Monday, October 25, 2010

product review: Little Beetle cloth diapers

about three months ago, i embarked on the overwhelming journey of deciding which brand of cloth diapers to purchase.  if i was a patient person, i may have ordered several different brands of diapers and tested each one out before making an informed decision.

however, i was eager to start cloth diapering after we got the kids and decided to do all of my research on the internet and jump in with two feet.  my initial research (before we got the kids) helped me to land on a fitted diaper with a separate cover diapering system (the other two types are an all-in-one or a pre-fold).  if you are in the midst of this decision is a great resource, and simple mom also has a good series about cloth diapering going on right now.

Little Beetle Organic Wool Cover - Natural Size 1 with Snap Closurelong story short, i ended up ordering little beetle diapers.  i want to share the positives and negatives.  i dont share this claiming to be an expert, i have only been a mom for three months and a CD'ing mom for about two, and this is the only system i have used (besides a couple of gerber prefolds that i have around to use in a pinch).  but i want to give you my initial impressions here.

the good part of the reason that i chose these diapers is because they are environmentally-friendly.  the diapers are made of an organic cotton/hemp blend, and the covers are made of wool.  the wool covers are surprisingly water resistant (though not 100% waterproof) and i like the idea of wool in order to avoid plastic as much as possible, and to have something natural against my babies' skin.

the diapers themselves have a removable insert, which makes them easier to dry and allows me to adjust the absorbency depending on my need (for example, we use double inserts at night).  i chose the snap closure kind, which sometimes is a bit of a hassle when i am in a hurry, but i prefer overall to pulling out diaper chains from the wash (which can happen with aplix closures).

Little Beetle Little-to-Big (One Size) Organic Wool Diaper Cover with Snap Closure (Natural)i have found these diapers to be very absorbent as well as easy to use (alex has never complained once about them).  The few times we have had leaks were always because either the diaper cover was not on correctly or because we waited way too long before changing them (that sometimes happens when you are running around after four kiddos).  We have only had a blowout once or twice (when lovely girl was teething and having constant diarrhea for about a week).

the bad wool covers are a bit more complicated than plastic.  they have to be lanolized (ie re-waterproofed) every month or so, and have to be hand washed in the sink.  when we first got them, lovely girl's messy diapers often spilled out onto the covers, which was a hassle to almost daily clean a diaper cover. since then i have realized i should just only spot clean when that happens (duh! cant believe i didn't realize that earlier).  plus we must be getting better at putting the diapers on correctly because this rarely happens now.  despite these drawbacks, i still think i prefer the wool covers to plastic ones.

we have also had some issues with ammonia burn, but i dont think that this is the fault of the diapers, its either our hard water or the detergent we are using.  we are in the process of trying to solve the ammonia problem, but for now we are just using sposies at night, which has temporarily resolved the issue.

the bottom line: would i buy it again? when i ordered the diapers, both lovely girl and little man were in size two diapers, which means that if we ever get/have an infant at some point, we are going to need buy more diapers in size one.  i have been thinking about whether or not i would buy these diapers again and frankly i am not sure yet.  i am very satisfied with the performance of these diapers, but part of me would like to try something else just to get a better idea of what is out there.  in short, i would lean toward probably buying them again, but i'm not for certain.

my review of these diapers cannot be separated from a review of the company i purchased them from, eden cloth diapering i cannot give a high enough recommendation for this company, mostly because of the stellar customer service.  part of the reason i purchased these diapers was because of all the help the owner of the company gave me.  before i even made a purchase, she answered all of my questions in several different lengthy emails.  when i explained our family situation to her, she was willing to put together a package for us at a discounted price to fit our diapering needs.  since my purchase, i have been able to email her at any time with more questions.  furthermore, her thorough responses are also always timely: i have always gotten a response to my emails within a day or two.

i am under the impression that it is a small company and their product line isn't super-extensive, but it focuses on eco-friendly CD'ing options and various other baby products.  i appreciate that it is owned by a mom who has lots of experience and thinks through the products that she offers.

if you are looking for a cloth diapering store, i highly recommend hers.  and if you happen to email her with a question, tell her you heard about her from the crazy mom in california with four foster kids ages four and under.

in summary: if you know me, you know that i am frugal and will do almost anything to save a couple dollars (that is part of the reason we cloth-diaper over disposables).  there are less-expensive cloth diapering systems out there.  and even for this specific system/brand, i could have gotten it a little cheaper at another online store.  but i decided to go with a brand that i felt is high-quality and worth paying more for, from a company that is also high-quality because of their personal service.  and i am satisfied with my investment.

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