When we do consultations with Moms-to-Be, we often get asked which are better, sized diapers, or one size so called ‘Birth to Potty’ diapers?
Well the answer depends on several things, so let’s go through some pros and cons of each to help you decide too…
Sized diapers are diapers that come in more than one size to get baby diapered from birth to potty training. They might come in Small, Medium, Large, or Size 1, Size 2 varieties. They key with these is that they have snaps or velcro in the front and no other adjustability. They are designed to fit specific weight ranges. Size 1 Applecheeks, for example, fit from 7-20lbs which roughly corresponds as birth to about 9 months at which time you’d move into size 2 that would take you from that point until potty training.
Most people shy away from sized diapers when they hear that they’ll have to buy 2 sets of diapers, each in a different size, but in reality, you don’t really have to buy 2 full sets. Newborns need 10-12 diapers per day, but once they get older (6+months or so) they only require 6-8 diaper changes, so once you move up to the bigger size, you need fewer diapers than you did in the smaller size.
Another benefit is that over time, sized diapers tend to hold up better because they see less overall use. A sized diaper is only used while baby is in the weight range, while a one size diaper will be used the entire time baby is in diapers. Less overall use = less washes and less wear and tear. This is especially important if you intend to use your diapers for more than one baby or if you want to preserve better re-sale value on the used market for when you are done with diapers.
But what are the biggest benefits of size diapers? Ease of use and trim fit. Without extra elastics or a front full of snaps to fiddle with, sized diapers are more intuitive to use, are not as confusing to fasten. This is nice for dads, daycares, babysitters or grandparents who may be lending a hand in the diapering department. Sized diapers also tend to have a really great trim fit even on newborns. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few one size diapers that fit newborns, but we’re talking bigger newborns (7-8+lbs) and yes they may function, but all the extra fabric makes them really bulky until baby grows into them. If simple diapers and a trim fit are important to you, sized diapers are for you.
One Size Diapers
Rumparooz, Kawaiis, Lil Helpers, Tots Bots Easy Fits, Kawaii or FuzziBunz One Size
If on the other hand, a little extra bulk doesn’t bother you, then one size diapers might be better for you. One size diapers are designed to fit babies from ‘birth to potty training’ or from about 7-35+lbs, to accomplish this, they have extra adjustment capabilities that allow the sizing to be scaled up or down to fit baby’s changing dimensions as they grow and gain weight. The 2 main ways to do these adjustments are:
- Internal elastics (like the FuzziBunz One Size) where there is buttonhole elastic for the legs and waist that you cinch in or let out. The benefit here is that the adjustments are done on the inside of the diaper, there is nothing visible on the outside revealing it to be a one size diaper. The drawback is that it can be time consuming to adjust the diapers. Once they are adjusted you don’t have to change them all the time, but every couple of months or when baby has a growth spurt, you’ll need to spend the time adjusting elastics. This is not all difficult to do for one baby, but on the occasion that you have 2 babies in diapers (say a toddler and a new baby or twins), it’s not feasible to be adjusting elastics all the time so that both kids can use the same diapers simultaneously. On the plus size, the elastics can be fully replaced if they ever relax or snap, extending the life of your diapers. After so many washes and hard use, elastic is usually the first thing that gives way on a cloth diaper, internal elastics on FuzziBunz One Size are super easy to replace without needing to know how to sew and you can get replacement elastics for free if you ever need them, which you probably won’t.
- Snap down rise – The most common type of one size adjustment is a snap down rise. (like Rumparooz, Lil Helpers, Tots Bots Easy Fits and Kawaii). On a snap down one size diaper, there is either snaps or velcro to close the diaper up on top and then a myriad of snaps below which are how you make the diaper smaller or larger. Snap the top row of snaps to the middle or bottom row to create a small or medium diaper. You can see the snaps on the outside of the diaper which some people don’t like, but it makes it super easy to adjust and once it’s snapped to the size that fits baby, it will stay snapped as you wash it until you re-adjust again. Since the snaps are so easily accessible and quick to do up or down, snap down one size diapers are a great option if you have 2 babies in cloth at the same time. They can both share the same set of diapers and changing the sizing is super quick. Be warned that daddies and grandmas often get flustered when they see so many snaps, but a quick tutorial from you and they should be good to go.
So, the trade-off for one size diapers mean a very fluffy, bulky bum which may not accommodate pants, let alone skinny jeans, but you do get the convenience of only needing one set of diapers and not having to ‘size up’ when baby grows.
**One caveat with one size diapers though…most brands will claim that they fit newborns from about 7lbs. This is largely false marketing. We see a great many newborns – in fact I would say a majority of newborns, who are too small for one size diapers right after birth. There is simply too much fabric. One size diapers generally do not start fitting babies well until about 10lbs. So, what does that mean practically? It means that there is a gray area between birth and 10lbs when your stash of one size diapers may not fit baby. So, what’s your solution? You have a few:
- Newborn diapers – You could purchase newborn specific diapers to bridge the gap. Lil Joeys, for example are a great option (4-12lbs) and fit newborns perfectly, but are outgrown of very fast. This option is pricey and defeats the cost savings of going with one size diapers. It also sees you getting two different sets of diapers very similar to going with sized diapers in the first place.
- Newborn rental kits – Another great option is to do exactly as above, but rent the newborn diapers instead of buy. At Cloth Diaper Kids we have several kits available that provide a perfect solution to the one size fit dilemma. Newborn rental kits are also a great option if you have or are expecting a preemie. Our newborn kits start fitting at 4lbs.
- Use up those gifts – Many moms find that they receive newborn disposable diapers as part of their gifts at baby showers etc. Some moms just choose to use those up before switching to their cloth diapers. Depending on how many you have and how big your baby was at birth that may give you enough time for baby to grow into your one size diapers (depending on brand). However, keep in mind that newborns need at least 10 diapers per day and babies often hit 10lbs at about 8 weeks so you’re looking at about 600 diaper changes during the newborn period 😉