Tuesday, June 8, 2010

AppleCheeks Cloth Diaper Review!



SAP's Story

There are times in the cloth diapering community that a new diaper surfaces and everyone falls in love with it. Back in May 2010, that diaper was AppleCheeks Two-Size diaper!
Everyone was talking about this diaper, everyone loved it, it looked soooo adorable on the baby's bum in the pictures I saw, I heard nothing but good things about it, but up until that point, I had only used our regular Bum Genius One Size 3.0 diapers....dare I take a leap and try a new diaper?
Then the opportunity came. SAP was a couple months old and had learned to start rolling from her back to her side and tummy. As exciting as this new development was for us, it brought up a new problem as well...she was rolling in her sleep! She was now rolling to her side or tummy when we put her to bed, and this not only concerned us with SIDS being a a fear of ours being new parents, but it also had the problem of making her night time Bum Genius 3.0 one size diapers leak! EVERY NIGHT!! Oh joy, this HAD TO STOP!!


I had come across a new diaper store called Diaper Style at www.diaperstyle.com and I started talking to Skye, who runs the store, about what she would suggest for a night time solution (fti, I have been told that Skye has sold Diaper Style and it now belongs to Chandic, just for your info!). She suggested prefolds with a Thirsties cover, so, since we already had both of those in our stash, we tried that. It worked! It did work wonders, no more leaks, I was happy. Unfortunately though, even with a fleece liner strategically placed in the fold of the prefold to try to keep it dry against her bum while she slept, she could still feel the wetness and would wake up more...this wasn't ideal for us either! She did get used to it and it didn't bother her as much but I wanted something better...Diaper Style to the rescue again! Following our original conversation about night time solutions, I asked Skye if she thought the AppleCheeks two-size diaper would work for night time....she thought they would work perfectly for our side and tummy sleeping daughter! I was intrigued at the gathers/gussets not only at the legs and back of the diaper, but also at the front! Made me feel safe letting her roll to her tummy to sleep without worry of a leak! Of course Diaper Style had a sale and I bought some size 1 Apple Cheek envelope covers and bamboo inserts to try out, in the original cheery tomato color and then periwinkle for her pretty bum.

I was so excited to get them and use them, but when I got them in the mail finally (took a while, since they come from Canada customs takes a bit longer than normal shipping time) I opened the box and found my order doubled! Surprise surprise! I notified Skye she had mistakenly double packed my order and she of course apologized and sent a bag to me to ship them back to her! lol how funny!I couldn't wait to try them on, but did the recommended 3 washes/dries for the bamboo inserts, which fluffed up nicely and make me glad I got the nice soft bamboo instead of the hemp, which I also like but not as much as bamboo fabric! got them put together and tried them on SAP and......didn't fit! :( oh no! I had ordered the size 1 because SAP was about 15-16 lbs and the size 1 was posted to fit 7-20lbs.....even with SAP's smaller build it was way too tight.We did use them for a while but instead of being disappointed and giving up I went back and ordered the size 2! What's great about the AppleCheeks system is there is only 2 sizes instead of the 3 or 4 sizes normally seen with sized diapers, so you only have to buy diapers twice! And the inserts fold so they can fit either size, so you only have to purchase inserts once! How great is that! So I only had to purchase some more envelope covers and not more inserts and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, especially with the Diaper Style sale at the time.

