Diapers – the single most important type of baby gear you will need as soon as your baby arrives. It’s something that new parents tend to stock up on.
Either because they want to be prepared and save money on Jumbo packs or because they’ve heard stories of how quickly newborn babies can burn through their diapers. This notion is not unfounded. A quick look or calculation of how many diapers your baby could use in a year throws out an incredibly high number of diapers, such as “over 3,000 pieces.“
As is the case with almost every type of baby gear, there are a lot of diaper options in the market today. As a first time parent (or any type of parent), it pays to put in a little bit of research just to find out which options would best work for you and your newborn baby as well as the best place to buy diapers.
This is an in-depth look at the different types of diapers available, where to buy them, and everything else you will need to know to successfully maneuver your way through those diaper-changing years of child care.
What are the Different Types of Diapers?
There are two main categories of diapers: disposable diapers and reusable or cloth diapers. Each has its own disadvantages and advantages, but the one constant factor that affects a vast majority of households is pricing. While cloth diapers have a considerable upfront price tag, they tend to save you a lot of money in the long run. They are, however, not as convenient as disposable diapers.
Here is a description of and what you will find in each of these two diaper categories:
Disposable diapers are designed and made from a few layers of synthetic materials such as polypropylene or polyethylene – the kind of material that is typically found in plastic bags or wraps. This material sandwiches a core layer made out of super-absorbent polymer such as sodium polyacrylate, which is an effective, non-toxic compound with incredible absorption properties.
Eco-friendly disposable diapers are also an available option within this category. Eco-friendly diapers are free of latex, chlorine, petroleum-based lotions, and fragrances. Some of these diapers are even biodegradable or made out of renewable materials.
You can make cloth diapers out of a variety of absorbent materials such as cotton fleece, unbleached hemp, wool, terry (just like your towels but much softer) and flannel, which is similar to the materials used in making pajamas and flannel sheets but thicker and much denser. Of all these materials, flannel is the softest and gentlest against your baby’s skin. It is also the most absorbent.
There are eco-friendly diapers made out of bamboo as well as organic cotton cloth diapers. While you can conveniently buy eco-friendly bamboo diapers from well-known brands such as Bamboo Nature at Amazon, you should prepare to pay a bit more.
Cloth diapers can be fully washable, which tend to be a bit less expensive, or they can come with inserts that you can wash and reuse. Other’s still have liners that you simply dispose of once used. These types of cloth diapers tend to be a bit more expensive to maintain as a pack of 100 flushable liners from well-known brands such as Kushies can sell for a little over $10.
Choosing the Right Diaper for Your Baby
The simple truth is that every loving parent wants the best for their baby. That means that everything touching that baby has to be just perfect. With such a wide variety of diaper options in the market today, how do you choose which one is right for your baby? Here are a few key features to consider:
- Absorbency: The right kind of diaper can keep that wetness away from your baby’s skin, thus preventing things like diaper rashes, chafing, and general skin irritation.
- Stretch and Softness: Your baby’s skin is still very delicate, and soft materials help to protect it against irritations. Additionally, diapers that have stretchy sides allow you to easily adjust the two comfortably fit your baby’s unique shape.
- Wetness Indicator: There are diapers such as Pampers Swaddlers that have a wetness indicator that tells you when it’s time to change your little one. This is a yellow line on the diaper that turns blue when it’s wet.
- Diaper Size and Baby Weight: It is a good idea to weigh your baby before you go diaper shopping. Your baby will continuously outgrow their diapers and move through the sizes at a steady pace (every couple of months or so). While it might be tempting to buy a size up for your baby to “grow into” the truth is that doing this exposes you and your baby to a few disadvantages. For starters, diapers get more expensive and fewer within the pack, the bigger they get. Secondly, wrapping your baby in ill-fitting diapers will expose them to conditions such as diaper rash and accidental leaks.
- Your Baby’s Response to the Brand: Babies have very sensitive skin, and even though diapers should be as safe as possible for your baby’s use, you still might get some kind of allergic reaction. Depending on what the chosen brand uses in terms of materials and added chemicals, some diaper brands might not agree with your baby’s skin. If you notice rashes or unusual bumps on your baby’s bum, then it’s time to change brands. This is also another argument for why you shouldn’t stockpile on any one brand of diapers.
