Baby #3 and Still Learning: New Cloth Diaper Products I’ve Come to Love

It has been a long time since I posted about cloth diapers. I honestly didn’t think I’d be trying too many new things with my third baby. But as it turns out, the world of fluff has moved forward.

While I haven’t purchased many diapers, I have tried a few new ones and replaced some previous items. My Bumgenius 3.0’s and 4.0’s have been rehabbed more times than I can count. (With the exception of a few new ones I got as freebies from Kelly’s Closet.) A few of my Thirsties covers and Duo covers are showing their wear, but still in the rotation. My infant Chinese prefolds are still in good enough shape to pass on to my sister but my Indian prefolds in premium size barely made it through my first kid after I bleached them during a yeast episode. They were pretty well useless after my second and have since even been abandoned as cleaning rags. Moral of the story, don’t bleach your prefolds.

While my husband reminded me I didn’t need any new diapers, it has been fun to discover a few new things this time around.

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Imaginebaby One Size Pocket Diaper

This is a brand I never heard of, but I got it free with another purchase from Kelly’s Closet. It’s a great diaper, especially for the price. If pocket diapers are your thing, especially one size ones, this is an affordable choice. The interior is fleece rather than the suede cloth used by brands like bumGenius, but so far I like it. These may not stand up to the wear and tear of multiple children. The only problem we’ve had is the hook & loop tabs curling slightly (I recommend purchasing one-size products with snaps whenever possible) because my husband put them through the dryer. Usually I recommend hanging dry the exterior portion of all pocket diapers, whether the manufacturer recommends it or not. It will significantly extend the life of your elastic and hook & loop fasteners. I liked these enough that I bought additional ones in snaps. I love the anchor pattern.

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Nicki’s Diapers One Size Pocket Diaper

This is another diaper I got as freebie when I was purchasing nighttime trainers for my middle child. But I like it very much. Again, they are affordable, as pocket diapers go and one of the best features is that the inserts wash right out of the pocket without having to be removed. (The only other product I’ve seen with that feature was from Thirsties and those are priced much higher.) I purchased two additional diapers in snaps rather than hook & loop. The constellation pattern, Little Dipper is so cute.

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Thirsties Improved One-Size AIO

I was so excited about this diaper and the adorable new pattern’s it’s available in, so I was ecstatic last December when I won one (and a new and improved Duo cover) in a Facebook giveaway. The reason I haven’t reviewed it before now was that I wanted to give it some fair use. So far, I really like it. It holds a lot, which is important because I primarily use AIO’s for going out of the house. The Velcro seems to be holding up well, but because it is one-size, if I order any more I’ll probably purchase them in snaps, which tend to have better staying power over time. Usually as my kids grow older AIO’s don’t have nearly enough absorbency, so we’ll see how this one does. But baby is ten months old and so far so good.

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Thirsties Improved Duo cover Size 2 in snaps

I’ve never owned one of these covers in snaps. I bought quite a few for my first child when the Duo cover first came out, and I beat them up pretty good. I still used them a bit with my second, but not quite as much because the Velcro had gotten very worn and the gusset elastic was sagging. So I was excited to try them with snaps. Baby is on the low end of the weight recommended on the sizing, but these are especially nice for covering his bulkier nighttime diapers.

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Thirsties Original Diaper Cover, Improved Hook & Loop

I love the new improved Hook & Loop on the Thristies covers. Normally I would say that sized covers aren’t necessary. I consider Thirsties to be the one exception. A few of these in each size are a wonderful addition to your stash, especially for covering overnight combos like prefolds and doublers or stuffed fitteds like we use.

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Thirsties One-Size Pocket Diaper

This is another new product to me that I couldn’t resist the urge to try. I had previously purchased Duo Pockets in size 2 for my first child. They didn’t work all that well for her, as the inserts were always bunching up, causing leaks. They worked decently for my second, but I didn’t really trust them for nap time. This new one works well for me and honestly the older ones, while almost worn to shreds, are holding their own as well.

