Smartipants; www.smartipants.com; $14.95 for a single diaper
Pros: Adjustable design so you don’t have to buy multiple sizes; absorbent insert and waterproof outer cover to keep baby (and clothing) dry; washes well.
Cons: Insert can be difficult to insert; not thrilled that the snaps are plastic; packaging warns against using diaper creams or lotions.
When I had my first baby six years ago the cloth diapering options available weren’t great. I considered them, of course, but in the end we used disposables. When our second was born in 2008, I campaigned hard to use cloth diapers. But my husband, who was handling a lot of the childcare at that time, flat out refused. It would be messy, he said. It would be a pain. And since he was going to be handling most of the daytime diaper changes I couldn’t really do much about it. We went with disposables again. (We bought the unbleached Seventh Generation diapers whenever we could.) And, like the first time, we potty-trained very early. My little one has been in undies since about 19 months, wearing diapers for naptime and overnights. I do wonder, however, if our diapering decision would have been different I had access to Smartipants right from the beginning.
Smartipants, which are reusable cloth diapers, are unique. The first thing that struck me was that you really could use them from the day you took a baby home from the hospital to the day you finished potty-training. They are designed with two sets of snaps — not Velcro — all of which are guaranteed for two years. There’s a line of snaps across the top to fasten it around the baby’s waist and two vertical lines that shorten and lengthen the diaper. (Picture overalls. Know how you can make the straps tighter or looser depending on which button you snap? Same deal here. They get “shorter” and “longer” depending on how you snap it all together.) I absolutely LOVED the snaps because Little Girl, who is prone to taking off her clothes at nap time, couldn’t work them! This alone makes the Smartipants a great addition to our repertoire.
Getting back to the design: The outside of the diaper has elastic on the waist and leg openings to keep everything solid inside where it belongs. The diapers do a good job with liquid waste, too, due to a super-fluffy and absorbent insert that sits inside what the company calls a Smart Sleeve. It’s smart because you don’t have to pull the dirty insert out of the sleeve before throwing it into the wash. It comes out on its own during the spin cycle.
We got a single Smartipants to review, which worked well since we’re not going through a ton of diapers. My little one mostly stays dry during naps, but when she did urinate in the diaper the wetness stayed inside where it belonged. We tested the diaper overnight, too, and we also had the same result: clean, dry sheets, pajamas and sleepsack. I will mention, however, that my kid is not a big drinker, and we’ve never had wet accidents overnight like we did with my big girl. That said the company suggests adding extra inserts, but I’m not sure how comfortable that would be in the long run. It might be too bulky, but maybe not.
As for the poop: Unfortunately — actually — what am I saying!?! fortunately! — for us, my little one will only poop on the potty these days. However, I wanted to see how well the diaper cleaned up so I (can’t believe I did this) took the poop out of her potty after she used it and put it into the diaper. Then I pressed the two sides together to simulate a little one sitting on a mess. I must say it didn’t stick to the inside of the diaper. I was able to open up the Smartipants and drop the waste right into the toilet with some residual staining left behind.
Overall, I really liked using the Smartipants diaper, and was impressed with the way it held waste in and cleaned up post-urine and post-poop experiment. My only complaint was that it is slightly difficult to get the insert into the diaper when it comes out of the wash. It seemed to puff up a bit after it was washed once, so you have to reach your hand into the insert sleeve and move it around a bit to get it to lay flat.
So would I use Smartipants if I was a new mom? I would definitely bring them into the mix, reserving the occasional disposable for when we went out and about.