True to my word, I went out and bought several brands of cloth diapers to try out. I picked up a FuzziBunz one size pocket diaper (with snaps), BumGenius Organic one size AIO (with snaps), GroBaby one size (with touch tape), and last but not least gDiapers. I washed all the diapers before use with an extra rinse to make sure all the detergent was removed then dried them in the drier on medium heat. I did put them in with a normal load of the kids clothes, but it was not overfull by any means. After the drier ended (and sat in the dryer all night as I put them in before I went to bed) the BumGenius diaper and GroBaby soaker were both still damp where the multiple layers are sewn together at the ends. I turned the liners inside out and returned them to the drier for another 20 minutes. The GroBaby soaker was dry but the BumGenius was still slightly damp and required to be hung to dry for a little while.
First up on our model - FuzziBunz in Sage:
The diaper was a little difficult to line with the soaker pad due to some bunching, I'm sure with practice it would be fine. There is plenty of room to get your hand under the liner and all the way to the top for adjusting the soaker pad. I tried this diaper without the extra booster and had no leaks. One of the neat features of this diaper is the ability of elastic adjustment. The elastic along the back and leg openings can be adjusted in a similar manner to the waist adjustments in the baby jeans at Old Navy and Gap. The diaper was a bit bulky on my skinny boy, but it did not interfere with his movement that I noticed. I think the booster pad (based on its size would make the diaper bulkier - and I would probably only use it for overnight stretches). I was entered into the world of cloth diapers with a smooshy poop about an hour after I put this diaper on. Yes, it was utterly disgusting trying to wipe the poop off the diaper into the toilet - I now see why a mini-shower might be a good idea (we have a low-flow toilet so there is very little water in the bowl to "swish" in.) To my surprise it completely rinsed off the fleece liner in the sink with no scrubbing required. Then, it became my first addition to the dry pail after very easily removing the soaker pad. I am happy to report it came through the wash with no stains and dried with one dry cycle.
Up next was the GroBaby in Kiwi:
We were getting ready for nap when we put this diaper on, so it is shown with the booster pad inserted. This diaper is very easy to adjust and put on. There are three sizes for the rise, we went with the medium setting (he's in a size 2-3 in disposable diapers.) All you need to do is snap the soaker into the liner and place the booster on top of that then diaper the baby as you would with a disposable. The touchtape is very nice, not scratchy at all - I will have to see how it holds up with wear. As you can see from the picture this diaper does have a bit of bulk (again it does have the extra booster pad) and a slight "puff" at the top of the tushie. I might try the small snap setting to get rid of the puff, but I will have to wait. After the second wash and dry (according to manufacturer directions) the elastic on one of the leg openings detached - rendering the diaper unusable. I have called the company (nice customer service rep) and they said they will replace the diaper. Anyway, when I changed the wet diaper shortly after his nap I noticed that the mesh liner was a bit damp. I wouldn't have reused the pant with the wetness, so I am not sure about just swapping out the soaker pads as they advertise.
Third brand on our model is the BumGenius Organic AIO in Blue:
This diaper is the closest to a disposable - in that you don't have to stuff or attach any pads and once it's dirty all you do is throw it in your diaper pail. To put it on the baby, adjust the rise and proceed as you would a disposable. There is a lot of room for adjustment at the waist and the snaps are easy to manage, though I had to keep rolling my wiggle worm over so I could finish attaching the snaps. The diaper did not leak and is fairly trim in its styling. The downfall for this diaper is drying time. With the second wash and dry, again I had to put it back in (with the GroBaby soaker) for an extra 20 min and both were still not dry even at the end of that cycle. So if you plan on using these for their convenience remember that you will need to allow for extra drying time in the dryer or finish on a drying rack/line (what I'm doing.)
The last model we are exhibiting is the "hybrid" gDiaper:This diaper is a cotton shell with a nylon liner that snaps in place. A flushable/compostable soaker is placed in the liner and you actually attach the diaper with the Velcro to the back (so little hands can't easily strip.) It is not difficult to Velcro, though it does require a little maneuvering having the Velcro in the back. This diaper is not the choice for you if your looking to reduce your diaper bill. The soakers are as expensive (if not more) than a traditional diaper. On the company website they do show a reusable cloth soaker is available for purchase through them. In the mean time I tried the diaper with a prefold tucked into the liner and it worked fine with no leaking. If you have a heavy wetter or are going to use that for nighttime, you might want to add an additional trim booster - just make sure the elastic band on the liner is in contact with legs. One additional downside (other than cost for the flushable liners) is that there is a small portion of nylon in contact with babies skin at the front and back of the diaper near the waist where the liner curls over the soaker to keep it from coming in contact with the cover. I live in a very hot and humid city and noticed while I was out today that the area where the nylon hit was a bit red. I'm guessing it was from the heat, but it is something to consider if your baby has sensitive skin.
After all this, I am still not sure what style I'm going to end up using. I think I might continue with these and add a few more to the mix in hopes that I find something I absolutely adore.