I’ve used a lot of different one-size pocket diapers and I have loved most of Thirsties products over the years and the fact that they are made in the USA.
Kelly’s Closet and Nikki’s Diapers are two of my favorite sellers for the following reasons. Kelly’s Closet recently lowered their free shipping threshold to $25 and they often run deals for free product with a certain size purchase. Nikki’s offers free shipping on all pocket diapers and also offers

This post was in no way solicited by any cloth diaper manufacturer or distributor. All opinions are my own and I have no been compensated for my reviews. (Though this post may contain affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

 

Diaper Pails and Wipes: Cloth Diaper FAQ’s for New Moms

So far in this series we’ve talked about wash routines, and stripping. Now it’s time to get into the specifics of products and usage.

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What kind of diaper pail will I need to get? I want something that will contain the smell, but I’m not sure which brands of diaper pail work with cloth diapers.
I am a fan of the Busch Systems diaper pail and the pail liner from Cotton Babies, most for the convenience. I haven’t used the recommended deo discs though. We did buy carbon filters for a while but after baby number two we pretty much gave up. Some people just buy a garbage can and some reusable pail liners.

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Another option is a hanging diaper bag, such as Planet Wise or Bummis makes. I use the Bummis one for traveling and I like it. I do prefer a pail at home though because while the bags are waterproof if you diapers are sopping wet, which they often will be if you rinse them, the bags may eventually become damp on the outside and/or drip.

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Other people don’t use either, but rather put each diaper directly into the washer and run a rinse cycle once a day until wash day. For us, this isn’t practical because our washer is in the basement. But if you have a first or second floor washer, this might work for you.
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Do you use reusable wipes as well? What kind?

I definitely prefer reusable wipes to disposable. I keep my wipes dry and wet them with a spray bottle. But my sister prefers a wipe warmer. Honestly the kind of wipe doesn’t matter much. I started out with the bumGenius wipes and I’m still fairly happy with them. Yes, they have taken a beating after two kids and some of them are stained or frayed, but they are diaper wipes. I don’t care how they look as long as they get the job done. I’ve also used Thirsties wipes which honestly weren’t worth it. They are pretty pricey. Except for really messy poops (the kind that stick to the bottom and just won’t wipe off. If you haven’t encountered these yet, you probably will at some point). The fleecy Thirsties wipes were the only thing that got it all off.

I also like these wipes from an Etsy seller Mama Bear. These a very multi-use. They make great wipes but in the pinch I’ll wet them to wipe off my son’s face or even blot the blood off a cut.

You can also make your own out of jersey (such as cutting up old T-shirts) or flannel (cutting up old receiving blankets). You can buy fabric new or upcycle old items you already have or can purchase inexpensively at a thrift store.

Some people prefer to use disposable wipes which is fine, but I like to be able to just throw my wipes into the pail with the diapers.

Dressing the Little Bum: What Is Stripping?

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This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support.

When your diapers begin to leak or smell that means it’s time to strip. There are various philosophies on this both what to use and how often to do it. I will share with you how I do it, but here is a link to a much more extensive list of suggestions.

I’ve been told that ideally you shouldn’t need to regularly strip your diapers. I agree with this with one exception: all night nighttime diapers. My kids were both heavy wetters during the toddler years, meaning they generated large amounts of urine fairly quickly. Their diapers were sopping in the morning. If they used disposables they would be drenched from crotch to chin. With my son we have had to resort to wool covers for the first time to keep him dry. The overnight diapers we used always stunk. Nothing I could do prevented that. But when the ammonia would sting my eyes as I changed them or if they got rashes, then I knew it was time to strip the diapers. I usually strip night time diapers around once a month. Otherwise, strip your diapers only as needed.

Start with clean diapers. Wash your diapers as usual, perhaps modifying your routine slightly if you think the wash routine is the problem.

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Using Dawn

This should preferably be plain, blue non-ultra dawn. (Though I have used ultra in a pinch but only in miniscule amounts) Most methods recommend a tsp for front loaders. Then rinse, rinse, rinse. I usually run the longest possible hot cycle with an extra rinse, followed by two quick cycles with extra rinses hot or warm. If the diapers smell clean then you are probably done. Another recommended clue is that you should make sure you don’t see any suds left from the Dawn. However, if it doesn’t work, you can proceed further.

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Using Tea Tree Oil or Grapefruit Seed Extract

I love these two for stripping. Don’t use too much or it can leave residue on your diapers. I find that just a few drops of each works fine. Run the longest, hottest load with the largest amount of water. Then same as above, run additional wash cycles or rinse and spin cycles until they smell clean.

