Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baby A Mom Review: bumGenius Freetime Diaper

by Amanda Tutt

I have been waiting anxiously to get my hands on the bumGenius Freetime diaper and am so excited to write a review about it.

The other day while I was perusing Facebook, my favorite cloth diaper retailer Baby Awearness announced the Freetimes had arrived and they were looking for testers to review the product. Within minutes of their post I was on the phone with debit card in hand to secure my spot as a tester. (Then I sent a text to my neighbor and fellow cloth obsessed friend to let her know and within minutes she too was on the phone securing her spot).

Now onto the review, which is divided into the following components: Description, initial thoughts, drying time, nighttime, ease of use, and fit.

Description:  The bumGenius Freetime is an All-In-One (AIO), One-Size (OS) cloth diaper. That means everything you need is in the one item (no adding inserts, or a cover, or anything) and it adjusts in size to fit your baby from approx. 8-35 lbs. The typical AIO is just like a disposable, but made of cloth. The advantage to AIO’s are they are super easy to use, but the downsides are they take longer to dry and you cannot add extra absorbency should you need it (like at night). However, the Freetime is not your ordinary AIO and has been designed to address the downsides to the AIO. Instead of sewing the soaker into the middle of the diaper they have 2 semi-attached inserts; one at the front and one at the back. You can leave them flat so they overlap each other in the middle, or you can fold them to add extra layers of absorbency where needed.

Initial thoughts: The diapers looked so beautiful and perfect in their packaging which I immediately ripped off the second I go to the car.  I inspected it and of course it seems to have the high quality that I have come to expect from bumGenius products. I carefully undid the hook and loop and attached them to the laundry tabs. I noticed how soft the interior was and naturally rubbed it on my cheek. I am telling you it is so soft that I want to wear it. After I got over the softness, I inspected the semi-attached inserts (I will call them flaps for the review) of the diaper and I am going to be honest, I held it up, let the flaps fall and thought, “This is the craziest diaper I have ever seen.” I spent a little time playing with the flaps, folding them in different combinations and started to become a little skeptical of how easy this diaper was going to be to use, and although I was excited about the new features having a crazy, flappy diaper allowed, (fast drying time, putting extra layers where needed, and no stuffing.),  I was thinking it might just be a giant pain and not worth it.

Drying time: I washed the diapers and threw them into the dryer (note: according to the care instructions the Freetime should be line dried—I choose to dry my diapers in the dryer on low) for the drying time test. One of the claims/features of this diaper is with the new crazy design it will dry faster. And by faster I mean compared to AIO (all-in-ones) that typically take a little extra time in the dryer (which I find to be extremely annoying—I want everything dry at the same time b/c I hate when I am stuffing diapers and I have random dipes, or diaper pieces that are still wet and I have to go all the way upstairs to put the back into the dryer)! I closed the dyer door, and shook my pointer finger and said, “Good luck little diapers, you can do it, dry fast!” (Elapsed time) Buzz! That’s the dryer, up the stairs I bounded. I opened the dryer and dug around of the free times and sure enough they were dry along with the rest of my stash!  Yay, score 1 for Freetime! (That is just a saying; there are not real points to be obtained in this review).

Nighttime: I got the diapers prepped and ready to go just in time for bed time. I was getting my son’s stuff ready for bed while daddy had them in the bath.  I always get his diaper and pajamas out and on his changing table so I am ready for the wrestling match that is required to get the aforementioned items on him. I have the diaper open and am playing around with the flaps and debating what to do. I had to decide which way I wanted to lay the flaps: Both of them flat or fold the front one for extra upfront protection for my boy. And I had another issue, typically I put him to bed in an older version BG with 2 inserts and they are both (the inserts, not the baby) saturated in the AM. Now the Freetime has 5 layers of microfiber built in, but he usually has 6 layers on, and I was not in the mood to wake up in the middle of the night with a wet baby, so searched around for an insert to add to the diaper. I am picky about the amount of bulk I will put on my child, I do not like to send him to bed with a huge diaper butt. I found a BG newborn insert that came with my 4.0 and it fit perfectly at the bottom of the Freetime diaper, plus it did not add a ton of bulk. I placed it under the crazy fold out flaps and laid the back one over it and folded the front wing in half for the extra upfront protection. Bath time finished, the wrestling match ensued and resulted in bedtime. I closed my sons door, shook my pointer finger and said, “Good luck little diaper, you can do it, keep the sheet dry!” (Elapsed time) Pop! That is the sound of my son’s monitor; I reach up grab it, squint and see his smiling face standing up in his crib, so I bound down the hall the get him. I pick, him up and pat his PJ’s and yes, they are dry! I wrestle him out of his Freetime and into a different diaper and hand him off to daddy so I can inspect the effectiveness of the diaper. I am a weirdo, I know, and this next sentence will prove it. I check out the diaper and was impressed to see that the front wing was soaked, the insert was wet and the back half was damp. I find it exciting that his little hiney was pretty much dry! * I have used the Freetime this same way for several other nights and am happy to report that the results were the same.

Ease of use: Now this one is tricky, because I don’t exactly think it is hard to use, but it is not as simple as other types of diaper either.  I think the tricky part came mostly from deciding the best way to place the flaps in the diaper, but once I decided how I wanted the flaps the actual putting on of the diaper was not any different/more difficult than any other diaper I have used. Okay that might be a lie, there is a potential learning curve to making sure the flaps stay how you want them when you  put the diaper on the baby, but that is affected by many factors like how you have the flaps, and how cooperative your baby is (mine requires wrestling). I have other diapers that have a sewn in or snap in insert that I have to hold into place as I put it on my son and this is the same as those. (I am not sure if that makes any sense at all, it does to me, but I wrote it). One concern I did have was what it was going to be like when I had a poopy Freetime to deal with.  I was not concerned about how well it would hold the BM, but how it would work to get the poops out of the diaper with as little mess as possible. I finally managed to get the opportunity to test my concern.
Now, I do not use liners or have a diaper sprayer, so I have to go at it the old fashioned dunk and swish.  It did take some fancy maneuvering to hold the wings, and dunk the diaper, but I prevailed and managed to get the poopoos off of the diaper and the diaper in the pail with no mess.  It was not the easiest thing I have dealt with, but in no means is a deal breaker.

Fit:  I love the fit of this diaper, it fits my 27lb 1 ½ year old great and he still has room to grow.  I want to point out how trim the diaper is—remember it has 5 layers of absorbency; which for most diapers means and extra insert and we all know what extra inserts mean—lots of bulk.  Not with this diaper, it has the extra absorbency without the extra bulk.  I will be recommending this diaper to anyone who complains of a heavy wetter child that is leaking through other diapers.  I would like to see how this diaper fits on a small baby.  I think with the crazy flap design it will allow for a trimmer fit on smaller babies.  When I used the BG pocket on my son when he was little the insert drove me crazy.  It snaps down so it will fit in the diaper on the smallest setting, but then has this weird extra bulk and it drove me crazy.  I really wish I had the free times when he was little. One of the features of BG diapers is there unique butterfly closure with stretchy tabs.  The Freetimes have this feature as well and they allow for a great fit every time.

To sum it up I think it is pretty evident that I really like this diaper. It does everything it says it will do, it is made of great quality and add new features and options to the modern cloth diaper. It may look a little crazy, but in this case, crazy makes for an absorbent, trim, and fast drying diaper!

To read the additional Baby A mom review, check out Savannah Cooper-Hughes' of Eight Days A Week's thoughts on this diaper!