Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunbabies Diaper Review

A mommy-friend of mine mentioned Sunbaby, a value brand pocket cloth diaper that comes one size, meant to be used from newborn to potty training. I thought I'd check out the company and check out reviews on their product. Reviews weren't terrible.

I checked out their website and its very basic. You can order their diapers direct from the manufacturer in lots of twelve or twenty four with either one or two insert per diaper, starting at $60 for twelve diapers and twelve inserts... a bargain in the world of cloth diapering. Free shipping is included, and no sales tax is owed since the company is in China. Their website accepts only Paypal. You maybe be able to order in different quantities from third party vendors and may be offered different modes of payment, but may also be subject to shipping and tax, depending on the vendor. They appear to do different runs of patterns and I don't know how frequently the patterns change.

When ordering, you're instructed to type out the quantity and pattern that you like in the comments section of the order form, so you're able to pick the colors and patterns that you want. This was different from my experience with buying Fuzzibunz off of Ebay where you select a quantity of diapers as “girl”, “boy”, or “neutral” and they just send you diapers without allowing for any color selection at individual quantities.

I ordered 24 Sunbabies 4.0 diapers and 24 inserts, knowing that if they didn't work out, they'd be easy to resell off due to their popularity.

Customer Service was pretty good. I had seen other moms in their reviews talk about Sunpei, the person who represents customer service for Sunbabies. Sunbaby diapers is based in Shanghai, China. The invoice that you receive is in Chinese, but Sunpei seems to know enough English to do customer service very well. I had contacted Sunpei because the tracking number I was given wasn't showing up on the China Express (postal service) website. Bear in mind that because they're in China, they're more or less a day ahead of us, so email correspondence may take as much as two days for a response. But Sunpei responded to me next to immediately during overnight hours for Shanghai and said the problem would be resolved the next day, and sure enough it was.

Payment and shipment of the diapers took a while, partly through no fault on Sunbabies part-- I did Paypal e-Check and for international e-Checks, it always takes about five days to clear. Shipment passed through to China Express very quickly (1 day) and China Express handed the package off to the US Postal Service, who really didn't have tracking at all for the order. Then the order stayed with the US Postal Service for about four business days (and over a weekend) before I received the diapers late last week. So, order execution to receipt of product for me took 10 business days, roughly 2 weeks.

Initially looking at the diaper and comparing against Fuzzibunz after running the Sunbabies through the washer and dryer, these were the items that stuck out:

  1. These came without care instructions. It is a value diaper, and likely, most of their clients are experienced with cloth diapering. So we followed the care instructions provided by Fuzzibunz. If you're new to cloth diapering, just refer to the Fuzzibunz website for those.
  2. The inserts are all one size (Fuzzibunz does a newborn and infant size insert for each diaper), and I saw no difference between the Sunbabies insert when compared to a Fuzzibunz infant sized insert. The inserts appear to be completely compatible with Fuzzibunz.
  3. The shell material isn't as smooth as Fuzzibunz, but appears durable and comfortable enough. It appears water resistant and it looks like the colors won't fade easily.
  4. The interior is microfiber fleece and comparable to to Fuzzibunz. At a glance and at a touch, its very difficult to distinguish between the two.
  5. The stitch work on the Sunbabies is much closer to the edge of the diaper than the stitching on the Fuzzibunz. I'd have some concern about stitching getting so close to the edge of the diaper that it frays. However, the threading and type of stitch used appears resilient. Along the waist of some of the Sunbabies, the stitching isn't perfectly straight (this is a value cloth diaper after all), but there are two rows of stitches along the waist for reinforcement.
  6. The Sunbaby diaper has elastic on the back and on the legs. Sizing is adjusted using settings from the snaps at the front of the diapers.
  7. The snaps are not perfectly arranged... some snaps appear slightly closer to one another than other snaps in their spacing from one another (think value diaper!), but appear to do the job well enough. On the tabs, there are two waist snaps and one hip snap. On the front of the diaper, there are five sets of snaps for the waist settings; four sets of snaps for the hip settings; and two sets of snaps for rise settings. The snaps used appear to be exactly like the Fuzzibunz snaps.
  8. Inside the back of the diaper, there is a fleece flap that holds the tail end of the insert inside of the diaper. So after sticking the insert into the pocket, just smooth the flap over to hold it in place rather than tucking the inside of the diaper over the back of the insert as done with Fuzzibunz.
  9. Inside the front of the diaper, the waist is reinforced with material from the shell of the diaper.
  10. When laid on top of the Fuzzibunz diaper to compare sizes and dimensions, the Sunbabies has its front flaps extend about an inch and a half beyond the front flaps of the Fuzzibunz. The Sunbaby is about two inches longer than the Fuzzibunz (but that may be because of the legs settings I currently have on the Fuzzibunz). The back flaps and tabs appear to have the same dimensions as the Fuzzibunz. The Sunbaby diaper appears about a half inch wider between the legs as well. So its a slightly larger diaper than the Fuzzibunz.

