Choosing the best cloth diapers for working moms is tricky business. You’ve got to consider ease of diapering for multiple care givers in many cases. “Will grandma be cool with this? Can daycare get the fit right? If my husband changes this diaper in the middle of the night, is he going to resent me FOREVER?” You’ve also got to be honest with yourself about how much attention you can give to cleaning and prepping cloth diapers after a long day of working outside the home.
I cloth diapered two babies while I was working full time. My kids went to several different daycare facilities over the years, and we never once got side-eye from their nursery teachers. In fact, most of the folks who took care of our babies found the diapers incredibly easy to use after a couple days of diaper changing.
The diapers in this collection aren’t the cheapest option and they won’t all be the gentlest option for sensitive skin. You’ll need a different diaper review to answer those questions. Often there are trade-offs with cloth diapering when you start factoring in lots of different priorities. Nevertheless, they are all both gentler and cheaper than disposable diapers. Here, I chose only cloth diapers that I felt like met the criteria of being great choices for moms who work outside the home.
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AIO (All-In-One) Diapers
I’m assuming you’re new to the idea of cloth diapering. If so, you may not know that an AIO diaper usually refers to diapers that come all in one piece. That means when you put it in the washing machine, or prep it for the diaper bag, you’re not disassembling parts or putting them back together at any point. And that’s a key feature for a working mom. Laundry day needs to be a breeze! If you’re brand new to cloth diapering, this chicky does a great job of explaining how AIO diapers work.
You’ll pay for the convenience. These are not the cheapest cloth diapers. But the ones I’ve spotlighted here are pretty great, and I think well worth the cost.
Before I go any further, be aware that this review is for the one-size Freetime diaper with snaps. I do NOT recommend using the BumGenius hook and loop (it’s Velcro, y’all, but you can’t call it Velcro since that’s a brand name like Band-aid). The BumGenius hook and loop doesn’t hold their sticky long enough. You don’t want precocious little toddlers discovering they can just un-Velcro their own diapers.
Bumgenius Freetime Diaper – Perks!
Let’s start with the good! The price for this AIO diaper is reasonable-ish. That’s a big deal, because AIO cloth diapers can get VERY spendy. If you’re committed to the all-in-one diaper type, but trying to be cost-conscious, this diaper should make up a large portion of your stash.
The colors are vibrant and lovely. They came in such a wide variety of colors that I always had a cute one to match any dress she wore. You can go nuts and get into the pattern game, but with the Freetimes, I actually preferred solids. In my opinion, other diaper companies make cuter prints. And if you’ve got a little girl in dresses, patterns typically clash anyway.
The microfiber inners were very absorbent. While our son couldn’t wear a Freetime overnight, our daughter wore Freetimes overnight all the way until potty training without ever needing a booster. I think especially as a cloth diapering parent, you feel kinda embarrassed if your kid has a blow out or leak in public. You feel like you have to justify your decision to be all weird and use cloth diapers. I was never put in that situation in a Freetime!
These diapers wash out super easily. The inners always looked sparkling clean. That’s a big deal for moms who work outside the home. I could never send my kid to a daycare wearing a stained diaper. Even though I might know I’ve washed it a million times and it’s technically clean, I couldn’t stand the thought that someone might think my kid was wearing gross diapers.
BumGenius Freetime Diaper – The Challenges
While the pair of flaps helps with absorbency, it ups the difficulty level with pre-washing. Pre-washing a poop diaper is necessary when your baby starts formula or solids. When you get home each night with your wet bag, you’ll want to separate the poop dipes and give them a quick pre-wash in the toilet, so they don’t sit in their own stink in the pail. I used a diaper sprayer (or the dunk and swish method, lol) to knock the poop off the inserts before tossing it in the diaper pail.
The Freetimes are slightly harder to dunk and swish or spray because of the TWO flaps. AIO diapers that had one long, foldable piece of fabric were easier for dumping poop in the pot. Still, that was a pretty minor issue in the grand scheme of things and not something to cause me to dismiss the diaper all together.
It was only when it came time to diaper my son that we began having issues with our Freetimes, and it happened when he was about 9 months old. He was a big boy, y’all. And I was a busy mom who had a tendency to machine dry all the cloth diapers (often on high heat), which most of them tolerated just fine. But over time, the combination of a hefty boy and my overly damaging dry routine did a number on those BumGenius elastics. Before long, he began to get tiny little puckering gaps around the thighs where the elastic was starting to give. Loose elastics = leaking.
So my BumGenius Freetimes made it through 1.5 babies, being treated pretty harshly. These diapers were the workhorses in my collection, and for that reason, if I had to do it all over again, I would have been a bit more mindful of how I treated them.
If your fanny poops out money, I highly recommend you try this diaper.
The fit is slightly larger than some other one-size diapers. It took my kiddos a bit longer to grow into them. They didn’t fit quite right until closer to 12-13 pounds. The leg holes seem to be sized a bit more generously, so they fit chunkier babes nicely. I actually like that, because in the early days of diapering a new baby, you don’t really want the extra steps of having to wash cloth diapers. I thought it worked well for me to stick with disposables until they fit into one-size cloth diapers. By the time babies reach 10-12 pounds, most mamas have had a chance to catch their breath from delivery a bit.
They have a long tongue-style soaker pad that’s made of natural fibers that are gentler on baby’s tooshie, if you’ve got a sensitive little friend. I liked the long soaker for pre-soaking, too.
There’s also a handy pocket in this diaper, so you can add extra inserts if you’ve got a heavy wetter. They advertise that the inserts will agitate out in the wash since the pocket opens on both ends, and that’s true in my experience. I liked to keep my Blueberry soakers inside the pocket, but I never had to worry about sticking my fingers in there when it was dirty. It came out of the wash every time.
