How to find the Best Diaper for your Baby! Tips & Guidelines from the Expert

Not the most glamorous job of a new parent, and certainly not a cheap one, but unless you’re a hard core Elimination Communication practitioner, you’ve got to diaper your baby! The first decision here is pretty obvious, and may or may not be an easy one: cloth or disposable. I took some time to deliberate on this one, but ultimately decided to go with disposables. Here are some things I considered in that process:

There are pros and cons to both types of diapers, and you really have to sit down and go over your priorities and your resources. 1) Do you have the start-up costs to fund your cloth diaper collection? In the long run it might be cheaper than using disposables, especially if buying used and/or re-using with subsequent children, but stocking up initially can be quite expensive. 2) Do you have your own washer/dryer? We do not, and our building doesn’t allow it, so this was the main deterrent for my family to cloth diaper. They do have pick-up/clean/drop-off services but these can be quite pricey and also add to the carbon footprint you were trying to reduce by cloth diapering in the first place. 3) Do you have the mindset and motivation for the extra effort and “elbow grease” needed to cloth diaper? They say once you get used to it it’s really not much extra work, but the idea of scooping poop from the diaper into the toilet and then washing it, hmmmm, it’s not for everyone!

If you’ve decided to cloth diaper, good for you!! I’m impressed, and the Earth thanks you! But did you know babies often need to use newborn size disposables until they’re big enough for many brands of cloth diapers? For future cloth diaperers, and the rest of us, here are some of my insights on disposable diapers:

The number of disposable diaper brands out there is overwhelming. The three everyone knows are of course, Huggies, Pampers, and Luvs. Then you’ve got your more eco-friendly brands like Honest, Seventh Generation, and Earth’s Best. You’ve also got your budget-friendly generics like Target, Costco, Babies R Us, and Rite Aid. Is your head spinning yet? No? Well, head over to Google and start reading through some customer reviews and you’ll see that each brand has pretty much an equal amount of lovers and haters. There’s really no way around it, you just have to figure out for yourself – the good old trial and error! So, what are some things to look out for when choosing a diaper?

1) Leaks:

It happens to the best of diapers occasionally, but no diaper should leak anything on a regular basis. If you’re having leakage issues, make sure you’re doing the following:

    • Got a boy? Make sure his little mister is pointed downward!
    • Pull the butt ruffles out – being tucked in can cause leaks (this one got me, whoops!!).
    • Cinch those bad boys in at the waist! (be sure to fold down until the belly button nub has fallen off).
    • In the right size? Leaks can happen if the diaper is too small or too big. The weight for each size is just a guideline, long and lean vs. short and stout babies might weigh the same but need different size diapers.

If you’ve done the above and still have leaking issues, it might be that the particular brand doesn’t fit your baby well. This happened to us. Huggies Little Snugglers for some reason gaped terribly on my little boy’s legs. It was a hellish poopy mess for a good week before we realized we needed to try another brand. For others Huggies might fit perfectly and another brand won’t. You have to figure out what fits your baby. Also, do the pinch test. With experience, you’ll know when it’s full and needs to be changed (some brands can hold a LOT more than others).

2)  Material, Texture, Smell:

Some are super soft, some are stiff. One smells like baby powder, another like a chemical concoction. Some boast no chlorine, latex, dye, or perfume. Others boast special leak protectors or ultra absorbency. Figure out what’s important to you. And watch out for diaper rash, which can sometimes be caused by the diaper itself. If you’re little one breaks out and a round of butt cream and lots of airing out time doesn’t cure it, it might be time to try another brand of diaper.

3) Price:

Diapers range anywhere from about $0.14 to $0.65 a piece. A newborn goes through them like there is no tomorrow. Add to that a new parent with little diaper changing experience, who will on occasion go through 3 or 4 in one changing because of bad timing resulting in not only the new diaper getting soiled, but also mom or dad’s shirt, the changing table, and the wall. The joys of parenthood! How to save? Once you’ve found a brand you love, you can usually get a good deal with a subscription (Diapers.com, Amazon, and Honest all offer such deals). By the time your baby is several months old, you’ll be down to maybe 7 or so diapers a day – hoorah!

The take home of the story is that no one brand is the best for all babies. You really have to try them out to know which will work for yours. Miny Moe diaper samplers to the rescue!! In one pack you’ll get 6 of the top brands and a score card for you to rank the diapers as you go through them. By the time you finish the pack of 30 (5 diapers from each brand) and tally up the score, you know which brand to go stock up on! What’s more? You can add Miny Moe diaper and nursing pad samplers to your baby registry on Amazon or Baby List!

Heather Tomoyasu is the owner of Miny Moe, blogger on her site US-Japan Fam, expert mom for the new app Mommy Nearest, and most importantly mommy to a sweet 8-month old boy.