Cloth diapering can be complicated, overwhelming and require some serious cheese to get started. It’s enough to discourage many soon-to-be parents or already-parents from even testing the waters.
I’ve been blogging about and using cloth diapers for seven years, and I am very proud to say that many parents have reached out to tell me that my passion for reusable poop catchers has been contagious!
As an armchair cloth diaper expert, one of the most common questions I get is “How do I get started on the cheap?” Whether you have a limited budget or you just don’t want to invest a lot because you’re not certain it’s the right choice for your family, I’m very excited to now have the answer: buy the Elemental Joy Cloth Diaper Kit!
For US$84 (I can no longer find a Canadian retailer for this set), the Elemental Joy Cloth Diaper Kit gives you twelve diaper changes. The diapers are “all-in-two” (AI2) style, meaning you reuse the waterproof cover and replace the insert at least once. That’s why the kit contains twelve inserts but only six covers.
A low price point for cloth diapers can be indicative of unethical (or at least semi-shady) manufacturing practices, low quality standards and a lack of customer support. But Elemental Joy products are manufactured in St. Louis, MO, with CPSIA-approved materials and are backed by Cotton Babies’ 1-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee.
About the covers
Elemental Joy is owned by cloth diaper giant Cotton Babies. Cotton Babies is behind bumGenius, so it’s no surprise that the Elemental Joy cover has a lot in common with bumGenius pocket diapers and with Cotton Babies’ AI2 brand, Flip. Under the Elemental Joy banner there is also a pocket diaper, which I have previously reviewed.
The primary design difference between Elemental Joy and the higher priced bumGenius pockets and Flip covers is the lack of stretchy closure tabs. As I talked about in my Elemental Joy Pocket Diaper review, while I’m a fan of those stretchy tabs, their absence on the Elemental Joy product line by no means make them less effective.
Elemental Joy covers have 3-across rise snaps allowing the cover to accommodate average newborns all the way to toddlers. The double row of closure snaps can be staggered for a tighter fit around skinny legs while leaving more room for a pot belly, or vice versa.
Elemental Joy covers are wipeable, which for me is a key feature of a good AI2 cover. Some AI2 covers are lined with polyester, so pee or poop often transfers to this inner fabric and is not easily wiped off in between changes. Since the point of an AI2 system is to reuse the cover multiple times, I appreciate that Elemental Joy covers are just a single layer of waterproof PUL (the waterproof fabric). If the cover needs to be wiped or rinsed, simply swap it for a fresh cover at change time and hang the wet cover to dry and reuse at the next change.
About the inserts
I am a big, big fan of Elemental Joy’s cotton inserts. When the brand first launched, their inserts were flats, which is cloth-diaper-speak for what is basically a big, square blanket that you fold up into a pad or fold around the baby (like your grandma did).
I love flats, I love folding inserts … but I think the idea of folding inserts can seem daunting and make cloth diapers more labour-intensive. The new Elemental Joy cotton inserts are the same dimensions as the large bumGenius microfibre inserts you may be familiar with. No fancy folds required, just place them inside the cover and place on baby!
I’m really happy that Cotton Babies chose, well, cotton, for their low-cost insert. Cotton is absorbent and easy to launder. (Babies sensitive to wetness may not be big fans of cotton directly against their skin.) A lot of cloth diaper aficionados don’t love using microfibre; in fact, when I do buy a new bumGenius pocket diaper, I don’t use the large microfibre insert it comes with; I swap it for a natural fibre insert. I’d actually love it if bumGenius pockets also shipped with the new Elemental Joy cotton insert, leaving the newborn-sized bumGenius microfibre insert to be used as a booster! The Elemental Joy cotton insert can be folded at the front to add extra absorbency or to reduce its size when using the cover on a smaller baby.
Absorbency-wise, heavy wetters would definitely need a boost for use beyond an hour or two. For a three-hour nap the Cub Twins saturated the front of the insert, and their onesies were damp. For newborns and young babies, folding the insert to double its absorbent layers could very well be sufficient.
You might have noticed that Elemental Joy inserts don’t have snaps to secure them inside the cover, nor does the cover have flaps to hold the insert in place. The truth is, whenever I’ve used AI2 systems with flaps and/or snaps, I rarely use them. The fewer the steps, the better.
What else is in the kit?
The kit itself is a decently sized diaper pail. You can use it to store your dirty diapers—just dump them in the wash straight out of the pail! (You could also get a reusable pail-liner to keep the pail itself stain- and odour-free.) The kit also contains a travel wet bag, perfect for storing dirty diapers when you’re out and about.
Who would love this kit?
The Elemental Joy Cloth Diaper Kit is great value for a variety of cloth users. If you are cloth curious but not necessarily committed, this is an affordable, high quality system that will give you the cloth experience without a huge investment. If you want to do cloth at home and disposables on the go, the Elemental Joy kit is the perfect choice!
And finally, if you’re a cloth connoisseur and just need a few more diaper changes to make it till wash day, want back up diapers for the car or diaper bag, or heck, even if you want a set of diapers to leave at grandma’s, this kit is for you too!