Monday, December 6, 2010

Cloth Diapering on Vacation - my experience with the gDiaper

Many people ask me what to do when they go on vacation and they are committed to cloth.  Typically, I'd say if you're vacationing domestic then one can definitely maintain their cloth routine.  As long as there is a washing machine in sight then go for it!  I've done a domestic vacation - long weekend in Atlantic City, and there was no washing machine so I tried to find an eco-friendly disposable diaper, and ended up with Tushies after reading many reviews.  A couple of weeks ago we went on an international vacation back to my homeland of Jamaica and I pondered long and hard about what to do.  Yes, we have washing machines, but, I didn't want to stress my family about washing poopie diapers in their washing machine, and all the added utility costs, so, I thought to myself, maybe this would be an excellent time to try out the gDiaper!  I've heard mixed reviews about the gDiaper, and on the surface I loved the eco-friendly aspect of it, so, I figured I'd give it a try and maybe decide whether or not I wanted to carry it in my store.

The gDiaper is a hybrid diapering system consisting of a cloth outer shell in cute colors and velcro that fasten to the back rather than to the front as is traditionally seen.  Then there is a plastic liner that snaps into the cloth shell at its four corners.  The absorbent layer is either a reusable cloth insert OR a flushable 100% biodegradable disposable layer.  The fabric outer layer is called the "little g pant" and I was able to buy a pack of 2 which came with 3 of the plastic liners - which are all machine washable by the way.  Then I bought a couple packs of the disposable inserts - 32 for $15.  And away I went on my journey.

So what did I like about the gDiaper? It's cute, comes in great cute colors.  I liked the fact that the flushable liner is biodegradable.  I did not get the opportunity to flush the insert in Jamaica as it is not recommended to flush them in a septic system... and that's about it.  My daughter last weighed in at 22lbs so I bought the appropriate sized little pant, yet the velcro elasticized waist part cut into her skin.  This may not be a fault of the gDiaper, moreso my chunky monkey of a baby, but, I was pretty disheartened and ended up putting band-aids on her till we got back to the states.  The inserts were absorbent, but, had a tendency to leak.  I think it had to do with the way I placed the insert into the liner.  The insert was longer than the liner so I had to kinda cup it in, and sometimes I guess part of it still stuck out of the liner, which caused moisture to wick to the cloth shell.  And placing the insert into the liner, though it sounds simple enough, was time consuming when changing a screaming child, so I definitely had to have my alternate diaper pre-stuffed and ready to go for a change.  Maybe 2 outer shells were insufficient for my 10 day excursion, but, I figured, why should I buy more of these things if I'm just changing the insert.... then I realized the leak issues.  There were a couple of times that both diapers were being washed and dried at the same time because they leaked or had some poop on the shell.  Fortunately I had some Tushies as back-up... that was until mid-trip my daughter seemed to outgrow the darned things and she was constantly leaking out of them.

The final straw for me was, we're returning home, I changed her between flights.  She was in the gDiaper for maybe 5 hours, and by the time we got home her whole outfit was soaked!  I just pulled everything off of her, and placed her in one of her beautiful cloth diapers that I was so grateful to see at this point.

So, to answer the question, would I carry the gDiaper in my store? Maybe.  But no time soon.  I think this is a good diaper for a vacation - something temporary, but in my opinion NOT a great diaper for everyday wear.  This may even be a good option for those who don't have a washer/dryer inside their home, i.e. if they are in an apartment situation and have a communal washroom, and they don't feel comfortable washing their diapers in a shared washing machine.

At my last workshop someone had their baby in a gDiaper and when I asked about the leaks she said, "yeah, sometimes, but don't all diapers leak?"... I said, "Nope!, if your baby is in a good well-fitted cloth diaper you shouldn't expect any type of leakage."  And that's the truth!


  1. Hi Lee-Ann!

    I noticed you did a review of the Gdiaper and I was actually disappointed to hear it got a "so-so" review. :-( First of all I do have to say that I love my gdiapers in that if it weren't for that company, I would never have even considered going full cloth with my 2nd child. I used gdiapers with solely the flushable inserts on my 1st until she potty trained. I loved the versatility of them in that they could be used with cloth inserts or the biodegradeable disposable inserts. They are definitely my "go-to" diaper when traveling and I want to use cloth.

    Anyhow, I do have a couple of comments on your review which I think need to be addressed and hopefully might give you pause to give gdiapers a second chance. I've been a member of the online gdiaper yahoo group for a few years so I've learned a lot about gdiapering and the best tips to how to use them correctly/effectively. I often find that there is a little bit of trial and error in newbies getting the right fit with g's and of course every baby is differently sized, so it's really important to watch the gdiaper tutorial videos on their website for good tips. Anyhow, onto my comments....

