"We didn't invent cloth diapering. We simply perfected it."
A bold statement indeed, but AppleCheeks (my next Fluffy February event sponsor) certainly has reason to be confident. Mamas and papas everywhere are totally smitten with this Canadian cloth diapering brand! Not only do they make adorable, high-quality dipes, but they also have amazing customer service and know how to have FUN! As an example, last year they held a photo giveaway event on their Facebook wall challenging fans to come up with the most creative usage of an AppleCheeks diaper. (Submissions included water wings, a tea pot cozy and a Rastafarian beanie. ) And if all that isn't awesome enough, AppleCheeks has also pledged to donate a portion of its profits to Free the Children, an organization which strives to free children from poverty and exploitation, and empower youth to affect positive change in the world.
The company is co-owned by Ilana Grostern and Amy Appleton Venu, two ecologically-minded business women. Since Day 1, these two ladies have continuously improved the design of the AppleCheeks washable diapering system based on their own personal experiences and customer feedback. In addition to their 2-Size "Envelope Cover" and various insert options (which comprise the core system), AppleCheeks also offers plush bamboo wipes, disposable liners, swim diapers, convenient starter kits and accessories such as diaper storage sacs and waist extenders.
Let's take a closer look at their diapering system.
The envelope cover has the following key features (based on its product description):
- Super soft micro-fleece lining
- Super stretchy elastic to contain even the messiest blowouts
- Extra wide envelope-style opening for easy stuffing
- Wide tabs prevent wing droop
- Waterproof shell
- Two rows of snaps for the perfect fit
The cover comes in two sizes: Size 1 fits from 7-20 lbs, and Size 2 fits from 20-40 lbs. (Both weight ranges are approximate.) It also comes in an array of sweet colours with ultra-funky names! Here are some of 'em:
They have also recently added a black "Lake Echo" colour and two prints - Wild Child and Delicious!
As for inserts, AppleCheeks has your little one's rump more than covered! They offer two main insert types (a One-Size Rayon from Bamboo Insert, and a NEW Stay-Dry Microterry Insert) as well as two types of booster. Inserts can be used alone for day-time diapering or combined with one or more boosters for heavy-duty night time protection.
For review purposes, AppleCheeks sent me a Microterry Little Bundle (an envelope cover + Stay-Dry Microterry Insert) in Size 2 with the Wild Child print.
One of the first things I automatically do with a new diaper is the "feel test". And, boy oh boy, does the cover pass with flying colours! The micro-fleece inner is *ridiculously* soft, and the leg and waist elastic is, indeed, super stretchy. The construction is perfect as well - even stitching throughout and no loose seams.
Four settings of double waist snaps are available on both sides. The snaps are nice & sturdy but not so tight that the cover becomes difficult to put on.
Here is the cover on the smallest and largest settings. Isn't it just precious? I *really* love how it looks, especially on the smallest setting.
The envelope pocket opening is, indeed, a generous size. Your hubby has no excuse not to help stuff these bad boys - even if he's in the NBA!
AppleCheeks diapers are "Made in Canada" which they proudly proclaim right on the label!
Here's a close-up of the Stay-Dry Microterry Insert. Notice how each side is constructed of a different material - an absorbent microterry side (lined in red) and a stay-dry microfleece side.
The insert is meant to be used in two different ways. When placed on the cover (an "All in Two" approach), the microfleece side should be facing up.
When placed inside the pocket, the microterry side should be facing up. The insert's label has a helpful reminder that the microterry side is not designed to sit directly against baby's skin. The insert is, indeed, incredi-easy to stuff and it fits perfectly inside the pocket - snug without bunching at the sides or either end.
Now the fun part - wrapping all that snuggly softness around our daughter's li'l buns!
First of all, I should mention she's at a perfect age to test the diaper, as she is currently right around 20 pounds - the exact threshold between Size 1 and Size 2. When "graduating" to a larger size for the first time, there's always some possibility of leakage due to too much gaping and/or sagging, and of course the diaper may not look too flattering right away. Not so with our AppleCheeks! On the smallest setting, the Size 2 already fits our daughter rather trimly and creates an appreciably snug fit around her waist and thighs.
A couple more views from the back and side:
And here is our li'l "Wild Child" hanging out in her 'Cheeks. (Now that she's starting to really fight us during changes, a solid distraction works wonders! :)
S has worn this diaper about 6 times now - twice overnight and the rest during the day. I'm happy to report no leaks during day-time use with neither the stuffed nor the "All in Two" method. She pooped a couple times and this was easily contained as well. For overnight testing, we used the stuffed method exclusively as we wanted the soft, moisture-wicking microfleece against our daughter's skin for this much longer period. The first time we tried it overnight, she leaked - but we were being very ambitious and only used the single Stay-Dry Microterry insert. So yup, it was definitely oversaturation in this case! The second time we boosted it with an additional microfibre insert inside the pocket. She wet heavily that night but everything stayed in place! Yay - night diapering test = PASS!
