Mailbox Mondays 8/29/11 – My Reviews

by Maria Moser on August 29, 2011

in Mailbox Mondays

Cloth Diaper Advice

Every Monday, I answer questions readers have asked, and ask my other readers to weigh in too.

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

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Well, since nobody submitted a question today, I’m going to talk a little about how I review. No one has specifically asked, but I’m sure someone has wondered. If you have a question for me, be sure to admit (typo, I meant to say submit but that’s pretty funny) it. It can be about diapers, baby wearing, breastfeeding, parenting, blogging…it doesn’t matter! It can be a personal question too, just be nice. Don’t ask me why my thighs get pregnant too (I have no idea.)

So, how do I do my reviews?

You may have noticed that I try to keep my diaper reviews pretty objective. That’s because each person’s preferences really differ. Even after all the cloth diaper reviews I’ve done, my favorite diapers are still pocket diapers with stay dry inners and (good) velcro closures. You might love fitteds, cotton inners or snaps. If I tried to be totally subjective, every fitted or prefold review would be “well, I’d like it better if it were a pocket diaper…” ;-)

Basically, I try to review each item thoroughly based on what it is. I always include lots of pictures of things you may not see on manufacturer’s or retailers sites (close ups of pocket openings, closures, stitching etc.) I measure the diapers as accurately as possible and describe all of the diaper’s features. I try to avoid copying & pasting large chunks of texts from the sponsor’s website, since you can go there and read it if you like. I try to include the manufacturer’s size range too. Though I really can’t test the size range (and it always varies based on your child’s size and shape) I will mention if I find the diaper snugger, narrower or lower rise than other diapers and/or if I have to put my son in a smaller or larger size than usual.

Naturally, if I notice craftsmanship issues, or if I have a problem with fit, leaking or wicking, I will definitely mention that. If I have a problem, I always contact the manufacturer, and in that case, the customer service experience becomes part of my review too!

I want my reviews to be a resource for you to find information about diapers that you can’t find elsewhere. I don’t want to give a diaper “3 stars” because it doesn’t fit my son as well as it would a chubbier baby. I’d rather show you the diaper, tell you my son’s weight & age, show you the pics and let you decide if it would fit your baby the same. I also try to use a diaper for around 2 weeks before writing my review, and if I have issues with it later and/or my opinion changes, I will write an updated opinion post like this one and update the original post.

I find detergent reviews to be much more difficult. I struggled for nearly 6 months with stink, stripping, constant washing and rinsing, and all kind of detergents and additives. I’ve found a detergent and wash routine that’s been working for me for nearly a year and a half now. If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that my motto is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” If you have a detergent and wash routine that works for you, and you’re not having any issues, don’t mess with it!

I really, really wish I could tell you that “Jenny’s Super Amazing Diaper Wash” was the magical detergent that would work for everyone in all situations, but it’s just not possible. Detergents that work for hundreds, if not thousands of cloth diaperers, don’t work for me. A detergent that I love may not work for you, even if we have the same washer, water and wash routine! That’s just the way it is!

That makes it hard to review detergents. Doubly so because in my experience, it takes repeated washings to show whether or not a detergent works for me, and I often receive only enough for one (or maybe a few) washings. Since I wash every 3rd day now, and have a good 4+ days worth of diapers in my rotation, it would take a few weeks to really see what a detergent can do for me.

Since I’ve already found detergent that works for me, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere, rather than buy more detergents to test. Especially since whether or not it works for me really means nothing for you.

Still, I do detergent reviews occasionally. I try to tell you ingredients (specifically what it doesn’t contain) photos, cost, scents, where to buy, how much you need to use, and how it worked for me (as best I can.) I’m not even sure how helpful that is, but at least when there’s a giveaway you have the chance to win a full size product to try!

I know my reviews tend to be a little more narrative (i.e. blather-y) than neat & tidy bullet point/star rating reviews, but that’s just how I operate I guess!



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hannah August 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

Your reviews are great for those of us who are hundreds of miles from a cloth diaper store!

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2 Maria August 30, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I thought Abby’s Lane in Manassas, VA was closest to me, but I think there is at least 1 in Baltimore…so maybe an hour and a half if I go when there isn’t a bunch of traffic (and I don’t get lost, tee-hee!)

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3 Stacie L August 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm

When I was first thinking of doing cloth and trying to figure out everything I WISH you would have (or maybe you did but I didn’t find you till I was hooked LOL!!) found you so I could have understood things better. For someone just starting out and learning about cloth, detergent etc your site is a very valuable place. I have learned soooo much from you!! Thanks for doing what you do!!

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4 Maria August 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I was so confused by the terms when I started! I did a cloth 101 type series when I first guest posted on A Nation of Moms, but I’ve never done it here since it seemed redundant.

Glad I’m helping though! :-D

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