Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sprout Change cloth diaper review

A month ago, I contacted the Willow Store to see if I could review their Sprout Change diapers. I first heard about them at Baby Makin(g) Machine and was intrigued. A fluffy package soon arrived in the mail!

So what exactly is a Sprout Change cloth diaper? I've heard it called an all-in-two system or a hybrid diaper combining the best of AIOs, pockets, and covers. I would describe it as a cover + absorbent inside...but unlike any other cover system.

One of my favorite features of the Sprout Change diaper is that the cover or "shell" is fully reversible. You get two colors for the price of one! My diaper was a BlueBerry: medium blue on one side and aqua on the other. There are 12 different color combinations, from chili pepper (fiery red/olive green) to sweet corn (sage green/pale yellow) to grapefruit (lavender/pale pink). As with all diaper covers, you can re-use them multiple times and just change the wet insert. Once the diaper is soiled, you change both the cover and insert.

The diaper shell is made of 2 layers of PUL (polyurethane laminate, the waterproof, breathable fabric used in most cloth diapers). To keep the diaper from trapping water between the two layers during a wash cycle, there is a small opening left unstitched in the front. This allows excess water to exit the diaper when the washing machine begins to spin.

Another great feature is that the Sprout Change system is one-size-fits-all, from 5-40 lbs. How does this work? The legs and waist both have buttonhole elastic that cinches as tight or as loose as you need it. At the edge of each snap tab, there's a small access pocket. You simply open it up, pull the elastic to the right length, and fasten it to the hidden button. Tuck the extra elastic back inside and you're done! You'll probably need to adjust the diaper 3-4 times from your baby's birth until she is potty trained.

I wasn't able to try out the diaper on a real newborn; I'll have to wait for a few more months for that! But it fit Dio quite well right out of the package.

So now onto the inside of the diaper. You can buy a huge variety of absorbent insides: one-size serged inserts, one-size organic hemp "insides" that fold either horizontally or vertically to fit any size baby, traditional organic hemp sized prefolds, and more. You can also buy Soft Sleeves that you insert other absorbent insides into--great for re-using really worn, but still functional, prefolds.

My Sprout Change Shell v2 came with an organic cotton fleece Super Saver insert: several layers or organic cotton/hemp fleece, topped with a layer of organic cotton fleece. It's really absorbent--great for holding lots of moisture, but definitely the longest to dry in my entire diaper stash. For faster drying, you could choose the microfiber/microfleece Super Saver insert. This insert mimics the feel & function of a stay-dry pocket diaper, since the microfleece wicks moisture away into the microfiber layer.

You can also buy just the shells and use your own inserts or prefolds.

My only critique is that the diaper is sewn with white thread, rather than matching thread on each side. This reveals even the slightest imperfections in stitching.

I lent the diaper to a friend who has cloth diapered her 18-month-old since birth. She has used a wide range of diaper brands and systems. She really liked the Sprout Change as well. Her only suggestion for improvement would be adding snap-in liners; she's used to those and almost tossed the insert into the toilet when she was shaking off the soiled diaper!

I also tested the Sprout Change shell and insert several times (plus more of my own inserts, since you can re-use the shell several times until it gets soiled). I had no problems with any leaks, even when I double stuffed and put it on for overnight. The shell dries very quickly while, as I mentioned earlier, the organic insert takes a while to dry. Using a foldable insert (either the one-size inside or the prefold) would cut down on drying time.

Because the Sprout Change shell fits any size baby or toddler, you only need to buy 6-8 shells, plus 24-36 insides, for a lifetime of cloth diapering. The upfront cost of cloth diapering can turn many parents away, especially if they have to buy 24 diapers in 3 or more sizes. With the Sprout Change system, your initial investment is much more modest, and there's nothing else to buy as your baby grows. If you bought 8 shells and 24 Super Saver inserts, it would cost $270. If you bought just the shells ($16.95 each) and used your own inserts or prefolds, it would cost $136. And because the shells are reversible, buying 8 shells gives you 16 different colors to choose from.

Want to a Sprout Change diaper for yourself? Stay tuned for a Sprout Change Giveaway!


  1. Wow, that looks like a great product. Sometimes I wish I had started cloth diapering from scratch so I could get in on this type of one-size diaper.

    See, I was given a complete set of used size small fuzzi bunz, and they fit my daughter up to 18 months. That is awesome because it means we spent next to $0 on diapers. But when it came time to buy a bigger size, I felt like the one-sized diapers would be kind of overkill since I already had the smalls. I decided to stick with what I am familiar with and buy medium fuzzi bunz.

    Anyway, those are cute diapers and if I could buy for someone else I would give them a try.

  2. I like them, but I thought the same thing about the thread- it's a bit glaring on the dark colors. Even the most even stitching will show imperfections in white! Actually I love the idea and might try to make my own kind of like this; the reversible idea is great! I don't quite understand the elastic being adjustable, but I've never seen it like that in person. Sounds neat!

