Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Clothing Diapering with a Hybrid System

Kathryn has given you a basic rundown of cloth diapering, so I am just here to share what works for our family. When I found out that I was pregnant, there was no doubt in my mind we would use cloth diapers. I am pretty sure my family wanted to have an intervention for me but instead they used fear tactics. They all recanted stories about dunking poopy diapers in the toilet and sticking themselves with pins. But fear did not prevail. I was armed with information after consulting the cloth diaper guru in our network of friends (Kathryn) and doing my own research. When Weston arrived, I am sure everyone still had their doubts, but they all jumped on board and haven’t complained yet! Not to my face anyway.

Dennis and I decided that we wanted to try cloth diapering Weston from the beginning, so after much research we purchased a set of newborn AIOs and the Hybrid Live Package (shells and soakers) from Grovia. You can read about our experience cloth diapering a newborn here.  Kathryn has already filled you in on AIOs, so this post will be about our experience with hybrid diapers.


Hybrid diapers consist of an outer reusable shell that can be used with a cloth insert or a disposable insert. In addition, the outer shell can usually be used 2 to 3 times with a new insert before changing. There are many other types of hybrid diapers on the market including gDiapers, Flip, Best Bottom, Softbums, and Kissaluvs. I am not familiar with any of these brands except for Grovia, so that is what I will be talking about here, but do your research! You may find a diaper that better suits your family situation. For example, after researching daycare centers, I found that many daycares will entertain cloth diapers, but only if they are AIOs. If you like the hybrid diapers, but your daycare center only allows AIOs, Softbums may be your best option. Their Omni shell holds a few different inserts and can act as an all-in-two, an AIO, and a prefold.

As I’ve said, we used Grovias mostly because they had the best reviews and because of the materials used in their construction. You can check out their website for more information on materials. The Grovia hybrid system consists of a one-size fits most reusable shell that is fully adjustable in both the waist and the rise, reusable soaker pads (inserts), and/or biodegradable disposable soaker pads. The shells are offered in hook-and-loop and snap systems, while the soaker pads are a one size fits most deal. I prefer the snap system, but if you do order hook-and-loop and later decide that you would like a snap closure, you can send the diaper into Grovia along with $5 and they will magically convert it to a snap for you!


                                                              Grovia Hybrid System  

The cloth inserts snap into the inside of the shell while the disposable inserts are just laid into the diaper. The Grovia inserts that we purchased had to be “prepped.” I am pretty sure that most, if not all, cloth diapers require prepping as this helps release natural oils in the material that may prohibit full absorbency. The prepping process differs by brand. For the Grovia hybrids, prepping consisted of running the diapers through a wash and dry cycle 5-6 times before use. But they now make a “No Prep Soaker Pad that only requires one wash before its ready to go!

Anywhooo- once Weston had his surgery and had gained enough weight to put him into the hybrid diapers we went for it – and we have had nothing but success! We rarely have any leaks, unless he’s been sitting in it unexpectedly too long (a long nap, a long car ride, etc.). And they are so easy to use!


Unsnap diaper.
Remove insert.
Place soiled insert in pail or wetbag.
Snap in a clean insert, lay in a disposable insert, or change entire diaper.
Snap diaper back up.

Easy. As. Pie.

We use the Grovia disposable Biosoaker inserts or the 7th Generation or Honest disposable diapers (both of which are plant-based eco-friendly disposable options) at night and on occasions when we are going to be out of the house for a long period of time and don’t want to have to carry around a lot of cloth inserts and soiled diapers. (Grovia’s disposable inserts are biodegradable and compostable (#1 only) - Bonus!) The only time we have experienced leaks is when he takes an extra long nap (Hallelujah!) or one of our parents is babysitting. The diapers are a bit bulky on newborns, but as they grow, they become less so. It really doesn't bother us though, we’re trying to catch bodily fluids here- not win any fashion shows!

A few weeks ago we ran out of disposable diapers and the biosoakers, so we started placing a booster on top of the insert for overnights. We've had a lot of success with this method and haven’t had any leaks yet, so we are going to continue this method for a little longer until we need to do otherwise.


We use the 7th Generation Free and Clear Wipes. I would prefer to make my own wipes or use reusable wipes like Kathryn does, but I just never got around to it. I’ve been having second thoughts about this lately as Weston has been experiencing some rashes and will probably switch to something akin to Kathryn’s method in the near future.

Diaper Pail
We too use the Ubbi. It’s a pretty solid piece of garbage pail. It has a locking feature which is nice now that Weston is getting into EVERYTHING! I wipe it out every week with a disinfecting wipe or vinegar and water spray as the smell of dirty diapers builds up over the week. It is never overpowering or anything and in fact, my husband rarely smells it. I, on the other hand, have a super sniffer and am offended by even the slightest off-smell. This is also the only container we have to put the diapers in. Our bathroom is barely big enough to fit the bathtub, toilet, and sink, much less a diaper pail.

