Microfiber v. Hemp v. Bamboo: Choosing the Best Cloth Diaper for Your Baby

I was very excited when Buttons Diapers recently released their NEW bamboo inserts in small, large, and super sizes!  They sent me some of their bamboo inserts to try out, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to answer some frequently-asked questions about cloth diaper insert fabrics and help you choose the best one for your baby.

What I did:

I took three of the Buttons small inserts (one microfiber, one hemp, and one bamboo) and placed each of them in a dry pan.  I poured water over them until the insert was completely saturated.  Any leftover water in the pan was returned to the measuring cup.  I also held the insert over the measuring cup until water quit dripping out, then measured what was left in the cup.  Finally, I gave the insert a gentle squeeze to see if any more water would drip out into the cup and measured again.

Microfiber

(soft and squishy feeling insert with white ridges)IMG_7478

Absorbency (Quantity and Speed): While I didn’t officially test the speed the microfiber insert absorbed water, visually, I could see it soaked up water much faster than the hemp or bamboo inserts.  The Buttons Small insert was able to absorb 3/4 c. of water, but when I gave it a light squeeze, it only held 1/2 c. of water.

Cost:  Microfiber is a very affordable insert option.  It is the least expensive of the three fabrics, making it a popular choice for people who cloth diaper to save money.

Softness: Very soft and fluffy. Microfiber stays soft even when it is saturated with liquid.

Other thoughts:

  • You must have a stay-dry liner between microfiber material and the baby’s skin.  Buttons inserts have this stay-dry liner sewn on to the top of the insert, so you don’t have to worry about it.  If you touch a lot of microfiber inserts (like stuffing pockets), you will notice it does dry out your hands.
  • Does not hold as much liquid when compressed/squeezed.
  • Microfiber is known to get stinky if they get really old, or if they aren’t washed thoroughly enough.  Thankfully, I haven’t had that experience with the Buttons microfiber inserts!

Choose microfiber if: 

  • You need an affordable insert solution.
  • You have a baby who quickly soaks their diapers.
  • You want a stay-dry barrier between the diaper and your baby’s skin.

 

Hemp

(dense fabric, usually off white in color, can be smooth or fluffy in appearance)IMG_7479

Absorbency (Quantity and Speed): The Buttons small hemp insert absorbed a little more than 3/4 c. of water!  When I gave the insert a gentle squeeze, it still held onto 3/4 c. of water.

Cost:  Hemp is the most expensive of the three insert types that Buttons sells.

Softness: In my experience, hemp is the least soft of the three different insert materials.  It can get stiff and even slightly rough feeling if you air dry the insert.  HOWEVER, Buttons has figured out a way to put the soft and fluffy side of hemp on the outside layer of their inserts, and I’ve found that their hemp inserts are the softest I’ve tried!  So they still get a point in my book.  🙂

Other thoughts:

  • While I didn’t officially measure absorbency speed, hemp is known for being the slowest to absorb liquid.  I could visually see a difference between the hemp and microfiber absorbency speeds when I was testing it.
  • Insert can bunch up and stiffen when wet.  This is more common with toddlers who are active!

Choose hemp if:

  • You have a heavy wetter.
  • You want a natural fiber insert with a stay-dry liner on top (Buttons is one of the few brands to offer this!)
  • You have a larger baby/heavier toddler prone to getting compression leaks with microfiber.  
  • You need a trim insert to fit nicely under clothes (hemp inserts are popular for being absorbent AND thin!).

 

Bamboo

(soft dense fabric, usually white in color and smooth, though some brands can be more like a terry cloth texture)IMG_7481

Absorbency (Quantity and Speed): The new Buttons small bamboo insert absorbed 3/4 c. of water, and didn’t leak at all when I gave it a gentle squeeze!  It was slower to absorb than microfiber, but I didn’t see much difference in speed between bamboo and hemp.

Cost:  The Buttons bamboo insert is slightly less expensive than their hemp insert option, but still almost twice the cost of microfiber.

Softness: The bamboo fabric is very soft and smooth to the touch.  It does become hard and stiff when soaked.