  3. These may actually get me back on the cloth diapering train! All my old cloth diapers are...well...old and dying. These liners may be just what I'm looking for.

  4. First, thank you so much for explaining what PUL is! I plan to cloth diaper and I've been all over every website I can find and feeling more and more clueless because I didn't know what PUL was! Thanks Rixa Freeze!

    However, I'm leaning towards BumGenius Elemental AIO's. They just seem easier and I watched Jenn's video of her adjusting her Sprouts and while she made it look easy, I'm just not so sure. We'll see!

  5. The elastic is a buttonhole elastic, similar to what you see in many kid's pants nowadays. There are little slits in the elastic every inch or so, and you cinch the elastic as tight as you need it and fasten it to the button inside the little pocket. The Fuzzibunz one-size diapers also use a buttonhole elastic.

    Desiree--one huge downfall of the BumGenius is that they use velcro (also called hook & loop) closure. It's fine for the first baby, but most people I've talked to says it wears out. So if you have more than one child, you'll have to buy new diapers or replace the velcro. I've used both snaps and velcro on cloth diapers and would say absolutely go with snaps.

  6. These look great, and I really appreciate your costing out a supply of cloth diapers for a baby. My husband and I will be cloth diapering, and I've been trying to figure out whether it would be better to buy all the cloth diapers myself or whether I should just use a cloth diaper service. If you could speak to that, either in the comments or in a separate post, I'd be very grateful!

  7. Trish,
    I don't know how much a cloth diaper service costs per week, but I'm under the impression that it's much more expensive than buying your own and home laundering. If you don't have your own washer/dryer, then it might make sense. Anyone have information on the cost of CD services?

  8. Rixa- the BumGenius Elemental do have a snap option- I have a couple of them, and like them a lot, however they aren't the best for a baby with chunky legs, in my opinion. Also they take FOREVER to dry, although they are super absorbant. I don't use them a whole lot, actually, because they are a bit of overkill for the EC'd baby.

  9. These seem nice, but I still think I'd prefer my Thirsties covers... They are cheaper, and I am obsessed with the extra leg gusset that they have. They never, never, never leak! These covers don't have that (especially important for newborn runny poops IMO), and the reversible color thing isn't really important to me.

    Rixa- also to comment on the velcro issue... You mentioned that velcro wears out so you'd have to buy new covers or bum genius diapers for each baby. That is true, you WILL have to buy new ones, but not because of the velcro... and I think you'd have to buy new Sprout Chane covers as well. Here's why... I have 5 thirsties diaper covers that I've used on my 14 month old since he was born. The velcro is still fine (I'm sure it will go at some point), but when you only have 5 covers -- they get A LOT of use... so they wear out more quickly. The PUL fabric on them just isn't what it used to be after so many washings. They have started to hold on to smells a little more, soak up a bit of liquid in spots, etc.

    So, I'm sure the same thing would happen if you ONLY had 5-6 sprout change shells. You'd probably want to toss them after the first baby anyway...

  10. I haven't used covers/shells myself, except to test out the Sprout Change diaper, but with my own hook & loop AIOs, I've used them for 2 kids and they're still going strong--except for the hook & loop! And from talking with my friend who has BumGenuis with the velcro closure, they barely lasted her through 1 child before the velcro totally died.

    If you like them, H&L covers might work well...I just wouldn't recommend diapers (such as pockets, AIOs, etc) because the investment is so high and they're so expensive to fix/replace if the H&L wears out.

  11. I have to ditto on the thirsties covers. Man, I LOVE them, but I need to get more and will be going for the Thirsties covers with snaps next time around. The velcro is fine on my covers but I don't like picking lint out of the velcro or getting diaper chains in the dryer. I also LOVE how thirsties have the pocket at the top for the prefold so the pee doesn't soak upwards. My main concern for the sprouts covers is that the pee could leak upwards. I like the idea of the cover and I think if I wasn't so satisfied with Thirsties I would consider getting them because they are One size fits all.

  12. These look like a nice product. I'm intrigued by the idea of using buttonhole elastic in diapers, mostle because it would be so easy to replace. In my experienced (CD'd 3 kids for the last 6 years), it is not the hook and loop nor the PUL that wear out the fastest; it's the darn elastic. Something that I could easily swap out looks interesting.


  13. I bought two Sprout covers after reading this post, and I would like to say that I would not recommend buying Sprout covers.
    I had an issue with one of the covers I purchased (threading coming undone and the adjustable strap came out), so I emailed to see if I could return it. After a long time, we finally got it worked out and so I sent in the cover (paid postage myself), but I NEVER GOT A REFUND. Their customer service is very hard to get a hold of and was not helpful.


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