I have heard about these for a long time now. They intrigued me, but I always thought they wouldn't be something we needed. I guess you could say I was in the "I don't understand why that's any different" crowd. While we are in the process of moving to a new house we have a little time with less access to a washer, and with the big sale on the everyday 6 packs, I figured what better time to try them? Plus gDiapers had just come out with their own brand of cloth inserts.
I ordered a 6 pack, a glory g, a package of cloth inserts, and a package of flushable inserts. You can see how to use them and more extensive info on the website, but here are the basics. The diaper consists of 3 parts, the cute outer little gPants, a waterproof liner, and an insert.
The waterproof liner snaps into the gPants, then you lay an insert in the liner and put it on. They go on looking like they are backwards, but they really are easy to put on this way, and I believe this design makes it easy to put on properly and not too tight. There are videos on the gDiapers site that show you how to put them on properly. I was worried that I'd forget something, but it really was simple.
When it's changing time, things are nearly as easy. Undo the velcro and stick it to the laundry tabs. If you've used a cloth insert, just put it in the diaper pail and care for like a cloth diaper. If you've used a flushable insert, you have a few options. Toss it (shake the poop into the toilet first! Did you know you are supposed to do this with disposables too??), compost it (wet ones only!), or flush it. The flushing may take a little bit of getting used to. For me, it took until the second flushable liner. First one I had to flush twice to clear the bowl, but in the toilets defense, my swishstick hadn't arrived yet. Once I had that, no problems at all! I wondered how it might work in a public restroom though, since I don't have plans to carry my swishstick everywhere I go. Most public restrooms have more powerful flushes, so maybe it's not an issue. Or you can just toss it in the trash when you're out. You must tear the insert open and dump the contents of it in the toilet first for it to flush properly. It sounds gross, but it really is not. The inserts are so long that it was easy to tear from the cleaner end.
If you choose to compost the inserts, they are supposed to break down in 50-150 days. There are instructions and a video on the website. I'm not sure I'll do this, as our compost ends up in our new square foot gardens. I don't know that the SAP would be good in "Mel's Mix"... Now there's a good question to send into Mel...
The flushable inserts are a pleasant change from a disposable diaper. I often wondered about the mess that might happen when a child tears apart a disposable diaper. Not to mention the plastic would be a scary thing for them to choke on, and the rest of the contents... well baby's put a lot of stuff in their mouths. Disposables are SO easy for a baby to take off also, which some of us don't worry about, but I KNOW some of us do worry! gDiapers will come off, but it's trickier, and there's no plastic to choke on.
gDiaper flushable inserts seem to absorb as much as a disposable diaper does. They are constructed of nearly the same materials, the gDiaper flushable is chlorine free and comes from sustainably managed tree farms. It also has SAP, sodium polyacrylate gel. I have not yet experienced finding gel beads on my baby's tushie as seems to be common with disposables. The gDiaper flushables are not scented so there is no "disposable diaper smell". I do detect a faint smell though, and I wonder if SAP just has a smell to it, though this is nothing near the smell coming from a disposable diaper. I know, some of you are thinking I'm crazy, but a few of you reading this know just what I'm talking about.
The liner can be used again until it gets poop on it. So far most of the poopy diapers have contaminated the liner, only one has gotten away clean. Luckily, those snap right out and can be hand washed or put in the washing machine. I've been tossing them in the cloth diaper pail or hand washing. For those who do not have a cloth diaper pail, a small trash can would hold the liners until you had 2-3 days worth to wash with a small cycle in the machine, then hang dry. They are fairly simple to wash, but I've read not to use vinegar. No bleach also, that's a no no in the cloth world. The gPants stay clean, we've only had pee leak onto one so far, and that was because I didn't put it on properly. (Note to self... take an extra 2 seconds to make sure you've put them on properly the first day you use them!) The gPants can be washed with your regular laundry if you prefer, no bleach again! The liner will most likely get poop on it, no matter which insert you use. Maybe once a toddler does not nurse anymore it doesn't happen as often, but I imagine a newborn would go through a lot of liners. I don't know how these fit newborns, the small size says it fits starting at 8 lbs. 2/3 of my babies would have been over that limit, but it would take A LOT to convince me to not use fitteds the first few months. No review on that here, my baby is 16 months.