As for care & maintenance, this system is a breeze. Both the cover and insert can be machine washed, and either machine or air dried. The insert comes out in the wash on its own, which is always nice, and it is very robust; it doesn't bunch or shrink at all following contact with heat.
Coming up with constructive criticism for this diapering system has been challenging, to say the least. Having said that, let's get to the official evaluation!
+ Flattering fit; super stretchy leg and waist elastics create a nice visual touch (especially on the smallest setting)
+ Colour options are vivid and attractive; with 9 currently available there is something for everyone's taste!
+ Diaper is quite trim, even when baby is at the smallest end of the suggested weight range.
+/- Prints have recently been introduced as well, however only two will be available at a time.
+ Insert fits perfectly into pocket so that there is no gaping or bunching on the sides or at the ends, increasing the possibility of leakage.
+ Diaper achieves a snug tummy and leg fit - even at the lowest end of the recommended weight range!
+ No leaks experienced so far during during the day with single Stay-Dry Microterry Insert used in both ways (all in two and stuffed) - about 6 total uses.
+ No problem containing solid messes. (Note - did not test with EBF poop.)
+ No overnight leakage when used as designed - with an extra insert/doubler for adequate absorbency.
Comfort & Health:
+ Inner microfleece is buttery-soft and outer waterproof fabric is smooth and also pleasant to the touch.
+ Waist and thigh elastics are nice & stretchy so that they don't dig uncomfortably into baby's skin; no marks left behind when diaper comes off
+ Waist and thigh material sticks outward rather than inward into baby's skin.
+ Diaper does not appear to cause/exacerbate diaper rash
- Cover and insert *are* made with synthetic materials so the system may not be as breathable as one made with natural materials such as bamboo; while this hasn't seemed to be a problem for our daughter, it may not be ideal for babies with very sensitive skin prone to diaper rash.
Ease of Use:
+ Diaper is super-easy to stuff via ultra-large pocket opening
+ Snaps are solid but not too tight such that changes become difficult
+ Both cover and insert are very easy to care for - easy spray-down, machine wash, machine dry or hang. (Air dries quickly!)
+ System can be used two ways with Stay-Dry Microterry Insert - stuffed or all in two. Mom and Dad can pick their favourite!
+ Insert comes out in the wash on its own
Quality & Durability:
+ Construction of cover looks and feels flawless. (No loose seams, improper stitching, etc. are evident.)
+ Snaps are strong & secure
+ Elastics are tight & solid
+ Inner lining feels almost as soft after several washings.
+ Insert does not shrink nor change shape when exposed to heat
(Note - given I have only been using this diaper for a few weeks, I plan to update this section a few months down the road to get a true durability picture!)
Total "Diaper Awesomeness" Score: 24 / 25 (Pretty much a perfect diaper. Go out there and buy some NOW! :) )
Overall Comments: From what I can tell so far (3 weeks usage), this is One Amazing Diaper. High quality construction, great performance (day and night), soft and comfy for baby, simple to use and care for and ridiculously cute! Aside from the fact that print options are (currently) limited and the diaper/insert combo is constructed from synthetic materials (which may be an issue from highly sensitive babies), I have literally nothing negative to report!
Approximate Stash Cost: $440 to $1080
Calculation details: Depending on your approach / preferences, you can build an AppleCheeks stash fairly economically or you can splurge a bit more. AppleCheeks suggests that three envelope covers can be used for approximately nine changes (each with a separate insert, of course). Based on this, you would need to purchase a minimum of 8 covers in each size (or 16 total), 24 One-Size Microterry Inserts (which cover daytime use) and, say, 6 bamboo boosters (for night diapering) to have a lifetime stash. There are slight pricing differences between retailers, however on average covers cost $20, One-Size Microterry Inserts cost $8 CAD per 2-pack and bamboo boosters cost $4 (all in CAD). This adds up to a stash cost of $440. That said, some people (myself include) may prefer not to reuse a "soft" cover like this between changes, even if the cover isn't soiled. So on the other end of the spectrum, if you opt to purchase a full set of 24 covers in each size, you're looking at a stash cost of $1080.
AppleCheeks sells its products exclusively via 3rd party retailers. Visit their Find a Store page to find retailers in your area.
One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win an AppleCheeks Little Bundle (envelope cover + insert) of their own! Winner chooses style, size and insert type.
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by AppleCheeks. I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample items free of charge. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.