, you can experiment with lots of varieties and styles and pick your favourite.