I love cloth diapers. I’m just not always great with them. I tend to use cloth diapers when we are broke and disposables when we are overwhelmed. When we are both broke and overwhelmed? I haven’t figured that out yet.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve used several different types of diapers, but I am not an expert by any means. I’m not part of that subset of cloth diaper mamas who buy and sell diapers, know all of the brands, and keep them in perfect condition. My diapers are used, abused and eventually turned into rags. This does give me some insights into the diapers I’ve used.
I’ve also been fortunate to be able to test out some Minnesota-based diapers over the last few weeks, and I’m excited to share my initial impressions of Rock-A-Bums and SoftBums.
Rock-A-Bums – My NEW Favorites
Our mission is to be the easiest, coolest and most fun cloth diaper out there. – Rock-A-Bums
I have been testing out Rock-A-Bums for about a month and a half. Yes, I was given these diapers to review. No, that is not why they are my new favorites. Neither is it because they are adorable — but that is a nice bonus. I honestly believe they deliver on their mission statement and they do it with prices that are really good. They actually cost less than my previous favorites, Flips, even when not on sale; but I’ve seen sale prices on their site every time I have checked over the last month.
The Upside of Rock-A-Bums:
- Versatility. You can order Rock-A-Bums in snaps (my preference) or Velcro (not great for long term washing and drying). They come with a variety of inserts (5 in 1) and they work well with insert products I already own. Disposable inserts are also available at a reasonable price.
- They grow with your child (to a point — my three-year-old, who is only day-time potty trained, uses disposable diapers at night now.)
- We really love the stay-dry inserts they come with. These are the diapers I put my daughter to bed with if I want to sleep all night without getting kicked. The first time we put a Rock-A-Bum diaper on her was the day of her Baptism. Afterwards, she was passed around from one adult to another most of the day. No one thought to change her diaper. There were no complaints, no leakage and, thankfully, she did not get a rash. I don’t plan on leaving her in her diaper that long again, but its nice to know these things do their job.
- Easy Care. Recommended care instructions are only slightly different than my own methods, and they can go in the dryer when needed. They also dry fast in the dryer or on the line.
- The stay-dry inserts are gray and black to match the cute colors, but that also hides stains better than white — keeping them looking nice longer.
- The adorable factor can’t be denied. The plaids are my favorite and currently on sale. I will be purchasing more.
- My husband, the stay-at-home-dad says these are his go-to if he is leaving the house.
The Downside of Rock-A-Bums:
- They are not going to make good rags when I am finished with them. Some of the inserts might be able to be used on a Swiffer (if I had one). Maybe the covers without the inserts could be used for dolls. But more likely, I will have to toss these or pass them onto someone who doesn’t mind really beat up diapers — because I plan to use them hard.
- I haven’t used them long enough to know if they will last. This is likely my last go round with diapers, though, so this is less important to me at this point. They only need to last one child.
I was also given a couple of SoftBums to try. These are similar to Rock-A-Bums in many ways, with a lot of the same features. SoftBums offers the unique feature of adjustable elastic legging so they can grow with your child and prevent leaking around the leg area. This is a popular feature. It can be hard to find diapers that fit a newborn, and other reviewers have found them to work for the tiny babies. I received my trials around five months, so I didn’t get to test this out.
One of my SoftBums had the elastic snap into the diaper during the first use. This is something anyone with sewing skills could have fixed with a stitch, but I’ve just been pushing it out and doing my best to adjust it with each use. This feature is covered under warranty, so, had I bought these diapers, I could have returned them. The warranty on these diapers is pretty short for most defects, so it would be important to return them quickly.
Mostly, my SoftBums and Rock-A-Bums get mixed and matched and other than color and the leg elastic, I can’t tell them apart. One little bonus of SoftBums is that their packaging is adorable cardboard pandas that has been added to our YOXO box and used for puppet shows.
Flips: My Workhorse Diaper
Over the years, I’ve relied heavily on Flips by Cottonbabies. I bought my original batch the year they came out. At the time, they were super cheap – I paid about $100 for all the diapers I needed (about two days worth). Now the same amount runs about $150.00.
The Upside of Flips:
- They are sturdy workhorses. I’m not going to buy Charlie’s Soap and hang my diapers on the line. In my life, that is a recipe for failure. My Flips have been washed with whatever soap was on sale and dried in the dryer for the last five years. A couple of snaps are starting to rip and the diapers themselves look a little frayed on the edges, but they still have life in them. I’m on my third child with my original Flip purchase.
- As with Rock-A-Bums, they grow with your child.
- You can get disposable inserts for travel and babysitters.
The Downside of Flips:
- They are a little boring.
- Sometimes, with my method of washing, they need to be stripped; I do this by washing on the hottest setting with vinegar and no soap.
- They make too good of rags and they are often stolen for clean up of daily messes.
- Now Flips have stay-dry inserts available, but the cotton inserts that I have feel uncomfortable to the babies when they are soiled. Quick detection and changing of soiled diapers is necessary. I get kicked in the stomach at night a lot right now, if I put her down in a cotton diaper.
- Because I don’t baby them, after several years of use, they covers do not completely keep the moisture from seeping. Sometimes a full outfit change is necessary.
All-In-One Diapers – My Least Favorite
I have also used various all-in-ones. By this, I mean the kind that don’t separate for washing. We currently have a batch of Kushies All-in-Ones that we received from my sister — who babied them. I don’t like this kind. They take up too much space in my purse. Because of their thickness, they don’t wash and dry easily and they need stripping more often than my other diapers. They are too big for newborns and too small for toddlers. They leak around the legs.
However, they are nice to keep around for speedy diaper changes. If I’m in a hurry, I grab one of these. My husband says they are his go-to during the day at home. He’s also not in love with them, but appreciates their speed when he’s home.
The Cloth/Disposable Debate – In My Humble Opinion
I find the articles that argue for or against disposables versus cloth mostly ridiculous. The pro-disposable articles tend to make the assumption that washing is done with chemicals on hot and dried in a dryer and that they are only used for one child and then tossed in the garbage. I’ve used most of mine for three kids now. I’ve bought some used and taken hand-me-downs. I also only wash on hot when I feel extra sanitizing is necessary. Two good rinses and a quarter of the detergent suggested seems to work the best for me. I admit, though, that I mostly quit air-drying after baby number two.
The pro-cloth articles tend to compare the price of cloth with the most expensive disposable available, assume the same amount of daily changes as with cloth and ignore money saving techniques – like couponing. I’ve found the cheap diapers from Aldi work better than any others that I’ve tried. Environmentally, almost all cloth diapers contain some sort of polyester or other man-made fiber, which release microfibers into the environment every time they are washed. The environmental impact of these microfibers is currently being debated. I’m attempting to remove man-made fibers from our wardrobes, but currently, diapers are my exception.
I don’t think we need to fight this fight. I personally feel everyone probably needs a little of both. Even if you are all aboard the disposable train, its nice to have some cloth around for emergencies. Traveling with disposables or part disposables makes for an easier trip — especially if you are not visiting someone who lets you do laundry.
Maybe the best thing to do is let your kids run nude — as long as you don’t live in Canada.
I received free Rock-A-Bum and SoftBum Diapers for this review. The other diapers were in my stash already and I either bought them or they were a hand-me-down from someone else. The opinions in this article are my own.