First Thoughts & Review of Cloth Diapers – Kawaii, Fuzzibunz and BumGenius 4.0

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My Cloth Diapering Saga

When Ballerina Girl was first born, I was in the running to be a stay home mom like we’d planned.  I decided at the time that I wanted to go with cloth diapers instead of disposables.  Cloth diapers have really come a long way since the old prefolds, big ol safety pins and plastic pants!

At the time, I didn’t know many brands so I bought a bunch of Fuzzibunz size small diapers.  We were pretty broke and I didn’t buy a whole lot, intending to go up in size as she did.  These diapers were about $16 apiece shipped.  That’s pretty pricey, right?  Yeah… not so much.

I calculated that I have spent, over the years about $4000 on diapers between Ballerina Girl and Lil Rambo.  I woulda saved THOUSANDS by having them both in cloth.  My plan was to use cloth diapers for all my kids, but life derailed a bit and I had to go back to work.

Because of this, Ballerina Girl barely outgrew her little Fuzzibunz before going into disposables at daycare.  I had bought a few new diapers for her right before this happened – BumGenius 2.0 and an off-brand that is no longer in businesss.  The BumGenius were awesome – they have these neat stretchy velcro tabs and pretty much work just like a disposable.  I loved them, but I think I got to use them a whole whopping month.

Since I am no longer the haggard working mom, and am now the sprightly energetic stay home mom (okay… working on the sprightly & energetic bits), Firefly is getting Ballerina’s left over Fuzzibunz and a few new ones for her own.

The Saga Continues…

So now, 5 years later, I’m going through my stash of Fuzzibunz with Firefly.  The BumGenius 2.0 diapers need their leg elastics replaced which I haven’t done yet, so I haven’t used them yet.  Cottonbabies sells refresher kits for $1 so I’ll get on that eventually.  However, I just bought some BumGenius 4.0 seconds which are essentially the same thing.  I got a few with velcro tabs and a few with snaps.  The velcro ones are definitely easier to use but the general concensus is that the velcro needs to be replaced after a while, so I got a couple with snaps because I’m practical like that.  I had a great deal from Cotton Babies, they were seconds because they had some tiny spots on them that washed out right away.  Sweeeet!

The BumGenius 4.0 diapers, unlike the Fuzzibunz, are one-size.  It’s a pretty cool design, where the diaper rise snaps up to become shorter for smaller babies.  For most kids, they can wear these diapers all the way up to potty training, which is why they really end up being a good deal.

The Kawaii diapers are much, much cheaper but are pretty similar to the BumGenius 4.0.  They are one-size diapers, snap up to fit smaller babies, but use a few different materials and don’t have stretchy side tabs.

So – now that you’ve read all about them, here’s what I think of them.

Fuzzibunz

The Fuzzibunz I just have in size small and a few mediums.  They are pretty old, over 5 years old, but most of them have held up well in storage.  Only one of them needs its elastics replaced. FB may have changed their diapers, I don’t know 🙂  The latest version of these diapers (they call them “Perfect Size” diapers) retail for $14.95.

What I like:

  1. Because they aren’t adjustable, they have a much trimmer fit on my baby.  The inserts are shorter than the ones that come with the one-size diapers.  This makes sense since the diaper has a smaller rise, but again makes for a trimmer fit.
  2. The back opening for the inserts don’t have any fabric covering them, so it makes the inserts really easy to shake out without touching.
  3. They also seem to have fewer snaps, though the BG diapers have just as many (2 on each side).
  4. I also love that I used them until Ballerina outgrew them, then they sat in storage for years, and out of 12 diapers only one had failing elastic.  Great quality!  These are my favorite daytime diapers for Firefly at the moment, who weighs almost 9 lbs at 5 weeks old.

