Diapering 101 - Brands & Products to Know, To Love, and To Avoid
If there's one thing I tell every expectant mother-to-be to put first on their registry, it's diapers. You will need them. You will use them. You can save tons of money on them by having them gifted. And no, they're not cheap.
By The Numbers
Diaper changes will account for a good and long chunk of your early parenting years. Let's crunch some quick numbers shall we? Because you know...although I work at a law firm, my line of business is actually finance, so I technically live to do this type of ish all day long (and get paid for it!).
While the aim should be that your child is potty-trained at the age of two, let's safely assume that he or she continues to diaper until the age of three:
Three years equals 1095 days. Seven average diapers per day (changed at a rate of every 2-3 hours and not really including during night sleep) multiplied by 1095 days equals 7665 diapers changed. At five minutes per diaper, that’s 38325 minutes in total. That number is the same as 638.75 hours, 26.6 days, and apparently watching Titanic 197.5 times.
Yup, that's a lot of diapers. Want a more customized breakdown? Peep below:
As I said before, a lot of time to look forward to investing when it comes to changing diapers, whether you're going at it solo or splitting the task. With that said, there are so many new ways to do it, and definitely old ways that remain tried and true to the job. In any event however, the goal should be to make it as efficient for you and as safe for baby as possible - regardless of preference.
Cloth vs. Disposable - What I Prefer
I personally use disposable diapers and prefer them. Why? Well, it's what works for my family and I and our lifestyle at home. For the alternative - cloth diapering is great for those that like it and you will find a lot of supportive arguments as to why they're the best option for you and your baby, but as with everything - there's always equally strong if not stronger counter-arguments as to why everything is not. They have for sure come a long way in modern day, even sometimes worthy of enviable design and benefit efficiency! They have super cute and trendy covers out now, a lot of them are made using organic fabrics, and not to mention they costs virtually half - if not less than half, then what it will cost to use disposables. CHING! $$$!
The mere truth is that if I were a stay-at-home mom and had the time to dedicate, then I would for sure give cloth diapers a go. But no. Not the case here, folks. With cloth diapering you tend to become a slave to their maintenance; and adding to the upkeep of having to wash cloth diapers daily (because who wants soiled poop linens in their home?), the common thought that cloth diapers are more environmentally sustainable than disposable diapers is a complete bust! When washing cloth diapers you're using energy (if using a washer) and plenty of water that results in nothing but more dirty water in the end. Also, there's no difference in comfort, and as long as you're changing your baby's diaper when it's soiled, there's no big difference in health concerns either. While disposable diapers are more breathable some will argue that their often moisturizing and absorbent chemicals irritate some babies. Some hate the thought of chemicals period thus making them no fans of disposables. Yet with cloth diapers (which have no absorbency bells and whistles; just solutions with thicker or doubling and tripling liners) make many not a fan of having to always be on high diaper alert since leaving them on once they're immediately soiled can increase all risks of diaper rashes, by double.
Old vs. New
There are many newcomers on the scene making their way through the baby market and competing with the legacy giants (Pampers, Huggies and Luvs). Addressing all types of concerns, you now have diapers that are eco-friendly, boast chemical-free claims, no-frills, higher absorbency, sensitive skin friendly, and some are even packed with cute designs. But not all that glitters is gold, folks; which is why I like to mix it up. If it's one thing I've learned is that that everything that I want for my baby, is best for and agrees with him in the long run. Therefor, check out the list of my current diapering must-haves and no-ways.
My Absolute Favorite Diapers: Parasol Co.
Parasol Co. is a new kid on the diaper block offering a the ability to purchase, subscribe and try their diapers via their website. In addition to diapers they also make wipes as well. Once Grayson came into the world I toyed with all of the diaper subscriptions and became a hugeeee fan of Parasol's diapers. Of all the diapers I've tested, these remain my favorite and here's why:
- They're not a "bulky" appearing diaper which is great aesthetically because gosh do I hate to see a baby in clothes and a noticeably huge bulge often referred to as the "diaper butt".
- These diapers have an amazing capture for superior absorbency which I purposely tested even past the 3-hour max interval at which I keep Gray's diaper on and we had absolutely no leaks, even with the messiest of bowel movements.
- They are by far the softest diaper I tested amongst six other very popular brands. So soft that they nearly mimic a smooth cloth fabric.
- The diapers are SAFE! They are made from wood pulp which is sourced only from certified sustainably managed forests and is what's used to make up the highly absorbent core in all of the diapers; plus they are hypoallergenic, all materials are latex free/chlorine free/fragrance free and free of lotions, and yes - this includes the wipes.
- The diapers, which pack gorgeous artwork designs on the outside, are created using inks without lead or any heavy metals.
- Parasol Co. is currently certified with the Nordic Swan Eco Label, PETA Cruelty-Free and Vegan, PEFC Forest Sustainability, IFS HPC & Safety of Diaper Manufacturer, TUV Inspection of Diaper Manufacturer, SZU National Institution of Health.
- Parasol Co. lets you buy amounts as needed with no commitment, offer convenient subscription plans (that are easy to cancel unlike others), and offer free trials (just pay s&h!).
The only downside to this diaper was that I find the outside of them to show "wear" after being worn two-hours or more, especially if baby has on denim or a dark bottom. It seems as if it easily absorbs inks from other fabrics, so if baby has on blue jeans let's say, and has on a this diaper, you will notice slight hues of ink transfer on the diaper. Nothing that is harmful to baby, and actually common with other brands, but aesthetically annoying to me at times. Their wipes? They're cool, but I have other preferences amongst wipes which I will share a little later on in this post.
The Legacy Brand Runner-Up: Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive
If you're asking me to give you the real, then what you will find soon enough is that I will keep it all the way honest! Going into this post it probably sounded like I was only going to discuss fancy, eco-friendly diaper options, but no. There are still what I believe to be very good diapers that aren't part of the newer trends making noise, and Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive is no different.
Why do I like this diaper? Aside from the Swaddlers line being the diaper most used in hospitals, I love the fit and protection that Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive has offered Gray (at least for now, through size 4) to date. The wet-line indicator is genius and they have never caused discomfort in anyway to Gray. Pampers Swaddlers are also great, yet I prefer the Sensitive option as it'screated for those with more delicate skin problems.
The Nightime Heros: Pampers Baby Dry & Huggies Overnites
If you have a baby who wakes often during the night then you may not need to worry about overnight diapers, as long as you can keep up the required change frequency. However, Grayson has been a full night sleeper since the day we got home from the hospital, so as soon as I was able to size him into some, overnight diapers became a thing in my home. Both Pampers Baby Dry and Huggies Overnites are amazing in my book. Huggies Overnites in specific have gained a cult following and are often regarded as the leader in this category; however you should know that while Pampers Baby Dry begin at size 0, Huggies Overnites only begin at size 3 which is sized for a 16-28lb baby, so some may have to wait a while on those before seeing what the hype is about. Many people I know, skip the option to buy day and night diapers separately and just choose to use diapers such as Pampers Baby Dry all day long instead. Not my thing, but it's done often!
The Best Green Diaper: Bambo Nature
Bambo Nature is an awesome newer brand of eco-friendly diapers that have amazing absorbency, are certified safe and are made with the sensitivity of baby skin in mind. They have stellar Amazon reviews, and also offer one-time purchases or subscriptions on their website. I really actually love Bambo Nature but I'm not thrilled of the bulky padding of their diapers, which is why Parasol Co. wins the matchup for me. They however have now expanded their line to include new training pants and skin care which are new on my list to check out soon.
Update: Bambo Nature has redesigned their diapers to fix the "bulk" problem I mentioned above and are now thinner but offer the same protection. They've also added a wetness indicator as well. Worth the re-try!
The Diapers I Will Never Use: The Honest Co. Diapers
I see a lot of millennial moms running to grab the cute and trendy pattern covered diapers that The Honest Company offers. I mean, who doesn't love fun prints especially on something so normally-blah and traditional? I will admit, they are super cute - BUT, they suck. The diapers suck. The company sucks. The attempt to cancel their "free-trial" is like a bad, bad divorce...never-ending!
During my diaper subscription quest I toyed with The Honest Co. and signed up for their diaper free trial. I received my pack of diapers and wipes (which I was already familiar with) and put them all to work. The wipes, I like. The diapers themselves are awful. They have zero scent control and will have your baby in a complete literal funk, and we must've leaked through at least half of the tryout stash we received. I was so annoyed...these diapers were like a cute but worthless person! Aside from that, the cancellation process is strategically difficult and purposely made that way so that The Honest Company can charge you for your first complete shipment even if you don't want it, which is certainly not surprising considering the company has faced numerous lawsuits for their not-so-Honest practices. I can't really jive with a company that wants to portray as one thing and completely deceive by being another. These diapers were by far the worst and most annoying to get rid of, literally! So yeah...kiss my baby's butt Jessica.
The Best Baby Wipes: bloom BABY Sensitive Skin Unscented Hypoallergenic Baby Wipes
I searched high and low for great baby wipes. It's easy to see most people grab some Huggies or Pampers wipes in the diaper aisles at Target but I knew that in terms of wipes, this was definitely something I did not want! So during my search, I started with what was regarded as the best.
First I began with Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Wipes. At first they seemed okay but I have taken notice that Seventh Generation has changed the ingredients in these wipes several times, and they're actually not as "Free & Clear" as they seem. Additionally the packaging sucks (even if I transfer my wipes to a warmer), and the wipes have not only changed in ingredients but they have also gotten smaller and less per package. No thrill there.
Then I tried Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes. I actually felt at ease with the ingredient list in these wipes and love that they're fragrance free, however the wipe itself is pretty thin and on the smaller side, so they became a bust. I do however still use their Babyganics Flushable Baby Wipes since they come in a great and convenient travel pack with 60 wipes - these are perfect for my diaper bag and changes on the go!
