Did you know that the best diapers for breastfeeding babies may be different from what you might choose if you formula feed? Because breastfeeding babies have stools very different from their formula-fed peers, it does make a difference!
Of all the things that you have to buy for your baby, diapers are one of the most important. You’re likely to receive a beginner’s stash of disposables and maybe a pile or two of cloth diapers at your baby shower, but don’t let the choices made by well-intentioned friends sway your diaper decisions.
Your choice will determine the comfort of you and the little one during the first two or three years of life, and you want to maximize your protection against heavy sagging and unexpected blowouts. Why tolerate the messes that come with low-quality diapers when there are so many options on the market for modern parents?
Diapering the Breastfed Baby
It may seem like how you feed your baby has nothing to do with the type of diapers that wrap their bottom, but what goes in does impact what comes out. Your pediatrician or family doctor will likely advise you to track all dirty and wet diapers at least for the first month or two of your baby’s life, but what exactly are you looking for?
In general, it’s expected that most babies will produce at least three stools and five or more wet diapers daily before reaching the second week of life. Breast milk is nutrient-dense, and many small babies will feel the urge to deliver a diaper almost every time they feed in the first few days. Others may seem more relaxed in their output, but they should still have at least one bowel movement and a handful of wet diapers daily.
Since it can take a couple days or maybe a bit longer for a new mother’s milk to drop, it’s common for breastfed babies to produce fewer wet diapers in those first couple of days. As long as your baby is producing at least two wet diapers daily, you probably have no reason to worry. Once your milk fully drops, you will spend a lot more time changing those wet diapers.
There’s one more thing that you can look forward to if you intend to breastfeed exclusively: Your baby’s poop will likely be a bit runnier than babies who receive formula. Those runny, loose stools may even continue up to your baby’s first birthday or beyond, so you may have more blowouts that go up your baby’s back or down the baby’s leg if you aren’t using high-quality diapers.
As your baby gets older, you may also want to take more caution when using swim diapers for the swimming pool. They’re intended to hold in solids rather than being overly absorbent, and runny stools from a breastfeeding baby can sometimes run right out. Again, quality counts for the breastfeeding baby.
How Many Diapers Do You Really Need?
If your baby is producing five or more wet diapers plus a few stools each day, that might lead you to estimate that six diapers are needed daily. That’s actually the absolute minimum that you should keep on hand at all times. This is especially true in the first month because it may take some time to figure out your baby’s unique potty habits and determine how many diapers you need each day.
As your baby gets older, they may have days that they produce more wet or dirty diapers than normal. This is why it’s important to always throw a few extras into the diaper bag or to keep at least seven or eight on hand while at home. Once you start feeding your baby some solid foods, you can look forward to even more changes in the little one’s output.
If you’re using disposables, you may want to keep a stack of cloth diapers on hand so that there’s always a backup if your diaper stash is depleted unexpectedly. It seems like common sense that you need to keep the disposables stocked and that keeping those cloth diapers washed is a necessity, but new moms are incredibly stressed out and sleep deprived. You can cut yourself some slack and take the pressure off by having a backup plan.
Cloth or Disposable Diapers for Breastfeeding Babies?
This debate has been raging for generations, and you will certainly hear the opinions of your loved ones and friends whenever the topic of diapers surfaces. The reality is that both cloth and disposable diapers have their advantages and their limitations, so it ultimately comes down to what fits your lifestyle, your budget and your time availability.
Let’s first take a look at the advantages to using disposable diapers:
- You get to throw them out, which is a good thing for those explosions of loose stools that are bound to come out of all babies at some point.
- Many childcare providers prefer disposables, and many may not even know how to use cloth diapers.
- They’re the fastest and safest option. Forget about taming those squirmy baby legs while trying to stick in a safety pin.
- There are no pins anywhere near your baby’s body. Of course, you can now purchase Snappi Diaper Fasteners to eliminate the pins even with cloth diapers.
- They come in all sizes, so you don’t have to worry about the diaper fitting properly if your baby is unusually small or large.
- Modern diapers are superior when it comes to those moisture-wicking inserts and other technologies that keep babies more comfortable if you can’t get to a diaper change immediately.
Now compare that list to the advantages of using cloth diapers:
- Washing rather than tossing them in the trash can save you a few hundred dollars a year if not a bit more. Of course, you may not save at all if you choose to use a diaper service that washes your dirties and delivers clean diapers to your doorstep. Yet, those services can make cloth diapers almost as convenient as disposables.
- Cloth diapers are more natural. They don’t contain the gels, dyes and other chemicals that are often contained in disposables. There are some disposable diapers designed to be eco-friendlier, but a quality cloth is still the most natural option.
- Since cloth diapers aren’t as absorbent as most disposable diapers, they allow an older baby to notice quite fast when they’re wet or dirty. This may seem like a negative, but it’s a plus once you start potty training.
