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« Daddy And The Cloth Diapers, Part II | Main | Cloth Diaper Challenge Hits The Road »

A New Kind of Cloth

We’ve been using cloth diapers since Nic was about a week old.  In fact, my post about cloth diapering may have been what got Natali thrown onto such a crazy diapering roller coaster.  But despite some early vitriol, the cloth diapering community has really rallied around Natali and MommyBeta as a whole.

Charlie Banana, a luxury cloth diaper company, was nice enough to send each of us MommyBetas a wonderful sampling of their product line.  I got my shipment last week, and I have to say, as a former PR girl, whoever does their PR is doing an excellent job.  First, they found us talking about cloth diapering, then they contacted us promptly and personally, and then they sent a very attractive package of beautiful goods.  So now, it’s up to us to see how the product actually works.

I’ve been using a diaper service for the past eight months, so I’m a bit nervous to start laundering my own diapers.  I’ve even been known to say that I didn’t think I would cloth diaper if I didn’t have a service.  But, with a stash of super cute diapers and accessories, and the potential to save about $900 per year, I’m going to give it a shot.  I’ve been using the Charlie Banana 2-in-1 diapers since Saturday morning, and here are my first impressions:

  • I looove how soft they are.
  • Although I’ve had a bit of a hard time figuring out how tightly I should snap them, they are much easier and faster to get on than a pre-fold and a cover.
  • I really like how they wick moisture away from Nic and almost don’t feel wet when I change him.  The pre-folds are like having sopping wet towels next to his skin.
  • Pulling the inserts out before washing and putting them back in after is an unexpected extra step.  Not too time consuming, but doing it 2-3 times a week might be a pain.
  • I love the colors and patterns.  My husband is particularly stoked on the black ones.
  • Poop hasn’t been too bad.  We’ve had two with the liners and two without.  The liners make cleanup easy, but I’m not sure where to set it down while I’m putting the new diaper on. (It just occurred to me to leave it in the diaper and then just dump it when I’m done.  Duh!).  For the non-liner poops, I dumped it into the toilet and then rinsed the diaper in the sink.  I’m thinking of skipping the sink next time though, because it didn’t seem to make much of a difference and they still came out clean in the wash.
  • They are much slimmer than the pre-folds.  I had started putting Nic in 12-18 month jeans because of how bulky the pre-folds are.  However, with these, he fits easily into his 6-12 month jeans.
  • I think I'm going to need more than 12 diapers.  Six per day seems like the perfect amount, but I went through more than that yesterday.  So does that mean I need to do laundry mid-day today?
  • My biggest problem so far is nighttime.  Nic is an extremely heavy wetter and we had been using two pre-folds and a Thirsties Hemp Insert to prevent him from soaking through at night.  So far, I’ve tried the Charlie Banana with two of their inserts plus the Thirsties insert and I had a lot of leaking.  Tonight I’ll try with two Thirsties inserts and see how that goes.

I plan to keep using these for the next month or so while Natali does her official challenge.  Then I'll have a big decision to make--stick with washing my own or back to the service?

Nic in his cool black diaper.

Reader Comments (27)

Wow! I'm like you, not sure I could handle the cloth diaper scene if I didn't have a service, but those are pretty cute and I could use the money saving. Any thought on if these would counter the benefit of early potty-training because they wick the moisture? My 22 month old is now adamant about changing wet diapers when he's in cloth and if it's a disposable (at preschool) he will not complain. This is making potty training something that is already in the works.

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAriana

They look awesome. I wish they had an online store but apparently you can order them from other stores.

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I love Charlie Banana's colors and varieties! They sell them at and so there are lots of different options! This article is great thanks for sharing, I look forward to using CB's when my baby is due in March and this gives me great insight. That cost savings alone is incredible!

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Welcome to the world of Charlie Banana. They certainly are luxurious aren't they!? We've had 6 of them for the past month and now they are the first thing I look for coming out of the wash! My little miss is a super soaker and not even 2 pf's and liners would contain her overnight. The first night wearing a Charlie Banana and the bed sheets were dry as a bone. I've been attempting to keep them for our overnight diapers only, but I've just ordered another box set from EVERYTHING MOM AND BABY (first canadian seller).

You can buy them online from Babies R us and Amazon apparently.

As for your little one leaking, try adjusting the snaps. Do you have the one size diaper or the sized diaper? Tighten up the leg snap and it should work for you. Hate to admit it but Little miss sleeps really well overnight and has gone 13 hours without wetness overnight.

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

The CB's are super cute, huh? Glad you're liking them. Since your son is a heavy wetter, try the BumGenius Hemp soaker. I find that it's the best for the super heavy wetters.

Good luck!

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCDMom

Great post! I haven't tried CBs but I love trying new brands so im sure I will at some point! Another good hemp insert is joeybunz, they work great with our heavy wetter. Thanks for sharing!