My first concern with the liner was how stiff the material might be. Once I felt one I did not worry. The material is nylon, but it is still soft. I don't even know what to compare it to... maybe the material from an umbrella, but one side has a slight rubbery feel. It is soft against the skin though. The liners may leave light red marks on baby, similar to if you lay your arm on a button for long enough. But on the gDiapers site, it says this is normal but soreness would indicate a problem. We haven't experienced any problems with that yet :)
Here's what happened to the one liner I didn't notice and it went through the dryer. It's a cooked salmon color now, which is odd since every diaper it was washed with has been washed hundreds of times before. It still works, but I imagine many trips through the dryer would cause it to break down and leak.I know of a lot of families who do cloth part time. These diapers would work wonderfully for those families. Say you are running errands all day and would use a disposable. Just take along some extra flushable inserts and a couple liners. The same diaper will hold a cloth insert when you are home. You can even double up the flushable inserts or cloth inserts if you need for night time.
The gCloth inserts are made of 2 layers of microfleece and 2 layers of hemp fleece. I was very skeptical about them. I can't tell if the 2 layers of microfleece help keep baby drier at all, that just seems like unnecessary bulk to me. But the 2 layers of hemp work surprisingly well. Nothing I'd use for going out or bed, but the way the liner works really helps the hemp perform well with so few layers. Once on the baby, either is ever so slightly bulkier than a disposable, but I think the fit is better than a disposable. Both are trimmer than most cloth diapers.
Please excuse the focus issues... I need 2 hands to operate my camera. LOLI am very happy we decided to try these. I really was very skeptical about how they'd work, and how much we'd actually use them. But they fit right in with our diapering routine, and even make it slightly easier, since switching inserts is so simple and uses the same diaper. DH has used them and seems to have no trouble with them. Yay!
The gPants may seem expensive to a disposable diaper user, but considering you need so few of them, it's not bad at all. The everyday g's 6 pack is a GREAT deal right now, use code g1213Hadley to bring the cost from $70 to $40. That's only $6.67 per gPant! The 6 pack only comes in orange and vanilla, but apparently they are very easy to dye, and making a matching tshirt would be cute. I have some Dylon in storage that I was going to use for some bamboo velour, I'll be adding some gPants with it! You can also put little patches on them for fun, like you find at a craft store. Or rhinestones, iron ons, etc. The gCloth inserts are a bit expensive for me (I might say that about anything since I sew my own), but any insert will work, even prefolds if you don't mind the bulk. You can even make your own. The gRefill flushables are expensive, but gDiapers sometimes sends coupons with their orders, coupon codes are easy to find online, and some stores like Whole Foods offer discounts on cases. Once you consider those discounts, flushables are only slightly more expensive than Huggies, and are very similar in price to 7th Generation, and slightly less than Tushies. For us, as little as we will use flushables, this is very reasonable. No matter the cost, I love that they are chlorine free and flushable. It just makes more sense, "green" wise for us. (I got this comparison info from a file at the gDiapers yahoo group, link at the top of the gDiapers website. It might be different considering where you purchase from.)
I am not sure of the environmental impacts of a gDiaper compared to a disposable or a cloth diaper. But let me share my thoughts. I think gDiapers are equal to or better than the use of cloth diapers. I would love to see some extensive research though!
Disposables - there is less to a gDiaper flushable than there is a disposable diaper. There is no plastic layer. The flushable is made with the environment in mind, and is compostable. It will break down in 50-150 days, where there are estimates that it may take a disposable 500 years or more to break down. Yes, you do need to wash the liners and gPants, but the amount of water used doing that would be less than the amount of water used to make a disposable. They can be washed with baby's laundry. Of course water will be used to make the flushable, and that is where I do not know how to compare to a disposable. For us, the few flushables we will use are a much better choice than buying a pack of disposables. I do use water each time I flush an insert, but if you choose to compost you would only be flushing the poopy ones.
Cloth - We are washing less with gDiapers, even when using cloth inserts. The gPants do not need to be washed as typical cloth diapers do, if my baby wears shorts over them then they hardly get dirty. I wash them with our clothes. The liners do need to be washed, when poopy, and less often when just wet. The inserts must be washed after each use. There is less to wash every 2-3 days than typical cloth diaper laundry... our cloth diapers are all pockets. A pocket diaper and inserts require more water than just washing an insert for gDiapers. The liners are small, and require less frequent washing. So I can wash using less water. Just inserts dry faster than AIOs would, so less time in the dryer, though I prefer drying outside in the sun when possible.
Now, I may find gDiapers easier to use than I expected them to be, since I was already a cloth user. I hear there is a learning curve coming from disposables, I did not find that the case at all, but I did have a learning curve when I went from disposables to cloth. Plus, with the amount of help found on the yahoo group, and supposedly the helpfulness of g customer service, these are a great alternative to the disposable and the cloth world.