Cloth diapering has regained popularity recently as more and more parents seek a healthier, more eco-friendly lifestyle. New parents are choosing reusable diapers over disposables for a myriad of reasons. Cloth diapering is less expensive and better for the environment. Additionally, cloth diapered babies experience fewer bum rashes and tend to potty learn earlier than their comrades in ‘sposies (SOLD!)
In our quest to provide our customers with the best products available we’ve taken on two fantastic but different cloth diaper brands: Omaïki and AppleCheeks. Not all cloth diapers are created equal (we’ve moved far beyond your granny’s days of giant plastic baby pants) and in this post we’ll discuss the anatomy of each as well as how they differ to help you get the right fit (pun totally intended!)
The Basics: While both of these diapers are reusables, they differ in terms of form and function. At the very heart of the difference is the style of the diaper. The Omaïki are modified AIO diapers (All In One) whereas the applecheeks are modified pocket diapers. In AIO diapers, the absorbent layer is sewn to the waterproof cover, while with pocket diapers the waterproof outer shell and absorbent layers are not attached but rather the absorbent layer must be ‘stuffed’ into the inner pocket. We refer to Omaïki as ‘modified because in addition to the sewn in absorbent layer, they also have an optional snap-in mini soaker layer to add more absorbency (more on this later). We refer to the applecheeks diaper as a modified pocket because they call their diaper an envelope rather than a pocket. The distinction is in the positioning of the opening inside the cover. In most pocket diapers you’ll find the opening at the front or back waistline, but in applecheeks it’s in the middle. The idea behind this is that you don’t need to unstuff the diaper for laundering because the liners will turn themselves out during the laundry cycle (more on this later).
Ease Of Use: AIO and pocket diapers offer different benefits just by nature of their construction. In general AIO diapers are the easiest to use and function most like a disposable paper diaper. Since the absorbent layer is attached, you simply grab a diaper and strap ‘er on. Pocket diapers, on the other hand, require a tad more effort before they’re bum ready. The absorbent layers have to be stuffed into the pocket of the waterproof shell. Often the allure of not having to match liners to covers and stuff them into the diaper is enough to convince cloth-leary parents (*read “new dads”) to opt for the AIO. The same is true on the other end of the diaper cycle. With AIOs, dirty diapers are removed, (solids shaken off) plopped into the diaper pail, and washed… no need to touch the wet or soiled liner. This leads us to our next point…
Laundering: A typical pocket diaper has to be unstuffed for the laundry. Now, applecheeks claims that their ‘envelope’ diapers do away with the need to unstuff the pocket before laundering because the central opening of the pocket will allow the liners to come out on their own in the laundry. We found this function to be hit or miss at best. The liners had a better chance of coming out if we folded back one side of the diaper, but even then they sometimes ended balled up inside the pocket at the end of the cycle and we found it was easier and washed better if we unstuffed the diaper prior to washing. The upside of unstuffing your dipes is that they clean nicely. The applecheeks diapers clean well and dry quickly both in a dryer and on a line. The ease of use of the Omaïki AIOs comes at a price in terms of washing. The cover with sewn in liner doesn’t clean as well as the pocket and takes forever to dry (especially if you line dry). In addition, the aplix closure on the Omaïki tends to wear faster due to laundering than the snap closure method you’ll find on the applecheeks.
Customizing Absorbency: The amount of absorbency you’ll need will be child and age specific. The Omaïki AIO has a sewn-in, flap style absorbent layer plus an optional snap-in mini soaker for additional absorbency. While we found the diapers suitable for non-heavy wetters for daytime use, they didn’t work as overnight diapers and if you had a heavy wetter (which we don’t) you might find you spring leaks during the day if you aren’t careful about changing right away. The applecheeks pocket has the absorbency advantage because you can purchase as many or as few liners as you want to add as much or as little absorbency for day or night even with a heavy wetter. You also have the flexibility to use non-applecheeks liners inside the applecheeks covers, so if your stash includes a variety of pocket diaper brands, there’s no problem mixing and matching liners with the applecheeks envelope cover.
Sizing: A big difference between applecheeks envelope (pocket) covers and Omaïki AIOs is the sizing. Omaïki AIOs are one size fits all. The aplix (velcro) closure and snap-down rise make the diaper suitable for most babies from about 8 – 35 lbs. The applecheeks pocket diapers are sized. Size 1 for babies 7 – 20 lbs and size 2 for 18 – 40 lbs. Which is better? Its hard to say! We like the convenience of of the one-size AIO, diaper gets to snug – just snap out to the next size. On the other hand, we find the sized diapers to be more slim-fitting and virtually leak proof!
Fit: Both of these diapers have a good daytime fit. They are both pretty slim-fitting even with two liners in use. Most cloth diapers have elastic at the leg holes and the back of the waistband to ensure a snug leak-free fit. The applecheeks envelope cover adds elastic to the front of the waistband for added stretch and adjustability – a great idea!! We never have leaks in this diaper and with the everywhere elastic covered in butter soft micro fleece, our chubby thighed baby rarely gets red marks around her legs. The applecheeks utilize plastic snap closure whereas the Omaïki offer aplix/velcro (they do make the snaps version of the AIO but those are special order at FAB). We like each but for different reasons. The snaps hold up better long term – wash and dry them to your heart’s content and they’ll never be too worn for use. Not so with aplix. Even though we love the high-quality aplix that Omaïki uses, it still eventually begins to wear out from washing and drying and use. the advantage of the aplix over the snaps is the precise fit every single time. It happens that babies at some point end up right in between snaps so the diaper is either a touch too tight or a tad too loose, but with aplix you can get the perfect leak-free fit all the time.
Design & Build: Both diapers are 100% Made In Canada (win!). Both come in a variety of cute colours and patterns. Both feature a waterproof PUL (polyurethane laminated polyester) outer shell. The inner layer of the Omaïki is polyester and is a little rough to start out. The more you wash it the softer it gets and we felt it needed to go through quite a few cycles before it was bum ready. The applecheeks have a super soft micro fleece lining that is bum ready right away (of course cloth diapers are not fully absorbent until they are washed a few times).