Cloth diapers … stinky, messy, and so old fashioned!
Recommend this product?
No longer do these myths hold true. And most of the people that are so reluctant to try cloth diapering were all running around in cloth as little toddlers.
CLOTH DIAPERING – RESURGENCE
Before there were disposable diapers … cloth diapering was just diapering. During most of the early 20th century, flat diapers were what babies got and it wasn’t until the 1950s that the prefolded, absorbent cloth diapers were born. Disposable diaper starting making market share grabs in the late 70s and by the 80s cloth diapering was definitely becoming the exception after the heavy marketing of convenience and lower prices.
The late 1990s and the turn of the century brought back a surge in cloth diapering as more parents are concerned with the environmental impact of disposable diapers as well as the desire to save a lot of money in the long run.
As of April, 2009 both P&G and Kimberly Clark (whom control 80% of diaper sales) both reported decreases in sales while all cloth diapering companies reported increases in sales. Pampers (P&G) is experimenting with a disposable insert for an upcoming Change ‘N’ Go diaper. The pressure is on for more Earth friendly diapers, without a loss in convenience.
The bumGenius STORY
bumGenius was created by the owner of Cotton Babies Inc., a company formed in 2002. In the early days of the company, Jenn Labit (owner), operated a cloth diapering company out of her home with just under $100 in product. It has since then grown into a commercial space in 2005 and up to the now two manufacturing plants in Denver, CO and in Egypt opened in 2007.
Cotton Babies sold and marketed the predecessor to the bumGenius diaper exclusively until 2005 when Jenn launched the bumGenius product line. You can now find bumGenius diapers in small storefronts to Target Online.
The bumGenius 3.0 - Available 2008
The cloth diaper arrives in three parts: the outer diaper and the newborn and standard absorbent inserts. You can choose between 7 colors: blossom (pink),zinnia (hot pink) twilight (blue), moonbeam (dark blue), grasshopper (green), ribbit (dark green), butternut (yellow), white, and clementine (orange).
The bumGenius diaper will fit babies from ~7 to 35 pounds. With our 6 pound baby we thought about using disposable diapers until the 7 pound mark, but as soon as we got home we wanted to give our bumGenius diapers a try. We’ve never gone back to disposable diapers after a month now.
The outer diaper is made out of a waterproof material that is 100% polyester. It is almost like a waterproof jacket as it is breathable, feels a little damp, but doesn’t let the water through. The outer shell has two flexi arms with a Velcro-like tabs. The arms are made of 95% polyester and 5% spandex (you can see these arms in the Epinions product picture). The stretch really keep baby’s clothes dry but also leave a lot of room for movement. The arms attach to the hook and loop strip on the front of the diaper. The outside shell has patent pending 3x3 snaps that keep the diaper at its appropriate size. Right now we’ve got our diapers at the smallest setting (Extra Small). Our girl still has 3 sizes to grow into – hopefully until her potty training age.
The inside is made of 100% polyester as well but feels soft like worn t-shirt cotton. The material is very quick drying and doesn’t absorb much of the mess. Between the inner and outer layers is the “pocket” for your inserts. This pocket has a soft flap stopper at the top of the insert to hide the opening and to make your baby comfortable as the opening rests against her back. This stopper also prevents moisture from transferring from the insert to your baby’s clothes. “Stuffing” the insert takes perhaps 10-20 seconds per diaper as you want to make sure the insert is not bunched up and lying flat.
The insert is made of a three layers of microfiber terry material. The newborn insert is smaller when the bumGenius diaper is at the extra small level. You don’t want to much bunching in the diaper, so use this diaper first. As you baby moves up you can use the standard insert that has 2 snaps to grow with the diaper from Small to Large. The standard insert is rated to absorb 15 oz of liquid. bumGenius recommends using both the newborn and standard inserts for overnight sleeping for extra absorbency.
This is a great all-in-one diaper that is easy prepare with the inserts and easy to put on baby.
OUR EXPERIENCE: 1 MONTH 6-7 pound baby. I will continue to update this as major changes may take place in performance of this product.
- Leaks: Even with tiny, newborn legs, the most “blow out” we’ve had with these diapers was some yellowing in the gussets and once or twice this has bled onto her onsie on the edge of the leg. Our girl just hit the 7 pound mark, so I’ll argue that this successful containment is quite remarkable given her size is far below the recommended starting weight.
- Clean up after the mess: I decided to install a toilet sprayer in our bathroom closest to our laundry room. This sprayer attaches to the side of the toilet top out of the way. With a wet diaper I simply pull out the insert and quickly rinse and wring in the bathroom sink and throw it in the waterproof diaper bag.
For a #2 diaper mess, it just takes 20-30 more seconds to rinse off the mess. The insert absorbs most of the water from the bowel movement so what you’re left with on the inside of the cloth diaper is a semi-wet paste. I just throw up the toilet seat and lid and hold the diaper directly over the water. Using the sprayer, I rinse the BM starting away from the insert opening towards the opening so water doesn’t get trapped in the pocket. The BM kind of peels off under the pressure of the spray of water. I get the whole mess wet first with the sprayer to loosen it up a little bit. With a newborn, it really does look like slightly wet mustard caked on a white t-shirt. The diaper sprayer has a little more pressure than an average kitchen sink sprayer, so just dunking the diaper and trying to rinse it that way might take a little extra work and time.