The size 2 AppleCheeks is rated to fits babies from 18-40lbs so I was a bit worried it would be too big for SAP and there would be night time leaking again, but I needed not worry, with the online tutorials on how to stretch the wings correctly and snap well I got the diapers to fit nice on her. They were ADORABLE! The name definitely describes it, made her butt look like a cute little apple butt! I loved it! Of course, that is SAP'sDaDa's number one comment about the AppleCheeks Diapers until this day, he loves how they look on her!
We test ran the diapers through the day before trying them out at night, but no matter when we used them, no leaks! We did use them as a pocket diaper and not as a cover, but it is said that these can also be used as a cover so you only have to buy half as many envelope covers if you do want to use AppleCheeks and be budget conscious. The colors we chose for our size 2 diapers was the Cheery Tomato (of course! classic Applecheeks!), Coriander (wanted a gender neutral color), St. Lucia (love blue on SAP with her eyes!), and the Raspberry Sorbet (gotta have one girlie one!). We love all these colors! AppleCheeks now come in some limited edition colors like chocolate and they are discontinuing a couple colors, which I was lucky enough to get the Sailor's Blue color diaper off of www.babyhalfoff.com one day cheap! Perfect for a little boy, but I love it on SAP anyway!

I will say I love the softness of the bamboo inserts, it was well worth the little extra over the hemp ones, but I do like that either insert is a natural fabric, I am not a fan of microfiber! So this was a great plus for me! They were easy to fold and didn't take forever to dry (a little longer than microfiber but not bad).

AppleCheeks are one of my favorite diapers now, and have been from the beginning!
My major pros about the AppleCheeks diapering system, oh let me list them. My top one is how trim they are! oh wow, super trim, you can fit any outfit over these diapers and there's no extra bulky baby fluffy butt! You see a little ruffle sticking out the top of the pants that looks adorable, how cute! But you don't' have to buy bigger sized pants to fit them over the diaper!
Also, one of the cons I didn't like about the Bum Genius 3.0 One Sized diapers was that they wern't very trim and we worried they were interfering with SAP learning new things like rolling over, sitting up on her own, stuff like that. With AppleCheeks, I felt this was not a problem at all! The AppleCheeks are fit so trim, and not stiff at all, so soft on baby and pliable for movement that she could move however she wanted! And she is on the move now, believe me! To this day, we save our 5 AppleCheeks diapers specifically for home use for when she's running around and being really active so she is more comfortable and can move super easy! That's how good these are for active use and how trim they are!Another pro, did I mention the gathers in the front of the diaper? these not only help them fit better around the waist and make them not as stiff like I think the Bum Genius and some other cloth diapers are around the waist, but it also stops the leaks when SAP takes naps or over-nights in this diaper! That's a sanity saver!

Hmm another pro, the diaper uses snaps, and only has two rows of snaps, 4 settings for each snap, so not a ton of snaps to snap and not a lot of choices so it is very simple to use and easy for anyone to figure out unlike some other snap diapers. These snaps also help keep her diaper on! She can undue Velcro so when she's running around in a diaper on a hot day we put her in an Applecheeks! Not only do we get a ton of comments about how cute her diaper is and everyone wondering where I got this adorable cloth diaper, but she can't take it off so no baby running around naked peeing on the floor! yay!

One more pro, I like how versatile these diapers are! You can use them as a pocket, or a cover! They work great either way!Oh, and a final pro, THEY UN-STUFF ON THEIR OWN!! That's right, you put the whole diaper in the pail, don't need to touch dirty yucky inserts, nope, put it in the pail and it comes out in the wash on it's own!!! I have tested this over and over, in the size 1 and size 2, insert folded either long or short direction with or without doubler, and about 95% of the time it comes out on it's own and always gets cleaned perfectly! The 5% of the time it didn't I think was due to the wash days, we had went 5 days not doing diaper wash (which is twice as long as usual), so our load was VERY full, nothing got too clean and the Applecheeks didn't un-stuff well, so definitely don't over fill your loads of diapers on wash day and you'll be ok!

A few minor cons about this diaper (yes I always have to come up with at least one, nothing is perfect!)I do wish there was a hip snap so that the wings of the diaper do not slip down or up, which has created some problems with the diaper becoming a bit loose and leaking once in a while.I also noticed that it takes some time to get a good fit with these diapers, knowing to stretch the wing down and which snap to snap first in order to get a good fit so it doesn't leak, so some first time users not knowing these details might have a few problems until they realize this.
I have noticed the elastic on the legs gets stretched with use over time, this happens with a lot of diapers but due to the design, the elastic needs to be in good shape to function well and prevent leaks. So make sure to air dry your covers if possible as much as possible to prolong the life of your elastic! :)

*Update*

Since I wrote this first part of my review, I have a few more things to say about AppleCheeks.

