There’s little argument to the fact that disposables are easier than cloth…cloth just isn’t nearly as difficult as cloth’s reputation would have you believe. And really, I believe the extra work is worth the money saved. That said, we do have reason to switch to disposables periodically, and when that happens, I’m always stumped.
Which disposable diaper do I buy?
If I’m throwing my money away with the poop into the trash, I want to make sure the disposable is actually worth it. Sigh. Investing in a new cloth diaper like a bumGenius Freetime All-in-One (which I’m recently obsessed with) feels so much better than buying disposables.
For a Cloth Diaper Mama, Why Use Disposables?
For weekend trips, vacations, and reenactments, disposables are great. Going anywhere with babies is difficult enough, and dragging around wet bags full of dirty diapers offers an extra challenge that cloth diapers don’t usually pose. So we choose to make things a little easier on ourselves at that point and just go with the diapers that can be tossed.
There are a number of diaper rash creams that will ruin your cloth diapers as well. The creams affect the absorbency of the cloth. Some people choose to use disposable inserts or cut out inserts from old t-shirts to put in the cloth diapers as a protective measure against the creams, but from what I’ve read/been told, that’s not always effective.
When Ginny was a newborn, we used disposables until she was big enough to fit into her one-size pocket diapers. While the cloth diaper manufacturers say you can use them with babies as little as 8 lbs, it really depends on their thigh size. If the baby has skinny thighs, the one-size diapers will probably leak around their legs, and that’s no fun. But then, if we’re talking about an 8 lb baby with chunky thighs, there is probably no problem. Typically, a 10 lb baby will be able to wear the one-size diapers without any leakage issues.
If I remember correctly, Ginny was in her cloth diapers at about 6 weeks of age. So until that point, we used Honest Company Diapers (disposables). We could have invested in newborn cloth, but the preliminary research I’ve done on this shows that the short time a newborn would wear these cute little cloth diapers wouldn’t be worth the investment. I have a couple of friends who use prefolds at this point and are perfectly happy doing so, making that a viable option. But personally, I like the convenience of disposables during that first month of newborn craziness and sleep deprivation.
This time around, we decided to put both the new baby and Ginny in disposables until both can wear cloth. That’s partially to make things a little easier, and partially because my mom isn’t quite the converted cloth diaper believer as I am. And since she has graciously volunteered to help as much as possible, especially with Ginny, we decided to make the job a little easier on her as well.
Sampling in the Disposable Diaper World
There are a lot of aspects of disposables to consider, especially with the huge assortment of products out there. Price, prints, chemicals, eco-friendly, recommendations…I mean, really, how do you choose? I walked through the diaper aisle at Babies-R-Us and kind of just froze.
It doesn’t help that Ginny has incredibly sensitive skin. Also, (and I’m really not complaining about this), she sleeps for at least 10 hours every night…if not 12. Awesome, yes, but that makes for some really wet nighttime diapers, and not many disposables can handle that.
My brother’s girlfriend brought up the idea of looking for diaper samples. So I started searching online and found that while some of the higher-end diaper companies do offer them, you’re going to pay at least $6-$12 for maybe 4 sample diapers, and you might even get enrolled in a diaper subscription that you’d have to cancel. No thank you.
Frustrated, I began searching for some sort of diaper sampler pack, but none of the bigger companies like Amazon had anything like that. Then I came across Diaper Dabbler and lo and behold, they had exactly what I was looking for: sample packs of an impressive assortment of diaper brands so you can test them all out and see what you like the best.
I guess you could say this is my sales pitch for the day, but Diaper Dabbler is a huge help for anyone wanting to test out different disposable diapers. As a matter of fact, I wish I had thought of this idea before they did and made a company like this myself. What an awesome business model! They offer sizes NB, 1, 3, and training pants. They have some huge assortment packs, like Prepared Parent, with 26 different varieties in sizes NB and 1. Then there are some smaller, more specific ones, such as Mother Earth, with 6 eco-friendly brands in size 3. Or you can just make your own, customized sample pack, and try the diapers you want to try. Their price-per-diaper is reasonable for the service, I think, especially if you go with the bigger assortments. Considering you can get a feel for which diapers you like, and you won’t have to waste your time or money on the ones you don’t, I think it’s worth it.
