Harper is my diaper model this morning, since Autumn couldn’t even get the hook and loop to close today, she is nine months and just reached twenty three pounds a week after this video, still five pounds under the weight limit on this size diaper, but there is no way to make it fit. Harper is twenty five lbs and very thin and trim (partially due to genetics, partially due to a dairy allergy that requires a very specific diet) and three pounds under the limit but it is a struggle for her to keep this diaper on as well. Sizing options aside, I felt it was very important to talk about this diaper today.
Today I’m reviewing the new Gerber all in one diaper. When Kim and I heard about these diapers and them potentially being sold at mass retailers it was very exciting considering many parents don’t have a cloth diaper retailer (not even a place like Buy Buy Baby which has a very limited selection) within a reasonable distance of their home. For a lot of parents it can be a tough decision to invest in something you have no experience with and cannot touch, hold, and feel. Bringing a simple and easy to use diaper into our local shop aisles will also have the potential to inspire people who otherwise may not know that this is an option. Compared to the low quality Gerber prefolds (which the cloth diapering community generally recommends as excellent for cleaning your car or your windows and not much else) and those terrifying plastic pants (no longer for sale on their website, I noticed), these have the potential to bring a whole new group of families into the cloth diapering world.
Ease of Use ✩✩✩✩ This diaper is labeled as an all in one, but actually reminds me more of a pocket except the lining has an insert sewn in place, then the additional insert can be laid on top or tucked inside the sleeve between the original insert and the PUL lining. It is a sized diaper so no rise snaps to fuss with, just simple hook and loop tape to allow for quick and easy changes.
Bang for the Buck ✩✩✩ At $12.99 for an all in one diaper, the price is incredible, very affordable and more likely to inspire folks who generally use disposables to consider switching, even if only part time. The sweet and simple solid colors are appealing to the eye and the design is clean and pleasing on the exterior of the diaper. Granted, the materials within the diaper reflect the price.
Performance ✩✩ This diaper is centered around a sixty five percent polyester/thirty five percent rayon soaker that is covered with cotton Gerber is calling “TRANSdry” which is listed as a stay dry material. I’m a little confused as to how Gerber calls it one hundred percent cotton and then in the same line says it pulls moisture away from the skin using what is woven into the lining. (editor’s note- this could be a chemical coating on the fabric but I don’t know this for sure) I found that with the sewn in soaker and the booster I was able to make this diaper last about an hour, I could not try adding additional absorbency as the diaper was dramatically smaller than the size suggestions promised. The PUL is very thin and sticky, and is already delaminating after only a couple months of use. There are two rows of thin elastic string on either side of the soaker, presumably an attempt at gussets, but I have found this exposed elastic string irritates my girls’ skin and leaves red marks. It’s possible this won’t be an issue for you as my babies do have sensitive skin but I have taken to using a fleece liner (which covers the exposed elastic and also helps to truly wick moisture away from my baby’s skin as without the liner their skin would remain quite damp).
Fit ✩✩ The sizing options on this diaper suggest a small will fit eight to eighteen pounds, medium will fit sixteen to twenty eight pounds, and large will fit twenty two to thirty seven pounds. I’m not sure what guide Gerber used to attain these figures, but we bought the medium diaper and neither of my girls are anywhere near twenty eight pounds yet, but this diaper barely clung to their bodies for dear life. I laid it flat and found it comparable to an Apple Cheeks size one (which we love but a size one is made for seven to twenty pounds and has not fit my girls for a while). The hook and loop tape is not very strong and if I do not put snug clothing over the diaper immediately it will come loose which led to some very exciting and frenzied mornings when we first tried this brand.
Overall: Gerber Childrenswear is a vast brand and has tremendous power. I would love to see them make some enhancements to this diaper (as well as their prefolds!) and bring it up to compare with what parents are using on their babies. We will (and do) pay more for quality materials, and I’m confident if Gerber adjusts their design and materials to something a little more forgiving on delicate baby skin that can also hold up to repeated washings they will find the response to be overwhelming. Oh, yeah, and maybe test your sizing options some more. I know my youngest baby has a big booty, but this is ridiculous.
Where to Buy: Don’t.
A Note from Kim…
Even though I wasn’t able to test this diaper on my children because they are no longer in need, I was able to handle it- I ordered one for Lara and one for me to film. The concept of a large brand entering the cloth diaper market with a modern, easy to use option was both an exciting and scary one. The potential Gerber has to make cloth diapers more mainstream is tremendous but would their diaper work well enough to make a positive impression on consumers? After getting the diaper and playing with it myself plus the poor performance and sizing review from Lara I say NO. Not with this version. I will readily admit their brand of “cloth diapers” have enraged me in the past due to their quality and performance. Their prefolds and flats are on shelves in thousands of stores across the US in the “cloth diaper” section. For years this was all we had in the wild. The prefolds have been stuffed with poly batting to appear more absorbent but surprise… they aren’t. Why make a product that doesn’t work well and intentionally deceive customers by fluffing it with a non absorbent material? They used to work… Gerber entered the cloth diaper market in the early 60’s with a vinyl pant. They used to be diapers that were used as diapers and now they are at best, good burp rags and polishing cloths.
I believe Gerber is used to making a larger profit margin (and their retailers) than the cottage cloth diaper industry. Even the “big” brands operate on very small margins. Most brands are bringing quality products that are designed to last years and hundreds of washes. They feel substantial to the touch, like you can wash and reuse them as intended. This Gerber diaper felt that it needed to be handled with kid gloves, lest it disintegrate. Just having the velcro snag the back layer caused unsightly snagging and fraying. As the Executive Director of a cloth diaper charity, if Gerber offered me 5,000 of these diapers I would refuse. They wouldn’t be worth shipping them to our approved families (as desperately as we need diapers) because they aren’t going to work and they won’t be successful at cloth diapering.
Gerber- you will likely see this so I will put it out on this page- you can do better. And if you can’t make a cloth diaper that works and lasts that will meet the profit margins your company has to see, you shouldn’t continue making this diaper. You need to think of this garment as one that has to last at the least- 2 years of continued use (even as a sized diaper you should be expected to use this for 2 children). Less than 3 months and your current diaper is delaminating and the velcro won’t close. It’s criminal to release a product for $13 dollars- more than what many Americans make in 1 hour of work- and have it last for weeks, maybe a few months. The people buying these may not know that they would be better off buying real prefolds and covers for their money. Imagining a family buying these with the little money they have and the diaper failing to function and last brings tears to my eyes. That shouldn’t happen. Wasting money they work hard for on an item their family may desperately need to stop spending $60 or more on disposable diapers per month shouldn’t happen.
I’ve tested hundreds of diapers since 2009 and this has been the lowest quality of them all. My understanding is that Gerber is working on improvements to the diaper for a new batch. DDL will most certainly be testing those when they come out. I will update this post to link to the new diaper review (that is hopefully a much happier, optimistic review) when that day comes. For now this review stands as a warning to consumers- spend your money elsewhere. On a budget? Consider the options listed in the “budget cloth diapering” post.
You may be interested in other reviews of this product:
Change-Diapers (also felt the cotton was not stay dry, sizing needs work)
Zephyr Hill (a more upbeat review with an overall positive experience)
Amazon.com (has 2.5 stars with a mix of positive and negative reviews)