Updated on June 10, 2016
BumGenius “Old Style” vs. “New Style” Elemental
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With the recent re-release of the BumGenius OBGE (that’s Old-style BumGenius Elemental), you might be wondering just how the OBGE differs from the NBGE (that’s New-style BumGenius Elemental). It’s a question I was asking after my recent review of the newly re-released OBGE. I had never tried the NBGE in all my years of cloth diapering, so my dear friend over at Maman Loup’s Den lent me one of hers to try on Petit Prince. Is the NBGE that different from the OBGE? Umm. YES. Very different. Let me show you just what changed from OBGE to NBGE, and I’ll even tell you which one I prefer.
Like other BumGenius diaper styles, both the NBGE and the OBGE are one size diapers. What that means is that they are designed to fit from “birth” to potty training or from 8-35lbs. They both adjust with a 3×3 snap rise, have a double row of snaps across the waist, and the tabs on the diapers are stretchy. The outside of both diapers is made with waterproof PUL. Although both the NBGE and the OBGE have organic cotton soakers sewn into the shell of the diaper, this is where the similarities end.
Open an NBGE and an OBGE and you will see the biggest difference between the two styles immediately. The OBGE has a double layer of organic cotton sewn edge to edge inside the PUL shell. Though it also has two 3-layer organic cotton soakers sewn in at the front and back of the diaper, there’s also 2 layers of organic cotton underneath those soakers. The sewn in soakers are centred in the OBGE. The soakers are also narrower than the organic cotton layers sewn edge to edge in the shell. Though there are strips of PUL inside the front and back of the diaper, the laminated side of the PUL does not touch baby’s skin with the OBGE.
With the NBGE, there are just two 3-layer organic cotton soakers sewn in at the front and back. The double layer of organic cotton sewn edge to edge in the shell is gone. The soakers in the NBGE are wider than the soakers in the OBGE. This is especially noticeable at the front and back of the NBGE where the soakers are the full width of the strips of PUL inside the shell. As there is no organic cotton lining under the soakers of the NBGE, the laminated side of the PUL is exposed to baby’s skin along the sides of the soakers.
As a result of the missing cotton lining sewn edge to edge in the shell, the NBGE is more trim over the bum than the OBGE. I’ll take a trim fitting diaper over a bulky one most days, unless that trimness affects absorbency and leak protection. The soakers of both the OBGE and the NBGE have a tendency to bunch between the legs once wet. With the OBGE, this isn’t really a problem for absorbency. If the soakers become bunched, there’s still that double layer of organic cotton sewn right into the whole shell to catch any pees that a bunched soaker might miss. With the NBGE, if the soakers bunch to much, that pee is going to land directly on the PUL. PUL is waterproof to a point and if an older baby’s mega flood pee hits the PUL first, it’s likely going to soak through.
The next difference between the OBGE and NBGE is the way the elastics are sewn into the diaper at the leg openings. The OBGE’s elastics are not sewn into a casing. This gives them a sort of puffy appearance along the edges. The NBGE’s elastics, on the other hand, are in a casing meaning the elastics run through a channel of PUL. To be honest, it’s not a big deal to me. I don’t have any issue with the OBGE elastics, though I know some find that the inner cotton lining may flip out along the legs. I always check for this when I put an OBGE on Petit Prince, but have never seen any cotton that needed to be tucked back into the diaper.
Another difference between the OBGE and the NBGE is the size of the diaper shell. The NBGE is noticeably larger than the OBGE. The NBGE is longer AND wider than the OBGE. The extra width is especially visible through the centre of the shell where it sits between baby’s legs. Does this affect the fit of the diaper? It definitely does on Petit Prince. I’d guess than Petit Prince weighs between 20 and 21 lbs at the moment (he’s 11 months old). He wears his OBGE on the medium rise setting, and the NBGE on the smallest rise setting. Though the NBGE has a trimmer bum in terms of thickness, it definitely sits much wider across the bum than the OBGE. For some older babies, the narrower bum of the OBGE may be too narrow, but for smaller or skinny babies, the width of the NBGE may be too much. The extra length of the NBGE would be great for older toddlers as it will extend the time a child will fit into the diaper. I can definitely see the NBGE fitting beyond 35lbs, while the OBGE probably wouldn’t.
I’m sure the one question you really have is absorbency. Does the missing double layer of organic cotton decrease the absorbency of the NBGE? Honestly? I don’t think it does. Barring too much bunching of the inserts, I found the NBGE to be just as absorbent as the OBGE. This is likely due to the additional width in the two 3-layer soakers in the NBGE. All that extra width (especially at the front and back of the diaper) likely equates to the area covered by the double layer of organic cotton sewn edge to edge in the OBGE. I was able to get 3-4 hours leak free with both the OBGE and the NBGE.
So which one is my favourite? I’d have to say that OBGE wins on this one for me. I prefer the added leak protection of the sewn in double layer of organic cotton. This just helps to prevent leaks in the event the soakers do bunch up. I also prefer the fit of the OBGE on Petit Prince, especially in the front. Yes, it’s thicker in the bum, but I find the fit up front to be much more trim in the OBGE on Petit Prince. This has a lot to do with the way I fold the soakers forward (because boys wet in the front the most). It just ends up being quite a bit bulkier looking in the NBGE than in the OBGE. I wish I’d had an OBGE when The Heir was still in diapers. He was really slim and the narrower fit of the OBGE would have been perfect on him. Petit Prince is definitely thicker than The Heir was at the same age, so it will be interesting to see if he outgrows the OBGE before he’s ready to potty train!
The NBGE diaper is available at most BumGenius retailers including Lagoon Baby in Canada and Nicki’s Diapers in the USA. Since the OBGE is just a limited re-release, it is available exclusively at Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot in Canada, and directly through Cotton Babies in the USA.
If you’ve tried both the OBGE and the NBGE, which one do you prefer and why?