Monday, April 26, 2010

Review: SoftBums AI2

SoftBums - Pricing is a little complicated due to varying insert types.  But, a single shell plus one microfiber soaker is $25.95.  A single shell with a bamboo soaker is $30.95.  Basic Packs which are 1 shell, 3 interchangeable soakers, and 1 doubler are:  $36.95 microfiber, $52.95 bamboo.
Materials:  Outer layer PUL, with an inner liner of microfleece, double long snap in soakers made of microfiber with stay dry microfleece on top, or oganic bamboo with either a velour top or stay dry microfleece.  Velcro or snap closure.  OS adjustment through an elastic and toggle system in the legs of the diaper (more on that later).
Fit:  5 - 40 lbs.
How it works:  SoftBums are an AI2 (All In Two) diapering system.  The diaper consists of an outer shell with a PUL outside and microfleece inside for comfort.  The diaper absorbs by the means of a snap in soaker.  This soaker can be taken out when wet or dirty and replaced with a new soaker, allowing the same shell to be used multiple times.  If any poops get on the shell though the shell must be put in the diaper pail to be washed.  Don't attempt to use it again in that situation.  If the shell is slightly damp from pee just lay it out to dry and use another shell or diaper in between uses.

Thoughts from Amanda:
Aesthetics -  SoftBums come in nice bold or soft colors, as well as prints.  They also come in either Aplix closure or snap closure.  The snaps come in cute coordinating colors to the outside of the diaper.  This is a very trim diaper making it great for the diaper bag.  My only qualm would be that the top tends to roll a little bit and expose the microfleece on the wings with the snap version, but that hasn't caused us any problems.

On another side note I am often asked if the knotted elastic and toggles inside of the diaper are annoying for my son as they may seem bulky to others.  But, with the comfy soaker in between my son and the shell he doesn't even notice that they're there.  And the diapers is also left with a very trim look.  I never notice bumps in the front from the knotted elastic or the toggles.

Functionality -  I am in love with this diaper.  But, that doesn't mean it's perfect.  It just works well for me.  Lets talk about the most obvious feature...the snap in soakers.  We'll break this down by section.

SOAKERS:  I like that you have a variety to choose from when purchasing per your baby's needs, and you also have the option to buy a SoftBums package that contains 3 soakers per shell.  That makes this system very convenient to try out.  The soakers come in:  Dry Touch (microfleece top with 2 layers of microfiber-terry for absorption), SUPER Dry Touch (microfleece top with 3 layers of microfiber-terry for absorption), Organic Bamboo Velour (this one will not leave baby with a dry feeling...3 layers of bamboo fleece topped with velour), Dry Touch Organic Bamboo (just replace the velour layer with microfleece for the dry touch feeling).  The doublers are:  Dry Touch - 3 layers of microfiber-terry; Bamboo - 3 layers of Bamboo.  Okay?  Confused?  lol  

The soakers are nice because they are double long so you actually fold them under in the front which will double your absorbency with every use.  So the two layers of microfiber-terry become 4, 3 layers becomes 6, and so on.  Add the doublers and you could end up with 9 layers of absorbency!!!  And all of the soakers are nice and trim even when folded.  I love the variety you have to choose from.  I have the Dry Touch Bamboo and the Bamboo Velour b/c my son is a heavy peer.  I have noticed that the Dry Touch doesn't stay completely dry, but after consulting with some people we came to the conclusion that he must pee very hard and fast not giving the dry layer an opportunity to really work well.  If he peed slower then this wouldn't be happening.  But, it's only a little damp and doesn't bother him.  And the bamboo velour doesn't stay dry at all and that doesn't bother him either.

SHELLS:  The shells are functional but take a bit of practice learning how to use effectively.  I find that the crotch of the shell is very narrow, which is nice but also means you have to check to make sure the soaker is covered by the shell around each leg.  I do a leg check every time I put these diapers on him because if even a little bit of the soaker is sticking out you will have a leak.  That's a bit of an annoyance, but with all of the other great features of this diaper not something that would keep me from using it.  The SoftBums shell is VERY stretchy.  You will need to size this diaper a smidge smaller than your other diapers.  When you pull it up over baby you will see that it has TONS of stretch.  This is a good thing in my opinion because it means the SoftBums will truly last you to potty training.  My biggest qualm about this diaper (which is also something I love about it) is the microfleece inner lining.  This lining is soooo soft, but if your baby poops this diaper will hold onto that smell until washed again.  I find that a sprinkle of Baby Powder helps with that issue.  It's not that the shell is dirty, but that the smell lingers.  

OS ADJUSTMENT:  I will say it right now and I will stand by it.  This is the BEST OS adjustment system ever!!!  Seriously.  Ever.  Softbums uses a very unique internal leg/diaper adjustment system.  At the front of the diaper there is an opening between the PUL and the microfleece.  You will find the two leg elastics knotted together.  If you pull on these and push the diaper shell back you will find two toggles.  One on each side of the diaper.  Now, this will take some practice.  I used another diaper of my son's and laid the SoftBums on top of it to help me find the right sizing.  Press and slide the toggles up or down the elastic making the diaper either smaller or larger as needed.  This diaper gets the smallest I've ever seen and the largest I have ever seen, and has infinite sizes in between.  This is truly a OS diaper.  The toggles will stay in place when washed so there is no need to mess with them again until your baby grows enough to need an adjustment.  

Now a little tip.  When sizing your diaper make it about a 1/2 an inch shorter than your other diapers.  This elastic is super stretchy and you will find it a little too loose in the legs if you don't adjust it smaller.  

TIPS - PUTTING ON THE DIAPER:  The SoftBums system is great but can take a little patience while getting used to it.  I find that it's nice to have the shells already ready to go with one soaker snapped in place.  Lay baby on the diaper and pull up the soaker only first.  Fold it down to double up and make sure that the important areas for absorption are properly covered.  Hold the soaker in place and using your free hand pull up on the SoftBums shell.  Make sure that the soaker stays nice and flat against the shell.  It is easy to get bunching if you're not paying attention.  Pull up tightly and secure in place.  Lastly check the legs to make sure they are fitting snuggly and tuck in any soaker that may be peaking out the sides.  I know it sounds complicated, but with a few tries this takes me no time at all now.  Even on a wiggly 13 month old.

Durability -  This diaper holds up very well to repeated use and washings.  The bamboo inserts will take 6-10 washes to be fully prepped so don't give up on them before then.  I started using mine at three and they did absorb well enough though.  The aplix is nice and strong, and the laundry tabs work beautifully.  Never a diaper chain problem with diaper in the wash.  The snaps are nicely placed and do give you the ability to cross the wings.  The elastic is of a good thickness and very secure.

This is a wonderful diaper and I HIGHLY recommend it.  Not only that but it is made in the USA!  So great.  SoftBums do take a bit of practice, but if you stick with them I think you'll love them as much as I do.  I can't wait to use this system on vacation.  It is going to make being out so much easier.  

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