Exactly a year ago, when I was pregnant and looking to stock baby things ahead of the pregnancy, I looked far and wide for cloth diapering options in India. As you may have noted from my last review, there is much more to cloth diapering today than the flimsy cloth triangles of yore. One of the most useful resources I found was Cloth Diaper Shop India. A business built strongly on word of mouth and using Facebook and her blog, CDS currently has its own website and an official helpline manned by the enthusiastic Poornima Kishan, the woman behind the enterprise. Now, most of the cloth diaper retailers currently operating in India source readymade Chinese brands. Good ones, but these necessarily come with pre-set styles and patterns. CDS recently took a step forward by getting its own diapering products manufactured according to the feedback Poornima has so carefully gathered over her time in the business and also as a cloth diapering mother herself.
Of these, the product that excites me the most is the bamboo cotton insert. It looks like a prefold and in fact, I think of it as a prefold. It's two layers of thick bamboo cotton fabric sized about the same as the Econobum prefold.
It came to me wonderfully soft and luxurious; through several washes and line-drying it's grown a little stiffer but remains soft to the touch and is very absorbent. I had always been scared of using cover diapers at night somehow but one of these bamboo cotton pieces, folded in thirds over a microfibre or hemp insert, is a bulky yet quite adequate night-time diaper. It kept a heavy wetter like Puchke going for over eight hours recently, which is quite an achievement given that he feeds twice a night.
I got the CDS hemp insert too. You can see it here, along with the bamboo, next to one of my Osocozy size 1 prefolds. Both bamboo cotton and hemp inserts shrank a little after washing but not significantly so.
Hemp inserts do not get any prettier on washing but they do get better and better at soaking up liquid. That said, I confess to a little weakness for the rainbow edging, it's so cute! So far my favourite night-time pocket insert combination was the charcoal bamboo+organic bamboo from Madhuri Baby. However, this hemp insert gives me an even trimmer diaper -- even when paired with microfibre, notorious for being bulky.
The third product I received from CDS is their latest offering, a minky all-in-one (AIO) diaper with a sewn-in microfibre insert as well as a pocket opening so that more absorbency can be added as required. I don't like minky fabrics but I have to say I find this diaper cute.
It's lined with charcoal bamboo fabric inside, which adds to its absorbency. You can see the sewn in insert. The pocket opening is also visible to the left.
I pulled the inner sewn-in insert out a little through the pocket opening so you can see it better.
Now, this diaper, like any AIO, is bulky to start with, so I like to boost it with the CDS hemp insert for nights. Interestingly, it's a larger diaper than my Alva pockets, with the rise unsnapped. It has three rise settings (i.e. the buttons which can make the diaper longer or shorter down the front) which gives a variety of fit options, though I have to say I'm not a big fan of the smaller rises. This is because I don't like the way the sewn-in insert bunches up when the rise is at its smallest. See the whole diaper compared with my one-size green Alva pocket.
This photo brings me to the diaper on the right, the pretty purple cover diaper. It was a print I had loved when it was first unveiled. Unfortunately though, the piece that reached me had a broken snap. It still fitted Puchke but when I mentioned the damage to Poornima she promptly sent me a replacement cover. These two are also new to the shop, and made to her own specifications. They are exactly the kind of cover diaper I like. Check out the replacement.
Also check out the cute diaper keyring that was promptly washed and added to Puchke's growing collection of Things to Chew On. The construction print was not one that I was immediately drawn to but it's growing on me. The inside of the cover is what really pleases me.
Front and back flaps keep inserts in place, double gussets at the legs keep messes contained and the tabs (the chocolate coloured 'wings') stretch ever so slightly, making for a nice, snug fit at the waist. The PUL seems sturdy, too. Sizewise, these new CDS covers are slightly larger than the Alva OS pocket I compared them to, as you will have noted in the earlier photo.
Lastly, prices: CDS products are not cheap. I'd call them mid-range. However, Poornima offers occasional discounts, and free shipping for orders over Rs. 2000. Many customers talk of the freebies she is known to surprise them with -- I myself received an unexpected fleece liner once. Those who buy from her tend to return because she is known for being accessible and extremely helpful, especially to mothers trying out these products for the first time, confused about what would best suit their babies. Personally, having tried out these specific products, I think the covers are very nicely priced, while the hemp and bamboo cotton insert trial pack is an excellent deal.
That concludes my review. I will end on a fun note from Poornima. To set the ball rolling with the new additions to her shop, she is hosting a treasure hunt from today. Your first clue is
Find the solution and next clue on Cloth Diaper Shop India Facebook page. Winners have fun prizes waiting for them at her store, she says!1. Colour of Love . Find me in CB Pocket.