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Sunday, January 1, 2012

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Cloth Diapering My bigger, Taller, Solid, Big-boned, and Otherwise Large Children

We all know that every child’s build is different and that sometimes you just have to try the diapers on. But if you are like me and doing most, if not all, of your cloth diaper research on-line then you know how hard it is to get a feel for what might work for your child. I have spent countless hours glued to reading reviews, but time and time again I’ve found that there just isn’t much input out there regarding bigger kids. I’m talking tall, and wide, and thunder thighs, and big bellied, and sturdy kids.  I certainly haven’t figured it all out, but I do have a few tips.
  1. Large cover, not so large insert – Just like you probably already mix and match tops and bottoms, you might find that shorter or narrower insert paired with a larger cover fits better. When my daughter was 9mo old and still had her thunder thighs, wide inserts just got smushed between her legs and made her stand bow legged. Not so great for a little one trying to learn to walk. When it comes to length, I’ve found that even though I need a taller rise in the cover to accommodate a larger hip/bone structure, I don’t really need the insert to go up that high. If the insert goes all the way up to the snaps on the diaper (which remember is higher than normal) then I need even more room around the already large waist and most diapers don’t have the space. My favorite inserts are ones that I tri-fold so that I can choose the length and width.
  2. Avoid the word “trim” – when I first started looking into cloth I was attracted to diapers described as trim. After all, my kid’s bottoms were large enough on their own right? Well, it turns out that “trim” really means narrow in the crotch and while you might want a narrow insert, a narrow cover leads to butt cheeks that hang out (especially for wide babies). In addition, because of all the fat rolls near the top of chubby baby legs (especially in 6-9mo babies), it is hard to find a good place for the elastic to sit so that it still contains without leaving red marks.
  3. Covers designed for use with pinned or snappied prefolds are going to give you more room than a cover designed for a small, layed-in insert. Combining a prefold cover with a lay-in insert is a great way to get more space.  The down side for me is that those covers also often have leg gussets which get so messy when used with lay-in inserts that I have a hard time rinsing the poop off with my diaper sprayer and I end up never wanting to use the cover again. I tend to find myself reaching for my larger pockets and just laying the insert right on top of the stay dry layer. It saves me time since I don’t have to stuff diapers, it gives me the chance to reuse the cover, and I can easily make sure the insert is right where I want it so that it fits best.
  4. Snaps vs. Velcro – I actually don’t have an answer for this one so please comment if you do. I only have snaps, but other moms either tell me that they like Velcro because of its larger range in sizing or they hate it because big bellies, when sitting up, tend to hang over the cover and get scratched on the front/tabs of the cover.
  5. Loose fitting Clothing –now that it is winter, I mostly put fleece pants on my daughter. In the summer I simply size up even more for elastic waist shorts. Sweat pants, overalls, dresses, really anything that is loose works well.
Do you have bigger kids? What has worked for you? What are your favorite brands? If not, what build is your child and what have you learned to look for in a diaper?

Bio: Toria is a stay-at-home-mom who loves playing with her very active 3-year-old boy and delightful 18 month-old girl. She started cloth diapering when her little girls was 9 months old and hasn’t looked back since.


Laura said...

I've use both snaps and velcro-stuff. We did covers and prefolds for a LONG time (until she was 1) and the velcro-stuff worked great on our tall, solid kid. However, once she figured out she could get the velcro-stuff open? It's been snaps ever since.

Also, if you sew, there are patterns available that help with the diaper-booty issue. I've just stopped buying bottoms all together and make all of them. that way, I don't have to keep chasing my daughter to re-cuff her pants.

Christine said...

The only pocket diapers I have found that work for my tall kids with a high rise is Tiny Tush Elite. As for covers and soakers, I am still working on that. Most wipeable covers are so low-rise, and I like them to be wipeable. I find the shape of Softbums pods work well on my girls (wide in back, narrow in crotch).

Christina D said...

My son is large for his age. He is 18 months old, 35.8 inches tall and 29.8 lbs. My absolute favorite brand of diaper is Happy Heinys. They fit him REALLY well and he still has lots of room to grow into them.

This is a great post! I also found that using inserts with a shorter width helps when dealing with thunder thighs it really cuts down on the chafing and bowleggedness that the wider inserts can cause.