Cloth Diaper Q&A Volume 7: The Beauty of Softbums

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Occasionally I receive comments that make perfect blog posts. Today in Volume 7 of the Cloth Diaper Q&A series, Lisa tries to iron out a few wrinkles in her plan to start cloth diapering.

Warning, this is going to be long, lol!
Ok, I’ve been reading your blog for two days straight and have learned so much, but I do have some lingering questions. I have some experience with CD with my first son, but if I could finally work out the kinks I think I will have a better experience and stick with it. One mistake from the first time around is that I loved the CDs, but for some reason never attempted to figure out an overnight system (defaulted to disposables for nights and traveling). Because we had disposables around, the convenience/laziness factor kicked in and we eventually succumbed to the dark side. The styles I used before were, AI1, AI2, and prefolds with snappi and covers. I really liked them all for different reasons. I was always really bummed out though that the AI1 was really only a one time use, where the others you could just change out the liner if it was just a pee or contained poop. I think I have decided that this time I will focus mostly on the other two styles, except I would really like your advice on pockets since you seem to prefer those (I think). This may sound unrefined, but if the wicking layer that touches baby’s skin works so well (and can be used overnight for 10+ hours) is it possible for daytime use to just change out the insert if baby only pees (I’m thinking reuse once, not all day long). It just kills me to think of laundering the whole thing just for a little pee. If that’s not a good idea, it seems like maybe you could use a pocket diaper like an AI2 by laying the liner on top instead of stuffing (?).

When it comes to drying, I assume line drying is best to preserve the longevity of the diaper, but is it necessary? Are there certain styles/brands that must be line dried? I would prefer to use a machine :)

Can you give me the pros/cons of snaps vs velcro or aplix. Velcro styles seem faster, easier and give a more custom fit, but everywhere I look I see snaps so maybe there’s something I’m missing.

Ok last question. I am expecting my 2nd son to be about the same size as my first (9 lbs) with the goal of being out of diapers by 22 months (~25 lbs) ***First son was trained by 22 months, thanks to Elimination Communication. Very much recommended for all babies!!! Read Early Start Potty Training by Linda Sonna*** would really like to try out the adjustable size diapers this time around, what brands would work best for this size range (I think what I’m saying is that I don’t need or want a diaper that has more rows of snaps than I will need. I don’t need it to go up to 35 lbs, I would rather have a good fit for newborn/infant stages but do want something that will grow with him)?

My tentative plan is to buy a few Rumparooz lil joey’s for newborn stage as well as using prefolds, then a mix of Kawaii and Sunbaby plus continue with prefolds for infant on up. Obviously I am trying to be budget conscious. What do you think about these choices given my questions and preferences?

Lisa, congratulations on the upcoming birth of your 2nd son! I hope I can make your experience with cloth diapers this time around much more satisfying and successful.

I do use  mainly pockets in my cloth diaper rotation but I’d have to say I prefer the simplicity of an all-in-one.  However, I can see how one would think pockets are my preferred system :)

A pocket diaper can be used as an AI2 system but not by taking out the insert and replacing it and not by simply laying a microfiber insert on top.

Here’s why:

  1. The urine, although wicked through the stay-dry fabric, is still there in the fabric. Compare this idea to your toddler wetting in his underwear and only changing his pants.  Of course you wouldn’t do this because the underwear is wet but in a sense the stay-dry fabric is “wet” you just can’t feel it.
  2. Microfiber should not be laid directly against the skin because of its super absorbent properties.  Moisture is drawn from baby’s skin often times causing a red, raw rash.

To use the pocket as an AI2 you would use an insert, prefold or doubler that contains cotton, bamboo or a stay-dry fabric against baby’s skin. You would then be able to toss the insert only as you did with your first child.

SoftBums has a system (OMNI) that works interchangeably as a pocket or AI2 system.

