The Ugly Truth About Swim Diapers

This is the truth. A lot of parents do not realize this. Go on to Walmart, Target or Amazon and read the 1-2 star reviews of disposable swim diapers. Nearly all of the poor reviews state similar complaints. Basically pee everywhere. Complaints such as, “I put this diaper on my child and as we were walking to the pool he peed all over me.”


Here is the truth about this complaint. Any and all swim diapers are not designed to hold in pee. Swim diapers are not absorbent. If they were absorbent they would also hold in the water your child is playing in. If they were absorbent they would also balloon up like a regular disposable diaper when wet, since that is the part of the diaper that does the absorbing. There is no absorbent material in swim diapers. The purpose of a swim diaper is just to contain solids. That is the dirty truth. People, children, babies, even adults urinate in pools ALL OF THE TIME!

Another major complaint I came across while reading reviews was that the disposable swim diapers are not available in small enough sizes. If their purpose is to contain solid messes, and if you have a baby you know that those messes aren’t always exactly solid, the diaper being too big, well you see the problem. The smallest weight listed on either package is for babies who are 16 pounds. Keep reading, I may have an easy solution for you.

So now I ask you, why as a consumer, do you continue to spend about $10 on a pack of 24 or less disposable swim diapers to throw away that are only meant to contain #2, but are also not completely effective at that either?

Here is where the cloth swim diaper comes in. They will fit better. They will contain #2 messes more effectively. They are cute. They are not expensive. You can reuse them.

Swim Diaper

You have many brands to choose from when it comes to cloth swim diapers. Many are carried at great small businesses like Kelly’s Closet and Squigglybugs. Target has started to carry some cloth options as well. I am going to highlight a few of the cloth swim diapers that we have tried and loved.

Bummis Swim Diapers

The Bummis swim diaper is called “Swimmi”. They are one of the only swim diapers on the market that is a true one size swim diaper. The diaper features rise snaps that you snap together to fit babies from around 10-35 pounds. They are made out of a laminated lycra material, so they will not fade in the water. The snaps allow for an easy change if there is a mess in the diaper. Added bonus, they have some really cute prints for both boys and girls. Oh, and they are made in Canada. The price point for this one at Kelly’s Closet is $23.95. Not a bad price when you think that could fit for multiple summers.

Smart Bottoms Swimmers

The Smart Bottoms side snapping swim diapers are my personal favorite. They are available in a variety of prints and sizes. Here is their sizing chart: Small (8-16lbs), Medium (16-30lbs), Large (30-50lbs). Sizing is generous. The elastics are gentle enough that they do not leave red marks, but snug enough to contain any messes. I prefer to snap mine up and slide it on my little guy like a pair of undies. When taking it off I use the snaps and unsnap it like a diaper. This swim diaper is lined with a moisture wicking fabric to help prevent rashes and keep solids contained. A little birdie told me they may be getting some new prints in soon! These are available at Kelly’s Closet and Squigglybugs for $15.

My swim baby

My Swim Baby swim diapers are great if you have a smaller baby. These run very small. You will need to size up at least one size. Last summer, my little guy was around 10 pounds and wore a medium. They have snaps on one side. The best part is that each swim diaper has a matching rash guard and sun hat. These are on sale for really cheap at Squigglybugs right now but patterns and sizing is limited. They are also available at Kelly’s Closet. This is the diaper that will solve your problem of the disposable ones being too large.

None of the diapers listed above are absorbent, just as the disposable ones are not absorbent. A little mommy hack, get a few cloth diaper boosters. Lay one in the swim diaper when you are on the way to and from the pool or beach. This should help absorb most or all of the pee if your little one happens to go.

How to Boil Diaper Inserts

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Before we even get started with how to do this there are some things that need to be said up front.

  1. NOTHING with SNAPS or PUL/TPU fabric can be prepped by boiling.
  2. DO NOT boil synthetic fibers
  3. This method is for NATURAL fibers that do not have snaps or PUL/TPU such pre-folds, flats, inserts, boosters, etc.

Why do natural fiber diapers need to be prepped anyway? Well, if not they will repel water like pictured below with these brand new Smart Bottoms Too Smart Inserts. The natural fibers have natural oils that need to be washed out before they can become absorbent. In a way, it reminds me of how a duck’s feathers repel water. DSC_0007.JPG

What you need: For boiling diapers/inserts you need a gigantic pot (similar to that of a witches cauldron), a drop of dawn dish soap, some natural fiber diapers/inserts, and water.  DSC_0050.JPG

What you need to do:

  1. Fill up your pot with water. Turn the heat on to your stove and wait a million minutes for it to begin to boil. DSC_0010.JPG

2. Once the water is boiling, add a small squirt, more like a drop or two, of Dawn, and your inserts/diapers. (best done in small batches, this is 3 inserts)

3. Reduce the heat slightly and boil for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. It is just like boiling lasagna noodles. 15 minutes should give you perfect “al dante” diapers…only they won’t really be al dante, they will just be prepped.

4. Rinse and wring to get out the dish soap.

5. Wash with a normal cycle of diapers or regular laundry.

6. They should be good to go!


This shows how the water immediately soaked into the insert after it was boiled for 15 minutes and washed once. This was my first time boiling inserts and I was shocked! I am a lazy diaper prepper and usually this would have taken me a month to get done by washing multiple times.


Since I knew the inserts were prepped, I grabbed a dry one and put it in a Smart Bottoms Too Smart Cover and put it on my baby. I was impressed by how trim it was.




If you are interested in purchasing similar inserts, covers, or exploring other cloth diapers check out Kelly’s Closet.

