Choosing The Best Diaper: A Guide On All Things Soggy
Diapers are probably the number one thing that you can’t do without when taking care of your little one. And in the first years of your baby’s life, you’re surely going to need quite a lot of them - it’s estimated that you’ll change 5-8 diapers a day, approximately 1-3 years, which amounts to 5000 diapers in total!. And if you’re like most of parents out there, you’ll opt for the disposable types, which are the ones we’re going to talk about today. You would maybe think that all disposable diapers are more or less the same, designed to keep your baby as dry and mess-free as possible without irritating its sensitive skin, but not all of them are as equally good. There are actually quite a few factors to consider when buying diapers: price, are they good for the baby’s skin, how big of an impact they have on the environment and so on. And considering the disposable-diaper variety on the market is quite big, and the choice itself can seem overwhelming at times, we have prepared this guide for you on choosing the best diaper option for your little one.
Before getting into more details, these are one of the first things you need to consider before buying a diaper:
· Don’t immediately buy in bulk – it’s important not to stock up right away when first buying diapers - every baby is unique and even the best options might not be suitable for its skin and body. It’s best to first test them out first with a couple of samples, watch out for your baby’s reactions and then, if you’re both satisfied, you can start thinking of buying a bigger batch.
· Look for specifics of comfort – diapers with stretching sides or a contoured fit, are usually the comfiest. Also search for double elastic sealing that goes around the waist and legs which is best for preventing leaks.
· Be careful with brands from different countries – for example some European brands have their own sizing systems and might not be suitable to what you’re used to.
· Check for wetness indicators that alert you when the baby needs a diaper change. This can be rather helpful for first-time parents, saving them some time and trouble in their first months and years of navigating the parental waters.
· Cost calculation – once you know the choice of preference for your baby’s diaper, then you can start thinking about buying in bulk. Diapers are way cheaper when bought in bulk. Also, we recommend you don’t waste too much money on super-absorbent diapers that your baby’s going to use during daytime only.
· Consider the impact on the environment – when it comes to eco-friendly diapers, the cloth ones would be the best choice here; but there are also several options from the disposable diapers that are designed to have limited or small impact on the environment.
Absorbency is the first thing you should look for in a diaper. When we talk about absorbency we mean the amount of liquid a diaper can hold, how well the liquid is then distributed in and around the core of the diaper, and also how well it manages to keep the moisture away from the baby’s skin. It’s important for the baby’s skin to be as dry as possible because poor absorption can keep it constantly damp and this cause diaper rash.
SAP – Super Absorbent Polymer
And when we talk about absorbency in diapers, we also might want to delve a little bit into what the diaper is actually made of. That’s why we cannot avoid mentioning the SAP, which is an abbreviation of Super Absorbent Polymer, a chemical ingredient that is present in almost every disposable diaper brand out there. This chemical, with a very fine powder-like structure, is sprinkled in the middle of the core absorption layers of the diaper, somewhere in between its outer and inner covers. It plays a very important role in the efficiency of absorption. It is considered safe to use and non-toxic by a lot of companies that produce diapers and there are no conclusive evidence that show otherwise.
Good fit to avoid leaks
Diaper sizes are designed after the weight of the baby. But this doesn’t make all diaper brands uniform in their sizes – much like clothes, their sizes and fits vary, so you should be careful when considering changing between brands. The way most diapers help to ensure there’s no leakage is by providing a sealing edge that’s doubly elastic – this means that there’s one edge that goes along the absorbent core, and another one that goes along the outer shell of the diaper.
Since every baby has its unique proportions, finding a diaper with the right fit is a task that might not be successful from the first take. But the perfect fit is crucial for a well-absorbing diaper, because even the most absorbent diaper can leak if the fit is wrong. We recommend trying on a couple of different brands to make sure you’ve found the right one – and don’t forget to take note of the baby’s weight as a measure for size.
Make sure your baby is comfortable
While the absorbency and the perfect fit are the first things to consider when buying diapers, it’s also important to pay attention to the materials and the way they are applied in the design of the diaper. Look for materials that are soft on the baby’s skin. The edges and seams of the diaper should feel seamless in order to prevent chafing, and the securing tabs should be able to stay put (not too tight though) and should have round and soft corners. And make sure to look out for the baby’s reactions to the diaper - the baby will be the first to let you know if anything’s wrong with it!
If you put priority on an eco-friendly diaper, then the cloth diapers should be your primary choice. They cost much less, are significantly better for the environment, and contain natural, organic materials. Some criticism on the eco part of cloth diapers comes from the fact that they do require a certain amount of water and electricity to clean and dry them, which doesn’t make them completely innocent. But, this can be easily solved by washing them with cold water and leaving them to dry, rather than using the machine-dry option.
But, if you nevertheless opt for disposable diapers and still are pretty concerned for the environment, you can find a lot of eco-friendly diapers on the market, now more than ever. When looking for an eco-friendly disposable diaper, look for indications such as “minimal packaging”, “chlorine-free processing”, “use of biodegradable resources” and “renewable materials”.
What’s more, a lot of the eco-friendly brands actually are one of the top choices for diapers, which means that you won’t be made to sacrifice quality over ecological impact.
Baby’s health comes first
Even if your little doesn’t have certain allergies or chemical sensitivities, you still want to minimize their exposure to synthetic chemicals. So next time you’re faced with a heap of different disposable diaper brands, watch out for ones that contain a lotion that’s petroleum-based (meant as moisturizer for the baby’s bottom, but can actually be quite the irritant for the baby’s skin); also keep in mind to search for latex-free diapers, as well as fragrance-free and dye-free diapers, since these are rather unnecessary elements and can easily cause allergies to babies, considering their skin is still very delicate and sensitive. We advise to be careful with the “hypoallergenic” label which can be rather vague in some products and actually mean very little. Also make sure that the diaper is made chlorine-free - chlorine processing of diapers can leave traces of a dangerous chemical going by the name of Dioxin. There are a lot of chlorine-free options available out there and we think it’s just not worth the risk.