More and more parents are making the choice to cloth diaper their children. People often think of cloth diapering the way it was 30 or more years ago, with pins and rubber pants. Certainly those kinds of diapers still exist and can be an awesome solution for families on a very strict budget, but there is also a whole new world of cloth diapers that are stylish and easy to use. Here in Madison there are a few places to buy cloth diapers, notably Happy Bambino, but we are also lucky enough to have a store devoted almost entirely to cloth!
Nicki’s Diapers started out as a mainly web-based enterprise out of New Glarus. They have a storefront down there, but having visited in person it’s really more of a warehouse for the business. About a year ago, Nicki’s opened a second storefront, in Middleton, that is designed for foot traffic. At Nicki’s Diapers, you will find every type of diaper you can think of, from popular brands like BumGenius and FuzziBunz to up-and-comers like BabyKicks and Tweedlebugs. Nicki’s is also currently the only place you’ll be able to buy the new Best Bottom one-size All-in-Two diaper.
I have bought a few different diapers from Nicki’s. Before Nicki developed the Best Bottom diaper, they were the U.S. source for Haute Pockets, an Australian brand which is no longer in production from what I can tell. I actually like the Hautes I bought at Nicki’s, but apparently some people were having trouble with the PUL. As such, they went on clearance. I’ve also purchased FuzziBunz one-size pocket diapers there, and they are my absolute favorite diaper. They come in fabulous colors and are adjustable on such a precise level that I’ve almost never had any leaks. You can use the same diaper from 8 to 35 pounds, adjusting the rise with the elastic around the legs. I was able to put my daughter in her one-size diapers when she was about two weeks old and she’s still wearing them now, 15 months later.
I’ve done the math, and even though buying a full supply of one-size pocket diapers will cost you between $350 and $500 depending on the brand, I would have already spent about A THOUSAND dollars on disposables over the course of Dahlia’s life thus far. Not to mention just the sheer load of garbage that adds up to. It almost boggles the mind! Plus, you can actually amortize the cost of diapers over multiple children. FuzziBunz, in particular, has very easily replaceable elastic, which is the one component of the diapers that is more likely to age poorly while in storage between kids. There is also a very good market for used cloth diapers, believe it or not, so you might be able to make a portion of that up-front cost back at the end. FuzziBunz cost $19.95, but Nicki’s discounts the diapers the more you buy. One size diapers in general cost range in cost from $13 (TweedleBugs) to $27 for organic pockets like the Swaddlebees Econappi. You’ll also save money using cloth wipes rather than disposable wipes, and Nicki’s sells very nice ones from companies like Cotton Babies, Thirsties, Kissaluvs and GroVia, as well as their own new brand, Imagine. The Imagine brand also includes prefold and flat diapers.
Nicki’s also has a Newborn package with a mix of fitteds, pockets and prefolds for $123.39 to get you started with cloth diapering. They have a few other sample packages, too, offering discounts on different brands for you to try. On top of that, they offer a 15 day trial period — you can keep your diapers for 15 days, even washing them, and return them for store credit if they don’t work out. How many stores do you know that let you return clothes after you’ve washed them? None? And I’m guessing you treat your clothes with a little more, um, dignity than your diapers will receive.
Certainly there are a few down sides to cloth diapering, and the most obvious one is the fact that you have to wash the diapers yourself. I’ve found this to be surprisingly less unpleasant than I expected it to be. You do have to do a little bit of extra rinsing to make sure the diapers are nice and clean, but I haven’t found that my electric bill has increased noticeably. And in the summer, you can hang the diapers on the line to dry! Line drying disinfects, reduces staining, and saves energy and money. Nicki’s sells many great products that help with the washing process, notably Rockin’ Green Detergent specifically made for hard water like we have here in Madison ($15.95 for 45 loads), and the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer ($44.95) to help wash off some of the less pleasant diapers you’ll get once your kiddo starts eating solid foods. (Though, to be honest, I bought a diaper sprayer and have yet to hook it up. There have been a couple of diapers that made me wish I HAD hooked it up, but for the first six months breastfed poop is totally water soluble and can go right in the wash, and you’d be surprised how well most solid poops will come off over the toilet with a good shake. Uck, no one likes talking about baby poop, right?? But the fact of the matter is that babies poop, and you have to deal with it one way or another. I feel like when I tell people that we cloth diaper Dahlia, they have this image of me sitting over the sink with a diaper and a toothbrush, scrubbing by hand — that is SO far from the case!)
Nicki’s Diapers sells far more than just diapers. They have a full supply of car seats from brands like Britax, Chicco, Combi and Graco. They also sell a wide variety of baby carriers that can be hard to find, notably BabyHawk, Ergo, Maya, Moby, and Beco. And they have lots of wonderful supplies for breastfeeding mothers, including nursing bras and shirts from companies like Bravado and Glamourmom, breastpumps by Medela and Hygeia, gel pads and creams for comfort, nursing covers with fun brand names like Hooter Hiders and Udder Covers, and teas and supplements to help boost or reduce supply. They have a variety of other products for babies, like BabyLegs, iPlay and Bumkins bibs, Boppy pillows, teethers (SOPHIE THE GIRAFFE!), pacifiers, Gripe water, swaddlers, and toys. And since it’s the summer, they have a huge selection of swim diapers, swimsuits, hats, sunscreens, insect repellants, and even tiny baby sunglasses!
And Nicki’s doesn’t just sell product — they hold classes and groups, too, many of them free. They do car seat inspections, breastfeeding clinics, classes about babywearing and car seats, infant massage sessions, a workshop about how to prepare your pets for new babies, and support for breasfeeding moms and parents of high-needs babies. And of course, they have free classes about what type of cloth diaper might be best for your family.
The physical storefront is tightly packed with all the amazing things they sell, but there is still a fair amount of room to maneuver a stroller. They have nice comfy couches off to the corner which provide a nice spot to nurse, as well as a baby scale you can freely use to see how your little one is growing. The staff at Nicki’s is always friendly and helpful. I know one of the clerks actually started out as Nicki’s babysitter years ago and has become an integral part of the business.
I have had great customer service at Nicki’s, too. A Mommy’s Touch All-in-One diaper I bought from them lost a snap, but when I emailed them they told me they would be happy to ship me a replacement for free, or I could come in and pick it up. (I chose the latter, but when I got to the store they didn’t actually have the color I wanted in stock so they ended up shipping it to me in the end.) I also had a problem with some stitching on a FuzziBunz diaper, and FuzziBunz needed a receipt for warranty verification — Nicki’s incredibly helpful customer service representative Anna was able to look up the purchase in their records just from the date of the transaction and emailed me a scan of the receipt within an hour of my request! What a great way to run a business. Plus, I like them because they don’t mind a toddler running around their store rifling through stacks of merchandise. Every employee is always welcoming. My only small complaint is that I wish they had longer hours! If you are a cloth diapering family already, or just interested in learning more, Nicki’s Diapers is a fabulous resource that we are lucky to have in town.
Nicki’s Diapers is located at 739 N. High Point Rd in Middleton, and their phone number is (608) 836-1211. Their hours are 10-5 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10-7 on Tuesday and Thursday, and 12-4 on Sunday. They also have a storefront in New Glarus at 405 2nd St, which is open 9 to 3:30 on weekdays.