From the moment I surfed onto lilhelper.ca, I could tell something was (refreshingly!) different. There was humour, wit, and what looked to be high quality products. Plus, through their Baby Do Good program, they give away one diaper to charity for every three sold… This definitely seemed to be a company I could get behind!
So when Heidi here at Diaperdeals.ca agreed to let me trial run some of a Lil Helper review pack, I was quick to take her up on the offer.
(1) a green charcoal bamboo diaper
(2) a yellow organic bamboo diaper, and
(3) an orange wet bag
This is the Cadillac of the Lil Helper lineup. The exterior is organic bamboo PUL – although the colour isn’t as vibrant and it takes longer to dry than standard PUL, it is much softer to the touch. The interior of the shell is lined with charcoal bamboo and the snap-in inserts are micro terry sandwiched between more charcoal bamboo.
I had heard of charcoal bamboo diapers before, but until I contacted these diapering dudes (yes, the dreamers/designers/driving force behind this company are 2 guys) I never realized how powerful and awesome charcoal bamboo really is. The fabric is created by integrating bamboo ash into the yarn, which results in a substantially increased surface area for extra absorbency. Additionally, it’s hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, and naturally deodorizing. Sounded like impressive stuff, so I was intrigued to see how well it would perform.
Now to be honest, the diaper took some getting-used-to, but after I got past the initial learning curve I began to sense an even deeper love for cloth than I already had… The absorbency, softness, and stay-dryness of this diaper are really fantastic.
The diaper comes with two snap-in inserts: the smaller one is two layers of micro terry sandwiched between charcoal bamboo and the larger one is one layer of micro terry between charcoal bamboo. Both inserts are generous in size, so much so that you need to double check that they are completely tucked into the shell when diapering baby to prevent wicking (this is part of the initial learning curve I was talking about). The inserts can be used separately or snapped together and used in combination when more absorbency is required.
My 11-month-old son seems to need both inserts for regular daytime wear. A younger baby could probably get away with just usually the smaller insert, but to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about using the larger insert on it’s own because the snap sockets are exposed (see pic). I doubt having those pressed into baby’s backside would be comfortable.
For nighttime I use both inserts in combination and am very impressed with the performance. After 12+ hours he’s still completely bone-dry! This diaper is so dry-stay that after the initial night using it my husband didn’t believe our son actually wet during the night; he insisted we try it on the overnight shift again before jumping to the conclusion that this may be one of the best overnight options we’ve come across. I’m happy to report that it has repeatedly held up to the test. Seriously, it’s so stay-dry that it’s dry to the touch coming out of my washer.
Because I was so impressed with the inserts I was very disappointed to find they were tearing along the seams after only a few washes. Upon contacting the company we learned that the problem had already been recognized and addressed. The issue was one of manufacturing and all inserts from that batch have been re-sewn; so have no fear, this shouldn’t happen again.
As for trimness, this diaper with one insert is about average for a daytime diaper and with two inserts is about average for a nighttime diaper. The colour is cute, my baby seems quite comfortable in it, and I absolutely love the company’s Baby Do Good program.
So to summarize on the charcoal bamboo diaper:
- Extremely absorbent.
- It’s one of the stay-dryest diaper I’ve ever used and it threatens to dethrone my current favorite overnight diaper.
- The dark colour hides stains.
- It’s anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic, and naturally deodorizing. These are really cool things for a diaper to be!
- The colour of the organic bamboo PUL has faded a bit after minimal washes, so has the Lil Helper tag on the outside of the dipe (which is made of organic cotton). I’m assuming this is just the nature of organic dyes and fabrics.
- The learning curve – Because Lil Helpers are a bit different, they take some getting used to and maybe even some troubleshooting at the start. The amazing customer service offered (24/7!) by the owners of the company makes up for this.
- Cost – The charcoal bamboo diaper is a bit pricey, although that’s not surprising considering the textiles used in its construction. Additionally, the company donates one diaper to charity for every three sold and the cost of this generous act is partially absorbed by Lil Helper customers, as explained here.
The bottom line
I recommend Lil Helper’s charcoal bamboo diaper to anyone experienced in cloth diapering who’s looking for a wonderfully stay-dry, highly absorbent diaper.
This diaper is the exact same style and design as the charcoal bamboo one, but is made of standard PUL, lined with regular organic bamboo, and the inserts are micro terry sandwiched between organic bamboo. The diaper inner is very soft to the touch and would be a delight to anyone who wants only natural, organic fibers touching their little one’s bottom.
In comparison to the charcoal bamboo, I found this diaper to be much more vibrant in colour, the PUL to be wonderfully stretchy, and the inserts to be soft like pillows (instead of like fleece).
One thing about the inserts though, after a few washes they became a little bunchy and no longer lay flat (see pic below). This really is only a minor annoyance though considering that once they’re strapped to baby, they fit and sit exactly as they should.
For us, the lack of stay-dryness is a downfall, but it’s an inherent characteristic to cloth diapers topped with natural fibers, and thus completely understandable. However, if this version of the Lil Helper was aimed at the “au naturale” crowd with only organic natural fibers touching baby, then I think it would have been a plus to construct a natural-only fiber insert to go along with it (instead of the micro terry inner).
So to summarize the Organic Bamboo diaper:
- Very vibrant colour.
- Wonderfully stretchy PUL that offers a great fit around baby.
- Only organic, natural fibers touch baby’s precious skin.
- The learning curve. Just like the charcoal bamboo diaper, these take some getting used to and maybe even some troubleshooting at the start. Again, the amazing customer service offered (24/7!) by the owners of the company makes up for this.
- The inner of the insert is still made of micro terry, I’m sure a natural-fiber lovin’ mama would appreciate a completely natural fiber diaper inner.
The bottom line
I would recommend Lil Helper’s organic bamboo diaper to anyone experienced in cloth diapering who’s looking for a good (mostly) natural, organic fiber diaper. I’d also recommend it because of their Baby Do Good program, in which the company donates one diaper to charity for every three sold. So really in my mind, the more diapers they sell, the better.
The wet bag I received for review is a brilliant orange zipper-closure bag. The PUL is the same wonderfully stretchy stuff used in the organic bamboo diaper, which makes stuffing a breeze and, oddly enough, fun. Considering the price point of these bags ($6/bag for draw-string closure and $8/bag for zipper closure), I’d highly recommend them to anyone. I’d also recommend that Lil Helper make some pail liners out of this vibrant stretchy stuff, because it’s seriously awesome.