Choosing the right diaper for your family can feel like a daunting task—there’s seemingly limitless options, and what really distinguishes one diaper brand from another? And does it even matter? If you’ve found yourself in a 3 AM internet rabbit hole with more questions than when you started, rest assured we’ve been there too. And we’ve come out the other side with the answers you seek.
We asked you to share your most pressing questions on Instagram, then tapped the experts at our personal favorite diaper brand, Coterie, to help us make sense of it all.
How do you know when it’s time to size up?
There are three factors to consider: age, weight, and body shape. This size chart is a great place to start, but remember it’s just a guide, not a hard rule. But what exactly does a proper fit look like in real life? High and snug around your baby’s waist with no gaps in the waist or around the legs. There should be just enough room to slide one finger into the waistband, and the tabs shouldn’t overlap. An increase in blowouts and leaks, especially at night, are often caused by diapers that are too small or lack a customizable fit. So if you were having success with a diaper brand and suddenly find yourself changing crib sheets at 3 AM, it’s probably time to size up. In our experience, Coterie diapers have been best at minimizing leaks, plus their tape closure makes it easy to personalize your fit (note: they do tend to run a bit smaller than your average off-the-shelf brand). However, the most important takeaway here is that sizing guides are based on weight and age averages, and every baby is built differently—it can take some trial and error for you and yours to find your diaper groove.
How do I know if a diaper contains any harmful chemicals?
Look for an explicit statement on the packaging or website that the diapers do not contain parabens, phthalates, alcohol, chlorine, latex, rubber, lotion, and VOCs. We also recommend fragrance and dye-free for an added layer of protection against skin irritation. Lastly, look for “hypoallergenic” or “dermatologist-tested” to ensure maximum skin safety. If a brand works with independent labs to test their diaper safety (Coterie does!), it’s a huge bonus.
Does softness in a diaper matter?
Short answer: yes! Longer answer: For the same reason you probably prefer soft clothing instead of scratchy clothing, soft diapers are more comfortable, but their importance goes beyond that. Babies have extremely delicate skin, and diapers spend a lot of time in close contact with it—soft, gentle materials help minimize irritation, chafing, and even rashes. To minimize diaper rash, you want to reduce friction on the skin and keep the area dry (aka not let wetness sit up against sensitive skin)—Coterie is by far the softest diaper we’ve tested (less friction!), and it’s tested to absorb 2X more liquid up to 4X faster and keep skin up to 3X drier than market leaders (maintaining a dry, skin-friendly environment!).
Can a diaper really help my baby to sleep longer? Sounds too good to be true.
So, there’s no exact way to hold a clinical test to prove that it’s the diaper, and only the diaper, that makes a baby sleep better and/or longer—there’s just too many factors at play here (like light, noise, dreams, hunger, etc.) for the data to be totally accurate. However, we can say for certain that babies wake up at night when wet liquid in a full diaper gets cold, and they start to feel it against their skin. When it gets uncomfortable, they cry. A diaper with more absorbency and faster wicking means the baby doesn’t feel the liquid—they stay warm, dry, and asleep (and so do you). Like we mentioned in the last answer, Coterie out-performs the other leading brands in these areas.
Can diapers be eco-friendly?
No disposable diaper can be 100% biodegradable without sacrificing quality or performance. Disposable diapers require synthetic materials to hold all their layers together. And reusable diapers require more water use. But you can minimize your impact by shopping from brands like Coterie that offset carbon, use sustainable materials wherever possible, and invest in developing alternative materials to eventually replace plastic.
We hope this helps you feel more informed about diapers. If you have a question we didn’t answer, let us know! And if you want a diaper recommendation, you already know from this article that we genuinely love Coterie diapers. LMN readers can enjoy 20% off your first order with code COTERIETLMN*20%.