What I don’t like:

  1. Because they are less adjustable, I actually had to wait a while before Firefly could wear them.  She spent about her first month in disposables, cloth at night, and I was able to put her in the other two kinds but until just recently after her latest growth spurt (about 2lbs in 3 weeks, yo!) the leg openings would gape.
  2. Due to the above reason, these are the only diapers I’ve had leaks with so far.
  3. I also don’t love that she will outgrow them, but since I didn’t have to lay out any cash for them this time around that’s okay.
  4. The inserts, even double-stuffed, don’t last overnight like the other ones do.  I never use these diapers for overnights.
  5. Even though the insert opening makes for easy insert removal, the fact that it doesn’t have an extra flap makes it that sometimes the insert is touching the skin on her back if I don’t adjust the diaper after I put it on.  I don’t like that, because it’s just sodden wet material touching her instead of the insert being underneath the stay-dry fleece lining.

Pics

Fuzzibunz Perfect Size Review
These diapers are pretty trim on her.
You can see this is the front and there is no anti-wicking waist strip on the inside.
The insert opening - you can see there is no flap that covers the insert - this makes it easy to shake out the insert when ready to wash. I try to pull the fleece lining up in the back after the diaper is on to prevent the insert from riding up and touching her back.

 

The Verdict

Like I said, these are my favorite diapers at the moment for my 5-week-old.  She doesn’t have a gargantuan butt when she wears them, and they are super simple to put on.  However, just because of the economy of buying sized diapers vs. one-size, I don’t think I’d recommend buying them UNLESS it’s a new mom who is planning on having several more children.  And in that case, I’d advise getting some in size small, because when they are little like this is when they need tons of diapers anyway.  By the time the kids get bigger, the one-size diapers won’t seem so bulky and they won’t need so many changes, either.

BumGenius 4.0 Diaper ReviewBumGenius 4.0

These are REALLY nice diapers.  The BG 2.0 diapers that I had with Ballerina girl were my favorites, and I imagine that will happen with these ones too. Again, I got both the Bumgenius Snap (pictured on the right) and Velcro (picture following) versions.  These diapers retail at $17.95.

What I like:

  1. I love love love the velcro and stretchy side tabs.  Out of any diaper I’ve seen, these seem the closest to emulating the easy-use of a disposable diaper.
  2. When you order these diapers you get two inserts – one newborn and one regular size.  I didn’t get the inserts with mine since they were seconds, so I’m using regular size and I think these would fit Firefly a lot better if I had newborn size inserts
  3. They have a great secure back flap to keep the insert contained under the stay-dry lining.  This ensures that the insert will stay secure in the diaper and won’t be touching my baby’s skin.
  4. There’s a small waist strip of the waterproof material on the inside of the diaper that goes all the way across the belly.  This is nice because it prevents wicking if the baby’s clothes somehow get on the inside of the diaper in the front.

What I don’t like:

  1. Bulky!  Firefly looks like a pear when she wears them.  It’s actually kinda cute… but I always wonder if I’m stretching out her clothes because of it.  I realize this is only an issue right now while she’s small.
  2. The back flap that I like so much to keep the insert from touching her back while she’s wearing the diaper makes it a real pain to remove the insert without touching it.  Actually, I haven’t been able to, so I touch wet pee insert when I am putting these diapers in my bag.  ** I will say that BumGenius is coming out with a new diaper called “Freetime” that eliminates that problem, though they aren’t out yet so I’m not sure how they work.
  3. Expensive diapers!  Even though it’s worth it in the long run, it’s still a hefty chunk to shell out when you are trying to outfit a new baby.  Especially considering babies need MORE diapers when they are little, so it’s not like it’s easy to buy more as you need them.
The insert opening is very secure - a slit is cut and sewn in to the lining and an additional flap is sewn over to cover the opening completely (see below)
As you can see, the insert opening is fully covered for a nice dry baby. This also makes it a total pain to remove the inserts for washing.
These are quite a bit more bulky on since there is so much extra fabric, but I think part of it is because I did not get the newborn inserts and am using the full-size ones. Note the velcro tabs - both the velcro and snap versions have their tabs made from a stretchy material that allows for a really nice fit.
Here you can see the waterproof inside waist band which prevents any moisture from wicking if the insert rides up in front. Just another nice feature!

