Choosing the right diaper can be a little bit of a minefield, especially if you’re new to the parenting game. For first time parents, you want everything to be perfect, and that includes diapers, which is not an insignificant investment and is going to be part of your baby’s life for the 2-3 years. So you’re right to take it seriously.
There are dozens upon dozens of diapers on the market, and by just checking the packaging you’re not really going get a clear picture on where the diapers rate in terms of absorbency, fit and comfort.
You need an independent guide to walk you through the various options so you can pick the right diaper for you, we have you covered. We’ve done a lot of the hard work for you, by reviewing and selecting the top 5 diapers on the market right now. Both for disposable diapers and cloth diapers. We’ve also looked at the top swim diapers too.
Top 5 disposable diapers
It’s not easy to pick a top 5. Not every parent puts the same emphasis on the same features. We know that many of our readers might want to have as little an impact on the environment, but not all. It could be that you are price driven or just interested in a good value nappy that’s comfortable. What we’ve done is try to select both our top picks from the test results, and pick the top diaper that might appeal to someone who has a specific idea about diapers. For example, those who have a tighter budget, or those who strongly care about the environment. We’ve tried to accommodate everyone.
|1||Nature Baby care||Buy at Amazon.com|
|2||Babyganics||Buy at Amazon.com|
|3||Bambo Nature||Buy at Amazon.com|
|4||Seventh Generation||Buy at Amazon.com|
|5||Babies R Us||Buy at Amazon.com|
Top 5 cloth diapers
There’s no question about it. Cloth diapers are the most ecologically friendly option when it comes to diapering. Plus, just look at them. They look so cool, they’re more than just a diaper these days, and during the summer months, for many, it’s a good option to have your little one in just their diaper to keep them cool. But, similarly to disposable diapers, there are a lot of options, so how do you pick? Well, we’ve made it easy by picking our top 5 favorites for you.
Any of these would be great for your baby, just pick the one that matches your budget and personal preference. Enjoy!
|1||Rumparooz G2||Buy at Amazon.com|
|2||Flip Hybrid||Buy at Amazon.com|
|3||GroVia Hybrid||Buy at Amazon.com|
|4||Blueberry One Size||Buy at Amazon.com|
|5||bumGenious Freetime||Buy at Amazon.com|
Top 5 Swim Diapers
Some of our readers might not be up to speed on the subject of swim diapers. How exactly do they differ from your standard diaper? The main difference is that your standard diaper uses SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer) to absorb the liquid, and SAP just doesn’t work in water. The diaper just expands in water.
So, swim diapers are not actually built to contain fluids. The technology of a diaper just doesn’t work in water, and there currently isn’t a technology on the horizon that’s up to the job. A swim diaper’s job is just to contain poop.
So you are still faced with the option of cloth or disposable. Whereas, for the day-to-day, we would be an advocate of the disposable diaper, the opposite is true for a swim diaper. Disposables might be able to hold in some fluid, but as soon as there’s something solid in them, poop, they sag from the water and the extra weight. If you’re not quick, there’s going to be an accident.
So, it’s cloth diapers for swimming. They might be heavy when wet, but they keep everything inside, and they’re also super comfortable. So here are our top 5 reusable swim diapers.
|1||i.play||Buy at Amazon.com|
|2||Finis Swim Diapers||Buy at Amazon.com|
|3||Alva Swim Diapers||Buy at Amazon.com|
|4||AppleCheeks Swim Diapers||Buy at Amazon.com|
|5||Kushies Swim Diapers||Buy at Amazon.com|
Some tips before we start
As a parent, you probably have your own expectations of a diaper. It could be based on cost, or perhaps health. You might have a “bee in your bonnet” about their effect on the environment or want your diaper to offer the perfect fit. It could be that you’ve set your standards really high and demand all of that?
It makes sense to note down how you feel about all those points, how important they are to you. Perhaps even put them in some kind of order, so you’re clear in your mind, exactly what you’re looking for as you try to sift through the various options.
Next, an important tip is to avoid buying in bulk, not until you’re 100% happy with a diaper you’ve been testing out. Diaper companies have made it their mission to trap you with great pricing on bulk purchases. They understand that people are creatures of habit, and if you were to buy their bulk diapers, you are much more likely to become a regular customer thanks to habit alone. So, avoid that trap.
Another good tip is to put off buying diapers until your baby is born. There are a variety of different diapers for newborns, and they come in different sizes. You could guess and buy them in advance, or your doctor might have given you a heads up on the size of your baby from the last scan, but that’s not particularly accurate, and you might end up having to rush out at the last minute anyway to get some diapers that actually fit.
Final tip. If you’re looking at European brands, pay attention to the sizing, they have their own sizing system, they often use kilograms.
Understanding how a diaper works
As a general rule of thumb, diapers are constructed with 3 very clear layers. The inner layer is the layer that sits against the baby’s skin. It’s obviously designed to be soft and comforting. At the same time, we need this layer to stay as dry as possible and absorb moisture into the core of the diaper. The middle layer is the absorbent component designed to trap the moisture, so it stays away from the skin, to avoid nappy rash. Finally, the outside layer has a waterproof element to help to prevent any leakage.