As far as wear and use, even though the Sunbaby diaper is a slightly larger diaper, it wears slimmer and trimmer than the Fuzzibunz... which I'm pretty happy about because I wasn't sure how my son was going to learn how to crawl in the bulkier-to-wear Fuzzibunz... he was getting frustrated enough with trying to roll over in the Fuzzibunz.

My husband and I both noted that when burping our son while he was wearing the Fuzzibunz, we were having a difficult time fitting our hand over his small back to rub between his head and where the Fuzzibunz started bulking out at the butt. We're not having that problem with the Sunbaby diaper, however, since they wear slimmer all around. The Sunbaby diaper doesn't bulk out at the butt as much.

Since my husband does the bulk of the diaper work each day (I'm so spoiled!!!), I asked him for his assessment. His first response was that he wanted me to see about selling off the Fuzzibunz. He liked the Fuzzibunz, had a lot of great things to say about them when we got them (they were our first cloth diaper). But he likes the Sunbaby diapers much more. He says that the stitching's not perfect, but for what it does as a quarter of the price, he has no problem never looking back at the Fuzzibunz.

Quick digression: I told him I'd wait a couple of weeks before Craiglisting the Fuzzibunz... just in case someone gets lazy with laundry and they end up being needed.

My husband does forget to use the rise settings on the diaper, but he says that the waist and hip snaps are just as easy to use as with the Fuzzibunz. Because the front tabs on the Sunbabies are longer in comparison to the Fuzzibunz front tabs, I end up smoothing the front tabs on the Sunbaby diapers against my son's leg after snapping him in.

Hubby really likes the flap on the back of the diaper for holding the insert in, rather than having to fold the inside of the diaper around the pocket as done with the Fuzzibunz.

My husband has larger hands than I do and he says he has a much easier time pocketing the insert in the Sunbabies diaper than the Fuzzibunz diaper because there seems to be more room in the pocket for his hand.

He also really likes that there are no elastic tab settings to deal with in the Sunbabies, since all of their size settings are done with the snaps in the front of the diaper. Again, he has bigger hands and bigger fingers and with the Fuzzibunz, the elastic used for setting the legs and waist may curl and come out of their inserts while in the wash. So he was having some difficulty inserting the elastic tabs back.

For regular use, overnight, and for blow outs, Sunbabies perform just as well as Fuzzibunz. We tend to change Arthur about 8-10 times per day (he's currently 2 months old), with wet diapers every day and dirty diapers (including a potential blow out) every three days. For us, overnights have required only one insert since he's changed at least every time he eats, at a six hour stretch, followed by a three to four hour stretch.

So in summary... in comparison to the Fuzzibunz, Sunbaby diapers are...

  • Not as well manufactured when you examine it closely, but for a value diaper, its still pretty good and gets the job done!
  • Arthur sits and moves very comfortably in the Sunbaby diapers and I daresay, they're probably better than the Fuzzibunz because they fit slimmer and trimmer without the bulk on the butt, so it looks like he will have better mobility in the Sunbabies.
  • The Sunbabies are easier to set and husband approved!

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