It is not necessary to line dry your cloth diapers.  I have always machine dried my stash (until recently when my dryer broke) and not had any breakdown problems.  Laundromat dryers use extremely high heat so I would recommend avoiding them if possible.

Line drying cloth diapers occasionally is an excellent way to allow the sun to disinfect (UV rays kill lingering bugs) and bleach (stains are gone in no time).

Velcro is faster but it has a downside.  1) It often rubs baby’s belly, 2) Babies quickly learn to take the diapers off, 3) Velcro loses it’s stickiness after many uses or buildup of lint.

Once you use snaps for a while you realize how much better they are.  Snaps allow you to get a more custom fit on your baby no matter what their body type.

After reading what you are looking for, SoftBums seems like the perfect system for you.  Other internal adjusting systems are Charlie Banana, Fuzzi Bunz and Evolution Diapers (the original internal adjusting cloth diaper!).

SoftBums fit teeny tiny babies up to 35lbs.

Your choices sound good but they don’t match up with your listed desires. Softbums would be a budget friendly system, would fit from birth and you wouldn’t have rows of snaps on the front.  You also can choose between velcro or snaps.

When I started answering Lisa’s questions Softbums wasn’t even on my mind.  Then the more I began trying to find a match to her preferences Softbums became the clear choice.  I love it when a cloth diaper appears to satisfy all the needs of a family.

Lisa, I pray this helps you feel more confident about cloth diapering your next baby!

I failed to address the nighttime issue!  Softbums DOES work for overnight.  You will simply find the right combination of “pods” as they are known.

Let us know what you end up using!

 

 

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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck

32 Responses to “Cloth Diaper Q&A Volume 7: The Beauty of Softbums”

  1. Lindsay Says:

    Hello, I am totally new to CDing. I have been extremely skeptical in the past (seems gross and like a lot of extra work) and was kind of turned off by some mamas I know who make it like you’re not as good a mom if you don’t CD. I have a 2yr old and am newly pregnant with our second child, and am now considering CDing for financial reasons. I am talking to a friend about it, but also want some other input on where to start and what system might be best for my family. I know I want OS, no velcro, no stuffing, +PUL, +machine drying, the less bulk the better, easy to use with as little contact with the contents as possible (my husband is VERY squeamish and though he is a very good daddy and will work with me on most things, it will be a miracle if I get him on board with this at all)…basically low cost, low maintenance, comfortable and leakproof as possible. We will most likely be potty-training our daughter before then and just wait for #2 to start this at this point. We will also most likely get set up but not start with the CDs until we hit that 10lb mark. We also may or may not use disposables just at night. Space is also an issue as I saw that that is a factor. I am sure I have missed some things, but like I said, I am new to this. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Econobums or Flip sound like a good match for you. They are both products of Cottonbabies.

      Reply

    • Amanda Says:

      Lindsay: I was the same way but money made me really go to cding. I use Flip and I have soem econobum too. What I do is buy prefold in smaller sizes than what come with the Econobum and Flip because I found they are way to buly and big for a newborn. My baby was 7 lbs and they were huge! I bought 3 dozen newborn prefold for $12 a dozen. Then I bought 3 dozen of theinfant prefolds for $15 a dozen. I still use the newborns as a doubler inder the Stay dry insert that comes with Flips. We are starting have a little leaking at night though and I just bout 3 hemp Joey Kicks doublers for $4.95 each to use wnder the stay dry at night. Haven’t tried it et but I have heard good things. I am still prepping them. I am almost to the point for changing the rise on my covers and getting the next size prefolds but I am only buying 2 dozen because the staydrys fit now. When my daughter was anew born I also bought 5 Bummis Extra Small covers for the newborn prefold and they fit GREAT! Another point from the money persepctive is to sell the newborn covers and prefolds as the baby outgrows them. I had great luck with craigslist!! The econobum covers are not nearly as nice as the Flips. I mainly use them at night or at home. I love the Flips strechy tabs and ou can get great deals on seconds on cottonbabies.com!! Hope that helps!!

