Monday, April 23, 2012

Alva Cloth Diapers: Individual Reviews

My Alvas arrived a few days ago, and I've gotten through most of them once. Here are my first impressions.

Background info: my son is about 22lbs, 7 months old, and something of a heavy wetter. One microfiber insert will not do! Up until now we've primarily used BumGenius 4.0s, with the occasional GMD prefold in a Thirsties or Econobum or Flip cover. At the moment we are using disposables at night, just because the bulk of several inserts is ridiculous and still not guaranteed not to leak, especially on nights when he nurses more than once. I'm on a quest to find something that will last up to 3 hours without leaking and without being obnoxiously bulky.

Alvas use both fleece and suedecloth inners; check out the Alva Facebook page for a note about which diapers use which materials. All of the diapers below have suedecloth innersexcept for the animal print (E5), which says it is fleece. It looks and feels exactly like suedecloth, so I don't know if that's what their fleece looks like, or if Alva switched to suedecloth on that one.

3.0 Minky Diaper D13

Not quite cow, not quite dalmation... snowflake appaloosa? Whatever, they're little spots! This one is slightly off-white with with black spots.
This your typical 3.0 pocket diaper. Three rise settings, a hip snap, two upper snaps, with snaps on the flap in case you have a super skinny baby. The pocket opening is in the back, with elastic on both the waterproof outer and inner suedecloth layer. (See yellow diaper below.) This one came with a single microfiber insert.
I really like the minky fabric! It's soft, fuzzy, and cute. My child is somewhat between the largest and single snap-down size, but at a chunky 22 lbs he definitely has a while before this diaper is too small!
I paired the microfiber insert that came with it along with a bamboo 3-layer insert and it easily held up to the 2 hour mark with no leaks or wicking, though it was slightly bulky.

3.0 Minky Diaper M11

This one has hamsters(?), alligators, and chicks on it. I don't think they cut the pattern in any particular way to show it off. The one on the website shows the hamster-like critter up front. There may even be another animal in the blue circle, I don't know.

This one is exactly like the spotted diaper above. Only one change; I used a single 4-layer bamboo insert instead of the microfiber insert that came with it. At the 2-hour mark it was soaked completely through, and the minky fabric was damp around his legs, as was the tag inside. Had he been in his bouncer this definitely would have wicked onto his pants. If you have a heavy wetter you'll probably need an extra insert.

3.0 Yellow Diaper B01

This diaper is BRIGHT!
Again, this is built just like the two minky diapers above, with a suedecloth lining. I initially did not like the double elastic, since it bunches up the inserts as you are inserting them (and is even worse with two) but I quickly got used to it.
Another big fear I had with the 3.0 series of Alvas was the lack of a waterproof liner across the inside front. However, he's had no leaks or wicking all day, nor has the front rolled down at all.

4.0 Colored Snap Double Gussett CB06:

Currently this color is not available, though the one I really wanted is! :(
This is Alva's newest 4.0 diaper. It has cool colored snaps, a double gussett, a snap on the insert, and a good inch and a half waterproof lining across the inner front to help avoid leaks and wicking up front. My son is past the runny poo stage, so for now the gussetts don't do a whole lot. The suedecloth outside of the gussetts was still wet when I took it off, so I don't think it will prevent any wicking to the sides, either.

Bamboo Diaper + 1 insert BN08

The bamboo diapers are the more expensive ones on the site. One insert diapers are $8, and two insert diapers are $10. This particular diaper came with one insert, which was a 4-layer insert; three layers of bamboo rayon and one layer of microfiber.
The bamboo inner is silky smooth and soft. The outer waterproof layer on this diaper is also thinner, and even feels silkier than the other diapers. This makes this diaper feel very soft and luxurious! For $8 it feels like a steal.
When fastening the diaper I noticed it feels much stretchier than other diapers, in fact it's almost comparable to the stretchy tabs on a disposable. This is probably because both the bamboo and outer layer are stretchy; the suedecloth inners on the other diapers are not stretchy at all. I often feel like cloth diapers on my son are too tight around the waist, when he's sitting on his own there is often a roll of his belly hanging over the diaper- it looks uncomfortable! I haven't figured out if the stretchiness of these makes them any more comfortable for him, but if that's an issue for you, it may be worth looking into.
Since the inner is bamboo, it is absorbent, unlike suedecloth, so keep that in mind when stuffing.
However, there are some drawbacks. The bamboo inner is super soft, but is not stay-dry, so your child will feel the wetness. Also, if you line dry your covers, these take a VERY long time to dry. The thinner outer layer doesn't feel very rugged, which makes me even more hesitant to throw them in the dryer (even on low!) to speed up drying time.
Finally, on my diaper, one of the hip snaps wouldn't stay snapped, and another felt very loose.

Bamboo diaper + 2 inserts BB6

This diaper came with two 3-layer bamboo inserts, but otherwise is identical to the one above.
One thing to note about this color: on the website, it appears to be a darker, slightly navy/twilight color of blue. However, it is actually a very bright blue, the same color as the color snap diaper above.

Animal Print E5

I was DYING to get my hands on this print, for some reason. The same animals also come on a green or a blue background but I wanted the white! Like the other diapers, the outer layer is thinner and softer than other brands of diapers I've used.
This diaper is slightly different than the others. It's one of the few (of the ones I bought) that have the Alva label on the hip.

The label says the inner is 'fleece' but it looks and feels exactly like the suedecloth on all the other diapers. This is also the only diaper that doesn't have elastic on the inner lining. Instead, as you can see, there is a large flap under which you can tuck the insert.
I have seen a very similar diaper advertised as "Kawaii Goodnight", so if you are looking for this particular style, it may be worth a shot to choose the colors that are available in the Kawaii Goodnights. I don't have a Goodnight to compare to, but the Alva does NOT have a strip of waterproofing across the top front. The Alva only comes with one microfiber insert, not two.
I used this one with a single microfiber insert and it wicked pretty quickly at the legs.

3.0 Minky Diaper E15

This is the only diaper that hasn't been worn yet, but it is the same as the other minky 3.0 diapers, except it has a label on the hip. Oddly enough, though it's in the E series, it does not have the pocket opening like the animal print above. These are the only two E series I have, so I don't know which is the exception. (See the note about the Kawaii Goodnights above.)
The insert with this one had an odd little brown spot (you can see it in the image) which I don't think washed out. It was also made slightly different than the others; it was a whiter white and had a dense serged edge on it. I haven't used these inserts enough to notice if this one is any more absorbent than the others.

Alva Leggings:

Not a diaper! The images on the website aren't very large so I thought I'd include one here. For $3.69 these seemed like a deal and are super cute as well. Unfortunately I have no idea what they are made of (one forum claims cotton/lycra/spandex) and I also managed to shrink them the first time through the wash. My fingers are crossed that it will still fit, but we're getting into warmer weather so I'm afraid I may not get much use out of these.
As cute as they are, they aren't particularly soft.


  1. This review was very helpful! I really had a hard time telling the difference between all the different diapers on thier site. Thank you!

  2. So, which one did you like best?