Monday, March 15, 2010
When I was pregnant with Nate, I was quite intrigued by cloth diapering. I researched all the various types and brands so I knew the difference between fitteds, pockets and AIO's. I loved that they were eco-friendly, soft with adorable prints and colors, and best of all, reusable! The average family spends $1,800-$2,700 per child on disposable diapers from birth to potty-training. Cloth diapering can cost anywhere from $300-$1,200 depending on the system you choose. That's a savings of $600-$2,400! Not to mention that quality cloth diapers can likely be used on more than one child for even greater savings.
It seemed like a no-brainer. However, as I planned to go back to work and Nate would be in the care of my mom or husband during my in-office days, I had to get their input. They both resisted the change tooth and nail so as not to burden anyone with a potentially complicated diapering system, we went the sposie route. Well, now that I'm a SAHM and changing 99.99% of the diapers around here, I no longer have to worry about how other people feel about our routine. Nate may be 19 months old but I figure it's better late than never. So, at long last, I'm officially dabbling in the world of cloth diapers! And I can't think of a cuter diaper (with a cuter name!) than AppleCheeks for my first foray into cloth.
AppleCheeks are designed and manufactured in Montreal, and were founded by a couple of Canadian WAHM's who are passionate about attachment parenting and natural living. Their products, including cloth diapers, wraps and slings, reflect these values.
AppleCheeks are incredibly versatile cloth diapering system. Their waterproof PUL cover contains a soft microfleece inner layer with a wide envelope-style opening, which enables you to a) stuff an insert or prefold to act as a pocket diaper or to b) lay the insert over the microfleece and reuse the cover as an All-In-Two (AI2). When used as a pocket, AppleCheeks' unique design allows the insert to automatically agitate out in the wash. That's right - no unstuffing soiled inserts! The diapers have snug elastic at both the waist and legs and two rows of adjustable snaps for a secure fit. AppleCheeks are available in two sizes: Size 1 fits 7-20 lbs. and Size 2 fits from 20-40 lbs. They also come in a range of vibrant colors to brighten up any stash.
AppleCheeks kindly sent me one of their Chocolate covers in size 2, a bamboo insert, booster and a Chocolate size 1 Storage Sac to review.
I was so excited when the package arrived, I could hardly wait to tear it open. The color was a beautiful, rich mocha and the leg ruffles gave the diaper a distinct, stylish flair. The microfleece inside was so buttery soft, I couldn't stop touching it! The trifold 70% bamboo/30% organic cotton insert was thick and comfy and the coordinating booster was perfect to boost protection near the front for my little peepot. I really liked that both inserts were unbleached and the bamboo is naturally antimicrobial so I felt this was the healthiest option for my baby's bottom.
My AppleCheeks diaper came with an illustrated instruction and care sheet that made it almost impossible to screw up. Cold rinse without detergent. Hot wash with detergent. Another rinse. Tumble dry low or, to extend the life of your diaper, air dry. I did wash the insert and booster a few more times in hot water to increase absorbency before our first use. They also have a handy video tutorial in case you are paranoid like me and want to double-check your work. Because I only had one insert on hand, I decided to use my AppleCheeks diaper as a pocket style. This also seemed most comfy since the microfiber would be closest to his tushie and could wick away moisture. The generous envelope opening made it super easy to stuff the insert. I couldn't believe how simple it was! Even Daddy was amazed!
I liked the idea of snap closures because they wouldn't snag in the wash as with aplix but I wasn't sure how much of a struggle it would be to fasten onto my little wiggleworm. I was also concerned that Nate would be able to pull his diaper off, as he does with some of his sposies. Thankfully, the snaps took just a few seconds to figure out and while Nate hasn't even tried to fidget with the snaps, I am confident they will stay put. Nate is approximately 28 lbs. and the second to the last setting proved to be the perfect fit, with a little room still left for him to grow. Once on, the diaper gave him a little bulk in the back but I couldn't resist his new fluffy bum. Much sweeter than a stiff, papery Sesame Street character!
Of course, about a half an hour after we tried on the cloth, Nate decided it was time to poop. I was nervous initially since Nate can be a heavy wetter but I am happy to report we had no leaks whatsoever and the mess was completely contained. I just shook off the solid waste into the toilet and put the soiled diaper into the waterproof storage sac for washing. I estimate the size 1 storage sac was big enough to store about 5 larger cloth diapers with inserts. It would be perfect if you cloth diaper part-time or to keep in a diaper bag for trips out and about. It not only controls moisture but also keeps the laundry room fresh. Nate's dirty diaper sat in the room for more than 24 hours but no one could have ever guessed it. There was no nasty odor at all. When it came time to wash, I just turned the sac inside out, dumped the dirty diaper into the washer along with the inside-out sac and began the cycle. Everything came out good as new. Once clean, I hung or laid everything to dry and eagerly anticipated our next cloth adventure.
I was worried about how Nate would take to the change from sposies to cloth but I get the feeling he definitely prefers cloth. With sposies, he would yank at his diaper or scoot around on the floor to itch his butt from irritation or sheer annoyance. I've yet to see any of that with our AppleCheeks! We haven't yet braved going overnight with them but once I purchase some more inserts, I fully plan to double up and give it a go.
The only disadvantage I can find with AppleCheeks is the cost. The envelope covers range from $17-$19 and the bamboo inserts are just under $9. This brings the total of one complete diaper to $26-$28. That is roughly $8 more than other AIO's on the market. However, you can save some money by opting for the AppleCheeks MiniTest Kit, which is $45 and includes 1 envelope cover and 3 inserts. Used as an AI2, this can serve as 3 diapers at $15 each. Much more affordable, IMO.
Bottom line: Whether you are considering a switch from disposables or you are already a crunchy cloth mama, you should add some AppleCheeks in your stash. I love the versatility and plan to purchase more bamboo inserts so I can get more than one use out of my cover. They have held up very well in the wash (love that I don't have to dig the messy insert out!) and I think our AppleCheeks are durable enough to stick around through at least one more addition to our family. They are super absorbent, super easy to use and super cute!
BUY IT: You can purchase AppleCheeks diapers and accessories online at www.applecheeks.com or at other select e-tailers worldwide.
WIN IT: One lucky winner is going to win their very own AppleCheeks cover in the size and color of their choice along with a bamboo insert! WOW! (Note: if you've previously reviewed AppleCheeks or won an AppleCheeks giveaway in the past 6 months, you are not eligible to win. So sorry but we do have to share the wealth!)
MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Take a peek at AppleCheeks and tell me which color you would choose if you won. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile to prevent disqualification!
SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count! Remember to leave one comment per entry.
1.) Follow my blog and/or subscribe via reader or email. If you already follow and/or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry each)
2.) Follow me and AppleCheeks on Twitter and tweet about this contest. You can do this daily! You may use the tweet below or come up with one of your own:
Sick of sposies? Win an @AppleCheeksDipe #clothdiaper in your choice of size and color from @kris10chumley Ends 3/30 http://bit.ly/8Xc5vF
Just leave me a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry max per day)
3.) Become a fan of AppleCheeks on Facebook. (1 entry)
4.) Add my blog button and leave a comment with the link to where I can find it. (1 entry)
5.) As a cloth diaper newbie, I could really use all the help I can get. What is your best tip or piece of advice for someone just getting started in cloth diapering? (1 entry)
Giveaway will end on March 30, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. and Canada. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: As mentioned above, I received an AppleCheeks cover, insert, and booster from Ilana at AppleCheeks to facilitate my candid review. I won the storage sac in a separate contest via Facebook. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are solely mine. Your experience may differ.