Monday, July 05, 2010

Review: Monkey Doodlez Tuck and Go Diapering System

PLEASE NOTE: The Tuck and Go Pads that I received (3 of them) are NOT gathered at the legs like those that I now see on the Monkey Doodlez Website. I have contacted them to ask why, as perhaps they have changed their design a bit and that might change my review entirely, especially since the main issue that I saw was involving the leg area of the diaper. Stay Tuned and I will update accordingly!

Today I am going to write a review of the Monkey Doodlez Tuck and Go Diapering system. I was very excited to try this diapering system, because I love love love love their pail liner... It's the one thing that I recommend every cloth diapering mamma have. It's double sided PUL, so the plastic-y side of the PUL is contained inside and this prevents icky sweating inside your pail and means that the pail is always dry and clean. It's also wonderfully sturdy. I own two, and one of them I have had for 3 years and it's still going strong. I adore them! Especially the elastic top that just slips over the rim of any inexpensive garbage pail and makes a quick and secure liner.

First, let me apoligize for the length of this review... but I feel like I have so much to say about this product!

Okay, I digress. Anyway you get that I was excited to try these diapers! In the last 1-2 years, cloth diapering has accelerated even more than it had when I started about 3 years ago. We are now seeing many "Hybrid" diapering systems like the Bum Genius Flip, the Booroi system, Gdiapers, Best Bottoms, GroBaby, and GroVia. This is similar to these systems, allowing you to lay an insert inside a PUL Cover, and simply tuck it inside and go. But what is surprising (to me at least) about the Tuck and Go System, is the amazing LUXURY inside. This is not just some PUL Cover. The insides are lined with SUPER soft Microfleece (I actually thought it was OBV at first) that prevents any PUL from touching baby's skin. The pads are amazing, very thin and trim but incredibly absorbent, and made from Bamboo and Organic Cotton. They are super soft inside, like my adored Goodmama fitteds.

First I'd like to say that I am a fitted girl. I prefer Goodmama fitteds and a variety of covers (wool, fleece, PUL, etc) and I do use prefolds and covers also, with snappis. In coming to the conclusion that Goodmamas are my favorite, I have used LOTS of different diapers. I started with pockets. Particularly things like Fuzzi Bunz, Snap-ez, Bum Genius, etc. They were great... except for extracting poopy inserts from the pockets... and when poop would get INSIDE the pockets (don't ask, it can happen!) and the stuffing! OY all the stuffing. it got so tedious that I dropped pockets altogether.

Then we started exploring fitteds and prefolds. I tried many types, but the bottom line with all these systems was that they had to be replaced as the baby moved up a size, and it became expensive. And just because I got an awesome fit in a small Snap-ez and a small Fuzzi Bunz, did NOT mean that the same brand fit right when she moved up to medium and got chunkier thighs. I felt like I was on an endless search for something that was for us.

Then I tried AIO's, specifically to use something simple and easy for on-the-go, and for ease at Daycare. We used Thirsties AIO Pockets for a while, and loved them until they started to leak profusely and the company wouldn't honor the warranty or even replace them at a discount. They later released V2 to fix the leaking problem.

The day I tried a goodmama, I was purely doing it for entertainment. The stalking level was at it's peak, and the day that I first went to their store, just to check it out, I stumbled upon an unannounced stocking and bought just one (one was the limit in those days!) and told myself I might as well see what all the fuss was about. From the day that diaper arrived, I gradually moved my entire stash to goodmamas and prefolds, with the exception of some BGOS 3.0's that we use overnight. I loved the true one size, just like the BGOS system, and it saved me so much time and money, and was excellent when I had two in diapers, because one diaper fit both kids!

