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I write about about being a 40-something mum of five wonderfully exasperating children, attachment parenting, my adventures in the kitchen, and whatever else comes to mind. 

-Melissa.

Review: Bummis Prefolds*

Product Name: Bummis Prefold Inserts
Company:Bummis
Country of Origin: Pakistan
Materials: 100% organic cotton

Diaper Type: sized, flat
Dimensions (after prepping): Newborn: 12.5cm x 27cm; Infant: 28cm x 33.5cm; Toddler: 34.5cm x 44cm
Weight Range: Newborn: 4-9lbs; Infant: 7-20lbs; Toddler: 15-30lbs

Dry weight: Newborn: 36g; Infant: 81g; Toddler: 126g
Saturated weight**: Newborn: 139g; Infant: 298g; Toddler: 445g
Absorbency: Newborn: 103g; Infant: 217g; Toddler: 319g

Retail Price: varies based on size and package ($11.00 - $30.00)

In my opinion, prefolds should form the backbone of any solid cloth-diapering stash. They are called "prefolds" because they are a large piece of material that has been prefolded and serged along the edges to produce a flat diaper that has more layers in the middle than the sides.

They're durable, inexpensive, and extremely versatile. Prefolds are the least expensive route to take in cloth diapering and I always recommend people consider them as a means of allaying some of the expense of the pricier "fun" diapers. The most common way to use them is to fold them in thirds, lay them inside of a wrap cover, and allow the cover to hold the diaper in place. They can be folded in many different ways to customize the fit, and can be closed with a Snappi, if desired.

Prefolds need to be prepped prior to use. The organic cotton still contains the cotton oils and waxes, and these need to be removed to make the fabric absorbent. You can either run them through 3-5 hot wash/dry cycles, or you can speed the process up by boiling them, a few at a time, in a large pot of water for 3-5 minutes prior to washing. This will cause the material to loose its smooth, slippery feeling and quilt up. Expect to lose about 20% - 25% of the original size in shrinkage.

Bummis prefolds come in three different sizes: Newborn, Infant, and Toddler. Newborn prefolds have 2 layers on the sides and 6 in the middle (referred to as 2x6x2 ply). The Infant and Toddler sizes are both 4x8x4 ply. I didn't find the newborn size very useful, as it was too thin, but it made a great doubler, bum wipe, or burp cloth. Ours got the most use attached to a pacifier chain and used as a barrier between my baby's face and my chest while summer babywearing.

Some babies never need to go up to the Toddler size. Whether or not this applies to you depends on your own absorbency needs. In a cover, I find that the Infant size folded in half still works fine for my 22mos old (approx 27lbs), but we use the Toddler size (held on with a Snappi) when he's running around the house without a cover on. The Infant size is too small to work with a Snappi for him at this point.

Prefolds also make great inserts for pocket diapers, as cotton has less of a tendency to retain odor than microfiber. And, when you are done diapering, the Infant size is just about the right size to fit a Swiffer! Old prefolds in our house make great kitchen cloths for draining bacon, washing windows, and pads for our change table. We have prefolds here that are 10 years old and have lots of life left in them yet.

If you are interested in trying prefolds out but don't want to make a big investment, Bummis now has Beautiful BASICS packages that contain a cover and three prefolds -- just enough to give you a taste and dispel any concerns that they are difficult to use. You can buy these kits here in Ottawa at The Extraordinary Baby Shoppe.

I really can't say enough good stuff about prefolds. They can be somewhat bulkier than other diapering options, but this is more than balanced out by their ease of use. The lack of Aplix or snap closures, andthe lack of elastic means that they pass down with minimal wear to subsequent children. If you end up with a yeast diaper rash, prefolds can withstand a bit of chlorine bleach much better than diapers containing elastic, closures and PUL.

Bummis prefold inserts can absorb between 2.75 - 3.5 times their own weight in liquid. In terms of absorbency, this is how the Toddler sized prefold stacks up against other diapers I've reviewed:

  • absorbs 14g more than the Kiwi Pie
  • absorbs 71g more than the Grovia AIO
  • absorbs 103g more than the Kissaluvs Marvel AIO
  • absorbs 146g more than the non-Minky TotsBots EasyFit

It's important to note that the smaller, Infant sized prefold absorbs the same amount of liquid as the Kissaluvs Marvel AIO and more than the EasyFit. Wow!

Because a visual is helpful, this is what 319g of water (319ml) looks like:

319g of water
319g of water

That's a lot of pee! ;)

Cloth diapering solely with this method, birth to toilet training, could cost as little as $283*** (plus taxes and the cost of a diaper pail). Almost all of that could be used on the next child. That's approx $0.78/day for a year or approx $0.31/day for the diapering span of one child (2.5yrs). That's pretty amazing. :)

It goes without saying that Boy#3 and I give Bummis prefolds 4 thumbs up!

*Disclosure: I was provided a Beautiful BASICS package by Bummis as part of this review. It contained 3 prefolds and one cover. Prior to receiving the package from Bummis, I had 1 dozen newborn, 1.5 dozen infant, and 1.5 dozen toddler sized prefolds in my stash, in addition to various Bummis covers in different sizes and styles -- some 10yrs old now! What can I say? I love prefolds. ;)

** Clean, dry diaper thoroughly soaked in water and then allowed to hang for 40min, until no more water dripped from fabric.

*** 24 Infant prefolds ($76), 18 Toddler prefolds ($90), 5 small (8-15lb) covers ($65), 4 medium (15-30lb) covers ($52)

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