When you begin to cloth diaper, you will find no shortage of choices: Snaps or velcro? Microfiber or hemp inserts (or bamboo or cotton)? Pockets or prefolds? Wool or PUL? Sized or One-Size? AIOs or AI2s? Microfleece or microsuede…you get the idea. It’s enough to drive any newbie over the edge…heck, sometimes this option overload is enough to make a seasoned cloth diaper expert throw up their hands in defeat.
An option that initially confused me was “Sized vs. One-Size.” When I was first introduced to cloth diapering, I thought, “Why on earth would anyone buy a sized diaper that will only fit a kid for a few months when they make diapers that will fit from birth to potty training?!” I soon came to learn that a diaper that will fit from birth to potty training and a diaper that will last from birth to potty training are two different things. Yes, one-size diapers will save you the most money up front, and are probably the best option if you’re diapering multiple children at the same time, but will they really do their job and do it well for 18-36 months? Double or triple or quadruple that if you want them to last through more than one child (and if you’re up to quintupling it, you go mama!)
The answer on this depends on two major factors: how well you maintain and care for your diapers, and how many you have in a wash rotation. If you’re not washing with recommended detergents, using too much detergent and not enough water, using diaper creams that contain zinc oxide (Desitin), or consistently drying your PUL on high heat, you will not see most pocket or AIO dipes last past a year (prefolds and flats have more staying power despite how much you use and abuse them, but alas, even they have their limits). And sadly, no matter how well you do wash and care for your diapers, if you’ve only got 12 of them and was them every day they will most likely last you for the entirety of one child (yay!) but be too worn to make it through another (boo).
Despite this new-found knowledge, I am still opting for a stash that is predominantly One-Size. For me, it’s an excuse to get a boat-load of diapers, as having 50+ and washing every-other-day will ensure that each diaper only gets washed an average of once, maybe twice per week. How can one obtain 50 cloth diapers without going bankrupt? My game plan is to buy a bit here and a bit there throughout the next few months as opposed to all at once, plus take advantage of circle ME’s super sweet registry rewards program 🙂 I will probably get a handful of newborn diapers and Thirsties size one fitteds and covers, as there’s no guarantee that this kid’s coming out at 8 lbs…which, by the way, is another thing to consider: if you have a baby that weighs less than 8 lbs at birth, most one-size diapers will be way too big for your little one. Alas, if our family lineage has anything to say, it’s that Baby will most likely be greeting us at closer to 10 lbs (hooray).
Am I bummed that I will be spending a healthy chunk of change on diapers that will only fit my kid for a few months, or should people who purchase mostly sized diapers reconsider? Not really. An advantage to sized is that since they will be worn and washed less, they will be in better shape for your next child or, if you’ve decided you’re done with your glory days of pregnancy and birth, will have a much higher resale value than your one-size diapers. It all comes down to your priorities and current financial situation. Do you want to save more money now or get more back later? Do you want to be able to diaper more than one child at a time with the same diapers or let each kid have their own stash? There is no right or wrong choice, but know that whether you opt for sized or one-size diapers, you can take solace in the fact that either way you’re still saving A TON more money than you would by purchasing disposables!