Other thoughts:

  •  Slow to dry.
  • Insert feels stiff and hard when wet.
  • Insert can bunch up when wet.  This is more common with toddlers who are active!
  • The Buttons bamboo inserts shrunk up a lot while being prepped.  It is visually smaller than their hemp and microfiber counterparts, even though it started out larger.  I think bamboo could beat out hemp and microfiber for absorbency IF the prepped size was closer the hemp and microfiber inserts.

Choose bamboo if:

  • You have a heavy wetter.
  • You want natural fibers against your baby’s skin.
  • You need a faster absorbing fabric than hemp.
  • You have a larger baby/heavier toddler prone to getting compression leaks with microfiber.

 

I hope that gives you a better understanding of the three main cloth diaper fabrics and how to choose the right one for your baby. I personally have all three insert types and love them all!   You can check out all of Buttons Diapers’ products here.  Leave me a comment and let me know which one you’d pick!

Want to see how the entire Buttons diaper system works?  Check out my review here.  Also, keep an eye on my blog, I’ll be posting a review of their NEW newborn and super diaper sizes soon!

I received a Buttons diaper free of charge for the purposes of this review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own and not influenced by the company.  This post may contain affiliate links.

“Take Them a Meal” Ideas for New Moms

One of greatest gifts our family received with the birth of our children was when our friends and family brought us meals when we came home from the hospital.  Being able to relax without the stress of meal planning and grocery shopping for those first weeks was wonderful, not to mention we enjoyed trying new recipes our friends brought over!

Today I thought I’d share some recipe ideas* and tips for great meals you can make for new moms.

The best place to get started is to create a meal sign up for your friend.  Meal Train and Take Them a Meal are free websites that make it simple for people to sign up to bring meals online.  You can share the link via email or on a friend’s Facebook page.

Tips:

  1. Along with dinner, bring enough disposable dishes, plasticware, and napkins for the family to use at dinnertime.  That way they don’t need to worry about dishes.
  2. Double the recipe so you have enough for your family to eat at home.
  3. Can’t deliver your meal the day you signed up?  Make a freezer meal and drop it off early.  Or, order the family their favorite take out and either drop it off or have it delivered.

Main Dishes:

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Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

Side Dishes:

  • Frozen Steam-able Veggies (let them microwave it so it’s warm when they are ready to eat it.)
  • Mashed Potatoes (Don’t have tons of time?  Buy a bag of frozen Steam ‘n Mash Potatoes.)
  • Pasta
  • Fresh fruit/fruit salad

Desserts:

  • Cookies
  • Brownies

*Note: If the new mom is breastfeeding, her diet can affect her baby’s digestive system, sometimes causing gas or colic.  While each person is different, there are some basic foods to AVOID (or at least avoid large quantities) when making her a meal: cheese/dairy (or bring it on the side to be added on later), onions, garlic, peppers, broccoli, mexican food, beans.

What are your favorite meals to bring to new moms?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Tushmate Newborn AIO and One Size AIO Review

Now that I once again have TWO kids in cloth diapers at the same time, I thought it was the perfect time to share my thoughts on the All-In-One cloth diapers by TushMate.  They were gracious enough to send me two beautiful diapers to try out for this review.

Newborn AIO

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Features: The newborn AIO is made up of a waterproof TPU shell, a semi-attached hemp/cotton insert, and a stay dry liner on top.  As is true of all All-In-One diapers, everything is attached, which makes putting on the diaper very simple.  The insert can unfold to make it easy to wash and fast to dry.  Like all the TushMate prints, each diaper is printed so BOTH sides are right-side up,  and every diaper has a perfect picture on the bum.  The attention to detail sets this brand apart from many others.  My favorite feature?  The hook & loop closure.  It is the softest velcro (no scratchy edges or hooks to scratch sensitive baby skin), but is the stickiest I’ve tried.  I don’t know how they do it, but it’s amazing!

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My favorite TushMate feature…the soft and sticky hook & loop fastener!

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The stay dry liner keeps baby’s skin dry.

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This gorgeous print is “right-side up” both in the front and back!