I have used all my regular diapers, including bumgenius 3.0 and the Applecheeks, for about a year now, and they are really worn out. Yesterday, after laundering our diapers, I was putting them away and one of our Applecheeks elastic was completely shot in one leg! I had recently been using refresher kits for my BumGenius Diapers to repair the elastic and velcro in those and decided to replace the elastic in my Applecheeks...compared to the one new Applecheeks diaper I have the 4 older year old ones are VERY stretched out, which is why we've recently had leaking I'm guessing! And just so you know, I hang dry my AppleCheeks covers except during winter we do use our dryer if we have to, but not all winter long, so it surprised me how much the elastic was lost. Unfortunately I saw that the elastic in the Applecheeks, unlike in the BumGenius I had been replacing, was actually sewn into the diaper! I did not know how to replace it without ruining the diaper! So I have contacted Applecheeks via email and waited not even 24 hours before they responded! Here's what they had to say, good news!:

Hi Melissa,
Thanks so much for your email! I'm sorry to hear that your AppleCheeks™ have lost their elasticity.The elastic is for sure replaceable, and in fact, we offer a service to do it for you if that makes it easier. You ship to us, we replace the elastics for $3 per diaper and we ship back to you.
Alternately, if you can sew and want to do it yourself we can send you replacement elastic pieces and you'll just have to carefully pick out the old elastic and stitch it back in. It's up to you!

Great!

I think I will have them send me the elastic an try to repair the diapers myself, so I will update with how that goes! soon! Sounds like it shouldn't be too difficult as it had looked! :) They will send you replacement elastic for all your Applecheek diapers free of charge and no shipping, so if you know how to sew this is a great deal! if you don't, saving your AppleCheeks by sending them in for new elastic will definatly pay off in the long run when they last longer than expected! Let's see, $3 to repair a diaper or buy a brand new diaper? I think I'll have the elastic replaced! :) This is also great if you buy AppleCheeks secondhand or recieve them as hand-me-downs, less cost and wonderful diapers, since the fabric has held up wonderfully!

So look for the update later on here at SAPsMaMa on how the replacement elastic went and maybe something a little extra on some new AppleCheeks products!

So now that you've heard SAP's Story, let's get to some details about the AppleCheeks Two-Sized Diapering system!

Description
  • Type of cloth diaper: Pocket diaper, Envelope style


  • Size: Two sizes, Size 1 and Size 2

  • Ages/Weight Recommendations: Size 1 fits from 7 - 20lbs, and Size 2 fits from 18 - 40lbs.


  • Insert: Three insert options!


  • One Size Rayon from Bamboo Insert, two layers of ultra-soft 70% rayon from bamboo/30% organic cotton fleece give you the ultimate in comfort and absorbency! Fold this approximately 12" x 15" insert into thirds and you get six layers in the soaker zone. (These are the inserts I use with SAP!)

  • One Size hemp insert, Two layers of VERY thirsty 55% hemp/45% cotton french terry give you absorbency that can't be beat! Fold this approximately 12" x 15" insert into thirds and you get six layers in the soaker zone.
  • *update* I was told by Ilana at AppleCheeks that this has been discontinued! It is still in stock at some retainlers but AppleCheeks felt it did not stand up to their high standards and they felt customers were overwhelmed with choices, so now they only offer bamboo, which I am told is custom milled for them in Canada! Cool huh? :)

  • One Size 3 layer bamboo flat, three layers of VERY thirsty 70% Rayon from bamboo/30% organic cotton give you absorbancy that can't be beat! Fold this approximately 12" x 15" insert into thirds and you get NINE layers in the soaker zone.