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Oxyclean soak

When I have ongoing stink issues I will soak the offending diapers in a bucket with cold water and oxyclean overnight and then put them in the washer to rinse for multiple cycles in the morning.

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Bleach- the last ditch effort

Chlorine Bleach is a huge no-no. But sometimes it’s the only thing that works. (bumGenius is one of the only brands that recommends the regular use of bleach on their inserts. ¼ cup in the front loading washer once a month.) I don’t recommend bleaching natural fiber diapers. I did once, years ago. I had an ongoing yeast issue and I was desperate. So I bleached my prefolds. They took a beating. They lasted me through the rest of my daughter’s diapering years but when it came around to my son they developed large holes and I eventually had to downgrade them to burb clothes and cleaning clothes. Use bleach at your own risk, but if it’s this or giving up, give it a try. Don’t use too much and make sure you rinse until you can’t smell bleach anymore.

Dressing the Little Bum: Cloth Diaper FAQ for New Moms

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I originally started this post more than a year ago, but with Baby #3 coming along at the end of September, I’ve had diapers on the brain again.

This series is designed with new moms in mind, but it is also great if you are a mom who is new to cloth. Not everyone uses cloth diapers for every child.

I received an email from an old friend. She wanted help with choosing cloth diapers.

“There are tons of websites explaining the differences between the types of diapers, but I need details about how the process of cloth diapering actually works. I have no idea what items or diapers to register for, and how many I will need of each.”

So I thought a series of posts to address her questions was in order. We’ll begin with one of the most common questions I get:

How do you clean your cloth diapers?
This is a question with many possible answers. It comes down to 3 things: your water, your detergent and your machine. There are lists available of clean rinsing detergents that are preferable for cloth diapers. I used Purex Free Clear until we got a front loading washer. That worked beautifully for us. However, the new HE Purex Free & Clear at the time included optical brighteners which are better to avoided. (Basically they leave deposits in your diapers which reflect light and allow them to appear whiter than they actually are. Generally when it comes to diapers, you don’t want any kind of excess left in the fibers). However, we used Wegmans brand detergent for HE washers for a little while before I realized the enzymes were eating my daughter’s bottom alive. The blisters were awful. Now we use Country Save. It works well most of the time, though we still struggle with our hard water.

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Top Loader

When I had a top loader my wash routine was:

Cold wash/ cold rinse, extra rinse; half recommended detergent for load size.

Hot wash/ warmest rinse available; half recommended detergent for load size

If your washer doesn’t have an extra rinse function add one more quick cycle

Warm wash /warmest rinse available extra rinse no detergent.

I miss my top loader for cleaning diapers. I always used the highest water level and cleaned the diapers efficiently. However, it was an old washer and used ton of water. We ultimately replaced it because it wasn’t spinning out properly.

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The Front Loader

The front loader routine for me was more complicated. You may have to play around with yours.

My current routine:

Rinse and spin high speed spin: I recently changed from cold to warm on the recommendations of some of the ladies on a local cloth diaper Facebook forum that I am part of. This rinse is mostly to get the yuck rinsed off.

Rinse and spin low speed cold/cold- this is to actually help saturate the diapers with more water so that they get cleaner during the wash cycle. I found this to be the easiest option that still works for us. Some people add water to their front loader or throw a soaking wet towel in instead.

Wash quick cycle cold/cold slow spin speed – 1-2 heaping TBSP of Country Save. I prefer using TBSPs rather than scoops so I know exactly how much I’m using. This is even more important if you are using a liquid detergent since it can be hard to measure and most detergent is very concentrated.

Super Wash, which is the longest available on my washer. 1 TBSP detergent. Hot/cold low spin speed.

Quick cycle warm/warm extra rinse – no detergent

If the diapers still smell iffy I’ll do another rinse. Sometimes I’ll just rinse my nighttime diapers as they tend to smell worse. (We use particular diapers for nighttime, so it’s easy to tell). I also take out covers and bags before the final rinse to avoid detergent residue which sometimes gets stuck on the bags.

Then I either run them through the dryer twice or hang them out to dry. Natural fibers are very stiff on the line so I prefer to hang dry part way and then use the dryer to finish them off to make them a little less rough. For microfiber, especially pocket diaper inserts, I love hanging them out in the sun. It makes everything smell fresher and I like that the sun will help to disinfect them.