We use the Ubbi cloth pail liner inside the pail. We purchased two -one for the pail, one for the wash.

Diaper Sprayer
We have the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer. It mounts right to the toilet and there is an adjustable valve that allows you to control the water pressure -heed Kathryn’s advice- medium is a fine setting- anything higher and you might find yourself needing to take a shower. We too had an issue with the sprayer leaking at first, but the Dennis figured out that you need to release the pressure in the sprayer head after you turn the sprayer off. So the chain of diaper spraying events should go something like this-turn the valve to the on position, spray off the diaper, turn the valve to the off position, and hit the spray button again to release any water that was left in the sprayer hose. Since we have begun this process, we have had no leaks! Of course, all sprayers and toilets are different, so I can’t guarantee it will work for you, but give it a try.

Cloth Diaper Friendly Rash Creams
The only thing we have ever used is the California Baby Diaper Rash Cream. I love California Baby products. They offer a great selection of natural products that are made in the USA in a solar-powered facility! (Double environmental bonus!) I also find them to be quite affordable compared to similar products and they are available at Target, which has pretty much become the only place I shop since Weston was born. We are huge fans of their lotion for both Weston and ourselves. But there are many other affordable options out there including the Grovia Magic Stick and Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm just to name a few.


I am constantly checking Weston’s diaper to see if he is wet. I hate the thought of him sitting in a wet diaper. There is usually no signal for when he has gone #1 but just before a #2 we see the big red spot light up on his forehead and we know we’re in for a twosie. So, as soon as we realize he is soiled, he gets changed. His changing station is in his bedroom. Our house is pretty small so I never really bothered creating more than one station. When he was small, his changing table was attached to his crib and had a set of three drawers underneath it. This is where we stored the wipes, cream, and diapers. Now that he is bigger we change him on his dresser (or the floor depending on how squirmy he is). The diaper shells and inserts are stored in a couple drawers in the dresser that are within easy reach and the wipes, cream, and lotion are stored on top of the dresser next to the changing pad in a little container I picked up at Target.

Pee diapers go directly into the diaper pail. Number 2 diapers get sprayed out and then go into the diaper pail. At the end of the night, Weston gets put into his hybrid combo or disposable diaper and as one of us is putting him down, the other grabs the wetbag out of the pail, checks the diaper bags to make sure there are no additional soiled diapers, and they immediately get tossed into the washing machine. If only one of us is home, we usually throw the wetbag outside his door and just grab it on the way out of his room after he goes to sleep.


The washing routine will be different for everyone and is completely based on your schedules- but this is what works for us.

We wash our diapers every night. Occasionally we wash them every two nights, but usually it is every night. The shells, cloth inserts, and diaper bag all get washed together. As with all cloth diapers, the Grovias require the use a cloth diaper approved soap. There are many types (Grovia has their own brand called Tiny Bubbles), but we just happen to use the BumGenius brand because it’s what you can get at Buy Buy Baby while actually being able to use the 20% coupon (I mean, have you seen the list of things you cannot purchase with that coupon? Come on!). We have an HE front load washing machine, so we just use one scoop of the BumGenius washing powder. We wash on a hot water cycle-and depending on who is doing the diapers- a second rinse cycle. I don’t think we need an extra rinse cycle. My husband does. It’s futile to argue about so whoever is washing just does what they want. The inserts go in the dryer and the shells hang to dry. The shells actually have a really fast drying time (within hours). We have to run the inserts on at least one and a half dryer cycles, although we've been using dryer balls lately and that seems to have cut the drying time down to one cycle.

We have had very few issues with staining. When Weston had to take a multi-vitamin during the weeks before and after his surgery, there would be these awful brownish-red stains on the inserts. But when the weather got nicer, we left the diapers out in the sun to dry and the stain disappeared!

Like I said, laundry care will be different for every type of diaper, but whichever type you choose, the manufacturer should provide good laundry care instructions.

So- there you have it. That's how cloth diapering works for us.  There are so many options out there and it can definitely be overwhelming.  The first step is to decide which style you want to use and go from there.  And be sure to check out the list of cloth diaper resources.


Cotton Babies Cloth Diaper 101
bumGenius pocket diapers
bumGenius all in one diapers
Charlie Banana diapers
Kelly’s Closet
Her cloth diaper 101
Kelly's Closet info on washing routines
Info about washing routines from the blog Dirty Diaper Laundry

Do you cloth diaper or are you hoping to? Share your experience or any questions you have in the comments below!

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