What Should I Consider When Buying Disposable Diapers?

wiseGEEK Writer

If you’re a new parent, you may be confounded when buying disposable diapers. There are a number of name brands to choose from, like Huggies, Pampers, and Luv’s, and then there are lots of generic brands that can confuse the issue. Most often, a parent wants disposable diapers that won't leak, and will not cause undue wetness to the baby, if a diaper doesn’t get changed for a while.

In most cases, generic diapers are just as effective as brand name diapers.
In most cases, generic diapers are just as effective as brand name diapers.

The reality is that most disposable diapers will do a good job of preventing leaks. The occasional leak will occur with even the most expensive of diapers. You can try out a few brands to see which ones seem to fit baby best. Some seem to have a slightly slimmer fit, like Pampers, where Luv’s and Huggies tend to have a slightly more generous fit. Once you have found a design you like, the next goal is how to save money.

Infants can go through more than 100 disposable diapers per week.
Infants can go through more than 100 disposable diapers per week.

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Also, in most cases, generic diapers are going to prove just as effective as brand names. These will also cost a great deal less. They tend to have the same features as the brand names, and are just as easy to use. If they work for baby, there’s no need to go for the extra expense.

Children can go through a surprising number of disposable diapers, more than 100 a week as infants. Thus it doesn’t really serve one to purchase just a few diapers at a time. Buying in bulk is usually key to keeping costs down. However, do look for coupons and special offers. Sometimes a sale actually makes the price of smaller packages for diapers a better deal. Also as baby grows, bear in mind that larger diapers are packed in less quantity. This generally means purchasing more diapers, so diaper expenses tend to go up over the first year.

Besides cost, one of the most important factors in choosing a disposable diaper is what age or stage your baby is currently at. For newborns, many brands have "swaddling" diapers with cutouts to accommodate an umbilical cord stump. Once the umbilical cord falls off, they can be changed to a regular newborn diaper. Newborn diapers tend to be softer, and also accommodate babies who tend to be on their back most of the time and are relatively inactive.

Often, parents find that different children may need a different type of diaper due to sensitive skin, difference in size and shape and other issues. Some children crawl or walk earlier or later than other siblings, and there are many types of diapers that accommodate the body position of crawling and walking better to prevent sagging and/or leaking. Some children have wetter diapers at night, and may benefit from "overnight" diapers which have added absorbency.

Another element to consider when selecting a disposable diaper is that many brands have slightly different sizing. Many find that certain diapers don't fit chubby and/or taller babies as well as others. Parents will often find that the solution to a leaky diaper is going up a size, or switching to a diaper that runs bigger.

As baby gets older and into the toilet training stage, one may want to use disposable diapers that are designed to feel wet when used. It’s hard for a young child to start associating bathroom need with continually dry diapers. If baby has trouble with diaper rash, you might want to consider using a moisture locking diaper at night, and a training type of disposable diaper during the day. Training disposable diapers also come in a form resembling underpants, so they can be pulled down to use the potty, and pulled back up.

You can spend the extra money on “eco-friendly” or "organic" disposable diapers. However, these may not be as “eco-friendly” as previously supposed. It is true that most of them are not bleached. However, they will still take up landfill space and will not be biodegradable. The trouble with all disposable diapers from an environmental standpoint is that if they were biodegradable, they would not be effective.

Many estimate that a child will use about 5000 disposable diapers before becoming toilet trained. Therefore, it makes sense when possible to spend the least. Also be aware that when baby starts eating solid foods, it is a good idea to dump and flush the contents of the diaper, before discarding the disposable diapers in the trash.

People with two children close in age may need to buy diapers in bulk.
People with two children close in age may need to buy diapers in bulk.

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