The patterns are also adorable. They also have vibrant solids, but I love Simplex prints.
Many people cloth diaper at least in part to reduce their family’s diapering costs. Having an entire stash of Simplex would get pretty spendy. It’s not practical for many families to have a whole set of high-end diapers. Still, if you have the money to spend, the quality is outstanding.
One slight frustration I had with the Simplex diaper is that occasionally, the long soaker pad would peek out of the top of the diaper. It’s always important, for the sake of moisture wicking, to keep all absorbent material inside the diaper where it belongs. Otherwise, the material gets wet, and has the opportunity to spread moisture onto the kiddo’s clothes.
It could have absolutely been user error, but that soaker, which was attached at the back, would start to float up a bit, peeking over the top seam of the diaper. Not cute. And if your kid is one of those babies who has epic blow-out poops, it’s the worst possible spot to have a leak.
Still, the number of women who absolutely swear by these diapers leads me to believe that I might have not gotten the fit absolutely correct.
My Past Experience with the Nicki’s Diapers Bamboo AIO
When I was cloth diapering my oldest two, I had about 5 of the Nicki’s Diapers Bamboo AIO. While I thought the diaper was pretty impressive, it wasn’t a great option for working moms like myself. There were two reasons this diaper drove me crazy.
- Because of the bamboo inserts, this diaper was super high maintenance on laundry day. It took a ton of washes to prep before the first wear, and then the dry time was insanely long. So I couldn’t really wash it during the week without having diapers hanging up all around the house.
- The bamboo inserts required you to roll the legs to prevent moisture wicking. Multiple caregivers just couldn’t be expected to remember the extra step. So while it was merely a minor inconvenience for me, it wasn’t a good fit for daycare and grandparents.
However, I loved rounding out my collection with those diapers because the cost for an AIO was crazy low! Whoever heard of an AIO for only $13?
Nicki’s Diapers Ultimate AIO – A Fantastic Option for Working Moms on a Tight Budget
Now, Nicki’s Diapers has solved the two issues above by releasing the Ultimate AIO. It has a fleece topped microfiber insert, but reviews are showing it to still be super absorbent. The new materials might be slightly harsher* for sensitive skin, but it also means a quick dry time. The new diaper also doesn’t require leg rolling, so any caregiver can use the diaper confidently. So now, they’ve got a fantastic AIO diaper for only $13.
Finally, Nicki’s diapers has great hook-and-loop closures. Frankly, I don’t love hook-and-loop because of “diaper chains” in the dryer, and the way it attracts lint and hair. Still, hook-and-loop is a great choice for secondary caregivers who would are intimidated by all the snaps.
*While I’ve heard of babies who can’t tolerate non-organic materials on their bottoms, I think they are rare. My son had eczema and was never phased by a cloth diaper made of synthetic materials, and I wasn’t one to only dress my babies in straight cotton. Of course, a diaper with microfiber isn’t quite as gentle as a diaper made of hemp or bamboo, but it’s much kinder on their bottoms than disposables, and that was good enough for me.
Nicki’s Diapers Ultimate AIO – Just One Drawback
The Nicki’s Ultimate AIO Diaper might seem too good to be true with it’s $13 price tag. But it’s not! It’s a really solid diaper.
The only drawback is that their prints are so not cute. I’m not sure what’s keeping them from upping their game and putting out some gorgeous prints like some of the other retailers. However, if having mediocre prints is what’s keeping the cost down, I’ll hand over all my money. Their solids are pretty enough!
Best AI2 or Hybrid Cloth Diaper for Busy Moms
There are lots of great AI2 diapers, but most of them don’t work well for working moms in my opinion. I HATED stuffing pockets every night, and pocket diapers do make up a lot of the market. Folks like pocket diapers because they can be easily customized to a baby’s absorbency needs, and for caregivers, the experience of diapering a baby in a pocket diaper can be very similar to an AIO. They are often less expensive, too. Still, do you really want to sit down 2-3 times a week and wedge your hands into a pocket and try to get the insert to flatten out perfectly? I tried it for a short bit, but the microfiber inserts would literally suck the moisture out of my hands, and by the next day they would be cracking.
GroVia Hybrid Diaper with No Prep Soaker Pads
Dun-da-nah-nah! This is my first place diaper! Blue ribbon goes to GroVia! Oh, how I love this diaper.
First, this diaper can be fairly smart when it comes to cost efficiency. The idea is that if your baby only tinkles in the diaper or has a little bitty shart that stays on the soaker pad, you can just unsnap the insert and replace it with a second one, which allows you to re-use the same shell. In other words, you’d get two diaper changes that day for $32 worth of cloth diapering funds.
Second, the snaps and elastic on the shells seemed to be higher quality to me. I never ruined a GroVia snap during my cloth diapering time. They were tough as nails. Also, the shells would just get hung up after finishing the wash cycle. I didn’t want to dry them, but it wasn’t a big deal because they would air dry in only an hour or so.
Third, the soakers were just super excellent. They were amazingly soft and crazy absorbent. They washed well, and could tolerate being dried on high heat, so laundry day didn’t take forever. When I sat down to fold diapers at night after the kids went to bed, I would just make a pile of soakers and a pile of shells and then snap the two together, which was way faster than pocket diapers.
Finally, I didn’t ever try the hook and loop closures, but I’ve heard nothing but the best about GroVia hook and loop. Newbies tend to be more comfortable getting the fit correct with a hook and loop, so that’s a great feature for moms who work outside the home.
Do you have any further questions about these diapers, or about cloth diapering in general? I enjoyed the experience of cloth diapering my first two babies and never had any problems with washing and prepping them. It felt like a little act of love every day!
Did you ever consider cloth diapering your kids? If so, what diaper styles or brands worked best for you?