If you’ve been around any cloth diapering groups, you’ve probably heard a bit of excitement around a brand called Lighthouse Kids Company or Lighthouse Diapers for the past few months. The hype train arrived at the station recently after they released their summer passport series of exclusives across a variety of retailers including Nicki’s Diapers, Abby’s Lane, The Crunchy Bean, Crunchy Rosie, and Green Path Baby, the sister company of Lighthouse Kids Company, and further continues with the recent Dearest Diapers release and My Sweet Pickles release coming tomorrow, 8/21/2018 at 8:30 AM PDT (11:30 AM EDT), as well as upcoming exclusives at Diaper Depot expected to land in late August and Fluff & Familia expected in September. The exclusive promotion introduced a lot of people to the brand through the retailers as well as the retailers to a lot of different customers who usually shop elsewhere. This also included ridiculously fast sell out times, including The Crunchy Bean exclusive “Shirley” selling out in under a minute, while the rest were all gone in under 10 minutes.
Why are Lighthouse Kids Company Diapers so Hyped?
There are a couple main reasons Lighthouse Kids Company Diapers are so popular with those who have tried them. The designs are unique, and the interior of the shell is a breathy jersey knit much like the interior of a lot of swim wear instead of fleece, cotton, or other warm but absorbent materials. Also, the absorbency is a built-in book tongue style natural fiber in the form of bamboo with a stay dry topper on one side, making the diaper good for both potty training and younger babes and very easy to add additional boosters in that stay in place.
Unique Design and Style of Lighthouse Diapers
I think the biggest reason for the fan following is the unique designs. A lot of companies will get a generic PUL or TPU that they can buy from different fabric dealers, whereas the patterns for the diapers at Lighthouse Kids Company are often either designed in house or purchased from designers on Spoonflower and then printed as TPU and are consequently unique. There are a few other companies with unique designs as well, however the majority of the time they look, uh, not great. The designs from Lighthouse Kids Company are consistently beautiful. In the most recent Go Coastal series where they partnered with another local artist from Florida, they brought elements of beach life into a unique summer diaper. To top it off, most of the recent diapers have been designed in a way that makes a bad bum placement unlikely. It still happens, but that’s usually just a rare unfortunate soul (such as myself with Shark Bait), and the tabs tend to be fantastic to balance it out.
Frequent Retailer Exclusive Releases and Limited Edition Prints from Lighthouse Kids Company
On top of that, the company has only been in business for about 2 years, and they have more prints and colors released than a number of decade and older diaper companies. Considering they’re unique and beautiful, it definitely gets the Pokemon “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” mentality going. There have been a total of 53 diaper releases in just over two years, making for about one every month on average with frequency increasing.
That said, with LKC’s recent rise in popularity, a lot of retailer exclusive orders didn’t include enough diapers to meet current demand, making it so many sell out incredibly quickly and a lot of people miss out on getting prints they want. Consequently, this leads to people who flip the diaper on Buy/Sell/Trade pages for double or triple the retail price due to the large demand and limited supply. Fortunately, there’s a very frequent release of new diapers to keep looking for new releases if those prices are a bit excessive to you, and at $20.99 for solids and $22.99 for prints at retail, the price isn’t bad.
How Do Lighthouse Kids Company Diapers Fit?
For a good video on getting a proper fit from LKC diapers, I strongly recommend their YouTube video.
Lighthouse diapers run a little small due to the stretch in the TPU, the waterproofing layer of the diapers. Thanks to the TPU being so stretchy, I’ve seen them comfortably fit skinny and chubby babies alike, though I know some parents aren’t comfortable with how much they need to pull the TPU to get a good fit. My son weighs around 23 lbs and is very tall for 8 months old, so he is a little slimmer. I can’t speak to having a chunky baby unfortunately, but I know some mamas with cute chunky babies have the diaper work for them, while some do not because they feel they’re too tight in the thigh without any riser snaps and pulling the elastic to relax it. My son can go with one riser snap connected if using a booster, but generally is more comfortable without any riser snaps and the waist all the way fastened. I believe the sizing for the diaper, saying they will work until the child is 32 lbs, is likely very accurate. I have seen babies as small at 6 lbs wear them as well, though they advertise for kids larger than that.
That said, the diapers are incredibly trim. Even with a 5 oz booster added, they’re still significantly trimmer than a Grovia ONE or any pocket diaper I’ve used for equivalent absorbency. They fit along what you would expect to be a normal underwear line, and don’t limit your baby’s movement.
Design of Bookfold Insert in LKC Diapers
The design of the LKC diapers is unique with the bookfold inserts. There are a few AIOs available that have book tongue inserts, but like the Grovia AIO, they require an attached, snapped in booster still and do not include a dry touch side and sometimes require assembly after the wash due to it being recommend to unsnap them in the wash so as to not weaken the snaps over time. There are no snaps on the interior of the LKC diaper, which with its absorbency is rather impressive. There is no assembly required unless you need to use the booster, and with how slim these diapers are, it makes them great to throw in a diaper bag on the go, and incredibly fast in the laundry. They dry in the same time as my fleece-lined diaper shells do on low, or in half 2/3rds the time my bamboo inserts on their own do. All this while offering a dry touch side with natural fibers. The only other natural fiber diaper I can think of that offers a dry touch side is the Best Bottom Heavy Wetter AIO. Compared to pocket diapers, AI2s, or even other AIOs, the LKC design significantly speeds up the laundry process and makes stuffing no longer a necessity for most parents.
