Premium Cloth Diapers versus “China Cheapies” – The Warranty

I’ve already done some looking at the benefits of choosing your premium cloth diapers versus the inexpensive cloth diapers made overseas (also known as “China Cheapies”).  There are pros and cons to going in either direction, but today, a cyber buddy posted about a brand new diaper (one of the China Cheapies) having a snap break.

A brand new diaper… with a snap broken in less than two weeks. Will your diaper manufacturer cover that? Or will they give you the runaround?

I’ve had snaps break.  I’ve had elastics fail.  With the snaps that broke, the diapers were heavily used in my cloth diaper stash rotation.  Really, it was disappointing, but it’s not like they hadn’t been work horse diapers.  (And now I have friends who have snap pliers, so I can get them fixed!)  With the elastics that failed, I’ve had three outcomes.  1.) It was a FuzziBunz one size diaper, so I didn’t have to worry about it because the diaper comes with extra elastics that can be fixed without sewing.  And it had been used for a couple of years, so it’s not like it wasn’t due to get a little TLC.  2.) It was a diaper that I’d had for at least a year, so elastics wearing out wasn’t unreasonable.  There are people in my area who can fix them (like Pearl at Cloth for a Cause).  3.) It happened with a brand new GroVia shell.  Actually, it was my very first GroVia shell, and I’d used it twice before an elastic actually broke in the washing machine.  Cozy Bums, my local cloth diaper retailer, replaced the diaper for me and took care of the warranty stuff.  (Best customer service ever.)

With the vast majority of my diapers, I have a one year manufacturer’s warranty.  That’s the warranty on GroVia diapers, Swaddlebees and Blueberry, and Cotton Babies products – Flip, Econobum, and BumGenius.  Happy Heinys has a different warranty depending on what it is, but elastics have a six month warranty and they’ll send you the materials to replace the elastics after that.  (Snaps are lifetime.  Hmm.  I really should have been better about keeping my receipts for my diapers!)  Rumparooz has a variable warranty similar to that of Happy Heinys.  Fuzzi Bunz now has lifetime warranties.

I don’t mind paying twenty dollars or more for a diaper when I know that the manufacturer stands behind what they make.

Some of the China Cheapies brands don’t have that same guarantee.  Sunbaby has a thirty day guarantee.  AlvaBaby (and its rebranded diapers) don’t have a date deadline.  I haven’t heard of people having great luck with getting anything repaired or replaced by other China Cheapies brands.  In fact, I tried a China Cheapies that I bought off of a daily deal site once as an experiment.  The diaper didn’t work.  I messaged the diaper company on Twitter and was ignored.  Fortunately, it was cheap, so I shrugged it off as “no big loss.”

I like knowing that my diapers are made to last.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the same quality or support from a diaper that I buy for five dollars as I would expect from a diaper that I buy for twenty-five dollars.  It’s where that old adage of one getting what one pays for comes in.

Have you ever had any warranty issues with a diaper company?  How was it resolved?

The All-in-Two Diaper Comparison

I love my all-in-two diapers.  They’re wonderfully versatile and can make packing a cinch.  The problem that comes into play is… well, where do you start?  Is there a better or worse one?  Are there different features?  How are the various all-in-two diaper brands the same and how do they differ? [Read more…]

New Cloth Diaper Designs at the ABC Expo!

For the last two years, I’ve watched the news of cloth diaper designs come out from the ABC Expo with baited breath.  I’d really, really love to go to the next one and see the fun and excitement (and blog about it on the spot from my iPhone) in person.  Now that we’re a few days into the release of the new cloth diaper patterns, I’ve seen new release announcements from GroVia, Best Bottom, Rumparooz, Charlie Banana, Apple Cheeks, Bottombumpers, and Blueberry/Swaddlebees.

GroVia: GroVia isn’t just releasing patterns this year.  They’re releasing a host of new products, including the Bamboo prefold.  (I was lucky enough to be one of the testers, so you can see the prefold and my review.)