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLyndsey G

That's so cool that they sent all of ya'll diapers to try out. I will also be doing my own review on my blog when I get my diaper. At night I use a fleece insert to keep the wetness away then I use a few gdiaper inserts because they are so fluffy and keep in the most wetness... but you just got to find what works for you.

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCinella

I use BumGenius, which is an All-in-one pocket, and so I don't know the differences between the two but with the BG's, I actually don't remove the inserts before washing. I have found they come out on their own in the agitation of the washing machine - and I have done them in both front-loader and top-loader machines. So it keeps you from having to touch anything! Also, for poo I recommend a diaper sprayer attached to your toilet! Again, keeps you from having to actually touch anything!

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny B

Ariana--I had the same question about the potty training, and I really don't know. Did your little man always protest wet diapers or is it just recently? Nic has never cried over a wet or dirty diaper, so I've convinced myself that the early potty training benefit may not happen for us.

Jenny B.--When I washed the Charlie Bananas before using them, I left the inserts in to see if they could be washed that way. Unfortunately, they just balled up inside the diaper.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNathalee

When you have the leaking at night, are all the inserts soaked through? If not, then it could be that the inserts are not fully prepped, that the diaper is overstuffed, part of the inside of the pocket is peaking out, or that the fit is not just right. If all inserts are soaked then you can be sure that your little guy's output is too much for the diaper combo. If you have any hemp inserts, I would recommend those. They are a little slimmer and tend to absorb more than other options such as cotton or microfiber.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaire R

We cloth diaper our twin girls, using Kawaii pockets which run about $7 a diaper. They go on just like disposable diapers with velcro tabs, and they have the snaps that allow you to adjust the rise. Technically they fit from 5-35 pounds. I spent roughly $250 to buy 30 diapers, and I have never had to buy more. I do wash them myself, scrubbing soiled diapers on a washboard in the laundry tub, and we have a diaper sprayer on our toilet that really helps out. To prepare the laundry load takes me no more than 15 minutes, and I love the fact that we aren't spending so much money on disposable diapers. It was breaking the bank having to spend $30 or more a week to diaper the girls!

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

WIth the leaking on the Charlie Bananas, I wonder if they are stuffed too full and not allowing the eg elastic to provide an adequate "seal" for leaking? Do they look overstuffed? There are a lot of night time diapers out there geared for heavy wetters for overnight. The one we use is Drybees Fleece Night Times. They are also a pocket diaper but my son's bottom is dry in the morning and so is everything else :) Their pocket is nice and wide and big to accommodate extra stuffing (we stuff with a large microfiber insert and a large Thirsties hemp insert). I don't recommend wearing those super skinny pj's with them since that can cause compression leaking because of the fleece, but they are more breathable than PUL (polyurethane laminate -what most waterproof diaper shells are made with)

Perhaps also if one of those Charlie Banana inserts are microfiber, just try one of them with the thirsties hemp insert and see if that works for you. Both microfiber and hemp are going to absorb a lot :)

Hi Nathalee,

It's Gaelle Wizenberg from Charlie Banana! Thank you for trying out our diapers - we are happy to hear you like them! We have a few tips for you.

The inserts get more and more absorbent after 3-5 washes as it opens the pores of the new fabric. Washing helps!

Be sure the inserts are nicely put all the way to the front flap opening and put penis down always :) LOL!

Be sure to adjust the leg snap - probably a bit tighter to prevent leaks. You can try it on your arm to see how comfortable the elastic casing is even on a tight setting. Nice way to gauge. It probably just needs to be a bit tighter.

It should be fine all night if the inserts are in correctly - give it another try and just make sure she change the diaper just before bed time.

As for washing - no fabric softener... it will clog the insert fabric and make them less absorbent. And we recommend Charlie's Soap.

Please let us know if you have any questions at all - enjoy!

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGaelle from Charlie Banana

I have a seriously heavy wetter at night as well, which is compounded by her being a tummy-sleeper. After almost a year of CDing we finally found the ONE combo that works. I use the Thirstie's Duo Wrap in VELCRO - this is important because the velcro has a feature that the snap version does not have. There is an insert holder in the front, which keeps the urine from traveling up to PJ's :) I use a Super-Do insert from Knickernappies. It is our bullet-proof solution, and one that I reommend to everyone. My daughter can sleep 12 hours, on her tummy, and never a leak. Hope this helps...and I LOVE the black dipe! SO cute :)

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristal

We cd'ed both our boys. The oldest potty trained at 18 months and the little one was done by 20 months. If you didn't wash and dry your hemp inserts 3-5 times before using them, they wont be terribly absorbent yet. And, as some one else said, type of detergent and fabric softener prohibits absorption too.

All that said, we didn't have the best luck with Thirsties. In the end, one microfiber insert and a Joey-Bunz ( was what worked to keep them dry overnight.

Good luck and best wishes!

