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The Down and Dirty Details about Diapers

Which Diapers are the Best?

Diapers are one of those children's products that every parent (and probably child) is going to have an opinion on. There are so many choices depending on cost, type, size, features, design, and whether or not the diapers are disposable or reusable. The diaper that's best for you and your child is going to depend on your own personal preference on each of those factors, but hopefully this information will help you make your decision.

Common Diaper Features

Diapers (especially the highly engineered disposable diapers) offer a wide range of features to help parents, babies, and children stay calm, comfy, and dry. Many offer breathable materials which help prevent diaper rash. Another popular feature is the moisture indicator which will change colour when any wetness is detected. Perhaps the most important feature of any diaper is its ability to absorb moisture. Different diapers use different absorbent materials, and some will be able to hold much more than others. Look for any diaper that advertises ‘overnight protection’ or something similar. These are typically the ones that will help keep baby dry for up to 12 hours at a time.

How do I choose the right sized diaper?

Diapers from any brand are going to come in an array of sizes based on the growth of your child such as preemie diapers, newborn diapers, and sizes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. Each size will have a recommended weight and/or height range that corresponds to that size of diaper. Typically it's a safe bet to buy a given size if your child is right in the middle of the range. If your child is on the upper or lower end of the range, you may want to buy a small number of diapers first to see if they fit before making a big investment.

In terms of fit, it's important that the diaper isn't too loose or too tight. A loose diaper may leave gaps that can lead to leakage. No one wants leakage. A diaper that is too small and tight can restrict your child's movement, joint development, and in extreme cases even cause lesions and cuts where there is rubbing. Another risk with diapers that are too small is the infamous blowout or 'up-the-backer'. Never a fun situation. A well fitting diaper should do up around the waist, well above the upper leg to avoid chafing, but should also fit snugly around the crotch and inner legs.

When to Go up a Size in Diapers?

The weight and height guide on many diapers is one indication when you should consider going up a size, but there are some other things to watch for since not every child grows at the same rate or in the same ways.

Keep an eye on how close the adhesive tabs are to each other when doing up the diaper. They shouldn't overlap or touch in the middle, and they also shouldn't be difficult to get right around to the front of your child's stomach.

On the side where the tab wraps around from the back to the front of the diaper to create a leg hole there should be no contact with the top of your child's leg or they may experience some chafing. When there is little to no gap in this area is when you should definitely consider going up a size.

What types of Diapers are there to Choose from?

Disposable

Most of the diapers on the market that you see advertised or strutted around the playground are the disposable type. Being able to ball up and toss away a little parcel of baby nasty is a pretty handy way to manage an otherwise filthy situation. The ease and relatively low cost per diaper are two of the main reasons why many parents choose to go the disposable route. One downside of regular disposable diapers is that they create a huge amount of waste and virtually do not decompose even in a landfill over years.

Cloth

Cloth diapers are essentially the oldest form of diaper, but have come a long way since rags and safety pins. Modern cloth diapers are available in a few different forms, but mainly they are either all-in-one style or the all-in-two style. All-in-ones have the liner and the outer shell connected and must both be washed each time they’re soiled. All-in-twos consist of a reusable, washable outer shell and some form of absorbent inner liner that is either washed, or discarded after each use depending on the type you buy. Cloth diapers are more expensive to start out since you need to buy a number of outer shells as well as a supply of liners, but over the years that your child will be in diapers you will save a great deal. The best cloth diapers offer a wide range of fit options and liner options to allow for flexibility depending on whether you’re at home or on the road.

Organic

Both cloth and disposable diapers are available organic, it simply depends on the materials used to produce them. Many diapers these days are made with materials like organic cotton or bamboo, which are sustainably sourced and are biodegradable so they won’t sit for decades or centuries in a landfill before decomposing. Another feature of organic diapers is that they are typically free of chemicals and synthetic materials like latex. Avoiding these synthetics is top of mind for parents who want to avoid the possibility of any chemicals being absorbed by their child’s body.

How do you Avoid Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is caused by a buildup of moisture which creates a breeding ground for bacteria, especially in the tight crevices of a wet, dirty diaper. To keep your child free of diaper rash, be sure to change them regularly and use baby wipes and allow the area to dry between diapers. You can also apply diaper cream or another barrier like petroleum jelly liberally to their diaper region to help create a separation between the diaper’s moisture and your child’s skin. It will also act as a lubricant to help avoid chafing; very helpful especially if a diaper rash has started already.

Along with diapers, you would also need a diaper pail to contain that stinky smell.