Left: GroVia’s new hanging wet pail.
Right: GroVia Trainers in new colors!

Left: GroVia fitted diapers
Right: GroVia wool covers

 

Best Bottoms: Best Bottoms has released three new prints.

Three new Best Bottom Diaper covers to add to your stash!
From left to right: Hedgehog, Huckleberry Cobbler, Plum Pie

Rumparooz: Rumparooz has released three new prints.  Permission to use those images was not obtained at the time of post.

Charlie Banana: Charlie Banana has released a new camo collection.  It will be available in the six pack with a brown, black, and white diaper to round out the package.

AppleCheeks: AppleCheeks has released one new print and also announced the discontinuation of another.

The new AppleCheeks print, “Tweet”

Bottombumpers: Look for three new polka dot diapers on your retailer’s shelves!

Polka dots to round out your cloth diaper stash

Blueberry/Swaddlebees: Swaddlebees has released three new prints that will be available across all Blueberry and Swaddlebees product lines.  Permission to use those images was not obtained at the time of post.

What new arrival are you most excited about?

Cloth Diaper Insert Absorbency Test #1

A couple of days ago, my friend Heather over at The Parenting Patch did a great cloth diaper insert absorbency test on some of her inserts.  She tested out Fuzzi Bunz minky, Best Bottom Hemp, Sunbaby Bamboo, and Alva Baby bamboo.  When I shared it on my Facebook page, one of my readers asked about BumGenius diaper inserts.  With that in mind, I figured I’d pick up where Heather left off and test some of my own inserts.

Testing Jamtots, BumGenius, large Blueberry, and small Blueberry inserts

Testing Jamtots, BumGenius, large Blueberry, and small Blueberry inserts

I tested four inserts: a BumGenius 4.0 large microfiber insert, a Blueberry large microfiber insert, a Blueberry small microfiber insert, and a Jamtots hemp insert.

My testing method was a bit different than Heather’s method.  (This was just the easiest, most scientific way for me to be exact.)  I started out with my four inserts.  I weighed each insert dry.  After that, I soaked each insert in a liter of water for two minutes, then allowed the insert to dip for one minute.  I then weighed the wet insert.  To test how compression would impact each insert, I gently squeezed out the extra moisture from each insert and again weighed it.

Some metric conversion stuff for you: one liter of water is approximately a quart.  I used the scale to weigh the wet inserts because one milliliter of water weighs one gram, so it was just the most simplistic method I could think of.  Oh, and a cup of water is roughly 250 milliliters.

Jamtots:
dry weight: 58 g
soaked weight: 219 g
wrung out weight: 164 g

So the Jamtots absorbed 161 mL of water, which is roughly 2/3 of a cup.  After I squeezed out the extra water, there was 106 mL remaining, which is just under 1/2 a cup.  The Jamtots insert held roughly twice its weight in water after compressing!  For the compression test, the Jamtots lost 34% of the moisture.  I believe I squeezed the Jamtots most vigorously since it’s harder to tell by feel with the Jamtots insert.

BumGenius 4.0:
dry weight: 63 g
soaked weight: 311 g
wrung out weight: 221 g

The BumGenius 4.0 insert absorbed 248 mL of water in two minutes, which is just short of a full cup of water!  However, it’s microfiber, so it is more prone to compression than the hemp insert tested above.  After wringing out the extra water, it was down to 158 mL remaining, which is roughly 2/3 of a cup.  Had I been more vigourous with squeezing out the water, I probably would have lost more water.  What this demonstrated is that while microfiber is extremely efficient at absorbing moisture very quickly, it’s quite prone to compression.  After compression, there was a 37% reduction in absorbed moisture.