  • How diaper works/features: The Applecheeks is a two size envelope cover diaper, which is less sizes than other cloth diapers on the market, and each size should fit your baby longer. These diapers come in only snap versions and there are two rows of snaps with 4 adjusting points. So far SAP has only ever been on the smallest fit of the size 2, so these do last a long time. You have to stretch the wings before snaping to ensure a good fit.

  • With the AppleCheeks you may use it different ways, which is a unique feature on their part. you may use it as a pocket diaper and stuff it with one of their inserts (Bamboo, hemp, etc.) or you may lay the insert inside the diaepr and use the envelope cover as a cover, hence needing to purchase less covers since they won't get soiled with each diaper change. This give many options and price difference in buying a stash of Applecheeks diapers. If you do stuff the envelope cover and use it as a pocket diaper as I do, you do not need to unstuff it, the envelope cover opening is designed so that the insert comes out itself in the wash, which I have tested and proven does work the great majority of the time.


  • Doublers are also available for purchase to increase absorbancy for use of Applecheeks at nap or bed times. Waist extenders can be purchased to make these diaeprs bigger for bigger babies or older babies/toddlers still in diapers.

Style and Material



  • Material Feel: The material on the inside feels nice and soft like fleece, the outside feels pretty good as well.
  • Materials Used: Breathable, waterproof polyurethane laminated polyester (PUL) is used on the outside "shell" and the inside of the shell is a butter soft microfleece that feels soft against baby. Inserts materials include either 70% rayon from bamboo/30% organic cotton fleece or 55% hemp/45% cotton french terry.


  • Keep Baby Dry Layer: Yes, Applecheeks do have a "keep baby dry layer", which is the soft microfleece. This is what touches your baby's bottom, not the outer layer. If you use the AppleCheeks as a cover instead of a pocket diaper you will not be using the "keep baby dry layer".
  • Color/Aesthetics: AppleCheeks get major props for aesthetics with their super cute design! The gathers in the back, front, and legs make adorable ruffles that are actually functional and not just for show! Their colors include Cherry Tomato (my favorite!), Coriander (light green), Eucalyptus, Forget me Not (like a light blue), Lemon Zest, Mrs. Robinson (a dark blue color), Periwinkle (light purple), Sailor's Blue, Raspberry Sorbet, St. Lucia (a aqua color), and right now a limited edition Chocolate color!!! These colors offer a couple nice girly and a few nice boyish ones, but definatly alot to choose from for neutral fun colors!
    Ease of Use



  • Closures: The closures on the AppleCheeks diapers are snap closures. there are two rows of snaps, one top for the waist fit and one bottom for the leg closure fit, and there are 4 different sized fits for each row so you may adjust accordingly. This is a very simple snap system and alot less complicated than other snap closure I've seen. Waiste extenders are also available for larger babies or toddlers still in diapers to extend the snaps for a bigger size. There are no overlapping snaps so you cannot get an overlap tighter fit with this diaper.


  • Similarity to Disposibles: Although the style is similar to disposible in that it looks like a regular diaper and when stuffed it can be put on same as a regular diaper, the snaps make this diaper a bit more difficult for disposible diapering individuals that are used to a velcro type of closure. Figuring out how to stretch the tabs and where to snap what snaps, although easy compared to other snap diapers, may take a quick lesson. Also, if this is being used as a cover instead of a pocket diaper, they are less like disposibles as the insert will have to be laid in each time, unlike when it is stuffed you grab it and put it on. These diapers would be a good beginner snap diaper for families pro-fluff, but if you have family members (such as grandparents) that are absolutely against you cloth diapering, might want to stay away from these to start out with until they are more willing to learn how to use your cloth diapers.


