I see questions about Alva Baby Diapers all the time. It seems like cloth diapering parents either love them or hate them. It seems like some people really really hate them. Knowing this, I found myself in a tough financial spot, pregnant and very close to my due date. As my due date grew closer, I felt like it was either Alva Baby Diapers or no cloth diapers. I nervously pushed the order button and 20 pocket diapers with a bamboo/microfiber insert for under $100 were on their way to me…shipped from China. Here are my thoughts on Alva:
The Alva Baby diapers showed up at my door step wrapped in what looked like a black plastic garbage bag and tape. Despite coming straight from China, they arrived in about 5 days! I ordered through the Alva Baby website and was surprised at how quickly they arrived, and at how nice they were in person. We had some Bum Genuis 4.0 diapers and aside from the insert, these diapers looked comparable and even a little bigger. In addition, they had another waist snap that alleviated the wing-slipping issue my BGs had. While the PUL didn’t feel as thick, and there was a single insert (no snap) instead of the two inserts my BGs came with…but for $10 less a diaper I couldn’t complain.
So why does it seem as though some believe Alva Baby Diapers are sewn by Satan himself? If you read about the brand in cloth chats, you may wonder. For starters, they come straight from China at a very low rate, I can’t imagine a USA company could compete with the price. Unlike factories and shops in the USA, there are no controls or eyes reporting what sort of conditions employees are working under. The age, working hours and conditions are certainly not monitored by O.S.H.A.. Are these diapers sewn by children working 20 hours a day in pitiful conditions? Who knows. Are those conditions any different then the $5 t-shirt you’re buying at a local big box store, the dollar store products or the trinket you picked up at the gas station? Who knows. If you have the choice, would you buy a $20 USA made diaper instead of a questionable $5 diaper from China? I would and I believe most people would. Who wouldn’t want a Thirsties over an Alva? However, in a country where nearly everything we buy is made in China, and it seems like the USA has an insatiable desire for more and more stuff and cheaper prices…this brings up a bigger ethical issue.
Performance. Our Alva Baby Diapers are over 2.5 years old and despite the fact that I am rough with them…because hey, it cost $5 if something bad happens it’s not a huge loss like a $34 WAHM hybrid…they continue to perform well. From the start they needed a second insert. One insert was never enough, even for my baby who was a few weeks old. I have a good friend who bought the same pack and also needed a doubler or they get saturated and leak. After several communications she successfully obtained 10 more inserts for free from the company under their warranty. I typically stuff our Alvas with prefolds and a MF insert for night, and a single prefold during the day and they’re still going strong.
Do I regret my purchase? No. However, looking back I wish I purchased prefolds and covers for a similar price. However, I still believe that Alva Baby diapers are better then disposables. I do prefer to order from -what I know- is a reputable retailer, especially one from the USA, but when we bought them we were in a tight financial spot and I have been happy with their performance, their look and ability to stand up to use by 2 babies for over 2 years. I do not regret my purchase. Alvas allowed me to cloth diaper two babies full-time as I built up our USA designed or USA designed/produced diaper stash. While some may argue that there are less expensive brands for purchase in the USA, they are still manufactured in China and at usually double the cost.
Rebranding. I repeatedly see Alva Baby diapers sold by various shops, with a different label. The…same…exact…diaper as the Alva website carries. This is known as rebranding. Some companies buy the same $5 diaper you can purchase from China and use a different company label on it, and resell that diaper for $16. How can you avoid this? Again, buy from a reputable shop. Ebay, Amazon and other retailers that allow multiple shops to list items for sale does not have the same quality control as single diaper shops. I recommend Nicki’s, Diaper Junction and personally order from those shops on regular basis. Not only do they have free shipping deals and specials, but you can also get points and coupons for even better prices.
What do I recommend? While we can never be truly sure where, how and under what conditions anything we purchase is made…I can bet that a WAHM sewing diapers in her home doesn’t have a factory full of child workers or poorly treated employees. WAHMs are the factory, customer service and public relations department. Make sure to check out the WAHM spotlight articles I have done that feature great Mom shops right here in the USA! Other lower priced options? Prefolds and covers, pre-loved diapers and of course see if you qualify for free cloth diapers from cloth charities. My favorite places, and affiliates, to purchase from are: