How to Select a Diaper That Works Best for Your Baby

Shopping for diapers? We can help. Here's how to choose the right diapers for your baby.

Here's what you should know about choosing the best diaper for your baby

Trying to find the best diaper for your baby can feel like a huge challenge. It’s not always an easy (or cheap) task to accomplish. After all, there are dozens of brands, sizes, absorbencies, materials, and other factors to consider when choosing the right diapers to buy. While many parents rely on trial and error to determine which brands they prefer for their babies’ needs, there are some things you can consider while browsing at the store to determine if certain diaper types will work well for your baby.

What Must I Consider About Our Family’s Needs Before I Shop for Diapers?

No two babies are built exactly the same, so it’s safe to assume different diaper brands will work better for some parents than they will for others. While it seems frustrating, it’s totally normal. To find the best, most comfortable fit for your baby’s body, there are a few things you can consider before heading to the store.

First, consider your baby’s skin. If your baby has any known allergies or skin sensitivities, such as a sensitivity to latex, perfumes, or dyes, seek diaper options that don’t use harmful materials in their construction. Even a mild reaction can fuel skin irritations, scratching, and fussiness from your baby, so it is best to avoid anything potentially irritating altogether.

Second, consider your bottom line when you’re deciding on your purchase. Are you most interested in finding a diaper with high absorbency? Saving a little extra cash by seeking a cheaper brand? Choosing cloth diapers or ones that are friendlier to the environment? No matter your reason for seeking a new brand, it is best to narrow down your search by focusing on your main goal behind finding a new diaper brand.

What Diaper Features Do I Need to Consider When Shopping for New Diaper Brands?

One of the most important features of any diaper brand is its ability to absorb liquids. The majority of diaper types (including brands labeled “green” diapers for being environmentally conscious) include a special material called Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP). SAP is a special powder that is placed in between the waterproof layers of a diaper. When liquid touches the SAP, it is immediately absorbed and multiplies in size by turning into a gelatinous mass inside the diaper’s inner layers. The more absorbent a diaper is, the less of a chance you have of coming into contact with your baby’s bodily fluids. Also, the absorbency can help your baby avoid an uncomfortable diaper rash by keeping their bottom drier between diaper changes.

Consider the diaper size your baby requires. Finding the right diaper size for your baby is a lot like buying your baby new clothes—sizes between different brands may vary and fit differently from each other. Most diapers include two layers of elastic material around the edges of the leg holes to prevent any excess leaks. Despite having two layers, leaks can still happen if the material forming these layers is too stiff. Diapers that offer softer, more flexible elastic layers can provide a better fit for your baby’s body.

Make sure you have an accurate and current weight measurement for your baby. Babies grow quickly, and since diaper sizing is often based on weight, it is important to know your baby’s current measurements so you can determine which size is right for them. Choosing an ill-fitting diaper, whether it's a single-use or washable diaper, can cause discomfort for your baby as well as excessive leaking and messes for parents to clean up later.

Consider the pricing of diaper brands throughout their entire sizing ranges. Many companies like to make their newborn diapers their cheapest option. This isn’t because newborn sizes are smaller than others; they are priced lower because diaper companies know that parents tend to stick with their baby’s first diaper brand throughout the child’s diaper wearing days. Check the prices for each new size of diapers for each brand you’re considering as an option. You may discover that some prices for sizes 2, 3, and 4 between different brands are much lower than others. If cost is an important factor in your decision making process, analyzing the price markups for larger-sized diapers can help you save significant amounts of cash as your baby’s diaper size needs change over time.

Resources — Baby Gear Lab, What to Expect