When I decided I wanted to use cloth diapers once I had children, I also decided I needed to Do It Right The First Time, as many first time moms feel that is an attainable goal. Prefolds and covers were what everyone said were cheap, and there seemed to be a decent enough fanbase of those diapers online. Like if I went to a cloth diapering convention there would be predominantly prefold fans shopping at prefold booths and attending prefold presentations and all the pocket, fitted, and all-in-one fans would have their own niches in the corners of the convention center. Anyway, prefolds and covers seemed cheap, popular, and durable, which made them the perfect cloth diaper for me to Do It Right The First Time. They would totally work, and I’d never have to use another type of cloth diaper, and I could feel smug about not spending $25 for a single all-in-one.
I think prefolds and covers worked fine on my daughter in the newborn stage. The memory of my first three months as a new mother is one giant blur of diapers, laundry, baby, and exhaustion. I remember moving to pockets around then, once she was large enough to fit into them. Oh, we still used prefolds and covers mostly, but I thought pocket diapers were cute and I liked how stuffable they were for nighttime, ignoring the fact that I could just pop a doubler into the prefolds. In my mind, that was Not The Right Way. Pockets at night were a part of Doing It Right The First Time.
My daughter grew fast. She outgrew one size of prefolds, then a month later outgrew the next size. I panicked a little every time I checked our bank account. Part of the reason we decided to use cloth diapers on our children was so that we would save money. I hadn’t counted on having a child that grew at Mach 5, though, and buying new sets of prefolds every couple of months was taking a bigger hit on our budget than I would have liked. This was not how I was supposed to Do It Right The First Time. My carefully laid out plans were not working!
For a while, I experimented with flats and pockets. Pockets were cute, and easier to snap onto a baby who was rapidly learning to wiggle around and make diaper changes as difficult as possible. Flats were cheap, but neither ended up working as much as I wanted them to. It was annoying! Here I had chosen some of the cheapest ways to cloth diaper, because of course you can cloth diaper on the cheap and that was part of Doing It Right The First Time, and I was starting to go nuts. I didn’t like folding flats. I didn’t like stuffing pockets. I didn’t want to keep buying different sizes of prefolds (although I ended up spending more money trying to get other types of diapers to work than I would have if I’d just stuck with prefolds…life’s little ironies, eh?). I hated having pieces of diapers all over the place,especially since we lived in a small apartment. Snappis and inserts and covers ended up all over the place, and once my daughter realized she could pick up objects at one spot and move them over to another spot as she learned to walk on her stubby little legs, those items ended up in more and more obscure places.
Finally, someone gifted me an all-in-one out of the blue. I held it in my hands, turning it over and over and unsnapping and resnapping it. I couldn’t believe this single diaper had cost $25. It was just some fabric sewed into a cover! Was it really THATgood?
I put it on my daughter. When it was dirty, I took it off and threw it in the diaper pail. No need to unpin anything or separate the cover from the inner. After it was washed and dried, I picked it up and placed it on the shelf. That was all. It was put away. No need to fold or sort or stuff anything.
I checked my bank account, then sat down at the computer and ordered several more all-in-ones. I admitted to myself that I had blown Doing It Right The First Time a long time ago, and it was a terribly unrealistic goal anyway.
And that is how I came to be in favor of the all-in-one.