bumGenius Freetime Review
Pros: Assembly free, option for extra inserts, quick absorbency
Cons: Non removable bulk, single gusset, line dry only
Manufacturer: Cotton Babies
Our Analysis and Test Results
In 2005, BumGenius appeared on the scene. It is part of a larger company called Cotton Babies; also, the manufacturer of cloth diaper brands Flip and Econobum. With a motto of, "necessity is the mother of invention," they started with a pocket diaper with an innovative snappable insert. From there, they added more styles, and the company grew, all the while keeping in mind that their diapers should all come about to fill the needs of individual families. The Freetime diaper is their all-in-one style and is a more practical option for parents who are newcomers to the cloth diaper bandwagon.
This all-in-one style has two attached microfiber inserts that lay over one another for double-layered absorbency. The third layer of microfiber fabric is sewn into the shell of the diaper. Despite all this, the bumGenius Freetime was only average in our absorbency tests. However, during our hands-on testing, it was always sufficient, and thanks to the way the inserts are sewn in, it can accept additional layers of inserts when needed.
The two inserts are attached to the shell on one end only, then lay over one another for double-layered absorbency. This configuration allows the inserts to overlap or fold a few different ways to maximize absorption in just the right spot. If you find that it is still not enough, you can place an extra insert or prefold underneath it all without having to sacrifice the soft stay-dry lining.
In the picture above, you can see the result of our in-house absorbency test, showing an average amount of green. The inserts have a smooth wicking fabric on top and terrycloth-like microfiber underneath. We like that it is impossible to place the wrong fabric against baby's skin by accident, as they are sewn in right side up. This feature is just one more in the long list of conveniences added to help keep the process simple and fool-proof.
The Freetime has various snap positions to help find a great fit. There are three snap positions for the rise, along with four snap positions for the waist. The double row of waist snaps helps to keep the diaper flush against the baby's belly and prevents leaks or waist gapping. Elastic wraps around the back edge of the diaper and the snap tabs are stretchy and flexible, adding to both the comfort and security of this diaper. While testing this product, we did not encounter any problems with leakage.
As a one-size diaper, the bumGenius Freetime is made to fit infants from 8-35 lbs., maybe even longer if you have a thin baby. The leg holes did get a bit snug on our 20 lb baby tester, and we had to perform some experimentation to find the most comfortable fit for her. Because of this, we think it is unlikely that it will last beyond the 35 lb mark.
For an AIO, the Freetime has an unusually slender profile, seeming less bulky than all other AIO's in our review. The polyester lining is not as soft as some others, but there were no rough spots or itchy fabrics that may irritate baby's skin. The cover fabric is silky smooth, and the elastics around the legs and back of the diaper are not stiff. We very much appreciate that there are stretchy tabs where the diaper snaps at the waist. You can get an extra snug fit without the fear of digging into the baby's belly.
Our favorite part about the bumGenius Freetime is how incredibly easy it makes cloth diapering. This diaper has the ease of an all-in-one with the versatility of a hybrid, making it a lazy cloth diaper user's dream come true. There is absolutely nothing to snap, stuff, tuck, or fold. The semi-attached inserts are impossible to lose or place incorrectly, while still allowing you to dictate the area of maximum absorbency. Although, in all honesty, we just laid the inserts flat over one another and had no problems. Simply snap the nappy around baby's waist, and you're good to go. This process is ideal for first-time cloth users. Many parents choose to keep a few AIO's around for the odd babysitter or visit to grandma's, even if they build the rest of their stash from a different style. It operates so similarly to a disposable that you can hardly go wrong.
Laundering is where this all catches up to you. Like any other AIO, the entire diaper, cover, and insert alike, must be washed after each change. It can be tumble dried on a low setting, but as everything is attached, it can take longer than those with removable inserts. The benefits of the unfoldable inserts of the Freetime are seemingly endless, as they can be more or less separated for drying, helping speed up the process a little. This feature makes it a good option for those looking for a faster drying AIO. Although it is ok to machine dry this diaper, ultimately, we recommend line drying. It extends the life of the diaper, particularly elastics and snaps, and helps to maintain the integrity of the waterproofing.
The bumGenius falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to price. We think it is a quality diaper, but it has a somewhat snug fit and may not last through the entirety of your child's diaper days. After consideration, this diaper may not be the most cost-effective choice. This system is ideal for those who are new to cloth diapering, but we think it is worth some investigation. An all-in-one system is the best way to ease your way into more economical (read: more complicated) styles that will carry you through to the end.
The bumGenius Freetime earned a top pick award for its first-rate ease of use features and is one of our favorite AIO diapers in this review. While it is typical for this style not to perform as well as a pocket diaper or AI2, it may be enough to suit your needs. It is especially helpful during the first months of the baby's life when less absorbency is needed, and keeping things simple is key. If you are making an effort to be more environmentally responsible, but aren't ready to sacrifice your time and convenience, then this is the right product for you.
— Abriah Wofford & Juliet Spurrier, MD