Function: The design of the newborn AIO makes it very easy to use.  No inserts to attach, and it all stays together in the wash.  I really like that it has both a natural fiber insert AND a stay dry liner on top.  The liner paired with the cover gives the diaper double gussets to keep in those newborn messes.  For absorbency, I’d say that it would be great for light-average wetters, but not for heavy wetters.  Fortunately, because the attached insert can fold out of the shell for washing and drying, it also gives the diaper a pocket to add extra absorbency.  That way it can work well for any newborn.

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The fold out hemp/cotton insert makes it easy to wash and dry this AIO diaper.

Fit: The newborn AIO fit my 8 lb little guy perfectly.  It has adjustable rise snaps, so it can grow with your baby until he or she fits into one size diapers.  The velcro placement was perfect, so it didn’t scratch Caleb’s belly (unlike other brands I tried).  And the thin hemp/cotton insert made it the most trim fitting newborn diaper I tried as well.  It can easily fit under onesies and other tiny newborn clothes without being too bulky.

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One Size AIO

Features: The one size AIO has the same features as the newborn AIO.  This is one of TushMate’s newest prints…colorful globe.  Isn’t it just beautiful?  I love that the AIO also has the same hidden snaps as TushMate’s AI2 diaper.  This makes adding in an extra TushMate insert very easy.

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Function: Once again, the AIO diaper is definitely easy to use.  Even adding in an extra insert, the stay dry liner snaps to the front and hides all the layers inside the diaper.  This makes for a very simple diaper to put on.  I chose the snap closure for my diaper, but they can also come with their amazing hook & loop closure.  Evelyn is an average-heavy wetter, and while she could soak the attached hemp/cotton insert, I could add in the TushMate large hemp/cotton insert, and that would last for hours.  While it’s an AIO, TushMate definitely wins the award for most versatile diaper, since you can customize the absorbency for any baby.

Fit: Like the newborn AIO and their OS AI2 diaper, the TushMate AIO is a very trim diaper.  It has a great fit, and I don’t think Evelyn will outgrow it before she’s potty trained.

 

What’s your favorite feature of the TushMate AIO or newborn AIO?  Want to see more about the TushMate AI2 one size diaper?  Check out my review here.  Finally, check out TushMate’s website for more of their beautiful prints and to order your own diapers!  🙂

I received a TushMate newborn AIO and a One Size AIO diaper free of charge for the purposes of this review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own and not influenced by the company.

My Favorite (Essential Oil) Things

I started to really enjoy using essential oils a little over a year ago.  My sister in law was kind enough to give us some different oils as a gift, and once I found some that made a difference for me (lavender oil for mosquito bites and burns is amazing), I was hooked.  Since then, I’ve tried to learn a lot more about essential oils and how they can be used and enjoyed by my family, and I’ve had the chance to share them with my friends.  There is a TON of information about essential oils available (unfortunately not all is accurate), but here are some of my favorite products and resources to get you started if you’d like to give them a try for yourself.

Want to know what essential oils are?  Click here to find out!

Essential Oil Brands:

Plant Therapy – this is my go-to place for essential oils.  They are high quality AND affordable.  Plant Therapy also labels which oils are safe to use around children, so it’s very easy to know what I can use on and around my kids.  My favorite place to start shopping is the gift set section.  They have a lot of different varieties, so you can find a set that is the perfect fit for you and your family.  I would definitely recommend the “Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint” gift set and/or the KidSafe “Wellness Sampler” set to give essential oils a try.

doTerra – is a popular brand of essential oils.  They are a multi-level marketing company (Young Living is another popular one), so if you’d like to get oils for free (or make some money while sharing what you love about essential oils), this is a good place for you.  My sister in law has a doTerra account, and since her friends and family order oils from her, she gets a LOT of oils for free!  However, if you are just wanting to buy oils to try, you will pay at least twice as much through doTerra (or Young Living) than you would from Plant Therapy.  They also don’t have as many safety guidelines and practices available as Plant Therapy.

