Cloth swim diapers are a source of intrigue in the parenting community. Do they absorb the pool water? Do they absorb pee? Do I need to buy swim diapers at all?
The main purpose of a swim diaper is to contain poop. No one likes floaters in the pool, but all parents know that the pool is full of pee. Obviously, if a swim diaper (cloth or disposable) absorbs urine, then it’s also going to absorb pool water. (If you’ve ever put your baby in the pool with a regular diaper on, you’ll know all about that saggy bum.) If you’re at a lake or in your back yard and you’re not fussy about an accidental deuce in the sand, you don’t need a swim diaper at all … bare bums will do the trick. You can also just use a cloth diaper cover without an insert (I’d recommend one that has an inner lining rather than just PUL against the bum) as a swim diaper, but lots of moms prefer a dedicated swim diaper, and I’ve tested six of the most popular cloth swim diapers on the market to help you choose the one that’s right for you!
Bummis One-Size Swimmi
The Swimmi is the only swim diaper with a full blog review which you can check out here. It’s got a double gusset and is lined with a soft polyester.
It’s a one-size option with sturdy snaps. The waist and leg elastic casings are soft and don’t dig into leg and tummy chub. Like all Bummis diapering products, it’s made in Canada. I love the value of this one-size diaper, since you don’t need to buy a new one as baby grows!
The Bummis One-Size Swimmi retails for $25.95
Omaïki One-Size Swim Diaper
The Omaïki swim diaper has the largest weight range of all the one-size options in this post. It’s huge! With its rise snaps and side snaps, it definitely adjusts to be tiny. There are a bunch of reasons why it’s one of my favourite swim diapers. Firstly, the light absorbent layer of bamboo terry behind an athletic wicking jersey lining is awesome to catch a little tinkle before you jump in the pool. It’s not so much absorbency that the diaper gets heavy with pool water, just enough so your hip doesn’t get pee on it.
The diaper snaps up at the sides for easy removal in emergencies, but you can also pull the diaper on and off like a swimsuit. There are also double gussets at the legs for poop containment. Because of the vast size range of this one-size diaper, it can be bulky at the rise when at its smallest. The waist elastics at the front and back are thick and, frankly, seem bullet proof. Bonus points for being made in Canada!
The Omaïki swim diaper retails for $25.95.
Nuggles One-Size Swimsees
The Nuggles Swimsees has such a cool design! Most public pools I’ve visited require a double diaper: a waterproof pant on top of a disposable swim diaper to create a force field against poop. If they knew about the Swimsees, I hope they’d recommend it instead!
The inside of the PUL cover contains a mesh sling with an adjustable elastic so you can create a snug fit for extreme turd containment. The diaper has crossover snaps, so it will fit even a tiny 10-lb baby waist.
I adore the fit on Little Miss Cub!
The Nuggles Swimsees retails for $19.99.
AppleCheeks Swim Diaper (two sizes)
The AppleCheeks swim diaper, like their envelope covers, comes in size 1 and size 2. Little Miss fits in both sizes right now. You can see the two sizes compared at the bottom right of this image:
The AppleCheeks swim diaper is lined with a polyester jersey and has leg and waist ruffles. As adorable as it is, I find the AppleCheeks swim diaper droopy on the bum, and the front waist panel sags down below the wings. (I have the same observation for the AMP swim diaper, too.) AppleCheeks’ diapers are made in Canada.
The AppleCheeks swim diaper retails for $19.99.
AMP Swim Diaper (two sizes)
The AMP swim diaper, like its Duo diaper, comes in size small and size large. I don’t have a size small to compare, but the size large fits great on Little Miss at 20 lbs. The inner and exterior of the diaper are the same mesh polyester.
As with the AppleCheeks, I find the AMP gets a bit droopy on the bum. It’s the only swim diaper I reviewed that comes with its own little storage bag.
The AMP swim diaper retails for $16.
GroVia Swim Diaper (three sizes)
The GroVia swim diaper comes in three sizes, making it a pricier investment if you need all three sizes. The benefit of a sized swim diaper is that there are no folds or bulk from rise snaps. The GroVia is just like a pair of swim trunks on the bum!
It is lined with a bamboo terry layer, which is absorbent enough for a small leak, plus it’s nice and soft against baby’s bum. The side panels of the diaper are stretchy so you can easily pull the diaper up and down, but you can also use the snaps. I should note that my GroVia swim diaper came apart at the back waist seam after a few uses, but I am confident this will be dealt with by their warranty. However, it would totally be a bummer if this was your only swim diaper and you were on vacation. (Update: We received our replacement diaper without any issue!)
The GroVia swim diaper retails for $18.95.
There are two swim diapers I evaluated that have a light layer of absorbency: the Omaïki and the GroVia. I really think this sets them apart from the other options. I also love that they have side snaps and can be pulled up and down just like a swim suit. In terms of expense, the sized options obviously require a bigger investment, but the upside is a smooth and trim fit. I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had to deal with any poops in the pool, but all of the swim diapers I evaluated seem to fit well enough to contain a renegade turd. I’d feel the safest using one of the double-gusseted options if I thought a poop was imminent. In terms of fit, I was surprised to find I liked the fit of the AMP and AppleCheeks the least, as they both became droopy when wet. I also worry that their exterior material is more fragile than the others in my collection and would snag easily on the pool deck or a picnic bench. I honestly liked all of these swim diapers, but I am definitely reaching for the side-snapping, slightly absorbent Omaïki and GroVia when we are hitting the public pool. (I wish that the GroVia, one of my faves, didn’t have the holes at the waist, and I hope to receive a replacement quickly!) In terms of my favourite fit on Little Miss Cub at this point, I’d give that to the Nuggles Swimsee. (And I am almost hoping to try out that inner sling on a number two … almost.)
Update / March, 2017
Little Miss is now 19 months old and weighs about 21 lbs. We have started going to the indoor pool on weekends, and they require a pair of plastic pants on top of a swim diaper. Their pictures all show a disposable swim diaper with a pull-on plastic pant on top. What I’ve been using is our Size 1 AppleCheeks swim diaper inside our Bummis one-size swim diaper. I figure this combo is just as much protection (if not more) than the option presented by the pool. That said, no one has ever checked what kind of diaper my daughter has on at the pool!
Which one do you like best?