The Verdict:

I think these will be my favorite diapers, I know the 2.0 version diapers were my favorite with Ballerina Girl.  They work very similar to the Kawaiis, but with the stretchy side tabs it makes them just a little easier to put on and get a good fit, especially with the velcro.  They are just as easy to use as disposable diapers.

Kawaii Diaper ReviewKawaii

I have a couple different kinds of these.  I mostly have lots of their One-Size Snap diapers (retail  $6.99, pictured on right), one One-Size Goodnight Heavy Wetter (Retail $7.75) and one One-Size Bamboo Minky (Retail $11.20).  I’ll review them all together since they are so similar.  ** For what it’s worth, I haven’t noticed any major differences between the three types in terms of functionality, only in appearance.

What I like:

  1. The price!  Seriously, these diapers are so much less than the others and they are not bad in terms of quality.  I have a gut feeling that I’ll like these diapers almost as much as my BG diapers in terms of functionality, but with them being about half of the cost these would get my recommendation.
  2. I can’t really speak to the ease of their velcro diapers since I got all snap diapers.  I have a feeling I’d love them just as much as I love the ease of using the BumGenius 4.0 with their velcro.  I guess I am just way too practical – the snap diapers tend to need less maintenance, so I’ll go with those.
  3. The Kawaii diapers also have a back flap to prevent the insert from riding up and touching Firefly’s skin.  It isn’t quite as secure as BumGenius, but it definitely does the job.
  4. The Kawaiis also have that inside waist-strip to prevent moisture wicking up onto the baby’s clothes.
  5. The Bamboo inserts that come with the Bamboo Minky are FRIGGIN AWESOME.  Because… they are just as absorbent as the regular inserts but only about half as thick.  I only got 2 of those inserts, so what I do is save those for night time and use one bamboo insert and one regular.  On those nights, she’s a lot less pear-shaped!  I’m planning on buying a whole bunch more of them as soon as budget allows.

What I don’t like:

  1. Once again, pear shaped baby with big huge butt.  These diapers seem just a little more bulky than the BumGenius but not a significant difference.  This will obviously not be an issue as she gets older and I can let the diaper out, but for now it makes her look kinda awkward, especially on those nights when her diaper is double-stuffed. [OKAY OKAY I just had to take a picture… see what I mean? —->]
  2. The back flap… again, nice to prevent the insert from touching her skin,  but it makes it a pain to remove the insert.  I will say though that since Kawaii’s back flap is not quite as secure as BumGenius’, it makes those inserts a little bit easier to remove.
  3. The snaps are REALLY hard sometimes.  I think it will get easier with time (I’d rather have them too tight than too loose, anyhow) and also when there’s not so much bulk doubled up under them, but right now, it’s a big pain to snap them.  Sometimes it takes a while!  Especially when it’s a chilly morning and the baby already was unappreciative of my cold wet wipe to clean her off… lol.
  4. The Bamboo Minky diaper & insert stained right away.  I don’t know why, none of the other diapers are stained, so it must be something about the bamboo.  Oh and just for the record – my washing routine is 2 full cycles on cold water with no soap, then one cycle on hot water with Charlie’s Soap, and 2 cold rinses.  So it’s not like I baked in the stain by washing a poopy diaper on hot.  ** The fact that they stained is not going to detract me from wanting to buy a whole bunch more.
The insert opening just has a little extra flap that tucks in under the liner. The concept is much like the fold-n-close sandwich bags. I like this design because it keeps baby dry while not making it such a hassle to remove the wet insert.
Here we have the insert opening closed. Due to the flap which is on the inside, there is no possibility of the insert riding up in the back, poking out and touching her skin or wicking onto her clothes.
Once again, a waterproof waistband on the inside to prevent moisture from wicking onto clothes if the insert happens to ride up in the front.