Adding a booster inside is simple with the bookfold insert, pulling the insert up higher as necessary for a smaller baby is also easy enough, and the insert easily catches wet and plop-able poops alike. Additionally, due to the stretch, the swim diapers also work great as covers, and come with the same breathable jersey material as the AIO.
Lighthouse Kids Co Diaper Absorbency
LKC diapers come with an additional, small bamboo booster, but the primary absorbency is the bookfold insert.
Absorbency is one of the areas I find fault. I’ve prepped my diapers to the point you normally would for near max absorbency, and I have yet to reach three-fourths of the 12 oz of absorbency for the bookfold insert stated by LKC per their website. I even have a couple of older diapers I purchased used that had been worn many times in the past couple years that barely met the absorbency including the booster in the measurement.
My methodology for testing a diaper’s absorbency is pretty simple. Good used condition (GUC) diapers are nearing needing their elastics replaced and are well-loved, very good used condition (VGUC) diapers have slightly relaxed elastics and have been used pretty frequently, while excellent used condition (EUC) are typically nearly like new, though in interest of diaper science, my EUC diaper had been through the wash about 20 times. I used one diaper of each type for these measurements. I weigh the diaper on a zeroed out kitchen scale. Get the absorbency portion wet by soaking it in water, then wait until it stops dripping water, then I weigh it, subtracting the original weight. I won’t bore you with all the photos and math, but the numbers are in the table below. The shell can also hold an additional ounce of liquid, but when you’re relying on a TPU shell and athletic jersey to absorb, you’re likely approaching the point where you learn that water resistant is not the same as waterproof.
|Absorbency in ounces||Bookfold Insert||Booster||Total Absorbency|
|GUC LKC Diaper||
|VGUC LKC Diaper||
|EUC LKC Diaper||
A diaper approaching the end of its normal life without additional repairs that’s been used for years is the only one reaching the absorbency claims in my stash. 7 oz of absorbency for a regularly washed AIO isn’t bad, and the additional booster is very petite for the amount of added absorbency I’ve measured, but it’s definitely taking a lot more prepping than I expected to get even close to holding 12 oz in the bookfold insert.
That said, it is appreciated they list the absorbency as a number instead of vague statements like “super absorbent” and for “heavy wetters” given this means very different things for different people. My heavy wetter pees over 40 oz at night without any additional feedings at 8 months old. Another mama’s heavy wetter pees 10 oz, exceeding most AIO capacities without a booster. Actual measurements are amazing for knowing what to expect!
While I’m finding the prep time to full absorbency to be unusually long compared to other bamboo and natural fibers, the LKC all-in-one (AIO) is definitely one of the more absorbent AIOs on the market, and because of its bookfold insert, it’s very simple to add a 5 oz booster that will stay in place. With 13 oz of absorbency, my new LKCs hold up just fine for my little guy’s daily needs for a couple hours, and my GUC diaper with a 5 oz booster with the included 2 oz booster works well for naps. The included booster is so trim and small, you can easily add an additional booster with it.
What Boosters Work Best With Lighthouse Kids Company Diapers?
Really, any insert that measures shorter than 11.5 inches and 4.5 inches wide will fit in the bookfold insert just fine. Currently, I’ve found the Softbums small no-prep bamboo inserts work the best with my LKC of the inserts I have plenty of. I’ve also tried Grovia, random microfiber, and Geffen hemp. Microfiber isn’t as absorbent and adds a lot of unnecessary bulk. Grovia’s cotton boosters were a bit long in the shell, as were Geffen hemp in the plus and normal sizes. Geffen hemp newborn fits well, but doesn’t absorb very much. The Softbums small no-prep bamboo fits perfectly inside the bookfold so you can still use the stay dry side of the insert, and I haven’t had any issues with the speed at which LKC absorbs urine to date, so found microfiber unnecessary.
Overall Opinion of LKC Diapers
I would definitely recommend them if you happen to buy one at retail price instead of double or triple at the B/S/T. $23 for an AIO with such great absorbency potential and being a natural fiber is a good price point if the fit works for your baby. However, as with all cloth diapers, they don’t always work for everyone. If you want to try one, I recommend one of two options. One, buy a less popular diaper such as Funfetti, Violet’s Garden, or Coral Cove on the B/S/T group on Facebook for retail + shipping to give them a try, or wait until there’s a multi-retailer diaper release rather than a retailer exclusive to increase the likelihood you’ll be able to buy one. As of September 25th, there are still retailers with Jupiter’s Song AIOs in stock. As you can see, after I bought one, I definitely bought more, and they’re currently my favorite diaper I own. They have a trim fit, beautiful and unique prints, wash and dry quickly, easy to use bookfold style, are breathable in the summer so my son doesn’t get too warm and sweat out, and of course due to being TPU are soft. Along with that, they also usually sell adorable matching bibdanas that are incredibly soft you can buy to go with the diapers as well.
That said, unless you enjoy collecting, I wouldn’t recommend paying double or triple retail for one to give them a try. Aside from the fact the market value will drop once the collectors have what they want, they are still diapers and will eventually wear down from use. I’d save that for after you fall in love if you don’t need to be frugal.