When I first became pregnant, before looking at cribs, baby clothes, strollers and all the rest, I researched diapers. I knew nothing about baby waste habits other than the fact that babies need a lot of diapers.
Two of the first things I discovered were that newborn babies use 10-12 diapers per day and that a normal disposable diaper takes 500 years to breakdown in a landfill. Now, I am horrific at math, but I could do enough math to imagine one immense stinky pile of diapers after just a few months, not to mention an entire year or more. That led me to look for alternatives. I contemplated washing my own cloth diapers, but it wasn’t very practical as we were living in an apartment and I had no idea what to expect with a newborn. I looked into cloth diaper services, but there were none available in the neighborhood I was living in at the time. While researching other cloth diapers, I found gDiapers, a hybrid diaper.
Hybrid diaper? What’s that? A gDiaper is a 3-part diaper system. There is a cotton gPant, a plastic gPouch that snaps into the gPant, and an insert that is placed in the platic pouch. The hybrid part is that the insert can be either cloth or a disposable/FLUSHABLE/100% biodegradable insert. The disposable inserts sold me on the product. And to be honest, I should also mention that the sheer cuteness of gDiapers, which come in a rainbow of colors and the occasional special edition print, also helped seal the decision.
I bought the new baby welcome package, which included 12 tiny g’s, 6 small g’s and two packages of the flushable inserts (80 inserts). Depending on the size and shape of your baby, they may stay in one size a little longer, or grow out of one very quickly. However, you will most likely get the most wear out of the size medium gPants.
Tiny g’s 6-10lbs
Small g’s 8-14lbs
Medium g’s 13-28lbs
Large g’s 26-36lbs
X Large g’s 34lbs+
After the first week, we saw that we really were using about 12 diapers per day; breastfed babies poop constantly! We needed just over two packages of small g inserts per week, which works out to two cases of inserts per month (a case has 4 packages). This rhythm lasted until Louis switched to mediums around 4 months and we were using fewer diapers per day. We have gradually dropped down to 5-6 diapers per day, which is about 1 case per month.
How many gPants do I need?
This will all depend on how often you want to do laundry (see below). I would recommend a minimum of 12 for a newborn and 8 for the next sizes. I myself have 12 newborn, 15 smalls, 13 mediums and 6 larges (for the future). It is also good to have extra gPouches on hand in case the pouch is a little damp/dirty. You can just snap a clean one into the gPant.
Louis started wearing his g’s about one week after we brought him home from the hospital. The hospital gave us a package of disposables and we finished that off before trying out the g’s. This actually worked out pretty well because the first few days of new baby poop, called meconium, is a black, very sticky, tar-like substance. I think it would be difficult to wash it out of the g’s. Louis was 7lbs 15oz at birth and wore his tiny g’s until he was about 8 weeks old. He was in the small g’s until he turned 4 months old and has been in the medium g’s ever since. He is now 14 months old, about 32in tall and about 24lbs and I foresee many more months in the mediums.
The gDiaper system is easy to use. We watched the how to videos on the g website and it is really not difficult. Probably the most different part of a gDiaper is that the velcro fastens in the back instead of the front. As I wasn’t used to diapering, this was not a problem. The most
important things to remember when putting on a g are to fit the plastic liner in the leg crotch and not in a fat roll, and not to fasten the Velcro too tight. That’s it. As far as leaks go, it depends. In my experience, a daytime pee leak is usually due to user error; you didn’t get the correct fit.
However, over the past two months we have had a few more daytime pee leaks than usual. As Louis has made the switch from breast milk to cow milk, I suspect that he gets much larger quantities of liquid in one sitting now with cow milk than he did of breast milk and his little bladder just can’t hold it all. I am finding the pee diapers to be much fuller than they were before, and I have to change him a little more often than usual. Other than that, we are still happy with the gDiapers. The good news for leaks is that gDiapers are awesome at containing poo. We have had only two incidents in Louis’ entire life where poo came out of the diaper and onto his clothes. Both incidents were when he was about 4-5 months old when he started eating solids and his digestive tract was trying new things. It seems like babies who wear disposables are much more prone to having messy blowouts.
Laundry and care
One of the slight inconveniences of the gDiaper system is that you do need easy and frequent access to laundry, which can be challenging for apartment dwellers. Pee and poo will get into the plastic pouch but it rarely gets on the cotton gPant. Often, for the plastic pouch, a quick wash in the sink and a drip dry is enough to clean everything until you are ready to launder. We had laundry in our apartment starting when Louis was 2 months old. Let me tell you, after having to schlep my dirty clothes to the laundry mat for years, I LOVED doing laundry. I probably wash all of Louis’ diapers every 3-4 days. When I do launder the diapers, I throw all diapers and clothes in together. Note, anytime there is poo in the pouch, I rinse it off in the sink and let it dry before throwing it into the dirty clothes basket. As for laundry soap, I used a baby laundry soap from Method, and I’m sure whatever baby detergent you plan on using will be gentle enough. The gPant can be machine dried, but the plastic pouches should be air dried. If the pouches have stains, drying them outside in the sunshine, or even drying them near a sunny window can really help reduce or eliminate the stains.
