I’m a part-time cloth diaperer (more on that later). Until now I’ve been using cloth prefolds or fitted diapers with a PUL cover and a fleece liner. The leap into pocket/AIO diapers is exciting and a little scary. They’re more expensive, and once the diaper is dirty the whole thing is dirty, unlike using diapers & covers, where you can reuse the cover until it gets poopy.
I found Diaper Monster through Etsy’s cloth diaper team, and did a search by local sellers. I was a little worried that I might end up a contributor to Regretsy, but I decided to make the leap into handmade pocket diapers anyway. I was hoping to find someone in or near Seattle who had nice diapers at a reasonable price. I found Melisa of Diaper Monster, located in Coos Bay, Oregon.
The selection in this shop is small (she currently has 14 items for sale) but styles and size are in a wide enough range that it seems there would be something for everyone. covers, trainers, pockets from newborn to potty training. And the trainer pants are so cute, I’m tempted to buy some now. Most of the fabrics are basic, and not the super-flashy outrageously cute fabrics in the name brands, but for my purposes this is actually better – instead of succumbing to all the cute girly patterns, I am better able to control myself and buy unisex dipes. Part of the point of investing in cloth is that I could re-used them with a second child, and gender-neutral makes it easier.
Melisa is a seamstress licensed to make various diapers, including Happy Snaps, Fatty Cakes, Comfy Cover, and is working on her own diaper design. Her shop will be carrying fleece longies soon, as well.
I ordered 4 pocket diapers -
- Happy Snap pattern one-size pocket in blue
- Fattycakes pattern medium, with velcro side-closures in red
- Happy snap one size with hook & loop (velcro/applix) front closure in red
- Happy Snap all-in-two one-size diaper, pink with giraffe print on flaps
Diaper Monster happened to be running a sale when I ordered - I got free shipping & 15% off my order. Diapers were priced $10-16.50, so with the sale I paid $8.50 to $14.02. For about $40 I got four handmade diapers, made locally and by a mama.
When my package arrived, I found a couple of little gifts! I was so surprised and excited. A second blue Happy Snap one-size diaper, and 8 cloth wipes, in 3 patterns. I don’t know if she does that normally, or just because I’d bought 4 diapers, or because she had some extra stock to get rid of… but whatever the reason, I was thrilled to get some extras. (And in the way of disclosure, I had been planning to review dipes as I buy them, but I didn’t tell the seller that I would be reviewing them. I did, however, ask her permission after the package was received to use her name and to link to her shop). They diapers came with a ribbon tied around them (cute!) and hand-written care instructions.
I ordered the diapers on a Friday and received them the following Tuesday, and had it not been a 3-day weekend with no postal service on Monday I may have gotten them a day earlier!
These are my first pocket diapers. I decided if I was buying pocket or AIO diapers, it made the most sense for me to buy adjustable size diapers, since these styles are more expensive than my current liner-diaper-cover system.
This diaper has a snap at the back of the waistband allowing you to snap an insert into the diaper, which then doesn’t need to be removed from the diaper for washing or drying – it will pull out of the pocket, but stay attached to the diaper. Even if you don’t have inserts with snaps, it’s still totally functional, and since this is the “female” end of the smooth plastic snap it won’t scratch baby’s skin.
First impressions: these look great. I haven’t purchased any all-in one or pocket diapers before, so I’m basing my opinion on general impression, ease of use, and containing the contents as opposed to comparing them to name-brand diapers. As I was inspecting the diapers I noticed a couple of things that are potential disadvantages, but that I don’t think will be a big deal.
The side-closure diaper’s velcro is stitched into the inside of the diaper, but the edge is exposed. there’s a small chance, in the larger diaper setting, that the exposed edge could be scratchy against baby’s skin. The tabs are also kind of small, but they seem to do the job. The edge softened after laundering, as well.(note – the orang is just markings from cutting the fabric, and came out in the first wash)
The label is small and discrete but sewn into the flaps of the diapers. Again, in the larger settings, the label could be rubbing against baby’s skin. I would like to see the labels moved to the outside of the diaper, but that would require piercing the waterproof cover, or to the very outside edge of the flap, so that it’s always against the front of the diaper instead of the baby. The placement may not turn out to be a problem at all – the tag feels soft and is sewn in well.