Our Diaper Dabbler Results
We ordered the Teetering Toddler pack, with 11 varieties of 3 diapers each (size 3). They are currently offering a bonus of Pampers Overnight samples, so I had a total of 12 varieties.
They also include a diaper brand rating chart card, and a pen…that way you can keep track of your thoughts with each diaper brand as you go through them. It’s not necessary, but handy. Each variety of diapers is specially marked with a sticker, telling you which diaper you’re working with. But after a while, if you’re not taking notes, it can all kind of run together.
Our varieties were: Bambo Nature (size 4, because their sizing is a bit different), Pampers Cruisers, Pampers Overnight, Honest Company, Naty Nature Babycare, Seventh Generation Free & Clear, Target Up & Up, Earth’s Best, Huggies Little Movers, Huggies Pure & Natural, Poof, and Luv’s Super Absorbent Leak Guards.
I also had Walmart’s Parent’s Choice diapers on hand, so I threw those into the pot as well.
Here’s what I found:
Diapers are very much a matter of taste. What one person likes in a diaper, another won’t. For example, Pampers and Luv’s have a very strong baby powder smell that’s supposed to help cover up the scent of urine when your baby wets their diaper. Yeah, I really hate that feature. I hate the smell, and I personally like to be able to smell when my baby needs a diaper change. No thank you. But I could see a lot of moms liking that, so to each her own.
Most disposables leak at night with a heavy wetter. The only diaper brands that didn’t were Bambo Nature, Pampers Overnight, Honest Company, and Huggies Pure & Natural. Now, because I only had 3 of each diaper, I didn’t actually get to try all of them overnight. I’d actually recommend, if you can afford it, getting 2 Diaper Dabbler packages so that you have 6 of each diaper, which is more like a full day of sampling. That way, you can always make sure it holds up for your little one for naps and overnight. So I feel I must note that while Huggies Pure & Natural didn’t leak, I didn’t get to try Huggies Little Movers overnight. Pampers Overnight didn’t leak, but I didn’t get to try Pampers Cruisers overnight. And I didn’t get to try Target Up & Up overnight either.
Diaper prints aren’t that important, but cute is nice to have. I thought Seventh Generation diapers were ugly, so I wasn’t very disappointed when they leaked after one of Ginny’s full night sleeps. Then again, I really liked the Poof diaper print and was heartbroken when they leaked too. So it’s not like print wasn’t a factor for me. But with a heavy wetter/sleeper like Ginny, it wasn’t my top priority.
You get what you pay for. At least, I think so. Walmart’s Parent’s Choice was by far the worst diaper of the bunch. It leaked, it was too small, and it irritated. My favorite, Bambo Nature, turned out to be one of the most expensive. Super eco-friendly, super soft, no irritation, no leaking overnight, and it fit well. Of the readily available, typical brands, I thought the Huggies diaper was considerably better than Pampers and Luv’s. It held up better, it didn’t smell funny, and it didn’t irritate. And it’s the most expensive of the three. Go figure.
Overall Bests: Bambo Nature and Honest Company Diapers are my 2 top favorites. These two provide what I need, as well as what I want. I was so impressed by how soft the Bambo diaper was. I actually took one of samples around to my family members asking them to feel it because I was so surprised. But the print is just okay. Honest Company, on the other hand, offers a ton of adorable prints, but they aren’t as soft as Bambo Nature. Both are biodegrable, chemical free, and environmentally friendly, so if you can afford to splurge a little on your diapers and you want the best, I’d recommend either one. But keep in mind, I only need disposables for a short amount of time, so cost isn’t really a factor to me for this particular situation.
I’m choosing not to write about each and every diaper brand/variety because, as I mentioned earlier, it’s really a matter of taste. What I’m looking for, and what you’re looking for, are probably two different things. But if you’d like to know my thoughts on any particular diaper that I tested out, please just comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.