One of the benefits of cloth diapers or gdiapers is that the incidence of diaper rash is greatly reduced. Up until Louis was 11 months old, he never had diaper rash. Then, through a combination of travel, change of routine, teething and change of weather, he had his first case of diaper rash. I used Bourdreaux’s Butt Paste in the green tube and the rash cleared up very quickly.
Travel with gDiapers
We have travelled with gDiapers from simple errands in the city to weekend trips to vacations in foreign countries. I find gDiapers to be convenient no matter where we go. I packed our suitcase with gDiapers last summer when we went to Europe for 3 weeks. We ran out at the end of the trip and had to use disposables, but I felt good about having made the effort…and it was nice to have the extra room in the suitcases once the gDiapers were gone! One thing to note about the flushable gDiapers is that they are only approved for flushing in the US and Canada (but if you have sketchy plumbing, it is probably best to avoid). Elsewhere, I just throw them in the trash since they are totally biodegradable.
The best way to minimize costs is to buy when g’s are on sale, buy used (I have purchased plenty of gently used gPants from ebay and the facebook resell forum) and sign up with a subscription delivery service. In the US, Amazon has a subscribe and save program and an Amazon mom program that are both free. When you join, you can get a pretty hefty discount on the gRefills. When I joined last year, I got 30% off and my diapers were sent automatically. This came out to about $30 on average per case of 128 diapers. This is a huge savings considering that the current price on diapers.com is over $50 per case. I stopped my subscription a few months before we moved because we had a couple of extra cases at the ready. I think Amazon has since reduced the discount to 20% for subscribe and save/Amazon mom. In any case, it is definitely worth checking into. Also, since the shipments are automatic (and FREE!), you never run
out of diapers. You are able to cancel without penalty at any time. I believe diapers.com also has bargains and incentive programs, but, at the time, they weren’t nearly as good as what Amazon was offering.
What about wipes?
We have used a couple of different “systems” for wipes. Before Louis started solids, he pooed all the time. We just used water and viva paper towels to clean him up. As the poo became less runny, I made my own wipes and solution. I cut up a flannel receiving blanket into squares to use as wipes. For the solution, I mix 1-2tbs witch hazel with 4-5 drops of both lavender and tea tree oils in a spray bottle of water. I only use the wipes when there is a pee diaper and the wipes go into the laundry basket with everything else. If there is poo, I take Louis to the sink and clean him up with baby soap and water. When out and about or traveling I use either the Seventh Generation brand wipes or Nature Baby Care wipes, I like both because they are fragrance free. I never had the opportunity to try the gDiaper brand wipes.
gDiapering in France
Now that we are in France, I have been delighted that I can still use the biodegradable refills here. I contacted gDiapers in the UK, which is called gNappies. They directed me to a French green baby product website called brindilles that sells the inserts. After some comparison and some calculation with the exchange rate, it was actually almost half the cost to order directly from gNappies in the UK rather than to order from the French website. The delivery was supposed to take 2-3 business days, but ended up taking about a week. No matter, we now have a stockpile of g’s and our little guy is covered!
G’s are also an investment on the future. We will hopefully someday add another little one to our family. I am keeping all of the g’s so that future baby #2 can have an eco-friendly and adorable bum too!
Our little guy is now 20 months old and is about 30lbs and 35 inches (he’s on the higher end of the height/weight charts for his age). We moved up to size large when he was about 16 months, about 27lbs. His little belly was just too big for the mediums. He has been going through a growth spurt over the last two months, and I fear he will need the XL size before the end of the year. We currently have 9 larges, and I feel like that is more than enough as he probably only needs about 5 changes per day. We do use a disposable diaper at night (Nature Babycare) because around the time he turned 1 year old, the biodegradable g’s were just not absorbent enough for the whole night.
Louis is now 25 months and still in size L gDiapers. We have gone back to using them at night and rarely have leaks. The only unfortunate thing is that he started going to daycare every afternoon and we have to use disposables there. Now that we are living in Austria, I can no longer find Nature Babycare, but I did find a brand called Moltex which is sold in organic grocery stores and seems to be a fairly good green alternative to gDiapers. I hope that this spring/summer we can start potty training.