I couldn’t wait to give them a try. Remarkably, I had laundry waiting to be put in the machine! I know, shocking, right? What a serendipitous coincident that was. But first I had to let the Pie roll around on her dipes. I think she liked it.
Although the Pie is only 5 months old, I didn’t snap the diaper down at all! yipes. I know she’s big, but I kind of figured she’d still be in the “medium” range, requiring me to snap the diaper down one setting to shorten the rise. Not necessary. (This makes me a litlte concerned about what I’m going to do when she’s a year old and even taller!) They are super adjustable and have a trim fit – better than the Kushies AIO I borrowed from a friend, and I think it was even trimmer than my liner & diaper in my Bummis covers.
They seem to fit really well around the legs – I’m always concerned about leg leakage, but even without an interior gusset these could work wonderfully, even for big poos. (I’m a little scared to be without a gusseted leg opening when a poonami comes…)
Then my camera battery died, so I had to use the little camera for the rest of the post.
Next I put the Pie in the Fattycakes pattern side-fastening diaper, a size Medium. Even with the velcro attached at the very smallest position, I could use some more adjustability in the waist – it gapped a little bit, probably just a difference in the pattern for these diapers, and the fact that the side-fastening diapers (with shorter velcro strips) have slightly less adjustability. It seems to fit well around the legs though.
For those unfamiliar with pocket diapers, this is the inside liner of the diaper with a prefold diaper stuffed in for absorbency. You can use an insert made for pocket diapers, or a prefold or flat, or a dish towel. Whatever. Inserts made for pockets are often thinner than a folded-up prefold, and are sometimes contoured to fit better in the diaper without adding bulk between the legs. But really, anything works. Absorbency is really based more on the insert than on the diaper – the fleece in the diaper acts to wick moisture away from the skin, so the prefold soaks up the pee. Because of that, I don’t have much to say about absorbency for these diapers, but I did touch the fleece surface of a wet diaper, and it was dry. Wonderful!
Overall, I’m thrilled with these high quality, inexpensive, locally made pocket diapers. She’s gone through all of them and they’ve been great. I may someday find myself with a poonami wishing for gusseted legs, but in the
unfortunate amazing absence of a poonami on first use, they work beautifully. I wish that Melisa sold inserts in her shop to go along with these diapers. I think the diapers could be improved slightly by covering the ends of the velcro by sewing it into the layers, and sewing the tag onto the outside or flap of the diaper. But again, it works. And this way is probably significantly less work, which in turn allows for significantly lower price.
I think my next order will be for more one-size diapers, but I might just get the snapping Happy Snaps. Although snaps are harder to deal with (they have to be lined up instead of just slapped together) they will be harder for baby to get apart and I won’t have to worry about closing the tabs before laundering. The super-adjustability of the one-size diapers is wonderful, which makes me wonder why anyone buys diapers in sizes! Of course different brands all fit a little differently, and every baby is shaped a little differently, but I would recommend Melisa’s Happy Snaps without reservation. Just buy one and try it out! I have seen a few websites advertising diapers with side-closures (seems to be the new thing), and although I’ve only used the side-closure diaper once, I’m not sure that I would get more of them.
If you’re looking to start out with cloth or to grow your stash, it can be confusing, overwhelming and expensive to try different kinds, find the right fit, and find diapers that hold it all in. Every brand fits a little differently, and has different features. I would recommend buying a few different kinds to start out with, and then buy more of the ones you like. Even better – get them used or handmade to save a little cash.
Thank you Melisa, for making fantastic diapers. My Pie seems to enjoy pooping on your handiwork, and I can’t wait to check out your longies and your own diaper design! If you want to get some of Melisa’s diapers, visit her shop here. I’m sure I’ll be buying more of her diapers as I need them.
*Note – I paid for these dipes, and was not compensated for writing the review. I just like them, want to help you find quality cloth at inexpensive prices, and want to support local businesses!
Next up in cloth reviews… Go Green! I bought some, and am anxiously awaiting their arrival in 1-3 days. They were on sale - their highest-end diaper is normally $15, I got them for about $12.50, barely justifying the increased cost over their basic dipes, which are $10 - and shipping was $5.