I have been cloth diapering since day one with my first child, which gives me two years (& two babies worth) of non-stop fluff experience. In that time I have learned so much about cloth diapering; better washing methods, styles I favor, things I would have better prepared for, ways to save even more money…
That is why I was excited to do this review when Charlie Banana contacted me. I realized how helpful it would have been to have ready access to information like this when I was just starting out in my fluff journey. It can be a confusing world, but I want my readers to know that it isn’t a scary one! I can help you out! And plus, by reviewing Charlie Banana diapers I got to try out a brand I hadn’t used before and to learn a thing or two myself!
LET’S LOOK AT A FEW DETAILS…
The packaging was pretty standard overall and used a mix of a thin cardboard and plastic. It perfectly fit the diapers enclosed and didn’t seem to be excessive or wasteful. I would like to point out that it was incredibly difficult for me to find the word “organic” on the box of organic diapers. I found it eventually on a traslucent sticker, and in small print on the side of the box.
Like most cloth diapers, several pre-washes are needed before slapping these on your babe. The problem: I couldn’t locate pre-use instructions anywhere on the box or reading materials enclosed. Thankfully, the instructions are on Charlie Banana’s website.
The organic diapers feature an organic cotton lining, while the regular ones have fleece. Their inserts are also different; the standard one was made of 80% polyester/20% nylon (microfiber, basically), while the ones in the organic diapers had that same microfiber on one side, but used a hemp and cotton blend on the other, which isn’t organic, but it is more natural and a bit more absorbent in my experience.
I was really impressed with how soft the organic cotton felt, and how durable all of the materials seemed to be. The elastic was noticably wide and hardy, and the snaps were good quality and well supported by the fabric.
Right away I noticed that all of the inserts smelled “chemically.” The smell stayed for about 10 washes, and can still be detected faintly. After more thought I realized this probably isn’t a “chemical” smell, but rather the smell of the hemp. Not sure about that.
THIS category is where these diapers really shine! Friends, the fit is AH-MAY-ZING. Even with two chunky inserts placed inside, they feature a great trim fit (well, as far as cloth diapers go…).
A few reasons why I think this is:
Bra-strap elastic. The leg elastic has a bra-strap adjustment feature and can be set to S, M, or L. To be honest, I haven’t used this much as the default position seems to work really well for both of my girls’ juicy-thighs. I love the concept though and think it would be especially helpful for slender legs.
Snap design. The snap placement is brilliant. Instead of having row(s) of snaps for waist adjustment and rows of snaps to shorten the diaper and tighten the leg, Charlie Banana achieves it all with just one row of snaps for the waist and one curved row for the rest. This means that I can grab any Charlie Banana diaper and have it instantly fit either one of my daughters. Brilliant!
Stretchy snap tabs. Due to great elastic around the waist, the side tabs have a bit of stretch to them which helps to get the snuggest fit without snapping the diaper too tight around the baby’s middle.
Pocket opening. The opening is placed toward the front of diaper instead of the back (like the other brands I have used). Somehow this placement helps to keep the inserts from sliding or shifting, and avoids weird lumps or lopsided bums.
Another design feature to note: These diapers are all a 2-in-1 system that allow for reusable or disposable inserts to be used.
The good news: These diapers are incredibly absorbent and perform better than any other diaper I have used to date (especially for organic variations). I have experienced ZERO leaks and am very pleased with how well they do overnight.
The bad news: I’ve noticed the diaper bucket smell like urine/amonia much quicker now since using these diapers. Normally I wash my diapers every 2 days (you can read about why I do that here) and have been able to avoid the smell building at all, but by 1.5 days of Charlie Banana laundry piling up I am hit by a very strong smell when I open the bucket, and if left to 2.5 days it makes my eyes sting. My theory is that the inserts are so absorbent that they just retain more urine then most, hence the stink.
Washing instructions are standard. Nothing really to point out except that diapers with screen-printed graphics on them are to be turned inside out before laundering to keep the print intact. Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to (1) remember or (2) be willing to do that, especially after the diaper has been soiled!
A good product is important, but I feel that a company worth supporting really makes all the difference. I appreciate that Charlie Banana is a multi-cultural company based in Hong Kong, right next to their manufacturing sight. Though I wish the diapers were made here in the US, this setup gives them control from start to finish and reduces their carbon footprint.
I like that they stand for making diapers that are healthy, economical, and eco-friendly. I admire that they support and promote charities like Operation Smile and Project Child Save.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
When I received my shipment of Charlie Banana diapers I was expecting a basic pocket diaper — no more, no less. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to find that the design and functionality of this product was nothing short of impressive. I have been very impressed with the fit, quality, and performance of Charlie Banana diapers and would strongly recommend them to others. My personal tip would be to stick with the organic cotton variation- they are easier on the environment and are so absorbent!
THE VIDEO REVIEW:
Have an experience that was similar to mine? Or maybe something completely different? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
Charlie Banana provided me with 7 diapers for review and 3 for a giveaway. I was under no obligation to write a review, good or bad, or financially compensated in any way. All ideas expressed are a summary of my true personal experience with the product.