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Comparing Earth's Best with 7th Gen and Nature Babycare
on June 23, 2009
This review compares Earth's Best with 7th Generation and Nature Babycare diapers. I have 3 kids, and before my last child there weren't many options for environmentally-friendlier diapers besides 7th Generation. My daughter and first son started in cloth and moved to 7th Generation exclusively. So when my son was born in May, I thought I'd try some others and see what I came up with. I did not test Natural Choice because we could only buy online and didn't want to buy a case just to try it out, especially when we found a solid performer at a lower price with Earth's Best.
For the short version, performance/preference differed by size: For newborn diapers, Earth's Best was heads and shoulders above 7th Generation (Nature Babycare doesn't come in NB size). For size 1, Earth's Best was still on top, with Nature Babycare and 7th Generation tying for second, though I'd give Nature Babycare an edge for environmental friendliness. I have not tested Nature Babycare above Size 1, and have not yet tested Earth's Best in Sizes 2 & 3. 7th Generation performed adequately in those sizes. For Size 4 & 5, 7th Generation and Earth's Best were much closer, with Earth's Best being slightly more absorbent.
Overall, we have been very happy with 7th Generation over the years, so these new diapers were a pleasant surprise. 7th Gen is not flashy, definitely more stiff than mainline diapers, but the kids were comfy, never had diaper rash due to the diaper, and the diapers were pretty absorbent with very few leaks. However, we often had runs of overnight leaks that seemed unrelated to needing to move up a size, and we have had to move up a size much earlier than the package would indicate by weight (this happened with our son in particular, and he is pretty skinny).
For Newborn diapers, I highly recommend Earth's Best over 7th Gen. The Earth's Best diapers had a stay-dry liner, great fit for a newborn, and were much softer, than 7th Gen, which for a newborn is much more important than a toddler! Most importantly, they were super absorbent. Now, I have to say that for first-time parents I'm sure 7th Gen is fine, but by the third kid I know I didn't change my son as often as I should (tysk, tysk), at least at first when I was trying to adjust to 3 kids! The Earth's Best diapers NEVER leaked, and kept my son dry due to the great liner. The 7th Gen NB diapers were a distant 2nd. I don't know how absorbent they truly are, because they leaked almost immediately due to poor fit. First off, they were bigger than Earth's Best NB diapers in size. They also were more stiff, which meant it was much harder to both tuck in the flap for the cord in the beginning, and it was hard to get them tight so there was no gaping on the top...so the pee just leaked out the top half the time. I should note that I also got some NB Huggies from a neighbor and they were the worst of the 3 - they were soft but small, and held very little urine before leaking. Also, the gel or whatever was sort of cold, so the diaper always felt wet on the outside when it was wet on the inside.
For Size 1, Earth's Best is still the winner, but 7th Gen and Nature Babycare were a lot closer. For some reason Earth's Best only has the stay-dry liner in the NB diaper, but it still seemed that the inside of the Earth's Best diaper was softer and drier than the 7th Gen. Earth's Best and Nature Babycare excelled at absorbency, 7th Gen. was sufficient but not quite as good. All 3 diapers fit well. Earth's Best is by far the softest; 7th Gen slightly less, and Nature Babycare feels like the paper towels you get in a public restroom - not something I'd want to wear, but baby didn't seem to mind too much. Nature Babycare would probably rank second because of absorbency and it is more environmentally friendly than the other two, but gets low points for softness and because the tabs don't stick anywhere on the diaper other than the front - so you can't roll it a ball as easily for disposal (you can roll it and secure one tab to the back of the other, it's just a little trickier). 7th Generation a close third - it doesn't have the drawbacks of Nature Babycare, but it is not quite as absorbent, either.
For Size 4 & up, I'd give Earth's Best a slight edge, only because of overnight absorbency. I actually like that 7th Gen is more stiff for a toddler; the Earth's Best side panels are very soft and stretchy but I feel like that makes them sort of flimsy. However, we always used 7th Gen for our toddlers, never mainline brands - I think if you were switching from Huggies or Pampers that might not even occur to you because it seems like those have really stretchy side panels too. I've never had a 7th Generation leak during the day, but more than occasionally at night, and since we don't really want to buy two sets of diapers, we're switching to Earth's Best for our older son (he's 21 months). A note on shape - the Earth's Best were longer and narrower than 7th Gen at this size, which works well for our skinny son but may not be for everyone.
One final note on 7th Generation quality control. Twice my husband found we were shorted diapers in the package, so now we count the diapers every time. Contacted the company and they sent us coupons for diapers and other products along with an apology. Also, occasionally we've gotten a string of diapers with the tabs attached poorly so they rip off entirely when you open them - very annoying and sometimes not salvageable. We have used these diapers pretty much constantly for 3 years though (none of these problems in the past 6 months, it may have improved), so I have no idea whether the quality control of other products is any better.