The Econobum sounds like a good idea. A one size prefold and a one size cover, priced at a low enough point to encourage reluctant cloth diaperers to take the plunge. For the most part, this system will work fine and is easy enough to get started with. A package of a dozen diapers and a few covers costs just a little more than one month of disposables. If you are on a budget and really can’t afford any other option, Econobums are workable.
First, let me admit that I am not a fan of the “fold it in thirds and let the cover do the work” diapering systems. In my experience, this leads to leaking. The Econobum was no exception. My little one had a bout of the stomach flu while were testing this system. I am not going to get graphic, but believe me, a folded prefold does not contain as well as a fastened prefold. Cleaning up that mess was NOT fun. Nor was having to do an extra load of laundry to wash her pajamas. The only other diaper that leaked that badly during her 2 weeks of tummy troubles was – surprise! Disposables. Cloth diapers, in general, do a much better job of containing messes than disposable diapers. We had no leaks at all with a Snappi’d prefold and other covers.
The Econobum prefold is basically an Indian prefold with an even thickness all over instead of being thicker in the middle. There are stitch lines to indicate where to fold it for smaller or larger babies. Folded for the infant size it is a little wider than I like for little babies. Folded for the large size, it is far too narrow to give good coverage for an older baby like mine (and she is just 22 pounds). The absorbency is similar to a thin prefold, not as good as you would get from a premium prefold.
And then, there is the cover…. The Econobum diaper cover is thin, really thin. It feels thinner than the standard 1 MIL PUL used by most companies. I have only washed it a handful of times, so I can’t speak to how longlasting it will be. The binding on the edges rolls out on the tabs, so they show under clothes. The sizing of the cover is good and I do like the fit, but the thin elastic at the legs is likely one reason it leaked so badly for us.
Further, the math does not make as much sense to me as the advertising would indicate.
A package of 3 Econobum covers and 12 prefolds is $49.95. If you are trying to cloth diaper on the least amount of money possible, Econobums are a workable solution. Update May 2012: Several of my customers have said that they are very pleased with the Econobum diapers and one told me she has used hers for more than 2 years now and it is holding up well.
Three Thirsties Duo Wraps and 12 premium infant prefolds costs about $60 in my cloth diaper store. Add a Snappi and you also have great protection against leaks. Yes, you would need to buy two sizes, but I feel that the better fit, greater absorbency and better resale value make them the better deal. If you really need to keep it cheap, there are several one size diaper covers available including one from Kissaluvs and one from Happy Heiny’s – both in our testing phases so watch for reviews on them soon.
If you want to try cloth diapering with a minimum investment or you really, really need to keep it cheap, the Econobum may work well for you. If you can afford to spend just a little more – or you want your cloth diapers to last through more than one child, you may want to look at a different system.