Good diaper options, especially cloth diaper services?

cloth diapers clothesline Flickr Ben Husmann CCLaura emails:

My partner and I are expecting a baby in early May and we're exploring all of the different diapering options out there. We haven't settled on anything yet but we're hoping to find out more information about cloth diapering services. Do readers in the area use a service? Are there any in the area? Web searches have only yielded places that have closed in recent years.

This topic of cloth diaper services came up many years ago, but as Laura mentions, it looks like the services mentioned then are all no longer operating.

So, got a suggestion for Laura and her partner? Please share! And a sentence or two about you're recommending a service (or strategy) can be very helpful.

photo: Flickr user Ben Husmann (CC BY 2.0)


My suggestion is to check out a store that sells a variety of cloth diapers to get a sense of which ones you like. We purchased a variety of kinds for our son and my preference was always the pre-fold diaper inserts and covers. You basically wrap the cloth around the baby and pin it with a three prong rubber pin. Then put a waterproof cover over it. My preference was for Velcro over snaps. They make another kind where you stuff two cloth pads into the diaper cover. I thought they were more cumbersome. We tried a diaper service that is no longer in business and determined it was just as easy to wash our own because we had a washer and dryer in our home. For the best wash, we'd raise the hot water tank temp to high when we did a diaper load. For disposable diapers, we have used target brand with good luck. We found that some brands work better than others for our kids, so it can depend. In terms of environmental impact, it goes both ways. You use a lot of water to clean cloth or you add to the landfill with disposables. Again, a lot will depend on the kid. Some kid's skin will react well to cloth, others won't. Same with disposables. Congrats on the new birth. Do what you think is best for your family.

As far as I know, there isn't a diaper service in Albany operating at the moment. My wife and I have a 9 month old and were looking for one more than a year ago. We use a couple different kinds of cloth diapers but I prefer the Bumgenius ( with the inserts. They seem to wash better and dry faster than the all-in-ones. Also, per our Midwife/Doula don't worry about using cloth diapers for the first few weeks. You have to buy special newborn ones and they go through so many diapers you'll be doing laundry non-stop on top of the stress of having a newborn.

I highly recommend cloth diapers. People will think you are crazy but its not that gross and is really only one extra load of laundry every couple days. They can be pricey, an adequate new setup will run around $500 but, in the long run, you will spend way more than that on disposable diapers. There is a really strong resale market on ebay for used cloth diapers. It sounds gross, but you'd be amazed at how well they hold up. We got a bunch off my sister that had already been through 2 boys and they look good as new. My sister does recommend the snap ones and not the Velcro ones as they snaps are supposed to hold up better than the Velcro over time. Regardless, our Velcro ones seem to be working just fine though.

It's really is worth it. You aren't wrapping your baby in plastic and chemicals and diaper rash is almost non-existent. We've yet to have any kind of leak or blowout that would have been contained by a disposable diaper.

gdiapers were a good compromise. Mostly cloth with an insert that can be composted, trashed , or (supposedly) flushed.

These are what we used. They are great! They are expandable so they grow with your baby. You don't need a diaper service, these are so easy. There are care guides on the internet too, so they last. I'd say 20 diapers would be a good amount and you'll need a drying rack since they really shouldn't go in the dryer. Also get the button ones, not the velcro. The velcro ones, we found, wear out very quickly - and though they can be repaired - it's a pain in the @$$.

Also, Ebay is your friend here. You can find ebay lots that have multiple, and sometimes barely used diapers for very cheap. But if you are wary of this - and if you are doing a registry - sign up for these diapers above. Most people throw in a pack of diapers with their gift, just ask for one of these bumgenius diapers in lieu of that.


This is a gap in the area's family services -- about 5-6 years ago there was a cloth diaper service/retailer that went out of business for personal reasons - as far as I know, no one has stepped in to fill that gap yet.

Western Mass has a few diaper services - it would be wonderful to see a service back in this area.

(The "natural" baby shops in the area carry cloth diapers, I'd suggest trying a few kinds once baby arrives before investing in a bunch.)

The following is a local cloth diaper service run by a local mom! I know her personally and she is great!!

The Bundle Store in Clifton Park is a GREAT resource for cloth diapering. They host regular "Cloth Diaper 101" classes (a good alternative to being confused by conflicting information on the interwebs), and cloth diaper consignment sales (unfortunately their most recent consignment sale was last weekend). Pick up a few different kinds of diapers secondhand--I'd suggest buying 6 to start with, so you can go a whole day doing cloth to get a feel for it; buying them secondhand shouldn't run you more than $30-40 all told--so you can decide what kind you prefer.

The staff is also very knowledgeable and friendly.

I'd second the above comment though -- don't do cloth diapers with a newborn. Wait til 2 months or so. Fewer changes/day, and one-size diapers are much more likely to fit right on a 2-month old.

FWIW, after 6 months of cloth, we've been pretty happy with Rumparooz, BumGenius elementals, and GroVia hybrids.

Congrats! I remember when this was a pressing question for me...

A few hints that aren't already above:
-Different diapers work best for different kids at different stages. You might hold off on buying all of one kind until you've tried a few. Jillian's Drawers, which is based in Ithaca, has a great deal where you get a kind-of cloth sampler pack for a 21 day trial and can decide which work best for you. After the 21 days are up, you can keep what you like, and send the rest back for store credit to buy more of what you like.

-For diaper laundry detergent, we favored Charlie's Soap. (Some normal detergents leave behind residues that can irritate skin or block absorbency). You can buy it in a ginormous tub and it will last you for like a year and a half.

-I totally echo the previous poster(s) about not feeling like you have to dive in on cloth diapering with a newborn. Those early weeks are tough and changes frequent. You won't compromise your principles if you turn to disposables for a week or two. (or return to them from time to time). Pick your battles.

LBB reusable diapers are secure, cute, easy to use and clean. Very comparable to Alva Baby. If you're not picky about colors, you can get 6 diapers and 6 inserts for $30 on Amazon, otherwise they run $8-10 per diaper/insert set.

We've been using Alva pocket diapers for months with our baby who is 5 1/2 months right now. They are really really versatile in sizing. I went online to figure out how to do the snaps for a really tiny baby. Once he hit 8-10 lbs/ was in size 1 diapers we were able to start using them with him. That's a nice point to start switching too, usually you kind of feel like you have your act together a little more and the newborn haze begins to clear.

They have a ton of patterns and with the microfiber insert (the cheaper one, which we actually prefer over the supposedly more absorbent, slightly more expensive bamboo insert that takes forever to dry) they run you about $6-$7 a diaper. We've saved a boatload of cash and while we originally weren't too sure about the whole cloth diapering thing at first, my husband and I really love it now. We do a load of laundry, stuff all the inserts so they are ready to go, and after one use you just pull the insert out of the diaper and both go into the diaper pail until the next wash. We rarely have leaks and almost never have blow outs. We still use disposables at night since he goes for long stretches and is a pretty heavy wetter.

We bought some from here:

and you can get big lots of new alva diapers from ebay too which we did once we decided we liked it and were going to make a go of it.

I also recommend getting the reusable bags to put the diapers in. We have tall bags for our diaper pail at home and two small zip ones for daycare. Seemed stupid to be throwing away all these plastic bags when I could be just throwing a reusable one in the wash with the diapers.

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