Monday, April 18, 2011

Amy's Kawaii Pocket Diaper Review

To start, here is my disclaimer: I know many many people, Kat and Kelli included, who swear by Kawaiis and love them. I represent the rest of us--the group of people who had a less than idea experience with Kawaiis. The one thing I have come across are many people love them, and those who do not, hate them.

As this is my first diaper review, let me explain the rating system here at The Lazy Mom. Kat, Kelli and I will each come up with our own rating system, one that works best for our individual style. As we each have our own opinions, I feel like this will give us each independence in describing diapers for you. However, we will each stay consistent to our own scale as we review different diapers. That way, if you begin to realize that your baby is a lot like Eli (Kelli's baby) you can follow her ratings, which will remain consistent. Of course, we encourage you to skim through all of the ratings, as I will reiterate time and time again, every baby is different and what works great on one might not work great on another.

My rating system will focus on the three initial factors most people consider when deciding to cloth diaper: financial (for your individual family), environmental, and ease of use. I will also focus on economics (the big picture), fit, reliability, availability,customer service, and of course, style! At the end, I will give you an overall rating and sum up my thoughts. Another thing to note, for every individual, the weight of each category will be different, for some, financial may trump everything else, but for other, environmental issues may be most important, while for still others, the style and cuteness of cloth is what got them here. I'm here to be 100% unbiased and non-judgmental. Whatever your reasoning for choosing cloth, I'm just happy you made the choice, or are even considering it, and I'm glad that you're here. Alright, here we go!

Financial: Priced between $6.25 and $11.20, Kawaiis are perhaps the best "bang for your buck" diaper on the market today. Save for using all prefolds and inexpensive covers or making your own diapers, you will be hard pressed to find a diaper that is less expensive. Add in the fact that pocket diapers, once stuffed, are about as easy to use as disposable, even for babysitters, and these diapers are truly a great deal.

Environmental: Here is the deal: We're talking about cloth diapers. Comparing the eco-friendliness of different brands of cloth diapers is like comparing the deliciousness of different kinds of chocolate: they're all good, it's just that some are a little bit better. Someday, I would like to do a comparative analysis of the least eco-friendly cloth and the most eco-friendly disposable diaper. I think that the cloth would still come out on top, but that's for another day. Back to the Kawaii, it is made in China, and not North America (mostly the US and Canada), so the carbon footprint of a Kawaii is greater than that of a lot of other made in America (or Canada) diapers. The shipping alone is a substantial increase, added to lower environmental standards in production in China as compared to the US. That said, the waterproof material inside a Kawaii is called TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), which is actually more eco-friendly than PUL (polyurethane laminate), a waterproof material used in some other diapers. TPU is created using high heats to bond the waterproof polyurethane (or plastic, for all practical purposes) with the fabric, while PUL is created using a chemical bonding method. That is probably more information than you ever really needed, but I won't mention it in future posts except to say what is used and link you back here. In summary, environmental costs in shipping: bad. Environmental aspects of the materials: pretty good.

Ease of use: Kawaii pocket diapers are, as the name indicates, pocket diapers. There is a waterproof cover with an attached layer of stay dry fabric (either microfleece or microsuede), and a pocket opening between the two layers. Kawaii diapers come with two microfiber inserts which are stuffed into the pocket and act as the absorbent material of the diaper. The diapers can be used with either one or both inserts to customize the absorbency. Once stuffed (which takes seconds per diaper), they act almost exactly like disposable diapers. Before being washed, though, the inserts should be removed from the diaper (again, a very quick and painless process taking about a second). While pockets are not the easiest type of cloth diaper (that award belongs to all in ones, which we will get to later), they are just a hair more difficult. Overall, these diapers are very simple and easy to use!

Economics: As I mentioned previously, these diapers are made in China, meaning their manufacturing does little to sustain the American economy (though, if you aren't from America, this probably does not matter to you). However, they are sold on many American sites, so their retail profits would flow into the American economy. Additionally, they are a commercial diaper and not a small business or a work at home company (WAHM). 

Fit: This is the category in which I am truly biased. Kawaiis had a horrible fit, on any setting, on my son. He wore them three or four times well over a month ago and still has bright red scars from the leg elastic. This is not an isolated incident, as I have talked to other moms who have had this same issue. However, this problem does seem to occur in the minority of children. In our experience, though, it is the fit that led me away from Kawaiis. 

Reliability: As I stated above, I used Kawaiis three or four times. Each time, though, the worked great! I had no leaks or blow outs, and once I used the diaper overnight (10 or 12 hours) with no leaks. They are a very reliable diaper!

Availability: I am not sure if this is a common occurrence, but I do know that at the moment these diapers are back ordered on most retail sites. However, I have not heard of this happening often. As far as cloth diapers go, I would guess that they are middle of the road in availability. Not always available in every color/print/style, but often available, and definitely not as unattainable as some other cloth diapers to be discussed at a later date.

Customer Service: Of course, I am non-judgmental and unbiased when it comes to your personal priorities in diaper choices. I truly am. I will just mention that FOR ME, customer service is very important. It will often determine whether I am willing to buy a diaper, even used. That said, customer service for a specific diaper is often difficult to determine as there are many many stores that carry each diaper (come back on Saturday for store reviews). Therefore, when I discuss customer service with regards to a diaper, it is only in reference to the company that manufactures or the main distributor of that diaper. In the case of Kawaiis, I am referring to While I have never had to deal with the company personally (I bought one of my Kawaiis new from craigslist and another I got with a free one size diaper coupon at Kelly's Closet), they have a wonderful reputation for have phenomenal customer service. With that being said, I am very confident in saying that the customer service for Kawaiis is exceptional

Style: As far as commercial diapers go, Kawaiis offers a huge assortment of styles, colors, prints, and materials to choose from. They have some adorable diapers! While they don't have the huge variety and customization options of many WAHM sites, they have many cute diapers and tons of options. 

Overall: Okay, my quick and dirty summary of Kawaiis: almost unbelievably affordable, tons of cute options, super easy to use and very reliable; however, the fit is hit or miss, and can sometimes be painful, and they are made in China. As a result of the fit issues, I am rating Kawaiis a 3: I can't use them, but would recommend them for others to try! 


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