- Washing/Drying: The diaper inner has washing tabs for you to connect the Velcro arms for the best washing results. You don’t want the Velcro from one diaper grabbing the front of another and creating a huge diaper ball. I try to make a habit of connecting the Velcro tabs to the washing tabs on the inside of the diaper when I’m changing the baby or at least before I start to rinse the diaper. I still check the washing tabs again before throwing them into the washer.
We use Purex Free and Clear detergent for our HE washer. bumGenius recommends a Cold/Warm wash with an extra rinse with only 1/4 to 1/2 the detergent’s recommended amount. We’ve been using our HE washer on Cold/Cold cycle selecting a superwash and an extra rinse. This cycle takes around 70 minutes. We then use 2 bumped dryer balls in our front load dryer for a low heat cycle that takes on average less than 25 minutes. Some diapers have had slight discoloration, but after they are washed again it goes away. bumGenius recommends washing with bleach only once a month.
- Diaper Rash/Irritation: Many argue excessive moisture is the reason for diaper rash. Others argue that it is the amount of time your baby’s waste is resting against her skin. In a 1959 study of >1500 babies (Tanino, Journal of Pediatrics) only 7.1% of babies had diaper rash. 20 years after major marketing disposable diapers, a study of 1,050 babies resulted in 63% having diaper rash (Gaunder and Plummer, 1987).
We’ve only been going a month, but our baby’s bum still remains dry and free of rash or major irritation. Is it the cloth diapers, the gently detergent, or that we don’t use fabric softeners? I believe it has a lot to do with the entire package of cloth diapering and the products we use to clean the diapers.
With the summer months approaching there is a lot to be said about breathable materials. Sweaty buns and mess do not add up to less irritation.
- Are they holding up? After a dozen or so washes the diapers are holding up very well. They are free from stains and have not discolored in the least. We’ve read blogs about the Velcro tabs getting worn quickly, so we’ll keep our eye on that portion of the diaper for future updates. We’ve also read about the more vibrant colors fading less or staining less than the light colors. I’ll keep you updated on what we witness ourselves on that front as well.
WHERE TO BUY
You can buy directly from CottonBabies.com, Target.com, Amazon.com, and hundreds of other sites and brick and mortar stores. Most stores will sell this diaper for $17.95 and then start discounting 5-10% if you buy a 1/2 dozen or more.
For an online site, I would recommend going to Softclothbunz.com where you can get 12 diapers for ~$15.50 if you shop in bulk and use coupon codes found on retailmenot.com sites. Shipping is free for orders greater than $150 and tax free.
CLOTH DIAPER CHOICES
If you are excited about cloth diapering and an All-in-One diaper, here are some other diapers that get top ratings but just weren’t our #1 choice.
bumGenius Organic, Thirsties, Fuzzi Bunz, Gro Baby, and Happy Heinys
The big difference between most of the best diapers was simply the cost as the quality was very similar.
We bought 12 diapers at first to try them out and then another 12 after we felt that they were keepers for the next 3 years. This expense came out to around $400 shopping with discounts, free shipping, and a 10% coupon for one of the purchases.
These diapers will pay for themselves well before our little girl’s 1st birthday. At ~$.30 per disposable diaper using an average brand and at Sam’s Club prices, the break even point is at 1,335 disposable diapers. At 8 diapers per day, we break even at day 166! We wash diapers ~ every 3 days with HE appliances, so I’ll estimate washing and drying costs at 200 per year (I’m being very generous). For three years using cloth diapers, the cost might come out to around $1000 where disposable diapers would cost us over $2500.
We have yet to see if our temporary day care will let us send our daughter with her cute, colorful diapers, but more and more centers are warming to how easy they are to use.
I’ll keep updating this review to let you know what obstacles arise and if I have any additional helpful hints for those that want to cloth diaper or just want to try this brand new cloth diaper.
** 6 MONTH UPDATE **
My wife and I are still very happy with our BumGenius diapers ... so much that we purchased a total of 30 so we wash only 3-4 days. Our baby is on solid food and the diapers are still holding up well in spite of the new changes in her poo.
We use a product called RLR on our diapers every 30 days or so. It is a cleaner that helps remove detergent or other build up. The diapers are much softer and come out stain free. You can find RLR on ebay or other cloth diaper sites.
We've crossed the break even point so every diaper change now is money we didn't have to spend on disposables. We also got 2 dozen hemp wipes and made up a diaper wipe solution in the kitchen. No more diaper wipe runs or the wipes building up in the landfills as well!
Mar 25 '11 Update (Almost 2 years!) - We've spent mayben $450 on diapering for 2 children now. I cannot imagine the costs out of pocket if we would have used disposables.
The larger our oldest got the more the diapers would have to fail. She's almost potty training and has some leaks if we don't change every 2 hours. The largest poops out there still hold in the diapers, however. We might have had 2-3 clothes messing poops over the last year.
We still do not regret our decision. We have both velcro and button diapers now and I still swear by the velcro. Even though the velcro piles and loses some "grab," they are the best fitting.
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