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!
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!