Diapering. Where do new parents even begin? How will you ever know what kind of diapers to get? Your friend says Huggies are not the diapers for baby girls and your brother says they’re the best. Your super hip friend is using reusable diapers, and although the thought of reusing diapers makes you gag a bit, you also want to reduce your waste. And what about those fancy diapers that advertise no harsh chemicals? Does that mean the cheaper (more affordable) diapers cause cancer?! The amount of research to do is overwhelming. So I did it for you! Here's a quick guide to all your diaper questions:
The first thing you need to know is how diaper sizing works. Healthline.com has an awesome diaper size chart. Typically this is how the sizing goes:
Newborn: up to 10 lbs
Size 1: 8-14 lbs
Size 2: 12-18 lbs
Size 3: 16-28 lbs
Size 4: 22- 37 lbs
Size 5: greater than 27 lbs
Size 6: greater than 35 lbs
The first indication that the diaper is not the right size is leaking pee or poop (yay!). It will leak if it is too small because the diaper cannot contain everything, and it will leak if it is too big because the diaper is not snug against baby’s skin. Check for red marks (which means it's too small) or gaping holes (which means it's too big) where the diaper hits around their legs. The diaper should cover all of your baby’s bum, reach their belly button, and the cuffs on the leg holes should sit nicely outside of the diaper and not be tucked in.
Name Brand Diapers
The heavy hitter name brand diapers are Huggies, Pampers, and Luvs. Let’s dive into Ms. Love’s English class and do a little rhetorical analysis on their advertising. Pampers is all about their ethos (credibility) and boast that they are the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand. Huggies also banks on the ethos that a trusted name like Disney carries, so they blast Mickey and Winnie the Pooh all over their diapers. Disney logos also tug at your nostalgic heart strings, which is pathos (emotion). It’s cute too. Luv’s on the other hand is strictly logos (logic). They explain in their advertisements that first-time moms stress over every little thing, but second-time moms are parent pros and don’t sweat the small stuff; they buy Luvs.
Huggies and Pampers have many different options. Huggies has “Little Snugglers,” “Special Delivery,” and “Overnites.” Pampers has “Swaddlers,” “Cruisers,” and “Pure Protection.” These are all made with different promises in mind for newborns, crawlers, bedtime, and the use of natural products. Luvs on the other hand are Luvs and Paw Patrol Luvs!
The Huggies and Pampers websites are filled with how to's, blog posts, pregnancy tips, name generators, and a plethora of information on the companies, which both stretch back to the middle of last century. The Luvs website is set up for you to buy their product and little else.
Huggies explains that it is made out of polyacrylate and polypropylene. Pampers notes that they are made out of Polypropylene. Both plastics are considered safe, but webmd does warn that high amounts of polypropylene could lead to cancer.
All in all, your best bet if you are wanting to decide between name brands is to buy a small package of each and test them out. Amazon and other sites offer discounts if you subscribe to delivery (although you can cancel whenever). Hopefully, though, you will get a few diaper brands to try out from your baby shower!
Remember, there's not a right brand or a wrong brand. You get to decide what works for your lifestyle, your priorities, and your baby. And it is okay to change your mind.
Natural diapers like Honest, Hello Bello, Babyganics, and Seventh Generation (just to name a few) are “natural” for all different reasons. They are all made without Chlorine processing, which many believe is best for baby. Many experts also suggest that Chlorine from disposable diapers can seep into the waterways from landfills, so chlorine-free diapers are also good for the environment. Honest and Seventh Generation are made with plant-based pulp (the absorbent stuff). Babyganics and HelloBello boast that they use different plant-based materials in the diapers, but not in the absorbent material. Babyganics layers the top of their diapers with nourishing seed oil and Honest diapers are cruelty free.
It is worth noting that some of the chemicals/materials that natural diapers say they leave out, like parabens and phosphates, Pampers also lists as leaving out of their run-of-the-mill diapers.
Generic Brand Diapers
Generic brand diapers are, well, generic brand diapers. I am not going to go spend all my money to do a scientific study on the best generic diapers to tell you why they aren’t as good as name brand diapers .(It would be pricey, time consuming, and I just really don’t have the sample size to give you accurate data [I know, excuses, right?]). They are cheaper than name brands, but they just aren’t as good. Sorry.
I will say, though, once your baby starts to have solid poops and doesn’t have blowouts every other day, they aren’t that much worse. I definitely buy generic diapers once my babes are a little older. They are thinner and not as soft, but boy, are they more affordable! Oftentimes you can get more diapers for half the price of a name brand box of diapers.
Reusable Cloth Diapers
The top reusable diapers are Esembly Baby, Brightly, ModiBodi USA, Thirsties (I am sorry, but what a name for an absorbent diaper!), and some stores like Walmart and Target carry cloth diapers. The outsides of these diapers are stinking cute. They look like cute bloomers. Some are even hybrids, so they are cloth, but you can have a little napkin in them so if your baby has a solid poop and it only gets on the napkin, you can throw the napkin away and not have to clean the whole diaper.
Some pros of reusable cloth diapers are that they create less waste (babies can use upwards of 6,000 diapers before they are potty trained), they save you money in the long run (they can even be passed down to younger siblings), and they are gentler on baby’s skin.
Some cons of reusable diapers are that even though they create less waste, they require more water and energy to clean them, they are initially more expensive than disposable diapers, they can be tricky for babysitters to use, and you don't just get to roll them up and throw them away when they're full of poop--you've got to clean them.
Another more sustainable option for diapers, if you just cannot take the idea of reusable, are bamboo diapers. There are a few options, but I have heard the most about Dyper. It is a little more expensive, but they are naturally derived from bamboo that can grow at a rate of 1.5 inches an hour! Essentially, bamboo is a much more sustainable material than the wood pool most diapers are made from. Dyper also provides a service to pick up your dirty diapers and compost them for you.
Now you have all the information on your diaper options... I wish it was a simple decision, but how lucky are we that we live in a world with so many options for our sweet little bundles? I don't think you can go wrong with whatever diaper you choose. If you do choose to go a disposable diaper route and need to go up a size before you have used your supply, think about donating your unused diapers to a diaper bank like the National Diaper Bank Network. They will take any unopened diaper, and they can go to help thousands of babies every year.
For more info on diapering your baby go to babycubby.com.