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The Diaper Debacle: Comparing brands, price and quality

August 02, 2011

by Katie Newingham

Finding the right brand of diapers can be a challenge for new parents. We think they’re all the same until our first blow out occurs, or it’s 4 a.m. and we’re changing our newborns soaking wet clothes for the third time. Then we’re willing to try anything and spend any amount of money to find the “super” diaper.

Just like not all diapers are created equal, neither are our children, SEX matters when choosing the right diaper!


For instance, when my daughter was born I was sent home with a small pack of Pampers Swaddlers, which I used faithfully until her first blowout, in her car seat, on the way home from her first doctors appointment. For those of you who haven’t removed the cover from a car seat, it’s tedious, and the experience will have you rush to the nearest pharmacy in search of a remedy. After trying several brands of diapers, I found the best solution was simply placing a cloth diaper everywhere her bottom would be: bouncer, swing, bed, car seat, etc…

I don’t know if it’s their anatomy, or they’re just different kids, but my son has never had a blowout – at least from the rare. 


My son’s issue was peeing up out of the diaper. Pampers diapers didn’t work for him and we spent the first few days of our little man’s life wishing he’d been born a girl, so we could get some sleep. He would soak through 3-4 outfits a night, but his Pampers newborn diapers would be next to dry. Newby Mom Elizabeth Green recommended we try Luvs, which now have the Leak Guard guarantee. We went out and bought a trial pack, used them that night and instead of 3-4 changes of clothes, we were down to one. Then our pediatrician, who has always used Huggies, told us to point his “hoo-haa” down and fold the top of the flap over toward the inside of the diaper. We tried Huggies and her advice and we no longer have to change our little man’s clothes in the middle of the night. We’re now huge fans of both Huggies, which have cute baby Disney characters on them, and Luvs, which aren’t as cute but are as effective and less expensive!

What about our daughter? We stuck with Pampers Swaddlers/Cruisers for the first year of her life. They were soft and absorbent, and I became addicted to earning points in their Gifts to Grow program. I finally ventured out when the company changed to the “Dry Max” technology. Per their website, the Procter & Gamble company claims the “Dry Max” technology is it’s greatest achievement in 25 years because the diapers are less bulky while absorbing more. Immediately, I noticed the new diapers didn’t absorb as well, especially overnight.

Committed to the cause, and close to earning a potty seat (planning ahead), I decided to buy a pack of Pampers Extra Protection, which were more costly. My daughter woke up dry, but I didn’t like having to spend more money. I had a coupon for Pamper’s Baby Dry and bought a box. They worked just as well as their overnight counterparts, but were less expensive.

Store Brands –vs- Brand Names

To save money I switched to Costco’s store brand Kirkland’s diapers when she was one year, had no issues with leakage during the day and eventually started using them at night too. For the same amount I paid for the largest box of Pampers Swaddlers or Cruisers, I received 20-40 more Kirkland’s diapers.

Newby Mom, Jill Dengerud, uses Target’s brand of diapers when desperate but prefers Walmart’s store brand “Parents Choice” for her two sons. Parents Choice diapers are thinner and not as absorbent in my experience, but Jill learned as soon as they leak, “the key is to move them up a size.” She even has her 1-year-old wearing his brother’s size six diapers and hasn’t had one problem with leakage. She adds, “Parents Choice diapers have no scent, which is good for my two boys who have sensitive skin, and I get twice as many diapers for half the price of brand names.”

Hindsight is 20/20

I could have saved a lot of money on diapers with our daughter had I known about the advice mentioned in this article. In the end, it’s all about breaking it down by the numbers. If I spend $40 per box of 160 brand name diapers and I use roughly 5-6 per day, that’s .25 cents per diaper or $1.50 per day. The average girl spends 2.5 years in diapers, or $1,368.75. The average boy spends three years in diapers, so you get the picture. Store brands are usually one quarter to one half the price of brand names, so even if you have to use 1-2 more diapers a day, it’s still a huge savings for your family. When you have two children in diapers, it becomes essential for most families to save as much money as possible. By switching to store brands, families can save as much as $500 per year!

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