Recommended Cloth Diaper Friendly Detergents

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Country Save-I’ve used this for years, it’s inexpensive and does the job. But I do have to order it on Amazon and get a ton at once which is why I use it for my other wash as well.

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Rockin Green. This has become the go-to cloth diaper detergent for many people. Personally I find it a little high priced and it’s known for not working well with very hard water, so I haven’t yet been tempted to try it.

Conventional Detergent that are known to work well

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Regular Tide: This goes against many of the “rules” of cloth diapering but many people find that Tide works for them.

For a more extensive list see Cotton Babies handy info graphic.

Pinstripes and Polkadots has the most extensive information I’ve ever seen including detailed reviews for top loaders, front loaders, as well as a run down on detergent ingredients.

Keep in mind that detergent formulas are always changing. Read the labels for yourself to make sure you know what is in your detergent. I found that my whole family had fewer skin issues when we started using Country Save vs. even other free and clear detergents.

Trouble Shooting

If your diapers are leaking you are probably using too much detergent or the wrong kind of detergent.

If you diapers smell when they are still wet, or right out of the dryer, you probably aren’t using enough. If they smell when your child pees in them, you may be using not enough or too much or perhaps the wrong kind of detergent altogether. This is where you need to strip then and then play around with how much detergent to use. Good rule of thumb is to use half of whatever is recommended in a top loader, and ¼ of recommended in a front loader (unless your detergent is only recommended for front loaders, in which case ½ is probably fine. Many detergents now are saying that they can be used with either, they just recommend more for a top loader because of the low sudsing formula.)

What is Stripping? That is a whole other topic that we will cover in a different post. It’s an important topic when it comes back to cloth diapering so please come back and check it out.

Our New Heavy Wetter Nighttime Solution

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So we officially have a new nighttime diaper solution. Our now two year old son is just shy of 32 lbs, so I worry that he’ll be outgrowing his diapers before he can finish potty training. That being said, we have found a night time solution that works for us, and it should continue to fit him for a while.

Thristies Fab Fitted in Raspberry

Thristies Size large fitted diapers, bought on clearance when they were being discontinued in favor of the Duo Fitted diapers. Because we only used them for a short time with my daughter they still have that wonderful plush velour softness that Thirsties diapers are known for, before you kill them with months of caustic toddler urine. I stack a size large Joey Bunz Premium Hemp insert under a Flip Stay dry insert and top the whole thing with a Size Large Thirsties cover. The Duo Size 2 are just too small to keep us leak free. It is a little bulky, but no worse than the triple stuffed pocket diaper we used to use at night. We also use an Under the Nile Fitted and a Sustainable Babyish fitted with no closure that we use when the Thirsties are being washed and those work as well. Though I really hate the enclosed inserts that come with the sustainable babyish and I just use my new etsy inserts or a Joey Bunz Premium size large with a Flip Stay dry insert.

Just bought a new Sustainable babyish fitted with snaps. We haven’t used it much yet, so I can’t really properly review it. It’s sized and we bought an XL. The first night using it didn’t go well, but it also might not be properly prepped, so I’m willing to give it time.

As long as I rinse in the morning and spray with Bac out, we don’t have major stink problems, though I usually plan to strip them every month or two. I’m loving the Thirsties covers again because they are the only thing that holds in my son’s morning messy poops that he often produces before I get him out of his crib in the morning. The fully saturated bumGenius pockets just weren’t cutting it.

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My new favorite insert is a zorb, hemp insert I bought from Etsy. This one insert does the job of a Joey Bunz Premium hemp and a Flip stay dry and it’s more compact. I haven’t had it long enough to tell how well it will hold up to the serious beating that nighttime diapers take, but so far I’m very pleased.

So I know we’ll be have additional diapering challenges with the coming months, as our son gets even bigger, but for now at least we have some dry mornings to look forward too.

What Works for Us: Cloth Diapering

I first started this blog in part to talk about cloth diapers. Now, four years later, some of my most popular posts are those about cloth diapers, cloth training pants, mama cloth or other reusable products.

So I thought it would be fun to provide an update on our current cloth diaper use.

