If you’ve been around a while, you’ve heard the story of my cloth diaper research 8 years ago when I was expecting my daughter. I found the Fuzzibunz Perfect size diapers, but thought I’d need 24 diapers in each of 4 or more sizes, and I was scared away by the cost. When I researched again 4 years later when I was expecting my son, I realized that I had just missed the creation of Bumgenius one-size diapers shortly after my daughter was born! In my (almost) three years of cloth diapering, I’ve seen tons of new diaper brands pop up, and they seem to almost always be one-size. So, why would you ever buy sized diapers?
Well, first off, many one-size diapers don’t fit smaller newborns well, so you may want to have some sized (XS or newborn) diapers to fill that gap. On the other end of the spectrum, occasionally a child may need some XL diapers whether they are a larger child, or just need to wear diapers a little bit longer than one-size diapers are designed to fit.
Sized diapers are also generally more trim than their one-size counterparts. Since they are designed to fit 1 age/size range, they can be trimmer through the middle, don’t have extra material on smaller sizes, and typically have a trimmer insert to match not only the diaper’s size, but a smaller baby’s wetting habits. (This can be a negative if you have a tiny super soaker!)
Sized diapers tend to be a bit less expensive, and though you need to buy more of them, each will see fewer uses per child than a one-size diaper. You might wash a one-size diaper 3 times per week for 2.5 years, or nearly 400 times. Split those washes up over 3 or 4 diaper size stashes, and you will be more likely to be able to reuse or sell those diapers. You will also likely be able to buy far fewer diapers in larger sizes, since you won’t be changing 10 diapers per day for a 2 1/2 year old, and won’t need to double your stash if you have another baby while your older child is still in diapers! If you’re not interested in hanging on to outgrown diapers, you can sell them to fund larger diaper purchases. You may not need every size; my older son never needed anything larger than a size medium Fuzzibunz, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my petite daughter had gone from the smalls to underwear!
On the other hand, sized diapers are usually only a few dollars cheaper than their one-size equivalent, and there aren’t as many to choose from. The sizing from brand to brand may vary considerably, making it a bit more difficult to choose when buying online. Though I loved my medium Fuzzibunz perfect size, my newborn’s legs were too skinny for the X-small size, and he was too heavy a wetter for the teensy inserts. The Itti Bitti diapers were much lower rise in comparison, and while the absorbency worked well, the rise got a bit low before they really fit well on his legs.
The downsides of sized diapers are really entwined with the benefits of one-size diapers. One-size diapers are seemingly everywhere, and are available in many styles, adjust sizes in many ways and are available in just about every price point. They also give you the great flexibility of adjusting sizes on the fly, whether you have 2 children sharing the same diapers in your diaper bag, or if you need to size up, then back down as your child becomes mobile and changes shape.
If you have 18-24 one-size diapers and wash every other day, you can cloth diaper for far less than the staggering numbers I came up with 8 years ago. That said, you can’t necessarily wash those diapers almost 400 times, and expect them to be like new, ready to be washed another 400 times for your next baby. Fortunately, they can be repaired, donated, or even sold to someone who wants a bargain, and can sew some Aplix, elastic, or replace a few snaps.
One of my favorite compromises are staged, or 2-size systems like the Thirsties Duo Diapers and Applecheeks. The size 1 were not as trim as newborn diapers, but they were trimmer, and fit far better than one-size diapers on my son, when he was less than 7 pounds with little chicken legs! They were also absorbent enough for him as long as he fit in that particular size. The size 2 of both brands fit my older son until he was 3 years old and potty trained, while we’d already had to retire some one-size diapers that were becoming too low-rise.
You can view my review archive to see my reviews of the diapers I mentioned, including lots of photos and measurements!
Find any of these diapers at my affiliate, Kelly’s Closet, and use the special bloggerbash coupon code below to get free shipping on your order of $25+!
Giveaway: One reader will receive a $15 Kelly’s Closet gift certificate code. Entries go in the Rafflecopter form.
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Kelly’s Closet sent me a Fuzzibunz Perfect Size diaper to thank me for participating in their Beach Bash. This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.