Everyone is looking for something different in a diapering system. That is why no system is perfect for everyone. If you are looking for ease of use, especially if you are new to cloth, are on the go or traveling more than you are home, or have a diapered child in daycare.... a hybrid system might be for you. I have yet to see a hybrid insert as awesome as the Tuck-and-go. The inside of the PUL cover has positives and negatives. Of course it's excellent that the PUL doesn't touch the baby's skin. BUT as soon as I saw the microfleece lined legs, I thought "luxury.... but is that PRACTICAL?" In my mind, I could see the leg lining getting soiled or wet and causing the cover to need to be switched out more frequently than any wool, fleece, or PUL cover. But remember this is coming from my fitted point of view. :)

The first time I used the system, I was going to my parents for the afternoon/evening. I waited until my guy (20 pounds and 15 months old) had done his "morning poop." This boosted my confidence that the cover would make it a longer time frame. With his usual regime of fitteds and covers, we never ever EVER have a diaper leak out the legs or up the back. Fitteds are so absorbent and the legs and back are elasticized, so everything is always contained. I am so confident in that statement that unless I am using prefolds, I NEVER take a spare cover with me when I leave the house. The micro fleece leg-lining of the Tuck and Go system had me worried.

I had him in the Tuck and Go and had two inserts packed, and then I took fitteds and a cover for backup, just in case. Sure enough, when we got to my parents, he pooped AGAIN (unusual for my once a day pooper!) and it was ALL over the leg lining and even up the back of the cover. It did NOT leak. Not even close, but the cover was most definitely not reusable. I moved to fitteds. I was disappointed. I was really excited to try out the Tuck and Go. I thought that it was really probably just that Murphy's Law thing, and that I would just try try again.

The next attempt was an overnight attempt. And it went amazingly well. The system is SO trim, that I was even able to double stuff without barely noticing a difference. It was still trimmer than a BGOS... but, could it hold? My guy sleeps 12-13 hours each night, and peeeeees. He does not poop overnight, and everything went as planned. I assumed that when I took the Tuck and Go off the next morning, all the microfleece lining in the cover would be soaked, along with the inserts. I was WRONG. I was absolutely shocked to find that although the inserts were wet, the leg lining and other inner linings of the cover were not even damp. I was amazed. The cover could easily have been reused after a brief airing out. These would make for excellent overnight diapers. If I didn't have a lifetime supply of BGOS I would certainly consider these as my nighttime solution.

My third and fourth attempts during the day ended in the exact same way. The first time I put the Tuck and Go on him, he pooped. And even when the poop was solid, it still soiled the leg linings of the cover and I was never able to reuse it. If you have a once a day pooper, this system would be doable, because you would likely only go through two covers a day. If you have a EBF baby, or a newborn, or even someone who poops twice or more a day, I would not recommend this system simply (and ONLY) because of the legs lined in microfleece- the cover would be soiled and not reusable.

The advantage to having unlined leg openings is that if there was a poo, you would be able to wipe the cover out with a baby wipe and reuse it. With these microfleece lined legs, that just isn't possible. You and only you can make the determination of you think this is efficient for your needs- and does the comfort of the leg linings really have enough advantages over a non-lined leg... to justify the cost and hassle of needing that many more covers.

The quality of this system is, without question, outstanding. They are well-made and the velcro is amazing. It's very tough and feels almost more like a soft plastic than the despicable velcro on Bum Genius. It's even superior to Thirsties Velcro. I love that instead of having foldback laundry tabs inside the back of the diaper, the velcro folds right onto itself on the wings, for laundry day. I love that the cover has multiple rises, because a baby can be in a medium diaper for a LOOOOONG time. I have to say, however, that at 20 pounds by guy did not give me the option to try the smaller rise. The covers are a tad bit more pricey than regular PUL covers, but not astronomical by any means. The covers are $15 each, comparing to about $11-12 for your average PUL cover. The inserts are $30 for three.

If you are a person who is using pockets, this system would be a nice change. It would drastically cut down your load in the diaper bag, because instead of taking stuffed pockets with, you would just have to take flat inserts and one spare cover. With this system you just don't dare NOT take a spare cover. This was the thing that was the breaking point for me. The leg linings are fabulous, but they are also the one drawback in my mind. This would work very simlar in my mind to having prefolds and cover in your diaper bag, but you wouldn't have to know how to fold the prefold and snappi or pin it :) The ease of washing is much like that of prefolds and covers, and I love the fact that there is no "stuffing" or snapping of inserts on laundry day.