    1.) You mentioned the elasticized band cutting into your daughter's skin. Sorry to hear that happened to your poor baby! One thing that is very common among first-time gdiaper users is pulling the waistband too tight like you would a disposable. It's easy to do, but if you do that with g's you are prone to having red-marks, plus you may even cause leaks because by overtightening the waistband it can cause gapping in the nylon snap-in liner, and pee/poop gets out. Plus overtightening can wear out your snap-ins faster because it stretches them out prematurely. It's best to just fasten the velcro gently where it lays on your baby when you put it on without stretching it further. Don't know if that makes sense, but hopefully I'm describing it right.

    2.) You said the inserts were absorbent but had a tendency to leak and then you went on to mention a few possibilities of why this happened. Yes the flushable liner is supposed to be longer than the snap-in liner, so it is supposed to curve as it goes in. This holds it closer to the baby's body. And yes, you need to make sure all of the liner is inside the snap-in otherwise you will have wickage onto the outer g-pant. Any insert (prefold, fitted) will do this if it's outside the waterproof part, so that's not a flaw in the design of the diaper, but rather user-error.

    3.) You mentioned that placing the insert into the liner, though it sounds simple enough, was time consuming when changing a screaming child. Most gdiaper users have their g's pre-stuffed and ready to go for the reasons you mention. But I don't see this as a negative to have to do some pre-stuffing of your diapers. Pocket diaper-users like fuzzi-bunz have to prestuff all the time. You usually don't see people stuffing their pockets at the changing table right? Well maybe some do, but not me! All my diapers are ready to go for my own convenience. I have some gdiapers pre-stuffed with prefolds and some with flushable inserts. another post!

  2. Continuing on!

    4.) You said, "She was in the gDiaper for maybe 5 hours, and by the time we got home her whole outfit was soaked!" I guess I am wondering if it's fair to expect a cloth diaper with a single insert to last 5 hours without leaking? Gdiaper flushables last for a light wetter probably 3 hrs, but a heavy wetter no more than 2 tops! The gcloth may be even less than that, which is honestly why gcloth doesn't get great reviews and most people have to double up on them to get more than an hour. (Note: most serious gdiaper users use cloth inserts other than gcloth for that reason). So if you wanted to have your daughter last 5 hrs, then you would have needed to use at a minimum 2 gcloths or 2 flushables. But I was under the impression that most cloth isn't designed to go hours like a disposable will go anyways. I know my son will leak out of his pocket diapers if I let him go more than 4 hrs with a single insert! So I don't think that was a fair assessment because your expectation here was higher than gdiapers (and most cloth in my experience) promises.

    5.) Finally you said....When I asked about the leaks she said, "yeah, sometimes, but don't all diapers leak?"... I said, "Nope!, if your baby is in a good well-fitted cloth diaper you shouldn't expect any type of leakage." Expect leaks? No. But in reality? Yes! I don't agree because every diaper will leak eventually (even disposables), whether it's user error in putting it on, repelling issues, or even leaving a diaper on too long (saturated). Every diaper I've used so far (fitteds/covers, pockets, gdiapers) has leaked at least once on me. But most of the time that is because the diaper was put on wrong (too loose in the leg...thanks husband!) or I went too long between changing (my own fault most of the time….with 2 children you get distracted much more easily!). And honestly with the exception of a few times I attributed to old snap-in liners that were losing their waterproofing or were too stretched out, most of the leaks I had in gdiapers were because I didn't change fast enough. Often I got distracted and being used to disposables previously (where you can go hours!) I wouldn't realize I had to change my daughter more frequently than I did at first. Second when my daughter got older, she became a heavier-wetter and thus I had to be "on the ball" with her in gdiapers and know I had to change her within a half hour of drinking a cup or she would just pee a ton and over-saturate the insert! Had I had her in a pocket diaper or AIO instead, I don’t necessarily think that I would have had to change her less frequently.

    Well sorry for the long post , but I wanted to post my own opinion about gdiapers and my experience with them. Again there is a learning curve to getting a good fit and figuring them all out, but once you do they usually work well! For new users, I always recommend reviewing the gdiaper online tutorials and joining the gdiaper yahoo group for hints/tips so that if they do experience leaks, they can figure out why (often user error) and not just assume it's the diaper right away. Gdiapers aren't perfectly obviously and they've come a long way in designing and re-designing their product, but I think they do have a good product and idea. The only gdiaper product I definitely agree needs re-designing is the absorbancy of the gcloth. They really need to add more absorbancy layers to them as 2 layers of absorbant material just isn't enough for most babies! Anyhow, I still use my gdiapers (now on my son) and between those and my fuzzi-bunz (which I also like a lot), it's really all I use.

    Well take care and I'll be emailing you soon about the clothdiapering workshop for moms club now that I have the time to dedicate to it!

    Melissa Solares