  • How size and fit is adjusted: Fit can be adjusted with 2 rows of snaps and 4 areas to snap on each wing. Size cannot be adjusted, you will have to move to the next size up or down depending on your situation if you are not getting a good fit and need the other size. Since there are only two sizes this leaves little room for error or trouble "guessing" where your baby fits in in the sizes of this diaper.

Fit


  • Trimness: This diaper is super trim! I love how it's soft and pliable material allows baby to move more freely than other diapers, great for active babies! Fits great under clothes too! I have not tried the 3 layer bamboo insert but I would assume if you use another 2 layers when stuffing this diaper will not be as trim, so if this is important to you use the 2 layer inserts or keep the 3 layer bamboo insert for naps or night time when you need more absorbancy!


  • How adjustable diaper is for absorbancy: Absorbancy can be adjusted in multiple ways! The bamboo and hemp inserts that are 2 layers thick have the same absorbancy, so you can go to the 3 layer bamboo insert for more absorbancy. Or you can purchase some thin doublers to stuff in the diaper when you need more absorbancy and give you more options for the day!


Performance and Functionality

  • Leaks: I like this diaper and can rely on it pretty readily to be leak proof! The gathers at the front of the diaper makes me feel save using it at naps or bed time and not have to worry about leaks, and the way it's designed it fits snug to baby's legs and so if you have a side sleeper, no worry about leaks that way! The only time I had a problem is when my elastic started getting worn out recently.


  • Absorbancy: I have found that the two layer bamboo inserts are super absorbant and hold all that needs to be held for diaper changes every 2 hours, which is what is recommended for cloth diapers. SAP is now 16 months old and seems to be getting heavier with her wetting so I will be trying out a doubler soon to see if that helps, so more on that at another time!


  • Leg Gussets: The leg gussets are wonderful at keping everything in, and with the fleece on the inside of the diaper there are no marks left on baby's legs, nice on soft against them! Hang dry the covers to have the elastic hold up longer so these gussets stay nice and snug against baby for maximum performance.


  • Nap/Bedtime Use: Great sleep diaper, the leg gussets are perfect for normal or side sleepers, and the front gathers are great for tummy sleepers! No leaks! Absorbancy is good too for sleep use.


  • If Fit is True: I found that the size 1 AppleCheeks fit well for newborns and small babies but did not fit all the way to the recommended 20 lbs for SAP, she was about 17lbs when we sized up to size 2 and she has a small build. She is now 23 lbs at 16 months old and fits well in the size 2 still since the first time she used them a year ago.

  • I also want to mention that I sent my size 1 AppleCheeks to my friend, who had recently given birth to a little girl. She hated using disposables but didn't know much about cloth diapers and couldn't really afford them, so had kept her little girl on towels unless she had to leave the house, and I thought she could really use them. She loved them! I did not have extra inserts since I was using them in my size 2 AppleCheeks for SAP, but I sent her 6 infant prefolds, a snappi, two small Thirsties covers and the two applecheeks and told her all the different ways to use them...she used them every way and loved them every time! She used prefolds snappied with AppleCheeks as a cover, Prefolds folded and laid in AppleCheeks as a cover, and stuffed the AppleCheeks with the prefold! The one thing she said was disappointing was how her little girl outgrew the Applecheeks quite quickly. I asked her about what size she was when she outgrew the size 1 diapers and she said about 14 lbs. So here is another testimony that the size 1 diapers do seem to run a bit small. I'd say if you are looking into purchasing AppleCheeks and your baby is anywhere from 15lbs and up go to size 2 diapers, you'd cut costs because you won't be buying two sizes.

  • How Insert is Removed: The extra wide opening for stuffing makes stuffing nice and easy, but also makes it so that the insert comes out itself in the wash! I have had this happen about 95% of the time and the diapers and inserts come out of the wash nice and clean!