Small Blueberry:
dry weight: 41 g
soaked weight: 255 g
wrung out weight: 128 g

The small Blueberry insert absorbed 214 mL of water in two minutes, which is essentially 9/10 of a cup of water.  Again, it’s also microfiber, so the same details after wringing out apply.  After wringing out, I was left with 87 mL of water, which is just over 1/3 of a cup.  That amount of compression was more in line with a baby truly compressing the diaper.  After compression, there was a 60% reduction in the absorbed moisture.

Large Blueberry:
dry weight: 73 g
soaked weight: 377 g
rung out weight: 241 g

In two minutes, the large Blueberry insert absorbed 304 mL of water, which translates out to over 1 and 1/4 cups!  Again, it’s microfiber, which makes for a super fast absorption rate, but the same compression issues still apply.  After wringing out (again, more vigourously than the BumGenius wring out), 168 mL (or just under 3/4 of a cup) remained.  That’s a compression loss of 45%.

Ultimately, the winners for most absorbed after compression were:

1st: Large Blueberry
2nd: BumGenius 4.0
3rd: Jamtots
4th: Small Blueberry

Disclosure: Some links are Amazon affiliate links.  Should you buy an item from one of them, I will receive a small commission, which is used to support Cloth Diaper Addicts.

Overnight Cloth Diapers for My Super Soaker Toddler

Overnight cloth diaper

Finally! We found an overnight cloth diaper solution for us. It’s not trim, but it works.

I struggled with using cloth diapers overnight for Norton.  I went through a variety of diapers.   In fact, a large part of the reason that I have so many varieties of cloth diapers started because I was on the quest for an overnight cloth diaper solution for my boy.

I bought two Bumboo fitted cloth diapers for Norton, but the husband refused to use them because the rise adjustment was just too confusing for him.  He requires a diaper that has the rise pre-set for him (and pre-stuffed if it’s a pocket diaper) so all he needs to do is slap it on a baby’s butt and go about his day.  For a while, we did all right with Tots Bots Easy Fit diapers.  That was when Tots Bots Easy Fit first came out with their old style, which was Velcro only.  We had intermittent success with that method when stuffed with a hemp doubler, but we ultimately had to give up any sort of Velcro diaper on Norton.  Right now, Tots Bots Easy Fit diapers are what I use on Eudora for overnights; I stuff them with an extra Fuzzi Bunz microfiber insert.

For well over a year, I gave up on overnight cloth diapers with Norton.  My pocket diapers weren’t cutting it.  My fitted diapers were too confusing.  My GroVia hybrid diapers just weren’t overnight material, particularly considering at that time the only inserts available were the organic cotton.   We ended up using disposables overnight.  Even that wasn’t a perfect solution; we still frequently found both Norton and his bed saturated in the morning.  Sometimes the diaper would rupture and he’d have all of those yucky microbead gel things on him.  I really didn’t like those on my boy’s bits.

Recently, I got an idea.  I thought it was pretty inspired.  Blueberry diapers have this wonderfully long insert.  It’s so long that it folds completely in half and covers the entire length of the diaper.  What if I tried two of those inserts?  It’s not like I was using the second long insert that I had…  At that time, I only had two Blueberry diapers: one was a spotted Blueberry diaper I bought a year ago for Norton, and the other was Eudora’s beautiful Butterflies diaper.  She’s far too tiny for that super long insert.

So I double stuffed that diaper.  It was super stuffed.  Norton looked like he had a pillow under his pajama pants.  I kept my fingers crossed that we wouldn’t have compression leaks.

The next morning, Norton’s diaper was just saturated.  It was at the point that it could have been weighed in pounds.  But his pajamas were dry.  So was his bed.

A few days after that experiment, I bought two more Blueberry pocket diapers off of a mom in my local diaper swap group.  I tried stuffing two Blueberry long inserts in the pocket with a hemp insert in the middle.  As soon as I saw Norton wearing that one, I realized that it wasn’t going to work.  The diaper was stuffed so thick that it made the rise way too low.  I took out one of the long Blueberry inserts and left one long Blueberry insert and one Jamtots hemp insert.

