When I first saw EcaPants and my son was tiny, I thought, "What a silly product. A cloth diaper with just an added belt to attach it." Boy, was I off the mark. We EC'd with cloth diaper backup from birth, and it got really tiresome laying the baby down, getting the same (still clean) diaper re-positioned, and fastening it back on him. By the time DS was standing on his own, I was ready for a change. I found three used EcaPants for a good price. Then I was hooked. I stalked the used sources and found a couple more, but ended up biting the bullet and buying another 12 of them retail. That I would buy them retail is saying a lot: I'm quite the cheapskate in general, I've never bought any other cloth diapers new (and I've had about 100 of them in various brands, sizes, patterns and styles). We have all the waterproof colors except pink, and four patterns of non-waterproof, in sizes S (a couple), M (a few), and L (most). They really are different all around than a regular cloth or disposable diaper:
- They're a completely different shape than cloth diapers, with a narrower center and longer leg elastics; the "belt" fastens along the baby's natural waist under the tummy.
- They're trim so the child can move his legs freely
- They're all-in-one, so no folding or stuffing. They wash clean in one cycle with pre-rinse and dry fast (we tended to hang them to dry, but they do great in the dryer too).
- They're super stretchy to fit a big range of sizes comfortably
- The velcro (on velcro ones) fastens in the back so our son was leaving them alone for months past when he'd rip a front-fastened cloth diaper right off
- The snap ones are so very easy to use (my husband's favorite, since he dislikes fastening laundry tabs)
- The non-waterproof ones can hold one "miss" and let you know right away that you missed a pee (which helps get back on track with EC)
- The back elastic gusset holds in those explosive breastfed poos just as well as a cloth diaper (which means, several times better than a disposable)
- The waterproof ones are great for outings when you want some insurance, or for playing on the carpet
- And best of all, you can re-fasten them in seconds while the child is standing up! No more wrestling sessions with the baby, no more icky public restroom changing tables.
Of course, nothing's perfect:
- The waterproof diapers seemed to cause rashes when DS was in them full-time (night and day) long term. Nothing major, but EC had us accustomed to DS being completely rash-free. Switching to non-waterproof (coverless or with a wool cover) and napping/sleeping bare-bummed seemed to help the rashes go away.
- The flap has to be held up, or folded back and fastened, if you're helping the baby potty on a big toilet (we had a couple incidents where they got "dunked"), and you have to be careful not to let it slip into the bowl of the potty seat too. There's a bit of a trick to fastening the flap behind the baby's back (you turn the tabs backwards) - which I had actually forgotten about when I first wrote this review - but when you do that, it's still hanging down a little bit in back. Sometimes we would lift it straight up and tuck it into the top of the back of DS's shirt to keep it out of the way.
- The leg openings on the current style of Large are generous, and you only get one setting for both waist and leg (due to the single attachment on each side). So we had to fasten the belly rather tight and pull the EcaPants "up" (like a pair of pants) in order to keep the leg openings from gaping once our son was about 18 months old and his thighs were getting skinny. The inserts tended to make this worse, but we didn't find that we needed the inserts for daytime use anyway. Medium lasts a long time and fits great toward (and even over) the top of its size range, so don't jump up to L too early.
- They didn't always stay leak-free, even with the insert, for after-nap pees, so we used a waterproof pad as backup, and turned the volume on the baby monitor up so we could hear those first waking noises and get to DS quickly when he first woke up so we could take him to potty instead.
- The bamboo chickadees and pink hearts patterns are knit outers (like T-shirt material), which made tiny pills all over itself the first few washes. We switched to gentle cycle for a while and the pilling went away. I think the knit fabric had some "excess fuzz" that wore off eventually, so I don't think the problem will recur, and it was just cosmetic anyway. The other patterns we had (harmony rose and blue robots) had a woven outer which did not pill. The insides of the current style are a beautiful birdseye weave that does not pill, but some of the older-style flannel insides do (the older-style are on sale on the Ecaware Baby website at the moment).
Overall, EcaPants were the best for us out of everything we tried. My husband, who hated gDiapers with a passion, loved EcaPants for the ease of use. EC went well for us, although it is admittedly labor-intensive at first. Our son was night and nap trained from 8 months, was pooping only on the potty by 13 months (with many "catches" before then) and was potty independent (pee and poop) at 19 months of age (as long as he was naked; now at age 2, he'll still ask us for a little help with clothing).