Other factors come into play, such as price. Also, whether or not you are conscientiously opposed to using disposable diapers due to the potential environmental pollution. This means that you might want to go for biodegradable or cloth diapers, depending on how much money you have to spend.
How to Prevent Diaper Rash
Diaper rash has to be one of the most common concerns for every parent who hasn’t yet potty-trained their baby. A common type of dermatitis, diaper rash, appears as a bright red skin on your little one’s bum.
Although diaper rash is common in babies, it does also affect those who wear adult diapers. While it can be irritating and slightly alarming, there are some simple remedies that you can use to both prevent and cure diaper rash.
Common Symptoms of Diaper Rash
The following symptoms commonly characterize diaper rash:
Skin rash: This is usually a patch of red and tender-looking skin that appears in the diaper region of your baby’s thighs, genitals, and mostly buttocks.
Irritation: Your baby will appear more irritable and uncomfortable – typically, he/she will fuss and cry more than usual during diaper changes.
The thing about diaper rashes is that they are simple enough to treat, but you may need to see a doctor if:
- The patchy skin area starts to bleed, ooze, or itch the baby
- Your baby develops a fever
- It persists or even gets worse despite trying out the typical home remedies
Other than that, you can simply use the following methods to cure diaper rash
How to Prevent and Cure Diaper Rash
One of the best ways to prevent diaper rashes from occurring is to ensure that the diaper area is kept as clean and as dry as often as possible. Here are a few tips and remedies you can try:
Change your baby’s diapers often: This is the first line of defense. By simply removing wet diapers promptly, your child will be at a lower risk of getting diaper rash that typically occurs due to prolonged exposure to urine and stool. That is one of the main reasons why diapers that have a wetness indicator come in good handy.
Use warm water to rinse your baby’s diaper region with every change: You can choose to either use a sink or tub with warm water or just use baby wipes, cotton balls or a moist cloth. Either way, you need to be gentle since these diaper changes will be coming at you thick and fast throughout the day.
If you are going to use soap, be sure to use a mild one to protect your baby’s sensitive skin. This is done to prevent the type of diaper rash that is caused by yeast or bacterial infection due to a lack of proper cleaning in the diaper region.
Don’t make the diapers too tight: Understandably, you want to make the diapers as secure as possible on your baby’s bum to avoid accidental leakages. However, overtightening the diaper will not only cause chafing but because they restrict airflow through the diaper region, creates ripe breeding grounds for rash causing bacteria.
Use petroleum jelly as ointment: You can apply petroleum jelly or any other preferred ointment to act as a barrier between your child’s skin and the diaper. This helps to prevent irritation, which could cause a rash.
Give your baby some time without a diaper: This is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your baby’s bottom is dry and well aerated. You can place the baby on a large towel and play with them to keep accidents from happening.
While there was a time that using powders such as talcum or cornstarch powder to help dry your baby’s bottom with every diaper change was considered common practice.
However, doctors have been advising against this practice of late since these powders can irritate your baby’s lungs and have even been linked to cancer. All in all, properly using a diaper is still the best way to prevent diaper rash.
Do I Need to Stock Up on Diapers and What is the Best Place to Buy Diapers?
It’s only natural to want to be as prepared as possible for when your baby arrives. However, if you are buying diapers for newborns, there is no guarantee that your baby will not react negatively to the diaper brands that you stockpile.
The general rule of thumb is to buy a couple of packages of the most trusted brand of diapers, such as Huggies or Pampers, just to see if they work well with your newborn.
Should you find the brand that works for your baby, it is advisable only to purchase what your baby can use within six months (or the period within which you can return the diapers if you no longer need them).
Remember, your baby is growing, and they will outgrow several diaper sizes in a matter of months. What will you do with a year’s worth of size 1s when your baby jumps to size 2s within six months?
Buyers Guide to Diapers
Before you head out and buy diapers in bulk, you need to know the different types available and be sure that you are buying the one that’s right for you and your baby. Of the diapers available in the market, disposable diapers are more convenient to use, but they tend to add to the environmental pollution problem. That is why eco-friendly disposable diapers are so popular.