Essential Oil Accessories:

diffuserDiffuser: I’ve tried a bunch of different diffusers, and this one from Amazon is my favorite, and is definitely a great quality for the price.  Here’s another (slightly smaller) option from a brand I also like.  What do you look for in a diffuser?  One that has a timer in 1 hour increments is probably the best advice I’ve received.  You don’t need your diffuser to run constantly.  Usually one hour one, one hour off cycles is the most effective use for a diffuser.  Both of these have a built in timer and are great because I can put in about four-six drops of oil, and it will last for several hours before needing a refill.

Roller Bottles: Almost all essential oils should be mixed with a carrier oil (usually fractionated coconut oil) before being used topically.  These roller bottles make it easy to apply oils safely without having to mix the essential oil and carrier oil every time.  I take my most-used oils, like lavender, and make a roller bottle mix.  Then, I can carry it in my purse or keep it handy at home to use whenever I need it.  *Tip: to remove the roller ball from the bottle, use the loosened cap to pinch and pull the roller ball piece off toward the side of the bottle.  It should pop right off.

Resources:

 This book is a great resource for how to use essential oils.  It has recipes for a ton of different health and wellness uses, and is my go-to for any questions I have.

Want a cheat sheet to help you know how to mix essential oils with a carrier oil?  Or maybe which oils are safe (or should be avoided) for children?  This is an easy way to learn how to use essential oils at a glance.

Finally, here’s a website that is a great place to learn more about essential oils.  This website was created by a certified aromatherapist who is passionate about helping people learn more about the benefits of essential oils and how to use them.  This includes lots of recipes, free classes, and searching by topics (like pregnancy, pets, kids, etc.).

How about you?  What questions do you have about essential oils?  Or, if you’re an EO fan, what is your favorite oil and why?

This post may contain affiliate links.

Nicki’s Overnight Bamboo Fitted Review

Life has been pretty busy for us this last month.  We found our dream house, moved, listed our old house, and sold it all in a month’s time!  At seven months pregnant with two toddlers three and under, this was no easy feat.  But we are finally settled (thanks to grandparents watching the kids so I could unpack), and I thought I was way overdue for another blog post!

If you’ve read my other cloth diaper reviews, you already know I’m a huge fan of Nicki’s Diapers.  So when they came out with an overnight bamboo fitted a few months ago, I HAD to give it a try!  Evelyn is a heavier wetter than Jeremiah was, so I needed a new night time solution.  She will even soak through disposable diapers at night on occasion.  This girl is well-hydrated!

Fit:

The One Size Overnight Bamboo Fitted Diaper by Nicki’s Diapers comes is made completely out of soft and squishy bamboo and comes with a snap-in bamboo insert (the insert unsnaps for more efficient washing/drying).  I’d say the size is generous and will fit larger babies into the toddler years.  If you need a fitted for newborns/smaller babies, Nicki’s also has a newborn version of this style.  Evelyn is over 22 lbs at 18 months, and I still have her on the smallest rise setting for the one size version.  Compared to using prefolds and doublers at night, this diaper is less bulky under pj’s.  That’s definitely a huge bonus!

 

Absorbency:

This diaper is the most absorbent night time cloth solution I’ve tried (although I haven’t tried the popular sustainablebabyish fitteds)!  While Evelyn will still occasionally leak out of it, I’d say it’s at least as absorbent as a disposable diaper.  She drinks a TON of water throughout the day, and sleeps a solid 13+ hours at night.  It out performs the econobum prefold/bamboo or the flip organic night/bamboo combos I used with both Jeremiah and Evelyn.  I’m definitely a fan.  I can also add an extra insert under the snap in bamboo insert if extra absorbency is needed.

What Cover/Fitted Combo Works Best?

img_0432I tried a BUNCH of different covers over the Nicki’s Overnight Fitted.  Because it has the ruffled legs and is generously sized, it doesn’t fit nicely under every kind of cover.  I tried Buttons, Imagine AI2, and Blueberry Coveralls, but my favorite cover over the Nicki’s Fitted is the Nicki’s One Size Cover.  It is large enough to cover the entire fitted and doesn’t add much extra bulk.  I’d guess the Imagine covers would work nicely as well…especially since they don’t have the interior flaps, but I haven’t been able to give those a try personally.  As you can see in the picture below, the Nicki’s One Size Cover and Overnight Fitted make a perfect pair!

