Cloth Diapers for Bigger Babies or Children
Since I started my cloth diaper journey rather late (my son was 2), I had to find diapers big enough to fit my him. I belong to a few cloth diaper groups, and fairly regularly see posts about “How can I find cloth diapers to fit my large baby/special needs child?” So… I decided to write a post about that very topic. It can be so frustrating to know where to turn when you have a larger baby or a child who is not potty trained for whatever reason.
Here’s my cloth diapering journey…
I never considered cloth diapers for my daughter. I work full time and thought it would be too much work. My daughter didn’t have sensitive skin, so there was really no reason for me to make a change.
Then my son was born… And after a reasonable 7.14 lbs at birth, he grew exponentially (thankfully AFTER he was born!!). He has been in the 95th+ percentile for height and weight since his 2 month checkup. b also has sensitive skin. So we went the sensitive skin disposable option. It worked great for us until he grew out of all of the disposable sensitive skin options. (We used Pampers Sensitives and Honest Company diapers, in case inquiring minds wanted to know…)
Wait, let me back up a minute. b was always a heavy wetter at night. Toward the end of our disposable night time diaper experience, I was putting 2 sensitive pullups and a booster pad, all inside of waterproof diaper pants. And he was STILL soaking wet in the morning. So I turned to cloth diapers for overnight. I posted about Motherease Bedwetters in January, explaining how much I like them and how absorbent they are. That was our first foray into cloth diapers… when b was around 2 1/2.
Once b hit 3, he was too big for the sensitive diaper options during the day (he was the size of a 5 year old). We tried the medical supply route, and found some diapers that while hugely expensive, actually fit well. The problem was that he would break out in a rash. Every company I called said their larger diapers were ok for sensitive skin, but for us that wasn’t true. I finally broke down and started looking into cloth diapers. (a note about potty training b: I know many of you are probably saying “why don’t you just potty train him?! He’s old enough to be trained!” Not really. b is a little slower than his counterparts in school. He doesn’t transition well to new things. He wasn’t ready, and I felt that it was better to let him go at his own pace. It turns out that in December he was ready and he actually potty trained very easily. I truly believe it was because I let him decide when he was ready.)
Larger Cloth Diapers That Worked For Us:
These ended up being my favorite option. They have a size 3 diaper that fit b well. They were an envelope or pocket style of diaper, where you can put inserts inside to increase the absorbency. Since b was a VERY heavy wetter, there was plenty of room for inserts and we were able to go about 2 hours between diaper changes. (for us, that was a great amount of time) Applecheeks are a bit pricey (usually around $25 each), but I washed them every day and was able to make do with 6 Applecheeks plus some of the other diapers I had purchased. If you are ok with purchasing cloth diapers second hand, there is a facebook group devoted to buying/selling/trading Applecheeks only: Applecheeks For Sale Or Trade Only. It’s a private group, so you will have to request to join. You can get some gently used, less expensive Applecheeks there. And once you are done with your diapers, you can sell them again – – getting at least some of your money back! (as long as you take good care of them)
These were probably my second favorite option. I bought them from Sophie’s List, and were less expensive (around $15.00) On this particular site, there were two closure options, snaps and velcro. The snaps were smaller, and while they fit b, they were a little on the tighter side so we didn’t keep them. The velcro ones were really nice as far as being easy to put on/take off. But that was also a problem, they were easy to take off. So b liked to do just that! Usually if I put his pants on right away he would leave them alone. But if I hesitated and kept him just in the diaper, they were off in a flash. The velcro ones were also much bigger. I would estimate that they could easily fit a 60 lb child, maybe even larger. Because they were velcro, though, I was able to get them to work for b at 45 lbs. They were also a pocket diaper and I could stuff them with several inserts to keep his clothes dry. The opening for the pocket is much smaller than Applecheeks, though, so stuffing was a bit of a pain. The velcro option also came with a huge insert that was pretty absorbent – an added bonus!