It was fantastic.  Norton was still soaked, but the results were even better.

Now I have two overnight cloth diapers for Norton: a double stuffed Blueberry pocket diaper and a Blueberry pocket diaper stuffed with one long Blueberry microterry insert and a Jamtots hemp insert.  Even better, it’s an overnight cloth diaper solution that my husband can use.

What are you using overnight?

Perhaps I Need a Custom Cloth Diaper

I’ve never bought a custom cloth diaper before.  I’ve never had anything made to order for… well, pretty much anything, really.  Lately I’ve been thinking that it might be time for me to go the custom cloth diaper route.

Why?  Well, maybe it’s just because I’m in “a mood,” but I was feeling blue and decided to browse cloth diapers online.  At my favorite store, I was just “Got that, some of those, tons of those, meh, yeah, got it, tried it, ad nauseum.”  The more I looked around, the more it seemed like I just plain had about one of every type of something that I saw… unless I wanted to start ordering from the States again, of course.  I got the Rumparooz diaper print that I was crazy about.  I’ve got the Blueberry Butterflies diaper, and now the rest of the Swaddlebees prints I was crazy about are on the way.  I felt like I was running out of diapers to buy.  And, really, while that might make my husband thrilled to tears, it frustrated me.  I was feeling experimental.  I wanted something different to try.

And I started thinking about fun.  How awesome would it be to find a Bad Badtz Maru diaper?  Someone should make one, right?  After all, Hello Kitty cloth diapers exist.  Why wouldn’t Bad Badtz Maru or Keroppi have diapers, too?

Would you believe that I couldn’t find that on Etsy?  *sigh*

One created Cookie Monster Poppy Cloth diaper by my friend Heather. Maybe she could make my Bad Badtz Maru?

It dawned on me that there were a few options that I had for something different.  I could visit Heather at the Parenting Patch and get her to hook me up with something cute through her Poppy Cloth creations.  I’ve been threatening to order a bunch of diapers and have them sent to Heather to do cute things with, anyway.

Or I could get really experimental.  I could just get a custom diaper made through Etsy.  Now that would be something different that the rest of the world wouldn’t have.

Or, hey, maybe I should just take a break on buying cloth diapers.

Psh, yeah, right.  That’s so not going to happen.

What kind of diapers do you look for when you’re feeling diaper adventurous?

Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links.  If you should buy something from the links on my sites, I receive a small commission which is used to support Cloth Diaper Addicts.

Overnight Pocket Diaper Insert Combination Suggestions

When I first switched to cloth diapers when my daughter was a little over three months old, I decided to stop using disposables all together. Although some cloth diapering mamas ultimately decide to continue using disposable diapers at night because of problems with leaks, I have been able to find a number of overnight solutions that work great for my baby. She sleeps up to thirteen hours at a time without a diaper change (and I am not about to wake a sleeping baby just to change a wet diaper that is not bothering her). Here are some of the pocket diaper insert combinations that I have found that work great for overnight use. [Read more…]

What I’ve Learned about Buying Cloth Diapers

I love cloth diapers.  I have a minor cloth diaper addiction.  Buying cloth diapers is just plain fun.  But now, I’m at the point where it’s time to start destashing a bit.  There’s no reason in the world for me to have over 80 cloth diapers.  Right now, I can have a load of cloth diapers in the wash, another basket already washed that’s waiting to be folded, and still have enough cloth diapers to hold me over for a couple of days.  Of course, with my addiction (and thanks, Kerri at Cozy Bums, for enabling me!) comes a lot of experience with buying cloth diapers.

As soon as you start looking at cloth diapers, you realize that there are millions upon millions of options.  Okay, maybe not literally millions, but there are certainly more brands, types, and patterns of cloth diapers than one can ever reasonably use.  So, here are the conclusions that I’ve come to:

[Read more…]