By the time my daughter was a year and a half, we were in fitteds and wool (much more to come on that soon!) about 75% of the time, but that other 25% of the time, as well as a majority of the time leading up to that point, I experimented with AIO's and pockets. I am a huge fan of longevity in fit and wear - I am willing to pay a little more for something that will last. Especially because my daughter grew so fast in the beginning, she actually outgrew a number of one-size diapers before her first birthday. Fortunately, there are some that fit then and still fit approaching her 3rd birthday, and ones that have stood up to use for all that time as well. These are my absolute favorites.
Once my daughter started walking, bunching and fit between the legs became an issue for us, because her little chubby thighs pushed everything together. That's when I discovered Bottombumpers AIO diapers. The organic cotton diapers are available in sized diapers as well as one size, in both applix and side snapping, and you can even get them custom embroidered with adorable designs. We had the side snapping - mostly one-size and a few larges. Here are photos of my daughter a month after her first birthday in a one-size Bottombumpers, and two years later just days before her 3rd birthday in the exact same diaper. I don't think you can find a trimmer, more absorbent AIO with such a great fit! My daughter had chunky thighs, so the side snaps were great and I loved how the width of the crotch was so skinny and trim. No bunching or sagging when she walked, and everything stayed in place nicely. Despite how trim they are, they are one of the most absorbent AIO's! We tried the Grovia AIO's, which are also made of organic cotton and are quite trim, but I didn't like how they snapped. Having the side snaps in the front made for an awkward fit if you needed to size down because they folded around the legs, and when they were unsnapped fully they were too small. Plus, as was the case with every type of Grovia diaper I owned, even with minimal wash and wear waiting for those to fit right, by the time I tried them unsnapped the elastic was starting to go, and just as my other Grovia diapers were - they were to small before she was even a year old. Not the case with Bottombumpers one-size. The elastic is still going strong after nearly two years of constant use, and the ingenious snaps inside the back prevent that problem of the awkward fit in the front. The side snaps prevent wing droop, which was my biggest complaint with another organic cotton AIO - bumgenius elementals. Even at nearly three years old, my daughter is 35 pounds and 38.5 inches, and the one size still fit. We do have some larges as well, and they are slightly roomier than the one-size and fit well too. They can still contain a toddler poo quite tightly, although if for some reason she hasn't gone in a few days, I would not trust them at this age to contain a poo-splosion. At a younger age though, this was never an issue and they were always great at containing every last bit of mess. I really hope I get to use these one-size diapers with another child, because I'm sure I'll love them on the smaller size settings as well! Bottombumpers is an excellent company with an exceptional product that will last a very long time, made here in the USA.
I tried a number of pockets, most looked virtually identical, and none can compare to my beloved AppleCheeks! They come in two sizes, with bamboo or microfiber inserts. I adore their bamboo inserts, and don't think you can get a trimmer, more absorbent pocket insert. You can read more about my thoughts on that here. We really got into AppleCheeks once she was 6 months old and moved into size 2's. For reference, while I don't have the weight/height numbers on hand, my daughter was absolutely enormous and was just starting to get onto the charts for both height and weight at 6 months (where she remained at 90th percentile and above), so some may need to wait longer on size 2's. Here she is at 10 months in a size 2.
I cannot say enough about why I love AppleCheeks! I don't think you can find a better diaper of any variety (pocket, AIO, fitted...) for containing messes AND that are easier to remove messes from! These are especially my go to diapers if I'm expecting a poop - they always have been and will be until we finish potty learning. I have had these babies filled from front to back with things you wouldn't believe came out of such a tiny person, and we almost never have a breach! We always needed a stay dry layer, and the fleece is so soft and so easy to wash off. After 2.5 years of use, mine show very little staining and most are still very soft inside. I love the leg gussets - the design is so soft and while we have had a few phases where her thighs just got to a certain size where she got red marks, for the most part these are mark free, and have proven way better in that department than traditionally designed pockets. The fit is incredible and always has been for 2.5 years. I love the two tiers of snaps, and somehow I've never, ever gotten wing droop. Probably due to the great elastic going all the way around the waist. And the best part? NO UNSTUFFING! The pocket design makes for the easiest clean-up of all when it comes to pockets - it washes out in the wash. It really, truly does! We have a traditional top loader and in 2.5 years I could probably count maybe 3 times the insert did not wash out. They have held up to years of wear (I've had these at least 6 months longer than my Bottombumpers), and only a few are starting to show signs of stretched elastic after constant use for 2.5 years. Even so, with the snaps designed the way they are, this is easily remedied by snapping a little tighter. These are my go to grandparents diaper, and they have used them with ease and even washed them out themselves. They are made exceptionally well in Canada by a company that has some of the best customer service I've ever experienced anywhere, and they are absolutely, positively worth every penny! I can tell you I owned about 6 Thirsties pockets that have a "no unstuffing" design as well. The longevity was laughable compared to my AppleCheeks! The snaps came off several inserts almost immediately, they were not as trim, the gussets dug into my daughter's legs, the snaps on the waist almost never gave me a good fit and the stay dry interior pilled and looked worn and scratchy in a matter of months. The gussets and interior fabric stained really easily, and the elastic started to go after about six months. If you want to invest in a diaper that you can keep for the length of diapering, and will last and perform throughout, look no further than AppleCheeks!
Here is my daughter today, just days before her 3rd birthday in her AppleCheeks. I would've used the same diaper from the photo above, but it was in the wash. I have to say I was cracking up over the progression of her comfort in front of the camera from photographing her in the Bottombumpers to the AppleCheeks. She was really hamming it up at the end! :)