      Reply

  2. LISA Says:

    Hi everybody, just wanted to check back in and thank you all for your input and advice! I actually did use the Softbums Echo as part of my stash the first time around, so maybe that’s why I seemed to already be slanted toward that type of a system ;) They are a few years old now, but should still work fine for the most part. I would definitely be curious to try the Omni though, as I found the Echo a bit too narrow in the crotch to contain bf poo when you have a doubled over pod inside; it just didn’t encapsulate enough, that’s probably why I never tried to use it overnight.

    I’ve really been trying to do my homework this time with the goal of CDing nearly 100% of the time, it is already becoming addictive! While it does seem like the Softbums is truly the best system to meet my wants and needs, I can’t help but be curious about other systems as well! I find them so intriguing! Like fleece and wool soakers… I feel like I just have to give them a try to believe it for myself, so many people swear by them, but I can’t help but be skeptical. The one thing that is a turn off about most of the soakers is that they seem to be a pull on style and all i can imagine is an over-flowed poop that is then going to get spread all down baby’s legs as I take the cover off, lol.

    So far I have numerous Softbums Echo shells and at least double the amount of staydry pods, just scored 7 used Kissaluvs 0’s with 8 doublers, various thin PUL covers, I also plan on using prefolds. There is just something so satisfactory about getting a good tight fit with a simple piece of cloth and a snappi :) I did go ahead and order some of the Sunbaby diapers as well, because the price just couldn’t be beat $60 for 12 diapers + 12 microfiber inserts, and free shipping. They look well constructed and haven’t seen any negative reviews. I have spotted some used Charlie Banana OS (which is very similar to the Softbums Omni) on Craigs List, so I’m crossing my fingers that I can get those for a reasonable cost. There are a few other misc. diapers in there too. I’m just sooo excited to give it another try!

    One last thing I’m trying to figure out is the doublers. I’m not good at recognizing a type of fabric when I see it or even touch it, so I’m nervous that I’ll use them wrong, ie, microfiber touching skin. I think I understand that they go behind the insert in a pocket diaper, but what about fitteds or prefolds? Do they go inside the diaper or between the diaper and the cover?
    Sorry for the novel, yet again. It is so wonderful to be able to reach out and learn from all of your experiences, thanks again!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      You’ll know what microfiber is…it is sticky and dries out your hands. My oldest daughter detests it lol. Shop towels are microfiber.

      If you want to try wool, go for it! A good fitted diaper won’t let the poo explode out. Sure, you may have some leaks here and there but most will be contained. If poop does get on the wool it’s really simple to use the sprayer in the sink to spray it off. I personally wouldn’t use prefolds with wool on a newborn but there are dozens of my readers that do! I always have tons of leaks with prefolds.

      Sarah (Softbums owner) has made many improvements in her system over the years. One being pods with wider coverage! This was an issue with me the first time I used them. Now the pod covers the whole cover.

      Reply

      • Michelle Bottorff Says:

        Lisa,

        If you liked the Echo but just felt the crotch was too narrow as your child aged then the Omni does sound like a perfect fit. They are a little over an inch wider in the crotch (so not super wide, but wide enough to make a difference) and as Autumn said have a pocket opening so you can either snap in a pod on top or stuff into the pocket. We use the Omnis for overnight (well at least we did until we started PL’ing the last couple weeks) and they work great!!

        Reply

  3. Kirstin M Says:

    Hello, Autumn! Love your blog :). I was just wondering, what do you do at nighttime when you have a kiddo who pees like a racehorse? I HATE changing diapers at night, but so far that’s all I can do. My current routine is a Kissaluvs fitted with a doubler AND a Motherease fitted over all of that, with a Motherease airflow cover. Even will all of those layers, my little guy wakes up at 2 am shrieking because he’s soaked through. I have tried a few of your other options on your “Nightime recommendations” page, but so far he soaks them all. What is the ultimate diaper for a SuperSoaker 3000 child?