Make sure to choose a diaper that exceeds absorbency.
As much as we can overcomplicate picking the right diaper, ultimately, we want it to absorb fluid. That means both how much fluid can be absorbed and how well the diaper keeps the fluid away from the inner layer and the baby’s skin. Choosing a diaper that has poor absorption can lead to the baby having persistently damp skin, which itself causes diaper rash and makes your baby uncomfortable. It will be something we test stringently throughout our reviews, and we’ll share our results, so you don’t have to conduct your own research.
Looking deeper into diapers: Introducing SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer)
I don’t want to bore you with too much science, but it doesn’t hurt to understand some of the science behind diapers. For a start, this technology is able to absorb 300 times its weight. It looks like a little white crystal and diapers have a handful of these crystals situated in the core of the diaper.
When it gets wet, the crystals become “gel-like” as they absorb the fluid. Which is how it works. If some of the crystals escape, parents have been known to freak out. Testing has proven time, and again that is safe and non-toxic. Even diapers that promote themselves as green or environmentally friendly will use SAP proudly. It doesn’t have a major impact on the environment, and it’s not dangerous.
Why a well-fitted diaper matters
As you probably know, diapers are categorized or sized by weight. But you have to remember that diapers are similar to clothing. Each manufacturer or brand is sized and shaped differently. And, just like choosing clothes, you need to make sure they fit your baby well. In the case of diapers, it’s especially important because an ill-fitting diaper leads to leakage. Recently, this has been less of an issue with the introduction of a double elastic sealing edge.
Having said that, even with this new technology available, not all diapers fit well. You need to trial them on your own baby because there’s no way of testing this for you. From our experience, a good rule of thumb is how much elastic flexibility the diaper offers. So start there.
Comfort is as important as absorption
We all want your little one to feel as comfortable as possible in their diaper. With babies and their soft skin, it’s the little things that matter. It’s not just the obvious, like the material used because most diaper brands have that covered, it’s the little things like the tabs. Are they made with soft materials? Do they have rounded corners? Are all the edges and seams perfectly made to avoid chafing?
If the environment is important to you, it’s difficult to pick through the information available and determine which diaper is actually better for the environment. A good start is biodegradable diapers. They are designed to have less of a carbon footprint, but they need specific conditions to decompose. If they end up in a dark, airless environment, they are going to struggle. So, perhaps cloth diapers are a better route? But they require so much water and energy to clean them each time, surely that can’t be green?
If you’re determined to be green, you have plenty of options. For example, some diapers use renewable resources, that’s pretty good. Others are biodegradable. Some decide to offset their carbon footprint by contributing to charities. It’s very difficult to give you a definitive answer; you’re going to have to pick your own way through this minefield, the only concrete information we can say is that our testing has suggested that cloth is more environmentally friendly than disposable diapers, other than that, you have to make your own peace.
Focusing on your baby’s health
It’s a given that everyone has their baby’s health as their biggest priority. But some parents have to deal with sensitive babies that need latex free or perfume free options. They might need to ensure they’re using hypoallergenic diapers, but a word of warning, hypoallergenic is not regulated. Some less ethical brands might be using the term for marketing but not actually following through. You need to check for yourself.
Don’t be fooled by Price
New parents often fall into the trap of pricing out diapers depending on the price of the newborn diaper (sometimes called size 1). There is a good reason why the brands want you to do this and why you shouldn’t fall into the trap.
For a start, larger sized diapers cost more, they’re bigger and use more materials, naturally, they’re more expensive. But diaper companies know that we are creatures of habit. There is a good chance that if we use their newborn diaper, we’ll most likely stay loyal to the brand as our child grows, so they make it as affordable as possible to draw us in.
Important note: Some well-known vendors offer an additional discount for a subscription. That’s why it’s important to buy in small amounts at first, test the diaper, make sure it’s not just good “on paper” but that it’s a good fit your baby. Then look at subscriptions that will make diapers more affordable.
Choosing a diaper can be intimidating. Especially if you’re a new parent. But, I want to take a minute to reassure you. Firstly, it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by all this. In fact, it’s probably a good thing. You’re being conscientious and caring about stuff that can be important. But secondly, If you pick one of our top 5 picks, test it to make sure that it’s a good fit for your little one, then you can’t be wrong, then it’s just about which diaper matches your expectations.
If you’re going to do the research yourself, then have a think about what matters to you most. The health of your baby, sure it’s a given that you care about health, but we’re talking how ‘sensitive’ the materials are to ensure there’s no allergic reaction. Comfort and ensuring it’s a good fit is also a consideration. Are you big on taking care of the environment?
Enough to influence your choice of diaper? How important is your impact on the environment? Are you willing to consider a cloth diaper or perhaps a biodegradable? Have this in your mind.
We’re going to make it as easy as possible for you. We’ve done our own extensive tests, and we’ve cherry-picked our top 5 disposable diapers and our top 5 cloth diapers. We’ve also added our top 5 swim diapers. To finish, we’ll give you a size guide. We’ll give you everything you need to be able to pick the best diaper for your little one.