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Baby diaper buying guide

January 11, 2021 • read

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Baby diaper buying guide

There’s a diaper out there for every bum. From designer options delivered monthly, to your standard grocery store finds, your choices are seemingly endless. And whether budget and environmental concerns or skin sensitivity and fashion top your list, your diaper needs are going to be as unique as your baby. Here’s what you need to know to pick the best diapers for your baby.

Best diapers for newborns

While we can’t recommend a specific brand for your newborn, there are a few things you’ll want to look out for. First of all, you’re going to want to go scent free. Babies have super sensitive skin and perfumes can irritate it. If your goal is not to have a poopy-smelling baby, your best bet is to change your little one as quickly as possible.

The second big concern when it comes to newborn diapers is size. While most companies make a newborn size, it’s not right for every newborn. If your baby’s on the larger side, it might make more sense to have them in a size one instead. Few things are worse than an uncomfortable newborn squeezed into a too-tight diaper! Which brings us to our next subject.

How to choose the right diaper size

Diapers are sized by weight. But much like clothing sizes, there isn’t a standard, industry-wide fit. A size one in “Brand A” might fit babies between eight and 14 pounds, while the same size in “Brand B” is for four to 11 pound babies. But even when your baby falls into one size’s weight range, that’s no guarantee it’ll be their best fit. If your baby’s diaper is too tight or they’re having frequent blowouts, it’s probably time to size up — even if they’re in the right weight range. So while sales can make it tempting to stock up, beware the urge to fill your house. It may seem like it’ll be forever until your little one grows into the next size, but they’ll get there sooner than you think.

Best diapers for baby boys

Because of the penis factor, baby boys face some unique issues when it comes to diapering. To reduce your little guy’s chances of waking up wet, make sure to point his penis down when putting his diaper on before bedtime. This will (hopefully) keep it from soaking the waistband of his diaper which is typically the least absorbent part. If he continues to wake up wet despite this, try switching to the overnight (ie more absorbent) version of your diaper brand. If this still doesn’t work, you might have a heavy wetter on your hands. In this case, try adding a diaper insert — there are both disposable and reusable ones on the market. But no matter how frustrating changing him multiple times a night is, never restrict the amount of liquid you give your little guy. Babies and young children can dehydrate easily with dangerous consequences. If night wetting becomes a chronic issue, speak to your child’s pediatrician about how to safely drop a night feed. 

How much do diapers cost?

Cost is a major factor for most parents when it comes to raising a child. If you consider how many diapers a day per newborn you’re going to use (between 6-8), over the course of two (or more!) years , that really adds up. Those high-end, 63-cents-a-diaper brands end up being A LOT more expensive than your average 19 cent ones. Even within brands there can be a lot of variation — Pampers makes nine types of diapers at least, and some are significantly cheaper than others. So if you have the time to shop around, it can make a big difference over the long run.

How to pick an eco-friendly diaper

If you’re worried about your environmental impact, there are a number of disposable diaper companies that claim to be eco-friendly. It can be hard, however, to find unbiased information supporting their claims. If you have specific environmental concerns, you might want to consider using cloth diapers instead (more on those below). 

Types of cloth diapers

There are a few different types of cloth diapers out there. Prefold cloth diapers are the OGs. They’re essentially rectangles of cloth and if your parents used cloth diapers, these are probably what they had for you. While absorbent, they aren’t always the quickest to put on.

Modern cloth ones tend to be similar to disposables in terms of shape which makes them easier to use. Some come in two or more pieces with a waterproof cover and an inner liner or liners for absorbency, while others come in one piece. If you decide to go with cloth, you’ll also have to decide on using a diaper service vs. laundering them yourself. By far the cheapest option is to buy (or inherit) a set of cloth diapers and launder them at home yourself. If you do this, however, it’s crucial that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or you risk making the process unhygienic.

There’s a lot of judgement out there when it comes to raising kids, but your diaper pick doesn’t define you as a parent. And unlike other status symbols like designer baby booties or $2,000 strollers, diapers are largely invisible to other parents. As long as you’re change your little one often enough, what you put on their bum doesn’t matter. So go ahead and hand make your baby’s diapers. Or buy those sustainably-harvested, dye-free, plant-based ones. But if you prefer buying what’s on sale at the grocery store, know that that’s more than ok too. The best diapers are what’s right for your family.

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