    Reply

  4. Lauren Says:

    Hi Autumn
    Just a quick question. I have been cloth diapering for the past year and a half and I have tried AIO, pockets, and prefolds but I am thinking of trying flats due to the quick line drying and less problems with stink issues. I have a 9 mth old and a 2 yr old. What is your recommendation for how many flats and covers I would need and also what a good nighttime option would be for this system?

    Reply

  5. Sweet Trix Says:

    I would also suggest to give Gro-Via AI2-s a try, I love that they are so trim, and their inserts have their own gussets and waterproof backing to protect the shells!

    Reply

    • Emily D Says:

      I have some of the gro-via from when they were called gro-baby, I don’t know what changes they made but I don’t like the older ones at all. The aplix does not stick at all, the shell is pilly and worn looking, and the inserts seem to be a little deformed. I think it’s because of the gussets on them. Which, by the way, don’t hold bf poo in very well at all.

      Reply

  6. Amanda W Says:

    I use BestBottom AI2s. I love them. They are snaps which is great as my daughter is in the take her diaper off stage. They do hook and loop as well. You just change out the insert (it snaps into place) and can reuse the shell. It makes CD very doable both in ease and financially!!

    Reply

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    I use Best Bottoms. They are great. I have been using them on my son since he was 1 month old (about 7 pounds). He just turned one (about 20 pounds) and is still using them. I was able to use them at night for awhile but now that he sleeps longer stretches I have gone back to disposables. I am still trying to figure out the night time diapering thing. They have doublers but they seem so bulky and look uncomfortable that I stopped using them at night.

    The great thing about the Best bottoms is that they are so simple to use and have lasted so well. Even my husband can use them. I only have one cover that is showing signs of heavy use. The covers run between $15-17 and the inserts around $4. They are adjustable so I have only had to buy one set of covers. The inserts come in three sizes so you do have to purchase more of them (but it does keep the diapers less bulky for the smaller babies.) They come in both snaps and hook and loop. I have the snaps.

    I am fairly new to cloth diapers but have loved these ones. I also have one Bum Genius All in 1 and one Flip. Hands down I like the Best Bottoms the best!

    Reply

  8. Stephanie P Says:

    I also own several OMNI and ECHO diapers. I love them! Using the ECHO as an AI2 never worked for me. (I had ammonia/urine smell issues.) I use the shell once, and wash it with the pod. But, I will say it’s still one of my favorite diapers because it’s so TRIM! It easily fit my newborn. I also have to echo some of what Natalie said, the hook and loop is very durable. My diapers have been through a lot of use, and the hook and loop is still working fine on my diapers.

    Reply

  9. Carisa Thomas Says:

    I felt the same as Lisa… it just seems like such a waste to wash the whole AI1 every time you change a diaper, and they are so much more expensive! We bought a few to try, though. The AI2 seemed like the perfect option, so we tried them too. And we rounded out the newborn stash with prefolds and velcro Thirsties.

    Let me tell you… the staydry stuff in the AI1 didn’t breathe and I was irritated when she would dirty them 15 minutes after I changed her…. the AI2 Flips were snaps, and the snaps ripped out of the fabric after the third or fourth time I used it, plus the staydry inserts wouldn’t absorb fast enough, and she would leak out the leg.

    By the time she was 3 weeks old, it was prefolds and (Thirsties) covers all the time, day and night! It was SO easy! We bought snappis but we never used them, just trifold the diaper, lay it on top of the cover, and velcro it shut! Boom! Done! I store them trifolded, so even quicker.

    When she was really small, 7 lb, we started with flats, then moved up in absorbancy as she grew, first Gerber Birdseye prefolds, then indian infant size prefolds, finally regular size prefolds. I’ll throw an extra flat or a doubler in for nighttime. And the “old” sizes are still in use as a toddler, for extra night absorbancy, to cover the changing table in case of diarrhea, to catch vomit when she is sick… And she wore the same 8 Thirsties Duo covers for almost a year! I definitely feel I got value for my money!