Another thing that I noticed. When I did attempt to salvage the cover this morning when he pooped.... I would normally (with a fitted) just unsnap the diaper, and then lift his legs while I wiped. Then I would remove the fitted and fold it up, setting it on top of the diaper pail (to dump in the potty later) while I rested his bum on the PUL of the cover (on the changing table.) Then I would reach for a new fitted with one hand, keeping my other hand on him, and put the new diaper under his bum, inside the cover, and then put both the fitted and the cover back on him. Basically the entire diaper change, I never have to take a hand off the baby. Not once. Everything I do in the change is with one hand.

When it came time to try to get the poopy insert out of the Tuck and Go, I was unable to get the insert out of the diaper with one hand. I may have gotten the insert out (one-handed) had I shaken it over the diaper pail, but because it had a solid stool in it, I wanted to get the insert out and set it aside so that I could dump the poo in the potty, and then put the soiled insert into the pail. But I could not get the insert out one handed to do that. Shaking it over the pail does my no good if I want the poop in the potty. I found this frustrating because I have a mover and shaker and he would be flipped over and off that changing table in an instant if I took my hand off him.

And then there was the issue of needing two hands to stuff the next insert into the cover. This was a huge learning curve for me, and I am used to either grabbing a new fitted or a fully prepped pocket diaper, and just putting it on. I am not used to having to tuck and prepare the diaper during the change, and this was not possible to do while keeping one hand on the baby. This made me think that it would be better to have a pre-tucked insert and cover ready before each diaper change, so instead of using one cover and trying to get the most use out of it each day, you just prepare to have at least two covers per day, and always keep the "spare" cover tucked and ready for the next diaper change. This system would work really well, unless one of those covers got soiled, then it would be back to tucking each time that you did a diaper change - Unless you had a THIRD cover on hand, but now you are using three covers a day... which to me is excessive.

I am really on the fence as to whether I will purchase more inserts to use with the Tuck and Go system that I have tried. I have one cover and three inserts. To make this be an efficient system for me, I would need at least one more cover (I would likely only use the system when we are on the go) and at least 4 more inserts. But because they come in packs of three inserts, I would likely have to buy 2 packs. I think it would be nice if they had the option of purchasing the inserts separately, or in the multi-packs, perhaps at a discount.

I feel badly because I feel like I have listed a lot of negatives in this review. I don't want to give the impression that this is a "bad" system. Quite the contrary. However, it is not for everyone. I would urge you to strongly consider how often you would use this system, and buy only what you think you may need to start with. Then you can easily add to your stash if you think it's the one for you.

I am considering keeping some of these on hand, just for the fact that they are nice and trim. But at the same time, Because I have been doing this for a while now, I am confident and comfortable with the fitteds and covers that I have, and also with using prefolds and covers as a backup. If I were a pocket user and didn't use fitteds and covers, I think this would be an EXCELLENT change. If I were new to cloth, I would like to try this system, but would be concerned that they would feel overwhelmed when it came time to change baby and tuck the insert at the same time.

I urge you to try them out yourself and see what you think! Please share your experiences with me! I want to know how they worked for you!

I've added some horrible quality pics of Marek in the Tuck and Go. Sorry they are from my iPhone and not the Nikon D3000, but the short lens from the Nikon is in the shop for warranty work right now. But hopefully you'll get an idea of the fit :)

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Happy Diapering!


Trine said...

I just recieved this diaper in the mail today, my liners are gathered around the leg and I still had the same problem that you had with the poop touching the fleece around the leg of the cover. His poop was a solid poop and it still made the cover unable to re-use. I'm trying not to feel discouraged since I just bought $450 worth of these, but at least I will be able to use them at night.

Meagan said...

Oy! I know what you mean. I checked and the one that I have is a redesign... the gathered leg inserts came before the ones that I have.

I am still *trying* to use them to see if I can ever get two-three uses out of them before having to dump the cover in the pail, but just yesterday he wore it before we left the house for a family day out shopping and sure enough, a completely solid poop STILL got all over the leg linings and we had to completely change. I just don't personally find that convenient.

I made up my mind this afternoon to not buy any more covers and inserts and went ahead and bought 4 more Goodmamas from their recent stocking, because a few of the ones that I have are really on their last leg... but they are three years old and have been through both kids (and some of them were used when I got them!) so I can't complain!

I am so so sorry that you are dealing with the same thing I was! Let me know if you find that they get better ;)

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