There is a 9 year gap between my youngest child and my second youngest child. I distinctly remember my first visit to the diaper aisle after that long hiatus and being amazed at the many, many options out there.
Since I became a parent 15 years ago, I’ve used a lot of different kinds of diapers. I’ve learned a lot in the process.
I used cloth diapers for a while, but I stopped. I had a bunch of reasons why I stopped, although I admit that I felt guilty for changing to disposable diapers for a while. Firstly, there was the reality of our situation: we lived in the country and had a small septic tank and a well that was slow to refill. I had to limit my water usage, and washing diapers would have set me over the limit. Secondly, since I used a diaper service, the chemicals they used to whiten the diapers caused my children to break out in their diaper area. Thirdly, I found that it was actually cheaper for me to buy disposables than to pay for diaper service. This may not be true in all areas, but in our area, there were only 2 services available. Both charged me an extra fee because I lived so rurally and they had to travel outside their ‘normal’ area of service. A ‘minor’ consideration which turned out to be somewhat major, was the difficulty I had finding diaper pins in our small, rural area. The fact that these things were difficult to find meant that I spent a lot of time and gas money driving to find supplies when my batch of pins became dull or got lost.
I tried ‘off brand’ diapers after that, thinking that all diapers were really the same. Why shouldn’t I use the inexpensive ones? I found that almost without exception, the off brand diapers were adequate, except for one brand, which is no longer made(remember, I started my diaper journey 15 years ago). I also found that I had to change my children more frequently when they used these diapers. In the long run, I suppose I wasn’t really saving any money at all because of this: it cost me less to buy a pack, but I was using more diapers than I would have if I had bought a more expensive brand of diapers. As my children aged, I found that the ‘off brand’ diapers would not make it all the way through the night without leaking.
When my son came home from the hospital, I used a certain brand that had a dip in the front of the diaper. The idea was that the umbilical cord wouldn’t get irritated or rubbed by the diaper. I really liked those diapers as before then, I’d try to roll the front of the diaper or cut the diaper until the baby’s cord fell off. It was nice to have a diaper that was ready to go, and I’d recommend this diaper for all new parents.
I did some experimenting between the ‘major 3’ brands available when my son was born. I found that one brand caused him to have rashes. One brand just plain didn’t fit his body shape so well. I use the other brand – Luv’s, although I’ve noticed that it sells out quickly in our area.
At night time, I do use Huggie’s Overnight diapers and I’d recommend those to other parents who have trouble with their children wetting through their diapers during the night. Yes, it would be possible to change my son during the night, but I’d prefer to let him sleep if I can. It also means that I’m not washing crib sheets and blankets every day and bathing him when he gets up.
After some experimenting, I’ve decided that the expensive swim diapers are worth every penny. Since we live near the beach and have a pool, my children spend a lot of time in the water. I have tried washable swim diapers, regular diapers, training pants with plastic pants over the diaper, and the swim diapers. The washable swim diapers are OK to use if your child is older and is somewhat potty trained. If your child messes in them, it’s difficult to get the waste out and I found that it doesn’t always stay in the diaper either, which can be embarrassing. Regular diapers swell up greatly in the water and I’ve even seen some ‘explode’ leaving the diaper insides all over the pool and your child. They are also really heavy when soaked! We had one regular diaper weigh in at over 2 pounds after a swimming pool trip! Training pants with plastic pants over them are definitely my second choice given the options. If you are on a tight budget, this might be the option for you.
I am not really thrilled with disposable training pants. When it comes to potty training, I prefer the old school option of heavy cloth underwear and plastic pants, although this option is definitely more work than using disposables.
I found for my children, that the disposable training pants actually seemed to slow down the overall potty training process. I haven’t quite figured out why, but it just happened that way. Several people I’ve talked to also had this experience. Then again, I’ve talked with parents who had just the opposite experience too. There are some great things about the disposables: disposable pants are definitely easier to use if your child makes a mess as you just rip the side off and throw away the diaper. If you don’t have a washer or need to conserve your water, they would be a great choice. They are also great to use at night if your child has outgrown regular diapers and is not yet dry at night time. Of course, all of this convenience can get expensive too.
I’ve tried to share some of my observations and experiences to hopefully help you simplify your diapering choices! However, you may find that your circumstances and issues are different than mine, or that your children don’t have the allergy issues mine did. Whatever diapering decisions you make, I hope that your journey to the ‘diaper free zone’ will be a quick one!