SuperUndies were probably my third favorite option. I used the snap-on trainer pants, which would be perfect for potty training. (They cost around $20 each) As a larger diaper, they worked, although the pocket in them wasn’t quite as generous and the “waterproofness” only extended to the colored portion of the diaper. The white part in front is more of a stretchy material and isn’t lined. This can be particularly troublesome for boys because of where their “wet zone” is. If your larger baby/child isn’t a super heavy wetter, these would be fine. There is also a bedwetter option which I hear is FANTASTIC. I haven’t tried them, but am considering it for our nighttime solution. They have a lining throughout the diaper, so they may work better as a “real” diaper option.
Other Options for Larger Cloth Diapers
I haven’t tried any of the following cloth diaper options, but have seen them recommended on various facebook groups:
- Rearz – Youth Suitable Cloth Diapers
- Bummis – When I look on their site I don’t see any really large diapers, the largest looks like it’s for around 40 lbs, but maybe that’s what you are looking for… And several people recommend them for larger diapers. Maybe I’m just missing it…
- SnapEZ Stuffable Briefs
- Alva – People rave about Alva because they are very reasonably priced (like around $7 each) and I see some “trainers” on their website which may work for larger babies/children. Their site isn’t very user friendly, though, and it’s hard for me to determine what might fit. Here is a link to another page for “big babies” listed as up to 3 1/2. On this post, you can see pics of the fit that I found helpful…
- Squishy Tushy – these go up to adult, and the in between sizes as well.
Inserts for Added Absorbency
I mentioned earlier about “stuffing” or adding inserts for extra absorbency. There are a ton of options available for this purpose, and while I ended up having my own favorites (flour sack towels, charcoal bamboo inserts, microfiber inserts) I have never done a thorough test of the various inserts (also called “doublers”) but have found a few blog posts that did do some tests. They are below:
- Cloth Diaper Absorbency Tests: How Much Will it Hold?
- Testing Absorbency of Inserts
- Fabric Testing: Complete Results and Conclusions
- What’s the Deal with Flour Sack Towels in Cloth Diapering?
Cloth Diapers at Daycare
We were very fortunate that our daycare was willing to use cloth diapers for b. They knew the difficult time we were having, and even though they had never been asked before, were willing to try them. I have heard some people say that some daycares will refuse to use cloth, citing state regulations as the reason. I always feel that being informed is best, so I found this website that has a link to state regulations about cloth diapering. I brought the regulations with me when I spoke with the daycare owner, which I think also allayed her fears.
Daycare Concern: Keeping Cloth Diapers “Sanitary”
I didn’t really see the concern about the sanitary nature of cloth diapers, but according to my state’s requirements, all diapers must be kept in an “individual, securely-tied plastic bag” which I provided (I used plastic bags from the grocery store). They just removed the diaper, put it in the bag, tied it, and placed it in the extra large wet bag that I provided each day. There really isn’t any more “exposure” to the nasty stuff from cloth diapers that the day care workers don’t already experience when changing disposable diapers. I would send in one wet bag with clean diapers, already stuffed and ready to go, and a second wet bag for the dirty diapers. Easy Peasy! Of course, if your state has different requirements, you should follow those. I washed my diapers every day to keep the number I needed down, and this system worked fine for me.
Cleaning Cloth Diapers
I won’t even begin to talk about cleaning cloth diapers. There is SO MUCH CONTROVERSY about this seemingly simple topic. I will share that I found success with Fluff Love University’s approach to cloth diapering and leave it at that. You do what you feel works for you 🙂
Selling Your Cloth Diapers
Did your little one FINALLY potty train? Giving up on the cloth diaper journey? Take comfort in knowing that you can re-sell your gently used diapers in tons of places. I have found that facebook has many, many groups for buying/selling/trading cloth diapers and the good news is that you can recoup some of your money (something you definitely can’t do with disposables).
I hope you found this post to be informative. What do you think? Have you had success with any of these larger diapers? Did I miss any?