    Now that she is 20 months and thirty pounds, she has finally outgrown her Thirsty Duos, and I want to get her something we can pull up and down, and it is KILLING ME that I have to buy a whole new set of “wear once ” diapers this close to being potty learned! :-) And I have no clue how many to buy… I’m guessing more than 8 though!

    Reply

  10. Natalie Says:

    Yes, it sounds like you have an issue with ammonia build-up in your flip inserts. This is a common issue with those thicker inserts. Because the prefolds are thinner, they get more thoroughly cleaned. You need to make sure that your wash routine gets MORE WATER! If you have HE machine, use the “More water” feature, and add more pre-rinse, post-rinse to the routine, and a try adding more soap to your routine. I was having that issue too, but once I fine-tuned my wash routine, I don’t have any more stink.

    Reply

  11. Emily D Says:

    I have one soft-bums I got used, the older style (echo, I guess?). I started using it at 2or 3 weeks (8-9lbs), and while it did look somewhat bulky it did fit. Looks a lot better now that she’s 3 mos! That one and my sposo-easy are the only ones I’m ok with the velcro on ( oh and thirsties covers), for everything else I prefer snaps.
    I can’t agree that it’s budget friendly though. For the first 6+ months you will have to change the cover a lot, as I find that the bf poo almost always gets on it.
    My budget- conscious plan- prefolds and covers, and most of the rest of my dipes are second-hand. The most I’ve paid was $15 for EUC blueberry minky.
    I’d like to point out that pockets are popular because of ease of washing- my fuzzibunz clean better and dry faster than any others.
    All this being said, if you do go with the soft-bums, I would get some fitteds for the newborn stage and use the softbums as covers over that. The fitteds generally do a great job of containing poo and are fairly trim. You could also use prefolds in the same way of course, and start using the pods once the poo is more predictable.
    BTW- read the same book, it was great and my dd was mostly trained at 18mos, and fully at 22 mos when I stopped working.

    Reply

  12. Carissa Says:

    I have a question. You mentioned that microfiber directly against baby’s skin causes irritation. I had never heard that before! Are the inserts that are included with Fuzzibunzs microfiber? They feel so soft, but I’m not sure what they’re made of.
    I (like Lisa) like the idea of using the AI1 as an AI2, so I have a combination of Grovia hybrids and Fuzzibuns OS., so according to your post, I CAN’T put the fuzzibunz insert directly against baby’s skin (like an insert or prefold)??

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Yes, Fuzzibunz inserts are microfiber. I wish they stayed that soft! No, don’t put the insert directly against baby’s skin. You can, however, make a sleeve for the inserts by wrapping it with flannel (not stay dry) or microfleece. Cottonbabies also sells sleeves ;)

      Reply

    • Sweet Trix Says:

      Microfibre material has many many tiny ‘claws’ on the surface, that is why it has such good cleaning properties, that is why it grabs and holds onto dirt. But those ‘claws’ can irritat baby’s skin. I can feel those claws when I just softly brush my hand against the material, anyone else can feel it?
      I would also recommend to use it only stuffed inside of a pocket or wrap something skin-friendly around it.

      If you would like to see the claws working, check this out:
      http://www.supplyworld.com.au/product_images/uploaded_images/Microfibre.jpg

      Reply

  13. Morgan Says:

    We bought one SoftBums to give it a try a while back. I was shocked at how wide the crotch is!! I can’t imagine an infant being comfortable with that much material between their little legs, but I do think it’s a great system for 15lb + babies.

    Reply

  14. Kayla Says:

    Have you tried gDiapers? I really love ours. The only downside is that we also do EC, and the microfiber hinders that process sometimes I think. I’ve been flipping it around to the hemp side, but then my husband and nanny think I’m just tired or something.

