I bought fitted diapers for Cub before I really understood their utility (or lack thereof, in our case). In retrospect, I wish I’d lurked on some good Facebook groups while I was pregnant so that I could’ve done some re-con before shelling out cash. Before I had a clue what I was doing, I bought some readily available fitted brands: Bumboo (I think it was a group buy deal), RearZ velour and MotherEase. Once I caught the “buy all the diapers” bug, I had to try more fitted diapers, especially the adorable ones made by WAHMs, and of course, GoodMamas and even an SBish snapless. It was mainly in my quest to find an overnight diapering solution that I really got into fitteds, and for a while, I loved them! I even blogged about using fitteds overnight.
So, what exactly is a fitted diaper?
It is a diaper made entirely out of absorbent material (usually some combo of cotton, hemp and/or bamboo) that fits on baby. It looks like a diaper (as opposed to flats or prefolds, which, to the unitiated, may look like just square or rectangular pieces of fabric) and is usually secured with snaps or Velcro, though sometimes with pins or a snappi. Sometimes there are inserts sewn directly inside the diaper (you may or may not be able to see them), other times they are snapped in. Fitted diapers do not have a built-in waterproof layer: you need to put some kind of cover on top, usually a PUL cover or wool, or even fleece. Hybrid fitteds are a type of fitted diaper that have a water-resistant layer, usually fleece, meaning you may be able to skip the cover around the house. I’ve found the exterior of our hybrid fitteds don’t take too long to feel wet on the outside.
So why am I no longer using fitteds?
A) Baby, it’s cold outside!
Most WAHMs who make fitted diapers make them out of the coolest fabric. Since the exterior of a fitted doesn’t need to be waterproof, small-scale (WAHMs) and large-scale (GoodMama) seamstresses can choose from a huge variety of cotton prints to decorate their diapers. As I said, you can get away with a hybrid fitted at home without a cover. But you also wouldn’t normally put pants on top either. Primarily because as soon as wetness seeps through the diaper, pants will be wet too, and secondly because most fitteds are so cute you don’t want to cover them up. This summer, I liked putting Cub in his few hybrid fitteds because it was too hot for pants anyway. I like that I can tell when he’s wet, and so I can change him straight away. I don’t think I ever bothered with a cover this summer; he always just wore them around the house without pants.
Since it’s been too cold for pants-free parties since October, I realized I haven’t touched the fitteds.
B) I found a better overnight solution for us!
The first “system” to work for us overnight was our Bic & Biquette Overnight fitteds with a cover. First it was wool, then it was a MotherEase airflow. Obviously, overnight I have no issues covering up the fluff! We didn’t have many leaks using this system, but for me the huge downside was that in the morning, the entire diaper would be absolutely drenched. The pee would be absorbed all up the sides, waist and bum, meaning every part of Cub’s skin that was in contact with the diaper was also in contact with his pee for a good part if the night. Another downside is how bulky an overnight fitted can be. It was impossible to put him in one-piece PJs when he had his overnight fitteds on. I know use a combination of inserts in a PUL cover, check out the recipe here!
C) Too pretty for poop!
Most WAHM-made fitteds are absolutely gorgeous. Often, to reflect the quality of fabric used and the amount of time required, a fitted can cost up to $50. I can’t but help not wanting to get such pretty things dirty! I won this amazing ($50 value) fitted from Urban Bums Boutique, and I still haven’t put Cub in it. On the one hand, I’m waiting for it to be warm enough for him to wear it without pants or a cover, but on the other hand, it’s just so luxurious that it seems a shame to use soil it! And… being afraid of getting it dirty is not a good relationship to have with a diaper. Also, I’ve been told that this specific outer fabric is not only a hard-to-find and coveted print, but also a weave that is quite fragile! Apparently some wash diapers like this in a lingerie bag!
D) So. Long. To. Dry.
Even in the dryer, due to all the absorbent layers, fitteds take forever to dry. If you’re hanging to dry indoors, they can take 2 days!
E) A bit too bulky.
Fitteds are naturally more bulky than other options. I love a fluffy butt, but I found fitteds too bulk for his one-piece pjs.
F) Woolies aren’t so wonderful.
I love the idea of wool diaper covers, be they shorts-style (soakers) or pants-style (longies). I haven’t gotten rid of our wool, but I haven’t reached for it in a while. Besides needing to be specially laundered, wool covers are not one-size, so you will need to my multiples in many different sizes.
G) They’re pricey.
I don’t dispute the price of WAHM-made fitteds. Most seamstresses, even with a $30 diaper, are barely paying themselves minimum wage. I just think for most families, a stash of fitteds isn’t affordable. If you don’t mind the initial expense, you can certainly recoup at least 50% of your purchase price when it’s time to resell. But since many choose cloth for financial reasons, fitteds aren’t the most affordable choice.
Who should still try fitteds?
I’m in no way telling you never to buy fitted diapers. I’m a big advocate of trying everything, especially if you try them second-hand and thus keep the cost down. (And give a new style of diaper a good trial run before deciding to sell your old stash and start a new one!)
A) Everything else leaks.
I’ve read through Facebook threads of wool-loving Mamas, and it seems for some that fitteds are the only solution for their heavy wetters. Since this isn’t my experience, I can’t speak first hand, but it makes sense that if other options are leaking, a fitted diaper truly offers all-round coverage as long as the cover on top is bulletproof!
B) We want to wear woollies!
There are tons of reasons to love wool diaper covers. They’re super ecological (often made from old sweaters) and they’re breathable. Wool is a natural fibre, compared to PUL which is far from natural! (Some babies are even allergic to PUL!) I know some Moms use exclusively fitteds and simply use longies as their babies’ normal pants. Although you can use prefolds under wool, for it to be most effective, you want a very absorbent fitted underneath your wool. (You can also use fleece over wool, but fleece covers have to be washed after every use.)
C) Pants? Who needs pants?
If I lived in a climate that allowed for pants-free parties all year, I’d probably have a ton of fitteds on hand.
D) They’re so squishy!
Fitteds put the fluff back in fluffy. I think everyone might just need to treat their baby to at least one fancy fitted diaper in an adorable print, and support a lovely WAHM seamstress or small business in the process.
So, have you fallen in or out of love with a certain type of diaper?? Tell me about it!