Cloth Diapering Explained: A review of outer shells by Milovia
My review is supported by my 2+ years of experience using Milovia cloth diapers. Let’s get into it…
You might think that cloth diapers (nappies) are a thing of the past. Maybe you have never even heard of them. But let me tell you, my friends, cloth diapers are still around. And they’re not just a woo-woo thing anymore. No. I daresay they’ve become trendy.
Don’t believe me? I was just having a conversation about this with C’s nanny TODAY, ironically the day I had planned to write a post about the outer shells I use and love for our personal cloth diapering system. Our nanny will be watching a newborn in September whose parents plan to use cloth diapers. My daughter was the first child my nanny watched who had them. We were both surprised at how this trend is catching on here in France.
I already wrote a post all about cloth diapering, and if you’re interested, I highly recommend checking it out as a companion piece to this article.
But today I have an in-depth review of the brand I have been using on my daughter for the past 2 years. They are from Milovia, and they truly were the best investment I made as an expectant mama.
Have a coffee with me and read all about this eco-friendly product.
P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post and there are NO affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
Cloth diapers are back in style
Very quickly, let me first explain why you should consider choosing cloth diapers for your baby.
The real cost of conventional disposable diapers
When you think of diapers, I am sure you are picturing the disposable kind. You’re thinking of Pampers or Huggies. Sure, they get the job done. But what do they really cost?
Conventional diapers were developed by mamas in the 1940s and became common household items in America in the 1960s and -70s. Today, an estimated 187 billion disposable diapers are used and thrown out each year globally.
Disposable diapers work by transforming liquids into gel. Therefore, they contain waste in a way that minimizes leakage. In order to perform this magical alchemy, disposable diapers are manufactured with chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin.
The ultimate selling point for conventional diapers is surely their convenience. Just wrap them back up securely and throw them away!
But what happens to them, really? Well, first, they smell in your garbage at home. They smell worse than just human waste because those chemicals are mixing with everything else inside the diapers.
So you put them in the garbage and they get taken to a landfill. They might get incinerated. But if not, if those diapers end up in the wild along the path, they’ll take 450-500 years to decompose. That means that the diapers we are throwing out today will finish biodegrading around the year 2500.
What a waste! And it goes on, and on, and on.
Cloth diapers for the masses
If you think about it, disposable diapers are a fairly modern invention. How far back do you think these diapers have been used in your family, for instance? Today I’m 31, and I think I am the first generation in my family to have been put in disposables. That means my grandmama was putting my mama in cloth diapers.
Furthermore, disposable diaper companies are smart marketers. They create the product, then create the demand by telling us we need it, then supply it. It’s an evergreen funnel.
Never mind the waste it produces, the chemicals used to manufacture them, or the time it will take for them to biodegrade.
They’re not cheap, and they line the pockets of a multi-billion dollar industry.
So, what’s the alternative? Did you know that disposable diapers, while they seem to be the only solution available because of the money behind their advertising, are not actually the norm today globally? Most mamas around the world actually use a technique called EC, or elimination communication. That’s a blog post for another day.
For those of us who still want to use diapers, but who want a more eco-friendly option than conventional diapers, there are cloth diapers!
Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapers
- Save money over time
- Save time buying disposable diapers
- Never run out
- Cute designs!
- Initial investment
- Spending time doing laundry at home
- Keep up with laundry/organization
- More of a hassle for on-the-go
- Not 100% leak-proof*
*No diaper is ever 100% leak-proof, but I want to mention it here in case you have the false impression that cloth diapers are somehow less prone to leaks than disposables. In my experience, it’s about the same.
Milovia cloth diapers
Cloth diapers are still a product, and just like any product, you should consciously decide if and how to use them. But they’re a much better alternative to disposable diapers because they’re reusable and contain no chemicals.
There are lots of different cloth diapering brands. I’ll be honest, I chose Milovia cloth diapers based on the recommendation of a friend. Today, I want to pass on that recommendation to you.
About the brand
Milovia, a Polish company, was founded in 2013. Their products are manufactured with 100% European textiles in Poland. Milovia prides itself on the quality of its materials and guarantees that its products are held to high standards.
Milovia manufactures outer shells, inserts, and pocket diapers, as well as wet bags, blankets, and pillows—and all of them in adorable prints!
You can read more about the brand on their website: milovia.eu/en
The rest of this post will be concerned with their outer shells.
Key features of the Milovia outer shells
The outer shells are made of a soft, flexible, plastic-lined material. This material makes the cloth diapers leak-proof.
A soft microfleece material lines the front- and back end of the diaper, the parts that snap around your baby’s waist.
Sturdy horizontal and vertical snaps allow for you to adjust the size to your baby (4-16 kg or 9-35 lbs). You can use Milovia outer shells for the entire duration of diapering, or close to it.
Benefits of the Milovia brand
The fabric is durable. I can say that, after 2 years of consistent use:
- The fabric does not appear to have worn aside from a slight discoloration due to washing.
- There are no holes.
- They are quick-drying.
- The outer shells are still as leak-proof as the day I bought them, even after countless washes.
- They are adjustable to fit your baby from birth to the time you are ready to potty train. One size fits all!
To read more about the benefits of cloth diapering in general, please check out my comprehensive guide.
How to use Milovia cloth diapers
You might be wondering, How the heck do I use these? Using cloth diapers can be a bit of a learning curve, but I’m here to help!
Other equipment you need
Milovia outer shells can’t be used on their own. As I mentioned, there are a couple of different cloth diapering systems.
