As you may recall, about a month back I mentioned some recent additions to our cloth diapering stash including goodies from gDiapers. My main motivation for purchasing these was that we'll be spending time at the cottag this summer, and we don't want to contend with cloth diaper laundry while we're away but also don't want to resort to disposables. gDiapers struck me as a perfect compromise between cloth & convenience!
So what is gDiapers? It is an eco-friendly hybrid diapering system consisting of breathable cotton shells (called "gPants"), waterproof snap-in liners and either disposable or reusable inserts. Disposable inserts are called "gRefills" and are fully biodegradable, breaking down within 50-150 days. They can either be purchased alone or bundled with gPants. The reusable inserts sold by the company are called "gCloth" and combine with the gPants for a 100% cloth diapering solution. gDiapers are a sized system, with gPants available in newborn (6-10 lbs), small (8-14 lbs), medium (13-28 lbs) and large (26-36 lbs). They come in a variety of cute 'n' snazzy colours as well! Visit the gDiapers website for more details & benefits of their system!
As I learned in my research, gPants also work with other types of reusable inserts (e.g. microfibre or bamboo) or even prefolds, so they are quite versatile! Plus, I was thrilled to discover that the medium gPants I purchased fit infant-sized prefolds (which can only be used up to about 15 pounds fastened with a Snappi), thus greatly extending their length of usability!
One unique aspect of gPants is that the aplix closures are on the sides rather than at the front to keep them "away from little hands". I thought this might make them awkward to fasten, but appreciate the reason behind this as our DD is only 4 months old and already starting to tug at her front-closing covers!
So let's get on to our thoughts upon actually using these dipes!
First of all, the covers are super soft to the touch. I'd imagine these would feel nice against baby's skin - much more pleasant than a PUL or wool cover. Thumbs up here!
Secondly, the dipes are simple to prep. Just throw the cover and liner into a single wash cycle; no multi-wash prepping required here, kids!
Next, the three parts (cover, liner and insert) are quite easy to put together. Step 1: snap the waterproof liner into the cover (4 total snaps; one in each corner):
Step 2: stuff in the desired insert. I tried stuffing with an infant prefold (trifolded against the grain) and a microfibre insert, and they both fit nicely:
I also tried stuffing with one of the disposable inserts, which is what we plan to do at the cottage. When I first pulled one out of the package, I was surprised at how huge it was and perplexed as to how it would fit into the liner. Well, it did - just took a little poking, prodding and massaging to create a U-shape:
Putting a "loaded" gDiaper on S proved to be pretty straightforward as well. I found it a tad tricky to line up the aplix perfectly at the sides (since it gets pulled behind baby's back, and therefore you can't quite see the alignment), but it's easy to adjust. It's also important to do a little "finger swoop" of the liner on each side to make sure it's hugging the leg snugly. I love how stretchy and soft the waist elastic is! No worries here about leaving marks on baby's sensitive skin, and the stretchiness allows a lot of room to grow up to the 28 lb weight limit.
The resulting fit is nice and relatively trim, though of course this depends on the insert used. The disposable and microfibre inserts result in a trimmer fit than the prefold insert. It sounds like the company's own gCloth inserts may result in the trimmest fit of all, however unfortunately I don't have any of these to try out. Here are a couple pics of S in her vanilla bean gDiaper stuffed with a microfibre insert. Doesn't she have a cute li'l gBum???
So how does the dipe hold up? Well, all three inserts soaked up the pee nicely - no leaks! Granted we didn't try any of them overnight so I can't comment on their effectiveness for this purpose. S has had a couple number twos wearing a gDipe, both with a prefold insert. In both cases, some poop got on the liner, but this is to be expected 90% of the time (in particular with EBF poops). In the first case, a tiny bit of poop "hopped the fence" and landed on the cover, but this movement was plentiful; the type of poop that would likely result in a blow-out in a sposie so not too bad of a result! Finally, as expected, the diaper didn't leave any marks around the waist or legs, but it did leave a bit of an impression where the liner snaps into the cover. However these marks were very superficial, faded quickly and didn't seem to bother our little one.
Next topic - care & maintenance. Both the gPants and liners can go into the washer and the gPants have nice laundry tabs to prevent diaper chains, which I appreciate. The company website advises against washing the liners on hot, however I have to admit I've done this a few times since a hot wash is part of my normal CD cycle. No ill effects so far, however I don't want them to lose their waterproofness so I may start throwing them in with the non-CD baby laundry as I do a cold wash for that. I hang dry both the gPants and liners; both dry very quickly. And, of course, any choice of cloth insert can be washed with regular CD laundry.
Now, disposal of the biodegradable insert was a bit of an adventure! I decided to flush the insert (the recommended approach) but learned from their H.U.G (Handy User's Guide) that there are a few steps involved to do this properly. First of all, you need to tear down each side of the insert. Then you remove the absorbent inner material, dump that in the toilet and swish it around so it breaks apart. Finally, you toss in the outer material and flush. I found removing the inner material to be a li'l messy. When it's filled with pee, it has a mushy, sort of jelly-like consistency (similar to tapioca), and I managed to get a little of this on the counter and floor. (Then again, I'm not the most coordinated person in the world.) I did the recommended breaking up of this material in the toilet but it still clogged a little going down. I had to flush twice and for a moment I was worried there'd be an overflow. Then again, with a toilet bowl that looks like this, you ARE playing a game of flushin' Roulette. :)
At the cottage, we'll be either trashing the dipes or saving them to compost, as we're on a septic system up there so I suspect flushing won't be an option. Following my little experience, I'm not too troubled by this. :)
All in all, I really like the gDiapers system! I plan to work the gPants into our regular diaper rotation, in particular once S has outgrown her small covers and the ability to fasten her infant prefolds with a snappi. She's only 13 pounds now, so the diapers will presumably fit her even better once she has gained a little more weight.
** UPDATE (AUG 7, 2011) **
We have now been using our little gPants for several months and they continue to work well for us all in all. One challenge we've found, however, is that the aplix is not the strongest so it tends to become detached from the laundry tabs in the washer or dryer. Related to this, the gPant material pills very quickly if aplix gets stuck to it. As such, we've had a couple "incidents" and our gPants have some significant pilling. In order to prevent further damage, I have started to hand wash the little gPants and hang them to dry. I feel that this will result in a much longer lifespan than continuing to machine wash and dry them.
Here is a summary of the pros and cons I found with the system:
+ Covers are soft and waist elastic is smooth & stretchy; nice against baby's skin
+ Covers and liners are both made of breathable material
+ Disposable inserts are 100% biodegradable
+ Numerous insert options are possible - disposable, gCloth, microfibre, prefold, you name it!
+ gPants work with prefolds a size smaller, so if you opt to use these as inserts you can greatly extend their length of usability!
+ Diapers are cute and come in a variety of fun covers
+ Side fastening functionality keeps the aplix tabs away from little hands
+ Waterproof liner does a great job of keeping pee and poo off the cover
- Minor marks on baby's skin from where liner snaps onto cover
- Disposable inserts are a bit messy to flush
- Side closing aplix can be a little tricky to fasten with proper alignment
- Waterproof liners shouldn't be washed on hot, so may need to be washed separate from other cloth diaper laundry
- Aplix is not the strongest so can become detached from laundry tabs in the washer/dryer. Also, little gPant material pills easily when it comes in contact with aplix. As such, recommendation is to hand wash and hang dry the little gPants.
You can purchase gDiapers products directly from their website or from a 3rd party retailer or, if you're lucky like me, find a great deal on them from an online classifieds site like Kijiji!