There are, however, other types of diapers, and if you are not so keen on buying disposable diapers, then you could consider taking a look at cloth diapers. This category has a host of subcategories within it. Here is what you need to know about the different types of cloth diapers:
Pre-Folded or Flat Diapers
flannel, cotton, or bamboo are common materials used for pre-folded or flat diapers. Using them and learning how to fold them correctly takes quite a bit of practice to master. You should fold them in such a manner that offers comfort to your baby while ensuring that no accidental leaks occur. You also need to top them off with a waterproof diaper cover.
What You Need to Know Before Buying Pre-Folded or Flat Diapers
While these aren’t the most conveniently easy diapers to use in the market today, they are some of the cheapest available. These cheap cloth diapers will require you to buy a few cloth diaper covers made out of either organic wool or waterproof polyester. The pre-folded cloth diaper option is much smaller than the unfolded option. Use them also as inside liners for pocket diapers.
Fitted Cloth Diapers
These are very convenient cloth diapers that look a lot like their disposable counterparts. Only instead of sticky tabs, these diapers have hooks, Velcro, or snaps to fasten them around your baby.
What You Need to Know Before Buying Fitted Cloth Diapers
These diapers have an elastic band around the leg and waist area, which makes them more leak-proof than pre-fold or flat diapers. While they are quite affordable, you will still need to buy additional waterproof covers.
Contoured Cloth Diapers
These diapers have a kind of hourglass shape that is meant to fit them perfectly on your baby’s bum. They don’t have built-in fasteners, so you will need to use separate pins or snaps on them as well as waterproof diaper covers.
What You Need to Know Before Buying Contoured Cloth Diapers
Contoured cloth diapers are considerably more convenient than regular cloth or pre-fold diapers. This is because they are easier to wash and tend to dry much faster. However, just because they are designed to fit your baby’s bum more snuggly doesn’t mean that they don’t leak.
All-In-One Cloth Diapers
These are highly convenient diapers that have a waterproof shell that contains a removable absorbent pad. This pad can easily be flushed down the toilet or, in some cases, washed and reused. These diapers have elastic bands around the legs and waist as well as built-in hooks, Velcro, or snaps that can be used as fasteners. When you buy this type of diaper, you won’t need to buy separate waterproof covers.
What You Need to Know Before Buying All-In-One Cloth Diapers
These are some of the most convenient types of diapers to buy if you don’t want to deal with learning how to fold cloth diapers or buy additional waterproof covers. They are, however, a little bit pricey, albeit quite convenient. They also take a bit of time to dry after washing.
Hybrid Diapers or All-in-Twos
These are some of the most convenient diapers in the market today. They come with inserts that go directly against your baby’s bum. This means that you can simply swap out the inserts as opposed to changing the entire diaper.
What You Need to Know Before Buying Hybrid Diapers or All-in-Twos
These are very easy to use. You may need to buy separate soakers to make diaper changes a bit more convenient. All you have to do here is unfasten the end you need to change and swap out the inserts instead of the entire diaper.
These are waterproof covers that have an inner cloth lining and a pocket that can hold an insert or a folded cloth diaper. The available inserts tend to come as either a disposable, washable, or flushable variety.
What You Need to Know Before Buying Pocket Diapers
This is a very convenient option as the separate inserts tend to dry much quicker, come in a variety of option, and allow you to customize your baby’s diaper care. You can simply add or reduce the absorbency levels as required.
- Pro Tip: While the rule of thumb is to buy at least two packs of disposable diapers or if you are keen on stocking up, only as much as your baby can use within six months or the brand’s return period, it’s a slightly different story when it comes to cloth diapers. A good yardstick is to buy about 30 or 40 cloth diapers in your baby’s current size. You will probably be making 10-15 diaper changes per day, and that number gives you at least two days’ worth of clean cloth diapers before you have to wash them.
What is a Good Price to Pay Per Diaper?
While the numbers vary slightly depending on a few factors, such as how much “diaper-free bum time” you give your baby, there is a good chance that your bundle of joy is going to go through about 2,500 – 3,000 diapers per year for the first two years. This means that you need to find as many diaper deals as possible to save money.
Because diaper prices can range from around $0.10 to $0.35 and above depending on brand and size, coming up with a specific diaper price point is a good idea for those who want to save money.