The Verdict:

I like these.  They are close enough in functionality to the BumGenius to be almost as easy to use, but at the price point… yowza.  Kinda makes me feel like Riverdancing.  🙂  I don’t mind staining on the Bamboo Minky diapers, because I know it’s just a stain.  It will make it hard to re-sell it, though, if I go that route.

In Summary

Truth be told, I like all of these diapers.  I don’t think I’d buy more Fuzzibunz Perfect Size, since they are not one-size  (though they do offer a one-size) just because I’m way too cheap frugal to buy a diaper for $15 that my kid will outgrow in a few months when I can get one for $7 that my child will likely be able to wear for two years.  When it comes down to it, the Kawaii diapers are very good and do the job for WAY LESS out of your pocket.  The BumGenius are better, in some ways, but at about twice the price I don’t think they are that much better to warrant the difference in cost.  If I had lots of money, I’d totally go for all BumGenius.  They are awesome.  Having said that, I am thrilled with the Kawaiis which do just as good a job for way less dough.

If a new mom came to me and asked me what she should get, I’d tell her this:

  1. If you are planning on having more children, I would get at least 5-10 Fuzzibunz Perfect Size in size small, plus at least 10-20 more Kawaiis (or BumGenius if the budget allows).  I’d get a couple with velcro, just for convenience like if you are going out somewhere, and see if you can get the awesome bamboo inserts.  Most diapers that use velcro need to be refreshed, so it’s up to you if you want velcro or snaps or a mix of both.
  2. If you are not sure or aren’t planning on more, I’d just get about 2 dozen Kawaiis or Bumgenius.  Also in this case, get some with velcro for convenience (they really are a lot quicker!)… if anything, at least HALF of them.  Oh, and and upgrade to bamboo inserts… 🙂
  3.  If you have sewing skillz, get a pattern and make your own! Seriously… I’d love to have the ability to make cool pattern diapers… I can just imagine all the cool prints I could find.
  4. All cloth diapers hold their resale value very well.  So, if you are the ebayin’ or craigslistin’ type, splurge and get yourself a few of the velcro BumGenius Freetime dipes, cuz you’ll make a lot of your money back when your baby is done.

So, that’s all for my thoughts.  Keep in mind, of course, that this is for a newborn.  I’ll update as she grows 🙂

Your Turn!

So what about you?  Have you used cloth diapers?  If so, which kinds did you like best?

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5 Comments

  1. Excellent review! I have used every diaper you discussed here and agree with just about everything. The only difference I would recommend is with regards to the velcro closure. Depending on the brand, the velcro tends to wear out. To get the same quick diaper changing as velcro go with a Bumgenius. Their snap closure system is really quick to use!

    1. Thanks Jennifer! Now almost 5 months in, I still mostly agree with the sentiments. I did end up getting a couple snap closure BG and I love them! The velcro is still my favorite but I imagine by the time she’s 1 it won’t be looking so hot anymore. I think they are just the best because of the stretchy sides, I don’t know of any other diapers that do that.

  2. I know I’m a year behind on this post – but it’s very timely for me. We’re in our second week of trying out some loaner BG 4.0 diapers from a friend and I’m loving them! I do not, however, love how expensive they are. It’s true that you can get some good deals on used and ‘seconds’ but those are not always consistent (and things like ebay try my patience like crazy!). So, I am wanting to try the Kawaiis and found your post quite informative. I’m curious if you’re still liking them a year later. A few reviews I saw said the elastic gave out after a year (which happens sometimes anyway, I know), so I just thought I’d ask!

  3. Great info! I was just curious to know if the Kawaii bamboo inserts that you rave about would fit the BumGenius 4.0. Sounds like an ultimate combination if it fits! Also, where did you purchase your Kawaiis?

    Thanks,
    Melissa

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