Nico has been taking Parent & Tot swimming lessons at the local YMCA since the wee age of eight months. After running through a few packages of disposable swim diapers, I got curious about reusable options. I read a few reviews online, then went to our local cloth diaper / natural childraising store and purchased an adorable Bummis Swimmi, size medium, in the turtle print. I don't remember what weight he was when I bought it, but I bought a size down based on the recommendation of the shop owner (and based on how it looked). He wore that first swim diaper from May through December 2011 (age 16 months - 23 months), then I bought him another Swimmi in a size large. I thought about getting another in the turtle print since I liked it so much, but I opted for the fish on green instead so there wouldn't be any chance of grabbing the too-small diaper while packing a bag. We paid about $13 for his first Swimmi and he wore it once a week for 8 months, which averages out to less than 40 cents a session. The disposable diapers I was buying before were $9.99 for a 10 pack. If I'd bought it sooner, we would've saved even more money over the span of the diaper fitting him. (I was going to say "over the life of the diaper," but since it's in near-perfect condition even after weekly wearings and washings, that didn't seem accurate.) The diaper can be washed and dried but fabric softener is not recommended, so I wash it with our other swimming stuff and then hang it up on a clip hanger to dry.
Just in case you are clueless like I was, here's an unsavory fact about swim diapers - they do nothing to catch pee. They're solely designed to keep poo contained. Even the disposables won't do anything for pee, so don't worry about losing that feature. I felt lied to when I found this out because the package of disposable swim diapers we had bought said something on the label about special absorbent material. Let me just say the illusion was shattered one day when Nico decided to tinkle right on my hip as I was holding him. So, learn from my mistakes and never carry a swim-diapered child around while you're in clothes that you need to be able to drive home while wearing.
This review would be pretty useless if I didn't tell you how well the diaper does the job it's intended to do, so apologies for impending straight talk about poo. Thus far in nearly a year, Nico has only pooped in his swim diaper one time (let me pause here to frantically knock on every wooden surface I can find). The deed was done an estimated 15 minutes or so before we left the splash pad, so the diaper and contents got a soaking and there was a little bit of leakage around the leg holes of the diaper when I changed him (which was luckily caught by the leg holes of his swim trunks liner). I think that if I'd discovered the poo earlier the leak probably would've been prevented. Also, not to be crude, but the…erm…volume of the deed probably had something to do with the leak as well. And it was just a little bit that got out onto the elastic of his trunks - none was left in the pool. I feel confident that if I'd been more vigilant about watching him for signs of poo, I could've whisked him off to change before it ever became an issue, and also that the same thing would've happened with a disposable swim diaper under the same circumstances.
The only other downside to this diaper is one that I haven't experienced myself, but something that the shop owner mentioned. Since the Swimmi has external velcro flaps like a disposable diaper, she said she'd had trouble with the velcro rubbing / snagging her swimsuit when she hip-held a kid wearing only the Swimmi at the pool. For a baby wearing only the swim diaper, she recommended the Imse Vimse swim diaper which has no external velcro. I thought the Swimmi looked like it would be more accommodating around the thighs and waist as Nico grew and I always dress him in a pair of swimming trunks over his diaper anyway, but I wanted to mention it just in case.
Based on our experience so far, I can't recommend the Swimmi enough. I feel like they're well worth the investment for anyone who is taking a baby swimming once a week or more. I only wish I'd bought one sooner and saved a few more dollars.
DISCLOSURE: I purchased all of the products mentioned and received no compensation for writing this post. The words and opinions in this review are my own.