What Works for Us Now

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Our son is almost two and definitely nowhere near potty training. (Though all my cloth training pants are in the bottom of his closet just in case.) We use Flip covers primarily during the day usually with prefolds or Flip microfiber inserts. At night we use a bumGenius pocket diaper (4.0 or 3.0, though all have been rehabbed at this point anyway) with a Joey Bunz Premium Hemp Insert (size Large or Medium, but Small works in a pinch) with a bumGenius one size microfiber insert and then a bumGenius doubler on top. This keeps him leak free most nights.

We do struggle with fit. A while back I decided to rehab our diapers with all new touchtape and elastic. Since then I have converted several others to snaps. Last fall a friend kindly gave me a whole bunch more pocket diapers all of which need rehab, but I just haven’t had the time. If I did, we probably would have enough bumGenius to use them almost exclusively. They are not the best diapers ever, but they are all around useful and easy for others to use.

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We have a couple of Free Time diapers that I keep in the diaper bag for going out. But these also needed to be converted to snaps when the aplix started failing. It seems like the new, improved bumGenius aplix just doesn’t have the staying power of the old stuff. It is stronger, but it also wears out quicker and destroys the front loop strip as well. I still really like bumGenius products, but I think if I had it to do over again, I would mostly purchase snaps, especially for items like Flip Covers that get such heavy usage. I also think that the Free Time diapers are soon going to need doublers, at which point I might as well be using a pocket. These were fun to try and work great for a younger baby, but by the second year of life, similar to my old bumGenius AIO’s, they just don’t hold enough for my heavy wetting kids.

I have two second hand Grovia’s that I rehabbed with touchtape and a couple of Thirsties Duo diapers that we use as well. When I first bought them, I was super excited, but they just didn’t work for my daughter. But they don’t leak often with my son, and they make decent daytime or even naptime diapers, but I don’t prefer them for going out and I wouldn’t dare use them at night.

Overall wear and tear

So this is the second child that I’ve diapered and much of my stash is showing the wear. I always figured that whatever I bought for my daughter would work fine for any future children as well.

So here’s my take on what lasted and what didn’t.

Diaper Pail and Liners.

We bought a bumgenius diaper pail and two pail liners. I’m really glad we did. It is still as good as new almost five years later. No, we don’t often change the carbon filter, mostly because I can’t be bother to remember when it needs to be changed and I never use deo disks. Yes, it does smell when you open it, especially in summer. But it’s still a great pail. I love the handles that lock down, since I have to carry it from the second floor to the basement for washing. I know some reviewers have complained about these pail liners, honestly, I’ve never had a problem. But then again, the only time I take the liner out is from the pail (which I carry to the basement) to the washer. This is NOT a wet bag, only a pail liner. A wet bag (such as the Planet Wise Wet Dry bag) is designed to be much sturdier.

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Wet Bags

We registered for and were given two Bummis diaper totes (in size small and large) before my daughter was born. Within weeks I hated them. So I bought the, then new, Bummis Fabulous Wet Bags for going out. I loved the zippers that kept anything in. I rarely notice smell unless it’s a very hot day and the bag has been sitting in the car. They get a fair amount of use, though not daily, at least church each Sunday and MOPS meetings twice a month. We go out often, but daily errands don’t usually involve a diaper change. These bags have held up well for us. I did have to repair the stitching near the handle at one point, but it wasn’t a big deal. I have two medium size which can hold 4-6 diapers comfortably, more if you stuff it. Two years ago we finally bought a large size wet bag for travel and it has made cloth diapering on longer distance trips easier, but since it doesn’t get much use, I can’t claim it’s longevity. I definitely prefer the zipper to draw string.

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A friend gifted me her Planet Wise Wet Dry bag. I like the concept of a wet dry bag but I don’t know if I would have considered the price worthwhile. So far I do like it, but I feel like I have to pull the liner out for it to dry properly and it’s always awkward getting it back in again.

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Thirsties covers. I still love the original Thirsties coverst easily replaceable. But overall, they definitely held up better than my Thirsties Duo Wraps. I feel like no matter how tight I make the cover, the edges of the diaper are still exposed. In general, time has not been kind to my Thirsties products. I didn’t realize fully until I pulled out my Size 2 Duo Wraps for my son. Wow, these were worn, the leg elastic sagged, and the Velcro was incredibly fuzzy and starting to unravel at the edges. Would I buy them again? Definitely the Thirsties covers. I think a few of these in each size is a great investment.

