December 2020 update: I’ve also included the Dream Diaper with overnight insert in a more recent post.
Sweet Dreams are made without leaks! Please tell me you have the Eurythmics stuck in your head or—depending on your generation—Marilyn Manson. That classic 80s track is in heavy rotation on my preschooler’s Spotify playlist thanks to the only good scene in the X-Men Apocalypse movie*. Likewise, Smart Bottoms’ new Dream Diaper and Overnight Insert are now part of my heavy-wetter overnight cloth diaper rotation!
Smart Bottoms unveiled the Dream Diaper last October at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. It is a one-size, all-in-one (AIO) diaper with a snap-in insert and a pocket opening at the front.
If you follow my cloth diaper reviews carefully, you’ll already know that I am passionate about hemp as a cloth diapering fibre. It’s a very eco-friendly fibre, which undergoes a lot less chemical processing than bamboo. It’s also durable and thirsty. #TeamHemp4Life
The snap-in insert included with the Dream Diaper attaches at the back of the diaper.
The insert itself is three layers, but you can fold it in a variety of ways to suit your needs, giving you a minimum of six layers in total. The insert is extremely narrow—just three inches wide.
I have yet to publish a review of Smart Bottoms’ original AIO, which is called the 3.1. I am going to send you over to my pal The Monarch Mommy’s review for the time being. I like the 3.1, but find it needs a boost to make it last more than two hours. According to Smart Bottoms, the Dream Diaper is 30% more absorbent than the 3.1 and, unlike the 3.1 (which needs multiple washes to reach full absorbency), does not need to be prepped. (Aside from an initial wash for hygienic reasons!) For daytime, I like the new Dream Diaper, but it’s not the first one I reach for in our stash. I haven’t found it to be as reliable as my beloved bumGenius pocket + microfibre booster + Öko creations hemp trifold combo which easily gets us four hours. At CAN$37.49, it is a hefty investment for an entire stash. (The price point is a reflection of the materials and that it is made in the USA.)
Two issues make it less-than-perfect for a daytime diaper at our house. The first issue is that it has the narrowest crotch of any one-size diaper I’ve ever tested.
While I know many parents seek out a narrow diaper for fear that the bulk between baby’s legs will leave her bowlegged (it won’t), the Dream is so narrow that during a string of extremely explosive poops, we experienced our first ever poop leg leaks! If your kid only makes turds that look like a poop emoji, you likely have no cause for concern. However, I would be very worried about the containment of runny newborn poop or toddler versus prunes productions. The second issue is the flap of PUL at the front of the diaper: it takes a great deal of fiddling to get it to stay tucked in. It constantly flips up above the waist. I would prefer the pocket opening of the diaper to be at the back, where the back waist elastic would keep the flap in place.
While the Dream Diaper may not be my daytime favourite, the Overnight Insert (sold separately for CAN$14) has thoroughly impressed me. When Natasha at The Baby Footprint suggested I test it out, I warned her that my toddler is a committed nighttime nurser who wears her overnight diaper for at least twelve hours. I’ve had to resort to some hardcore nighttime solutions that would’ve been massive overkill with her older brother. I didn’t think the overnight insert would work.
The overnight insert is topped with fleece for a stay-dry effect, contains four “flaps” of absorbency that are sewn together only at the top and snaps in where you’d normally snap the regular Dream Diaper insert. Each “flap” is three layers thick, providing twelve layers of nighttime absorbency. I add six more layers by folding the regular insert in half and tucking it into the pocket.
The first night we tried it, I put her Playwoolies on top. I use wool longies as pyjama pants to guard against leaks. (Wool is the best!) In the morning, I flipped the wool inside out and couldn’t detect any signs of moisture.
Feeling super daring, I put her in regular pyjama bottoms the next night. (By the way, I have been washing this diaper daily so we can test it each and every night.) I was stunned to find her pants dry in the morning! However, her diaper wasn’t very wet, so I weighed it because I’m basically the Bill Nye of overnight cloth diapering. It weighed 364 grams, and a dry Dream weighs 264 grams. Her first morning diaper that day was an absolute flood, so I suspected that this wasn’t a true reflection of how much she usually pees overnight.The next night, I stupidly played with the fit a bit, going up a rise setting on the diaper and using regular pyjama pants. Naturally, this was the night her Papa was up with her, and he had to change her in the middle of the night. This was most likely due to being too loose at the legs, and pee rolling right out. The last night of testing before this review was a heavy-wetting night. I weighed the Dream in the morning and it weighed 503 grams, so a lot heavier than the fluky “light wetting” night. She wore her Playwoolies, but I could detect no wetness on the wool. I did, however, notice that the diaper was damp to the touch on the outside, right at the leg elastics. I speculate that had she been in regular pyjamas, there might have been some wicking, but overall I was really impressed by how much the diaper held. That front flap of PUL that I so detest during the day does a good job of preventing tummy leaks, unless the waistband of baby’s pyjama pants folds down deep into the diaper during the night.
The Dream Diaper has a very tall rise; about an inch taller than a Funky Fluff diaper. At 21 lbs and 31 inches tall, Little Miss wears the Dream on the middle rise, leaving her two more rise levels to grow into. The waist snaps extend right to the end of the tummy strip, so snapped on the last waist snaps, the diaper should accommodate even the big-boned toddler in your life!
What I love about the Dream Diaper:
- Sweet dreams are made of hemp!
- No prep means no need for multiple washes before full absorbency is reached.
- Snap-in insert can be folded any which way to customize absorbency.
- Exceptionally tall rise fits the beanpole baby.
- Generous waist fits the chubby bubs.
- Possibly the fastest-drying AIO diaper in my stash.
- The overnight insert actually works for us when used with the included regular insert!
- The overnight insert is easy to rinse out in the morning.
- Like all Smart Bottoms, the Dream Diaper is made in the USA.
What I love less about the Dream Diaper:
- The front flap of PUL is constantly flipping up at the waist, and this bugs me enough to make me not reach for this diaper during the day.
- The crotch is so narrow that less-than-firm poop can escape, as can very forceful floods of pee.
This is the second Smart Bottoms diaper I’ve reviewed that has a weak rise snap. At the rise adjustment that Little Miss currently needs, one of the rise snaps frequently pops open when I’m trying to get the diaper tight enough at the waist. This can be fixed easily if you know someone with a snap press, but Smart Bottoms customer support will likely help you out if you experience this.If you have a moderate wetter, I would venture to guess that you can easily use the Dream Diaper with just the overnight insert without leaks. If you have a heavy wetter like I do, you’ll want to boost the diaper in the pocket overnight (I use the regular insert), and honestly, I recommend always putting some wool on top of any overnight solution for extra protection.The total price of a Dream Diaper with overnight insert is comparable to the cost of other overnight solutions we use.
*This is the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LIcOFvWqjk When we play the song, Cub piles a bunch of toys in the kitchen, then runs back and forth “rescuing them.”