    We use gerber organic prefolds or gDiaper cloth insert during the day, then diaper service prefolds tri-folded at night. They are Amazing at containing the first morning pee when we miss it. Also the 5 am one that we don’t even worry about. :) I do wish they came in snaps as velcro can be loud at night, but he is getting used to it.

    Reply

  15. Amy D Says:

    I love my Softbums diapers. I have both the Echo and the Omni. I love the Omni for overnight as the front has a tad higher rise than the back, and you can stuff the pocket with whatever and however much you need. I have also stuffed the pocket and put an insert on top using both systems at once. At the end of October, they are coming out with more snaps and more colors/prints, I believe. I have a few snap covers and love them. The aplix covers are still nice and sticky, and I’ve been using them for over a year now. I always line dry my inserts and shells when it’s nice. In the winter, I hang my shells to dry and dry the inserts in the dryer. I love bamboo inserts for overnight and trimness. I use the super dry touch and regular dry touch inserts more for daytime. I love how it adjusts. There is a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you get it adjusted right, you don’t have to adjust for quite some time. They are a tad bit expensive, but you can find them on the swaps for a tad cheaper than brand new.

    Reply

  16. Jessica Says:

    I have a Softbums Echo that I love! The velcro is really great, way stronger than any other brand (except RagaBabe) that I’ve used. I love the AI2 system, and the internal adjustment thing. I hate rise snaps. They can also be made really tiny, so unlike other one size diapers, they really would fit a newborn. I just lay the cover over my banister and it’s dry within an hour, so no need to toss in the dryer and shorten its life span :)

    Reply

  17. Amanda Says:

    I ahve a night time question. I am using my Flip covers with a newn=born size prefold folded under a Flip stay dry insert at night. I don’t use the stay dry inserts during the day because I hate the smell they have when wet. Prefolds don’t smell! This system is working for now but as my daughter gets older I have had 2 nights where they have leaked. Are Softbums better for leaks at night? And do they stink when wet? Is the smell a staydry thing that all stay dry type of diapers have? Thanks for any help here!! I would love to use stay dry during the day but just can’t hanfdle the smell!!

    Reply

    • Rachel Zylstra Says:

      1. sounds like you have a residue issue with your staydry inserts, which is common with microfiber and less likely to happen with cotton. They need stripped.( thoroughly rinsed in lots and lots of water!)
      2. It may be time to add a doubler, use a hemp insert or replace your prefold with an organic flip insert at night. As baby grows you will need to adjust the absorbency of the diaper system you are using. The flip cover and staydry will work fine with a more absorbent “core”.

      Reply

      • Liz Says:

        We use Flios and have had similar issues. I stripped my staydry inserts and now I use a Charlie Banana insert under the stay dry insert (or sometime I use three layers for overnight). But I think they really do tend to build up quicker than cotton. Frustrating, no? Strip them, wash as often as you can and try the additives that make sense for you: Calgon, Bac Out, Borax…

        Reply

  18. Natalie Says:

    I LOVE my Softbums, I have both the Echo systems, and the Omni systems, and love them. What is the difference? Echos are a cover and insert system, where you can reuse the cover and put the insert in the wash. The Omni system is the same, except you can ALSO stuff like a pocket when you choose to. BUT, they are RARELY available in snaps. I’ve yet to be able to snag up any snaps. However, the hook & loop that they use is VERY high quality, better than any I’ve seen on the rest of my stash.
    Also, I usually put my inserts in the dryer, but I always hang my covers. This keeps them looking nicer, and they dry pretty quickly anyway.

    Reply

    • Michelle Bottorff Says:

      Natalie,

      You will be very excited then to hear that SoftBums is coming out with a permanent line of snap covers on Oct 31st :) YAY!!! Sarah at SoftBums has been working towards this for a long time and it is now here!!

      Reply

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