 

Where Can I Get One?

The Nicki’s Overnight Bamboo Fitted is one of the best quality diapers for the price you can find (as is true with all Nicki’s products).  You can buy yours from Nicki’s Diapers website.  The overnight fitteds are very popular diapers, so they may not always be in stock.   I’d recommend joining the Official Nicki’s Cloth Diaper Chatter Facebook group and liking Nicki’s Diapers to stay updated on when they get diapers in stock.

Want to see more of my favorite cloth diapers/products?  Follow my Pinterest page!

I received a Nicki’s Overnight Fitted diaper free of charge for the purposes of this review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own and not influenced by the company.  This post may contain affiliate links.

 

 

Hospital/Birth Packing List

With my brother and sister-in-law expecting their first baby this October, I figured it was appropriate to share my hospital packing list.  I’ve used and refined it two times already, and will use it again this December when Anders Baby #3 makes his appearance!

If it was up to my husband, we would have our bags packed a good month before the baby’s due date…for me, I’m a packing procrastinator and wait until a week or two before.  But, in this case, he usually gets his way, and honestly, it’s probably for the best!

*Disclaimer: I am a minimalist when it comes to packing.  There are a lot more things expecting moms can bring, but these are my tried-and-true essentials. 

Hospital/Birth Packing List

For Mom:

  • Going Home Outfit (make it comfy…especially in the tummy area in case of a C-Section.  No skirts…trust me.  You’ll still need maternity clothes for the trip home.)
  • be Band (to hold in that post baby belly)
  • Nursing Cami (I LIVED in these the first few months as a new mom!)
  • Nursing Bra – the Bravado Body Silk is my absolute favorite!  I have four.  🙂
  • Robe – Get something lightweight made with cotton or bamboo like this one.  It’s SO nice to wear after the baby is born, easy to nurse in, and keeps you modest for visitors.  🙂
  • Nursing Cover
  • Slippers/warm socks
  • Pillow
  • Toiletries for overnight (most hospitals don’t provide shampoo, etc.)
  • Chapstick
  • Hairdryer
  • Makeup (minimal)
  • Nursing Pillow (I love the Boppy and My Brest Friend pillows)
  • Disposable Nursing Pads (I like reusable ones, but disposables are great the first few weeks when you don’t want to do a ton of laundry.  Johnson’s is the most comfortable brand I’ve tried…others are really scratchy.)
  • Lanolin Cream for nursing.  Trust me, you need this!  If you are allergic to wool, you may want to try this cream instead.
  • Cell Phone & Charger
  • ID, Insurance Card, Power of Attorney, Birth Plan (I found a simple birth plan to edit online like this one)
    *Leave jewelry at home!

For Dad:

  • Cell Phone & Charger, Camera & Charger
  • iPad & Charger (great for watching TV shows during labor and afterwards)
  • Cash (for vending machine)
  • Snacks & Water Bottle
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Hoodie/Clothes (3 days) PJ’s
  • Slippers
  • Pillow
  • Air Mattress (our hospital has terribly uncomfortable pull-out beds.  The air mattress is a much more comfortable option!)
  • Toiletries for overnight
  • List of people to call/text when you go to the hospital & when baby arrives (trust me…you won’t remember everyone when you’re in the moment, and you may forget to tell someone really important.  Just make the list!)

For Baby:

  • Baby Swaddling Blanket (The Nicki’s or Imagine Bamboo blankets are my favorites!  You can order one or more here.)
  • Carseat
  • Going Home Outfit (I don’t bring other outfits and use the hospital onesies/hats while we are there)
  • Umbilical Cord Blood Donation Kit from http://www.cordforlife.com.  This is a great way to provide life-giving stem cells!  You have to apply to donate cord blood before you are 34 weeks pregnant.

At the Hospital/Birth Center, Ask to Take Home: 

Anything you (or the baby) use while you’re there!

  • Newborn Diapers
  • Extra Mesh Underwear
  • Ice packs
  • Nipple shields 
  • Extra Pads
  • Hemorrhoid Cream
  • Tucks Hemorrhoidal Pads
  • Baby Comb

Leave me a comment, what hospital/birth essential would you add to the list?  Download this list and more with my Baby Registry List.