- There are all kinds of adorable cloth diapers on the market today, and you can choose between a variety of cloth types. Picking them out may be just as fun as picking out clothes for your baby.
- You can make your own cloth diapers, which may save you even more money if you have the time.
- If you pick the right cloth diapers, they may be softer against your baby’s skin than disposable diapers. You also don’t have to worry about those glue tabs getting stuck to your baby’s sensitive skin.
If you still struggle to pick a winner after reading these lists, you’re not alone. Many moms are now using disposables and cloth diapers, so don’t feel pressured to pick one or the other. You may decide to keep your diaper bag and babysitter armed with disposables for their convenience while using primarily cloth diapers at home. For many families, one parent may use disposables while the other goes for the cloth.
You may not know what type of diapers you want to use right away, so consider buying some of both. Give yourself a chance to try them out before making your decision.
Our Favorite Cloth Diapers
There are so many cloth diapers out there today that you can get lost while shopping online. We know that you’re going to find your own favorites, but we couldn’t resist sharing some of our top recommendations.
- Mama Koala Reusable Pocket Diapers – These adorable cloth diapers bring some color into your life, and they will fit any baby up to 35 pounds. They use convenient snaps that allow you to tighten or loosen the diaper, delivering more of a customized fit that grows along with your baby. They’re made from silky suede that is soft against your baby’s skin, and they come with microfiber inserts that are incredibly absorbent.
- Nora’s Nursery Unisex Cloth Diapers – Who says that you need color for cuteness? These diapers come in interesting black and white designs, but the wet bag and absorbent bamboo inserts may grab your attention even more. The diapers are made from suede for softness, and the leg openings are snug without pinching or digging into the baby’s legs. You also get a 100% money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose by trying these out.
- OsoCozy Unbleached Cloth Diapers – If you’re shopping on a budget or you just want to keep it simple, this is a great option. These simple diapers are made from pure cotton, and they’re pre-folded to speed up your diaper changing sessions just a bit. This brand is a favorite for many new mothers trying to keep their diapers as natural as possible.
- Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper – If you want a swim diaper that keeps the pee inside while looking cute, this is our recommendation.
Our Favorite Disposable Diapers for Breastfeeding Babies
You may hear that store brand diapers are just as good as brand name diapers, but experienced mothers will tell you that some of those store brand disposables are straight out of a mom’s nightmares. You could place some brand name disposables in that category as well. Some are clearly better than others, and here are our favorites.
- Pampers Swaddlers – These are the diapers used by many hospitals because they’re designed for comfort as well as strength and efficiency. The newborn diapers are designed with special openings for the umbilical cord to rest naturally, which could keep your baby more comfortable. Another innovative feature is the wetness indicator, which is designed to tell you when your baby may need a change. They’re designed to hold in wetness for up to 12 hours by distributing the urine effectively, which you may appreciate once your baby starts sleeping through the night.
- Andy Pandy Eco-Friendly Bamboo Disposable Diapers – If you’re attracted to cloth diapers because they’re better for the environment but still want the convenience of a disposable, this is perhaps a middle ground. These are made from bamboo, which is an absorbent material that keeps moisture from your baby’s skin without using the chemicals and gels that are found in many competing disposable diapers. Many mothers also like the feel of the bamboo.
- Pampers Pure Protection Disposable Diapers – If your baby has sensitive skin or you just want to eliminate the fragrances, bleach, parabens and allergens found in other disposable diapers, this is the diaper that we recommend. They may cost a bit more, but you can get discounts if you order through Amazon. These diapers are designed to eliminate ingredients that may irritate sensitive skin, and that is essential if you know that your baby is sensitive.
Take Advantage of Diaper Deals
Is your budget one of your primary concerns when selecting diapers for your breastfed baby? As prices seem to go up on most baby items, you’re not alone. Many savvy shoppers are now signing up for Amazon Family to receive up to 20% off diapers and many other baby products. You may also enjoy the parenting newsletter and active online forum that comes with your membership.
You can receive additional discounts by becoming an Amazon Prime member and subscribing for regular diaper deliveries. The more products you subscribe to, the higher your discount may go. With free Prime shipping and auto deliveries, this is often the most affordable as well as the most convenient way to get the diapers that you know are best for your baby.
If you use Amazon for your baby shower registry, you can receive an extra discount while politely telling your loved ones what type of diapers you want to receive.
Other Articles You Might Like:
- Breastfeeding in the First 24 Hours – What to Expect & Tips for Success
- Demand Feeding vs Scheduled Breastfeeding for Newborns – What’s Best for Your Family?
- 20 Mistakes Parents Make to Ruin Their Baby’s Sleep
- Top 10 Breastfeeding Slings and Baby Wraps