The Great Cloth Diaper Change

Today, the Clark Kid and I participated in our first ever Great Cloth Diaper Change. It was hosted by USA Baby in Franklin, TN.

So what exactly is this event? In short, it is a bunch of crazy parents who cloth diaper all changing their babies in one giant room all at the same time. They are held throughout the country on or around Earth Day each year.

We were told to arrive early, so we did! We had to get on the road early since USA Baby is about an hour and a half away from our house.

The Clark Kid enjoyed making new friends and sharing toys while we waited to be let in. Once we got in we received a swag bag and enjoyed playing with the “big kids” on the play equipment. The swag bag was loaded with goodies, reusable wipes, coupons, samples, and an adorable little doll diaper from Rumparooz.

As it neared closer to the time of the actual change everyone shut their cameras off and got ready to change. You hold the cloth diaper you will be putting on your baby up in the air, then change and hold your baby in the air.

Lastly, they raffled off some amazing door prizes, some with quite a hefty price tag!

Attending the GCDC was a fun way to get to know new vendors, meet other mom’s who cloth diaper and give the Clark Kid some social experiences too.

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The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Consider Cloth Diapers

This is our first official blog post! It is also Earth Day. Before we had seriously thought about having a child, my husband brought up the idea of using cloth diapers. He had seen an add online. I thought they were cute. I agreed to consider them. This was about 3 years ago. Last year, we finally had our first little bundle of joy. We have been using cloth diapers successfully since he was a few days old.

smart bottoms superhero and fox

In light of Earth Day, here are our top 10 reasons why you should consider them too:

1.  Cloth diapers are better for the environment. The amount of disposable diapers sitting in our landfills is pretty disgusting when you really think about it. What gets even more disgusting is when you think about what is in those diapers and the proper way to dispose of human waste. Not to mention how long it takes for most disposable diapers to break down, they haven’t been around long enough for anyone to actually witness it.

2. When you use cloth diapers you are exposing your baby’s most sensitive parts to fewer chemicals. What exactly are disposable diapers made out of? Diaper companies are not required to list what is in their diapers. Isn’t that kind of crazy to think that we don’t even really know what we are putting on our babies when we use disposables? Some common things found in disposables include polythene film (similar to plastic wrap), polypropolene, wood pulp that is usually bleached with chlorine, sodium polyacrylate, dyes to get the pictures/size on the diaper and sometimes perfumes. Some little bums are too sensitive for these materials.

With cloth diapers, you can choose what type of fabric you want against your baby’s skin. Many brands of diapers use natural, organic fibers. Some cloth diapers leave a soft stay-dry fleece against your babies skin. Would you rather have the feeling of a disposable or soft fleece against your bum?

Not to mention, our little guy is 14 months old. He has very light, sensitive skin. Guess how many diaper rashes he has had that have lasted longer than one diaper change? None.

3. Using cloth diapers is a fabulous way to support small businesses. Many places that sell cloth diapers, such as Kelly’s Closet, are run by families, or small groups of moms. I love that every time I place an order I am supporting their business, their family, their well-being. When you shop small the customer services is second to none. I love getting my “fluff mail” and having handwritten notes in it from the owners of these small businesses. Many retailers including Kelly’s Closet, offer reward points and freebies for purchasing too.

4. Cloth diapers help save money in the long run. There is an upfront cost with cloth diapers. However, there is not a weekly need to buy diapers when you go grocery shopping. There is no need to clip coupons and try to find the best deals.

Many have argued that we are not saving money due to the upfront cost and the increase of water use.  While we dealt with the upfront cost, by the time our baby is potty trained we will have spent significantly less. Our water bill has increased by about 2 dollars a month, but we also added a new person who also wears clothes, and needs clean towels and bedding.

We will also be able to use these same diapers on our next children. This is where it will really save money.

You can also re-sell cloth diapers after they are used. Some even increase in value. I swear, it’s like Beanie Babies all over again! There are numerous groups on Facebook for the B/S/T of cloth diapers, they are also popping up on eBay. I joke that when we sell our diapers we will get to go to Disney.

5. Cloth diapers create less “blow-outs”. We have been using cloth for over a year and have had one big “blow out” due to user error. ONE. ONE!!!! And let me tell you, dealing with poop in a diaper meant to contain poop is a heck of a lot easier than dealing with poop that is all up the back and out the legs of your newborn. This, to me, is where cloth diapers really set themselves apart. Back elastics are amazing.

6. You will never run out of diapers if you use cloth. If you do, you just wash them. Then you have nice clean diapers all over again. This is also huge if you are on a tight budget.

7. Cloth is just cuter. Ok. I lied. This is really where cloth sets itself apart. It is so stinking cute! You can have dragons on your diaper! You can have ducks, dogs, cats, trucks, flowers, anything! And you can reuse them! They are so stinkin’ cute. Want to make your professional baby photos look even cuter? Put the baby in a cloth diaper! You can match them to outfits, dresses, the options are endless.

8. Modern cloth diapers are much different than what most people think. When people hear you are doing cloth they assume pins and plastic pants. That is not what the diapers are like anymore. They are convenient and sometimes all in one piece that you just put on your baby like a disposable diaper.

9. Cloth diapering can almost become a hobby. Once you discover what works best for your family, your routine,  what style or brands you like, you might become addicted. You will want to collect them all.

10. The cloth diapering community is pretty darn amazing. Words actually don’t even describe how amazing this community is. I have met some of the most awesome moms and we have become friends through Facebook groups. Some of them I have never met in person, some I have. We all support one another, it is like a family. I probably talk to them more frequently than I do my “real” friends.

smart bottoms Heinrich

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