This post may contain affiliate links.

TushMate AI2 Cloth Diaper Review

I first heard about TushMate diapers while researching cloth diapering options for Jeremiah at the start of my journey.  Two TushMate AI2 Starter Kits were actually some of the very first diapers I ever bought!  Great reviews and a flexible system were what attracted me to them from the beginning, and I can say, three years and running, they haven’t disappointed.  What’s even better, is how TushMate continues to strive for excellence and keeps coming up with innovative diaper designs!

Features:

TushMate AI2 Starter Kits come with a shell (snap or hook and loop closure options), natural fiber inserts, and a stay dry liner.  There are countless ways to use this combo, so you can find what works best for each baby.

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TushMate AI2 Globe shell with two hemp/cotton blend inserts.

There are three things I really love about TushMate diapers that sets them apart from other similar style diapers:  First the hidden snaps for the inserts and liner.  These snaps are hidden inside the shell (see picture below), so you never have to worry about them rubbing on your baby.  This is especially great because you can choose to use the shell with TushMate inserts, or any insert that works for you…I LOVE using prefolds tucked in the cover flaps for night time diapering.  Because the snaps are hidden away, it doesn’t matter how I use the cover, the snaps are there if I need them, but out of the way if I don’t!

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Check out the hidden snaps in the TushMate shell!

Second, I really like the stay dry liner that can snap into the cover.  Many parents want their kids to have a stay dry option, but need the absorbency of a prefold.  These liners are perfect for keeping wetness away from the baby’s skin, and also make a nice double-gusset to keep messes inside.  Once again, they are there if you want them, but you don’t have to use them, if you don’t want to.

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Stay dry liner snapped on top of the hemp/cotton insert to keep baby’s skin dry.

Finally, I love the unique way TushMate makes their printed diapers.  The way they print and cut their fabric ensures that EVERY SINGLE DIAPER has a perfectly placed print!  No more being disappointed because your favorite part of the print is missing from your particular diaper.  They have beautiful and unique prints that make every diaper change fun.  With my love for traveling, the Globe print is definitely a favorite of mine.

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Every TushMate diaper is printed and cut to ensure EVERY diaper has a perfectly placed print!

Function:

I have been very happy with TushMate diapers.  My AI2 diapers from THREE YEARS AGO are still going strong with regular use!  You can’t say that about many brands at all.  They have excellent elastics that are wide and gentle, the covers made with TPU are both thick and beautiful (especially compared with other similar brands), and their flexibility make them work for any cloth diapering need.

The natural fiber inserts (you can choose between 100% cotton and a hemp/cotton blend) and very thin, making it a trim diaper.  For little ones/light wetters, you only need one or two regular inserts with each change.  They also make a large insert that works great for day time diapering.  Inserts agitate out in the wash, keeping your hands as clean as possible during diaper changes.

At night, I use a prefold paired with a regular TushMate hemp/cotton insert, and that will last my kiddos 12 hours!  The covers have flaps to let you tuck inserts inside and keep them from poking out the top and back.

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Each cover has front and back flaps to hold any insert in place (even if it’s not a TushMate insert)!

Fit:

TushMate AI2 diapers are one-size fits all, so they can fit small babies through potty training.  I couldn’t quite get a small enough fit to work on Evelyn when she was a 7 lb newborn*, but it wasn’t long before they started fitting her.  Now, I love how trim these diapers are, and check out how cute their Globe print is on Evelyn!

 

If your cloth diapering needs are regularly changing, or you like to have OPTIONS without spending a ton of money, TushMate AI2 diapers are perfect for you.  I’m also a huge fan of their customer service.  They stand behind their products and take great care of you too.  Want to give TushMate diapers a try?  Click here.

Leave me a comment!  What is your favorite feature of the TushMate AI2 system?

*TushMate also makes a newborn AIO diaper, for a better fit on tiny babies!

I received a TushMate Starter Kit free of charge for the purposes of this review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own and not influenced by the company.