To go with your outer shells, all you need are the absorbent inserts of your choice. Those are the bare minimum 2 products you need to get started with cloth diapers, besides all the usual equipment you already have for doing laundry. Because yes, you will be washing these in your machine!
The cheapest system I have found is by using muslin cloths, called flats, as absorbent inserts. I have a stash of 30. Milovia does not sell flats, but they do offer absorbent inserts made from microfleece. Microfleece is not as quick-drying as other materials, and in the absence of a dryer, I opted for muslin flats, purchased elsewhere.
I also highly recommend:
Diaper liners. It’s a little like toilet paper. It lines the absorbent insert and catches the poop. Either throw it away or flush it down the toilet.
Wet bag. For on-the-go, you need somewhere to store soiled diapers. A wet bag is made from the same leak-proof material as the outer shells and is basically a reusable alternative to a plastic Ziploc bag.
Washcloths. As long as we’re avoiding disposable things, let’s not use wet wipes. I have about 40 washcloths that I wet with water before using them to wipe baby bums.
Care tips for Milovia cloth diapers
While they are sturdy enough to diaper 2 or maybe even 3 children, the Milovia cloth diapers do need to be properly cared for.
Your baby’s—ahem—waste will (mostly) go onto the diaper liner, if you’re using it, and the absorbent inserts.
You don’t have to wash the Milovia outer shells after each change. Just air them out and reuse! I have 9 outer shells and I rarely run out of clean ones.
For soiled covers, rinse them off, and then squeeze out the excess water. Allow them to dry as much as possible until you can wash them.
I know all laundry machines are different, but if you can, aim for the following:
- Wash at a longer cycle at 60°C.
- Use a gentle detergent.
- Avoid fabric softeners, vinegar, or bleach. (I’ve messed this up a couple of times and it didn’t harm the Milovias, but still, be careful.)
- Use a lower spin cycle under 800 rpm.
- Air-dry them, but don’t expose them to direct sunlight.
These tips will help extend the life of your Milovia cloth diapers by preserving the plastic leak-proof quality of the material.
The best tip I can give you about changing the Milovias is to keep close attention to timing!
As soon as you notice that your baby has pooped inside a Milovia (yeah, we were gonna get to that eventually!), change it! This goes beyond the brand or the diapering system—wouldn’t you change your baby’s diaper as soon as possible? It’s just that the diposables contain the poop a little longer sometimes. You need to be quicker with cloth diapers.
For pees, you’ll need to constantly adapt your timing. I wasn’t good at being able to tell when C peed inside a Milovia. Ideally, you’ll want to change it quickly as well. I kept track of what time I last changed her diaper, and usually we were okay for 2 hours between changes.
You’ll change cloth diapers more often than disposable ones. They do hold less, and the waste stays against your baby’s skin instead of getting absorbed and turned into a gel.
You might spend more time changing using this system, but ultimately it’s cheaper, healthier, and easier to teach your baby what it means to soil himself, because he can feel when he is wet.
Buying a cloth diapering system does require an initial investment. I think I probably spent around 500 Euro for everything I needed to do this. You could certainly spend less. But ultimately, if you use cloth diapers consistently and properly, they will eventually pay for themselves, because you would pay more in the long run for disposable diapers for the duration of diapering.
Each Milovia outer shell costs, on average, depending on the design and retailer:
Where to find Milovia cloth diapers
- Lili Nappy: lilinappy.fr
- Tousencouches: tousencouches.com
- Babi Pur: babipur.co.uk
- Fill Your Pants: fill-your-pants.com
- The Nappy Lady: thenappylady.co.uk
- Yes Bébé: yesbebe.co.uk
I haven’t yet found a US retailer, but I’ll keep my eye out for you! In the meantime, check out alternative products below.
Alternatives to Milovia
I do use Bambino Mio’s wet bags and I find them to be of almost identical leak-proof material and quality to Milovias. So if Milovia isn’t available near you, check out the Bambino Mio brand: bambinomio.com
Finally, a shocker! Yes, I do recommend disposable diapers as alternatives. Nobody’s perfect!
I personally feel that you should avoid them as much as possible. But sometimes, they just can’t be beat for their convenience. There. I said it.
You don’t have to be die-hard about it. If you use cloth diapers in any capacity, it’s already something, and good for you. It’s not an all-or-nothing game. You CAN combine cloth diapers with disposable ones. (Well, you know, not on the same child at the same time.)
I use disposable diapers for long car trips and vacations. I also use them for nighttime. Find what works best for you and your baby!
Are you ready to start with cloth diapers?
I hope this article introduced an alternative to conventional diapering that you may never have considered: cloth diapering for your babies.
For further reading, I would recommend you check out these posts:
- The Complete Guide to Cloth Diapers — If you need more information on how to use cloth diapers and the different systems, make sure to check out my article on eco-friendly diapering.
- What is conscious parenting? — Now you are more conscious about how you choose to diaper your baby. Find out how to bring awareness to everything else related to caring for your baby.
Do you plan on using a cloth diapering system for your baby? Have you already used them to great success? If you purchase Milovias, let me know how you get on with them!-Jessica
About the Author
Jessica is an American expat living the dream in Normandy. She is wife to a French hubby and mama to a Franco-American daughter, born in 2018, and one whippet. Passionate about all stages of writing, this Francophile created her blog in 2020 to help others navigate motherhood with a focus on conscious parenting and bilingual parenting. Bonne lecture !
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