  • Wear and Tear: These diapers have snap closures, so the closure should last a really long time! You won't have to worry about those wearing out at all! However, I have found that the elastic around the legs wears out after a year or some, alittle less than that. This happened with my Applecheeks even with hang drying the covers, but hang drying will keep them lasting longer. The inserts have held up beautifully and I love the bamboo inserts, they are my favorite! Look so nice and feel so soft up to this day! No wearing out, tearing, or seams coming apart.

Quality/Cash Analysis

  • The envelope covers of AppleCheeks cost about $19.oo each, I have seen that some discontinued colors are on clearance for $18.00 each, so even discontinued the covers are pricey. Hemp inserts cost about $7.75 each, Bamboo 2 layer inserts about $9.00 and Bamboo 3 layer inserts about $10.50 each, so depending on which you chose a cover and one insert if used as a pocket diaper would cost you from about $26.00-$29.50, which is quite expensive for a pocket diaper. However, you do have to consider that these diapers are only 2 sizes so you will only have to buy diapers twice, not 3 or 4 times like other sized diapers, and inserts can be used for both size 1 and 2 diapers so you only have to purchase inserts once.


  • You may also purchase the Little Bundle, which includes a cover of your size and color of choice and a 2 layer insert in either hemp or bamboo for $26.50, which is the price of a discontinued color cover and a hemp insert, saving you about $2.25 per diaper if you get a traditional color and a bamboo insert package. A Mini Test package is also available for $45.o0 and includes one envelope color of your size and choice, 3 inserts in hemp or bamboo 2 layer, instruction and help booklets, and a Applecheeks Storage Sac valued at about $12.50. All these things together would add up to $58.50, saving you about $13.50! Virtually giving you that storage sac for free. So if you are seriously considering trying AppleCheeks go for one of these packages! Applecheeks diapers are available in bulk packs, but they are however not stocked in USA retailer stores. If you would like to order a bulk pack and save money on building your Applecheeks stash, check out their website HERE!!


  • Depending on how you use the AppleCheeks diaper, you may find them expensive or not. I find they are definitely worth the price for their reliability of not leaking when my daughter is napping and bedtime and for being so trim and adorable, perfect for her to run around in and do what she wants and she can't take them off! I find having 4-5 in my stash is sufficient for those active periods I use them and that they are worth the price to use them as a pocket, even more so if used as a cover. If the mini test or little bundle had been around when I made my purchase I'd have went for that deal, so if you're trying them out I recommend those packages, find out what works for you and your pocket book!
  • I'd also like to reference this blog post by A Jaded Mom who works at AppleCheeks on why AppleCheeks are no more expensive than the leading brands of diapers and still save you money over disposibles if you would like to CHECK IT OUT! Hope this helps you with your decision, happy fluffing!



12 comments:

Mama Hen said...

What a little cutie! You have a new follower from Friday's blog hop! Come visit me at Mama's Little Chick.

Mama Hen
www.mamaslittlechick.com

Maria said...

I've heard a lot abotu AC but haven't gotten to try one myself!

Libby said...

I might have to try this as a nighttime solutions too!

Sarah Hull said...

Thanks for this thorough post about your experiences with AppleCheeks! The more I ready about them, the more I am itching to try one on my son :)

caedmen said...

I love my applecheeks, they look cute on every baby:)

Kirsten said...

Gorgeous baby! And gorgeous Applecheeks, too :P. Can't wait for my little one to arrive so I can put him or her in Applecheeks, too!

Kendra said...

Wow! You do such thorough reviews! This is great for those who haven't tried Applecheeks yet!

jdeemarie said...

Wow! What a great review! I was thinking that I'd need a size 1 for my super-skinny 16.5 lb 10-month-old but after your review I wonder if we'd be better off with a size 2...

Crystal Biehl said...

very informative. I like that you gave an update after you had been using them awhile!

Madeline said...

Thanks for all the details!

Chelyeah said...

Thanks for the review! These look so trim and adorable. I now have an AppleCheeks little bundle on the way :) I can't wait.

Meg said...

I love that they unstuff on their own! No pulling out wet/poopy inserts.