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScarlet

I'm not a parent and my fiancé doesn't want kids (I'm on the fence). These Charlie Bananas look awesome, reducing or elimination rashes is a plus, I've always thought cloth diapers were just white napkins help together by a pin! thanks for educating us Natali & Nathalee. I will keep these option on my mind if our life decisions change.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Awesome to hear that you are liking them! I don't bother with liners or rinsing in the sink anymore. I did at first, but then discovered that if it doesn't shake off, it can go in the wash. So that's my rule :) I always do a rinse cycle before the wash cycle anyway, so there is no reason to hand rinse them in the sink. That is why I have a machine :)

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Hyde

Hi Nathalee - It's Charlie Banana's PR gal. So glad you love these and they are working out! Just wanted to give you a few tips as well.

One trick on the poos.... I shake/sort of rinse it out in the toilet. Then I toss directly in the washer or if it's a mess, I wrap it up in a little towel and then toss in washer. Might be an extra thing to wash, but doesn't bother me. Or a Wet Bag is a good idea. I fully agree with Jessica Hyde's comments - that is what the washer is for and just toss it in. My diapers always come out nice and clean.

Doing the extra laundry has never been a problem for us - I wash my regular clothes with the diapers. I feel like there is so much laundry to do no matter what with kids!

Have fun with the challenge!

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

Thanks for all of the good tips! I particularly like the idea of just running a rinse cycle first instead of hand rinsing each diaper.

Question: Can I use OxyClean stain spray on them? I've had some unfortunate timing, and we're dealing with Nic's first bout of loose stools since starting solids. Not only are we changing diapers like crazy, but after one wash cycle, some still had some spots. I used the OxyClean spray and re-ran them, and it looks like most everything came out. Is there something better to use? Also, I'm just using the Trader Joes' detergent, is that ok?

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNathalee

Hi Nathalee,

In response to your question about the oxy clean stain, it is best not to use chemicals cause you are never guaranteed that they will wash out 100%. Believe it or not, the sun IS the best bleacher! Regardless if there is snow on the ground, 15min outside in the sun is all you need, you can do it right out of the washer (and then toss it into the dryer) or after it comes out of the dryer. I can't believe I never knew about this until I started CD.

I am a 35year old Cdn military mama to a 5mth old. There are 4 of us Military Mamas that have children close in age that cloth diaper but each using their own methods. Between all of us, we have a wealth of information :) I started off using disposables, then I used a service and then when I had the funds I built my own CD stash using Bumgenius flip inserts paired with Weehugger covers. At nighttime, strictly Bumgenius pocket, my son is a heavy wetter and it truly is the way to go. (Bumgenius are considered the gold standard among our group!)

By the way, a stash of 24 CD is considered the norm to be able to wash approx every 2-3 days, any longer than that and you could have issues with bacteria.

I have a basic model washer and dryer so to get my diapers clean and dry everytime, I throw inserts and covers into washer. I run a small cold cycle(helps get rid of stains), then hot med cycle (with soap), then I take covers out, run one more sm cold cycle (cause microfiber inserts absorb soap after awhile) and then into the dryer.

What type of laundry soap do you use? An extremely popular brand is Rockin Green, there is also Nelly's which use a FRACTION of the required soap.
I am right now using the perfume-free/dye-free Costco brand soap that works amazing! and it's super cheap! (by Cdn stds at least)

Good Luck!

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Feist

Fitteds are great for overnight! :) our faves are sustainablebabyish. LOVE them!

good luck!

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

If you want to keep pre-folds feeling dryer against baby's skin, just place a piece of fleece in between the diaper and baby's skin. You can get fleece at any fabric store, or just use an old blanket. It really helps keep your little one's bottom feeling dry! Also, fleece doesn't fray so you won't even need to finish the edges after the fabric is cut, just wash it. :)

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercdfan

We love Charlie's Soap - works amazing. And yes...sun bleaching works fantastic to dry your diaper naturally. Our Disposable Insert is also a great option and prevents you from having to actually shake out the poo if that is an issue. You can either prewash the poos or just put in your diaper pail. Everyone has so many great tips!

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGaelle from Charlie Banana

Nathalee - The Real Diaper Association solicited and compiled tips from hundreds of parents about cloth diapering at night. This tip sheet might be helpful:
Good luck!

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

An update: We've had to put the Charlie Bananas on hold temporarily because Nic's been having having some tummy trouble resulting in some pretty nasty diapers. I was afraid he was permanently staining my new pretty diapers! And since our service is on hold, we've had to switch to "sposies" for a little bit. I just couldn't handle any more poopy hands. I'm hoping he'll be feeling better soon and we can get back to the Charlie Bananas.

Before we had to switch though, we got nighttime all sorted out. A medium Charlie Banana diaper with one of their inserts and two Thirsties hemp inserts make it through the night reliably.

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNathalee

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