The truth is that it’s difficult to decide what a good price is to pay for diapers because there are a lot of variables. You might think that the $0.10 – $0.13 is a reasonable price range only to find that your baby negatively reacts to all the brands that fall under that range. This will either force you to go higher or find alternative options.
Be that as it may, here is a guide that can help you narrow down the right price points as your baby grows.
Quick Tips on How to Save Money on Buying Diapers
Here are some quick tips on how to save money when buying diapers:
- Buy in bulk: This doesn’t mean that you should stockpile a year’s worth of diapers. It just means that you can buy them in bulk. Bulk purchases tend to be cheaper when you do the overall diaper price per diaper. Only do this when you are already sure that your baby doesn’t react with the chosen diaper brand.
- Make comparisons based on unit prices: Stores like Costco and even your local grocery store has different deals when it comes to bulk diapers. This makes it very difficult to compare the prices and find the cheapest diapers on sale. An effective way to go about it is to look at the unit prices. No matter the deal on offer, look at how diapers are contained in the pack and divide that number by the overall price to get the unit price. For example, a “Jumbo Pack” containing 150 diapers selling for $34.99 translates to $34.99/150 = $0.23 per diaper. That is a generally high unit price. You can look around to see if you can find anything within the $0.10 – $0.15 range.
- Make use of Amazon Diapers & Wipes Coupons: One of the best and most convenient ways to shop for diapers in bulk and get a great discount while at it is to use Amazon’s Diapers & Wipes Coupons. You will get a variety of deals on different diaper brands delivered right to your doorstep. An added advantage of shopping for diapers online is that if you are an Amazon Mom member, you get to save even more. Sometimes up to 20% more.
What Brand of Diapers is the Cheapest?
The first thing you should know is that you can cut your diaper cost by about half if you choose to go with cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers.
Few trusted diaper brands exist in the market today, and all of them have different prices for different types of diapers. Here are some of the cheapest brand of diapers as well as our recommendations:
Pampers Swaddlers are trusted by medical professionals and daycares the world over. You will find that the average retail price for this brand ranges from $0.85 – $0.23 depending on where you buy them and what size your baby needs. They are breathable, hypoallergenic, and come from a trusted brand. They do, however, contain fragrances, and the waistline isn’t as stretchy as they could be.
Huggies Little Snugglers
The one thing that makes Huggies Little Snugglers stand out from the pack is the fact that they are virtually leak-proof – they can prevent leaks for up to 12 hours. While that is a good thing for when you and your baby are on the road, leaving a wet diaper on your baby for that long could cause diaper rash. Huggies Little Snugglers range around the $0.24 unit price.
Honest Company Diapers, made out of plant-derived materials, are not only eco-friendly but are also super-absorbent and quite gentle on your baby’s skin. This and Pamper’s Baby Dry are some of the most absorbent options in the market today, and both go for a reasonable price range of about $0.20 per piece.
These are just a few top diaper brands that you can trust. The best place to buy diapers remains online. The thing about buying from huge platforms such as Amazon is that you have a chance to compare prices, use coupons and get discounts as well as diaper deals that you wouldn’t typically get from your local grocery store.
What to Do When You Don’t Have Diapers?
Despite there being deals and discounts on diapers and baby wipes online, there is always that off chance that you may run out or be otherwise unable to get your hands on diapers when your baby needs them the most. In such a case, there are a few homemade options you can try:
The first option is to use an old towel or bed sheet to cover your baby’s bum. You only need to cut it up into squares, so they resemble cloth diapers and use pins to keep them wrapped around your baby. This option doesn’t have a wetness indicator, so you will have to check and change them out frequently to prevent leakages and diaper rash.
Other alternatives include:
- Baby wipes
- Receiving blanket
- Maxi pads
- Paper towels
- Wash clothes
These are only temporary options until you can get disposable diapers to use. However, if you decide to go the pillowcase, receiving blanket or old bedsheets way, then you can have several available, albeit make-shift cloth diapers available. All you have to do is make sure that you check the baby often and change them as soon as they are wet to avoid diaper rash.
Where To Buy Diapers: Our Recommendations
Like many essential products, most local stores and pharmacies are sold out of diapers. Luckily, Essential Goods keeps an updated list of diapers and shows you when they’re back in stock on Amazon. You can check them out below and sign up to our site to receive notifications on when products are back in stock.