Next up, I dabbled into Water Wipes; and they're exactly that - wipes and 99.9% water, dubbed as the world's most purest wipe. I lovedddd these wipes but the issue you will run into with these is that you have to use a pack insanely fast or the wipes themselves will begin to turn brown with air exposure. Annoying A.F. if you as me.
Eventually I moved on to Honest Wipes by The Honest Company as I received some as gifts at my shower. Now I have my issues and gripes with Jessica Alba and this misleading company, but their wipes are actually not bad and pretty safe as far as ingredients go. The wipes are a great size, and perform really well - far more superior than those mentioned above but the thing here is that they're pretty pricey. [***EDITOR'S NOTE***: To further fuel my dislike for The Honest Company, the Honest Wipes were recalled as of May 12, 2017 (after this article was published) due to the presence of MOLD. Please read more by clicking here, and for your benefit, just skip this brand all together.]
Alas, after all my wipe woes...I finally discovered the Holy Grail of baby wipes! bloom Baby Sensitive Skin Unscented Hypoallergenic Baby Wipes!
Let's start by saying that these wipes are the largest, thickest, and moistest wipe of all of the wipes noted above. It nearly resembles a cloth! In fact, they're so thick that I usually have to run through a good 10-15 wipes first before I can organize the stack into my wipe warmer, otherwise it will not close properly. The wipes themselves are made with pure water, and are hypoallergenic. The wipes have no alcohol, chlorine, phthalates, formaldehyde carriers, parabens, phenols, quaternary ammonium compounds, SLS, lanolin, and are free of most common allergens. They are biodegradable and are also made in the USA at facility powered by wind energy making them sustainable for the environment. They are currently available exclusively on Amazon and they carry a 640-count pack (8 packs of 80 wipes) that is priced at practically the same price that the 288-count (4 packs of 72 wipes) of Honest Company wipes. A steal for a product that works the best, no?!
Booty Cream: Boudreaux's Butt Paste
Diaper rash is a bi*ch so best practice is to avoid it at all costs. How do I do that? Well, I make sure to keep this on hand and ready to go!
Daily I use Boudreaux's Butt Paste. Created by a pediatrician this paraben and preservative-free paste effectively treats and helps prevent diaper rash, with instant relief from the very first use. It is the best at protecting chafed skin and seals out wetness far better than anything I've seen. The working magic in it is16% zinc oxide which makes it highly effective in fast diaper rash relief. Zinc Oxide is a FDA recognized ingredient proven to treat and help prevent diaper rash. Boudreaux's Original Butt Paste contains more zinc oxide than Desitin Rapid Relief. Boudreaux's Butt Paste is a diaper rash paste that has the thickest barrier of protection when compared to other leading zinc oxide diaper rash creams (like Desitin, A+D, Aquaphor); so it is recommended that you freely lather it on, especially at night time to protect your baby. I love that it contains no harsh ingredients and is free of dye, parabens, preservatives, phthalate, and talc. Powerful but gentle...this stuff is genius and has been around for 40-years. The also make a Maximum Strength and Natural option for those with ingredient concern, but the regular is just fine for Gray.
To Be Extra Clean: California Baby Calming Diaper Area Wash
Diapers, wipes, cream...seems like you have it all. Not yet!
All that wiping, doesn't always mean your baby is clean, so a good diaper area wash is a must! My favorite is the Calming Diaper Area Wash by California Baby. This diaper area wash is awesome and makes cleaning a breeze! This spray is just that, a soothing and calming area wash designed to go the extra mile for you when diaper changing and keeping your baby's bum extra clean. It contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients. Non-burning, non-irritating, safe and gentle for even the most sensitive skin. Soothes & cleans diaper area and can be used to soothe and clean simple cuts & scrapes all over baby's body.
Applying It With Ease: BabyBum Diaper Cream Brush
For someone like me who keeps length on the nails, it becomes a nuisance when having to dig out any leftover residue from creams and balms. This brush eliminates that worry and also the excess of unnecessary hand germs away from your little one's bottom! Made from BPA-free 100% silicone, this brush is awesome because it applies all diaper creams with ease, cleans super easy and has a suction base that allows for it to stand on its own.
The item To Completely AVOID Using On Your Baby: Baby Powder
Baby powder regardless of brand, maker, claim, etc is AWFUL for your and your innocent baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics has shunned its use and no longer recommends it as it poses a threat to your child's lungs and the amounts inhaled during application. The culprit being inhaled - talc, a mineral made of elements from magnesium, silicon and oxygen and often a carrier of asbestos in it's raw form. Read more about the threat here and here, and be sure to discard any baby powder you have in your home. It's simply not worth the risks to your and your precious child.
And while we're discussing what to avoid please steer clear of ANYTHING Johnson & Johnson.
Well, this has been lengthy but I hope informative! Diapering is entirely unavoidable when having a child, so it's imperative you make the best of it. If you have any further questions on the products noted above, please leave them in the comments! Same applies if you're a cloth diapering fan and would love to contribute your experiences, please let me know! Wishing you many days of quick diaper changes, leak-free messes, and zero blowouts!