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I even think that the Duo Fitteds are great for newborns, though not nearly absorbent enough for older children. They won’t remain that beautiful soft velvet that they come as. Mine are all rough on the outside and pilled and stained on the inside. But we’ve also been hard on them. For a while, a Size 2 Duo Fitted with a Thirsties Hemp insert and a bumGenius microfiber insert all under a Thirsties size large cover was all that kept our daughter dry at night. Toddler urine is very hard on diapers, especially over night. I was forced to go against manufacturer recommendations and bleach these to deal with the stink. I paid the price in wear and tear, but I still think these diapers have their place. While I prefer snaps for more diapers now than ever, I still prefer hook & loop for fitted diapers. I haven’t had very good results from those with snaps.  But I probably wouldn’t purchase the Duo Wraps again because I now prefer Flip covers.

Flip covers we didn’t discover until our second child. I loved these, but I was terribly disappointed by how quickly the hook & loop wore out. I had to convert them all to snaps. I also don’t know if the fold over elastic on the legs is going to hold up through another child. I do think I now actually prefer Flip to Thirsties Duo’s, but I think Thirsties covers are still the best for newborns and exclusively breast fed babies. Nothing holds in the breast fed poo like those leg gussets. But be warned, you will need more covers. Thirsties covers are cut to accommodate the use of a Snappi or other fasteners. Flip covers are not and because of this you will get poo on the cover much more often.

I think that if I could pick any diapering system now, for this child, at this age, I’d be doing something very similar to what I am now.

I’d be using Flip inserts and Joey Bunz Premium Hemp inserts in Flip covers as a daily go-to combined with bumGenius pocket diapers for going out.

So that’s where we are with diapers. If you’re on to diapers a second or third (or more) child tell us how your diapering style has changed.

Complete Rehab: Giving My Pocket Diapers A Second Life Part 3

If you are just joining us on our bumGenius rehab journey, please start with Part I.

Replacing the hook & loop tabs and laundry tabs.
Usually I first replace the laundry tabs. You don’t have to remove the old laundry tabs unless you want to. You can just sew the new ones right over the old ones.

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Simply place the new tabs over the old ones, stitch all four sides and then an X across the middle for extra stability.

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The bumGenius repair directions suggests sandwiching the hook and loop pieces with the stretchy tab between them. I found this to be incredibly difficult to do so I developed a method that worked easier for me.

First I sew the loop side of the Hook & Loop (the soft side) onto the diaper. Then I sew the hook side (the abrasive side) to the loop side. This way the abrasive side doesn’t scratch against the throat plate of the sewing machine and the Hook & Loop is much less crooked.

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Finished laundry tabs and Aplix tabs from bumGenius repair kit
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Finished DIY laundry tab and small Touchtape hook & loop replacement tabs
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Finished DIY laundry tab and large Touchtape hook & loop replacement tabs

Stitch closed the ends of the elastic channels where the elastic was replaced, sewing along the stitch holes from the previous stitches.

I like to wait until the end to trim all of the loose threads. (If you leave some loose threads on the inside of the diaper, no one will probably notice as long as you are the one using the diapers and you aren’t giving them away or reselling them).

Other procedures I’ve seen, recommend drying the diapers in the dryer to help seal any small holes in the PUL laminate. This is up to you. There is always a remote possibility of damage to the PUL, but bumGenius diapers (while preferably line dried) are approved for occasion dryer use so the risk of damage is low.

I also added some tabs and a front loop strip on two Grobaby (now Grovia) diapers that were given to me as hand-me-downs as well when the hook stopped sticking to the loop fabric laundry tabs. (These are an older design. I believe some kind of hold back strips were included in the newer version to help prevent this problem.) I was surprised to find how easy this was. Grovia is definitely a higher quality diaper with higher quality PUL that was easier and more pleasant to handle than the bumGenius PUL. If I had it to do over again, I might have considered Grovia a little more.

I’ll say right now that I am a beginning seamstress. I am also a lazy sewer. I get easily frustrated, I struggle to cut in a straight line (even when I use a rotary cutter) and I hate pinning. But I want to learn and I think I have the ability to, if I keep at it.

So that was my very long journey through diaper rehab. I hope my documentation of this process will help you as well.