I was recently exchanging some email with the lovely and talented mc, who—in addition to being pretty—had an adorable baby about six weeks ago. The kicker is that (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, mc!) Baby Ess’ due date was actually today, but she was just impatient, I guess. Anyway! On to the question!
While I’m here, I may as well ask a total new mom question for the site: what’s the cheapest place to buy diapers? And from my limited experience, I’m looking for Pampers, since even the Huggies we tried caused multiple leakages, and the ensuing costume changes, in one day. But if there are other cheap brands out there that would actually work for a baby with skinny little legs, I’d love to hear about ’em.
Ahhhhhh, diapers. Gosh, I miss those. HAHAHAHAHA! Sorry. I crack myself up. Heh. Sorry, what were we talking about? Oh! Right. Diapers.
I’m not going to get into a washable vs. disposable argument, here. Let’s assume everyone is capable of making that decision for themselves, and I support you either way, because I’m pretty sure we all have better things to do than to belittle each other’s choices when it comes to our children’s rear ends. I do think that the ease and affordability of cloth diapering has increased about a trillionfold in the last few years, but that’s neither here nor there. There are merits to both, blah blah blah; this question is about disposables. You there, with the cloth diaper—be nice or take it outside.
Back when I had two kids in diapers, during the Pleistocene Era, the cheapest way to stock up was my local warehouse store—hands down. Cases of Pampers (power to the skinny-legged babies, mc!) were priced under cost, and as you could use coupons on top of the low prices, there was really no better way to go.
Right around the time when my oldest was finally giving some indication that she would not, in fact, be going to Harvard in diapers, apparently the big diaper manufacturers decided that they didn’t want warehouse stores using their products for loss leaders any longer. As a result, the price of a case of diapers jumped about $10, bringing it in line with the cost of buying at Target or Walmart type places.
This was aggravating, because I had to come up with a whole new strategy, and for some reason my infant and toddler weren’t amenable to immediate toilet training. Brats.
The first thing I did was to sit down and evaluate my brand loyalty. I, too, was a Pampers devotee. I never could understand people who insisted Huggies were the best—on my kids, Huggies always resulted in my pondering the nature of baby neck folds, and never in a good way. *shudder*
Anyway. If you favor a major brand, the first thing you need to do is go to their website and sign up for coupons and promotions. This is one item where coupons really do add up, and I know that both Huggies and Pampers are great about sending coupons out like clockwork. They also tend to publish coupons in newspaper circulars and such. If you use coupons for nothing else, use them on diapers. You’re going to be buying more diapers than you ever thought possible, so just get into the habit now.
In conjunction with coupons, of course, keep your eyes peeled for sales. The tricky thing with diapers is that you want to stock up, of course, but you just never know when Junior is going to have a growth spurt and you’re going to be left with twelve packages of diapers that don’t fit. That makes the Baby Jesus cry, when that happens. So be judicious when you stock: Buy a few packages in the current size (more if baby just moved up, less if she’s been in that size for a while) and a few packages in the next size.
But before you pledge yourself to the Cult of Designer Diaper, start buying a package here and a package there of cheaper and store brands. Just as all babies are shaped differently and work in some diapers and not others, some store brands are nothing more than cotton fluff and defective velcro and some are pretty good. I can’t tell you “use this one” or “that one is the best” because it really does depend on your baby’s shape and, uh… habits. (Long live the euphemism!)
I do recommend that everyone at least try Luvs. Again, back in the dark ages—and this has changed, and I know it, so don’t send me mail detailing the 26 points on which they differ now—Luvs and Pampers were pretty much the same diaper. I used them with my daughter happily, for years. Then my son came along, and the diapers were updated and changed and subjected to ancient weave-modifying rituals, I don’t know, and suddenly the Luvs leaked and leaked and leaked.
The nice thing about Luvs is that they are not kidding around with that “leak-proof guarantee.” I called them up and before I knew it, I had coupons for two or three free packages, and half a dozen dollars-off coupons, besides.
Now, I know what you’re thinking—why would I want to get some more crummy diapers?? My point is that it’s pretty much low-risk to try this particular brand. Even crummy diapers are handy for a day at home or in a pinch. And sometimes the size 2 diaper that leaks on your kid’s size 2 butt actually works fine in a size 3. I mean, this isn’t as complicated as finding women’s jeans, but you do have to play around with the sizes a bit.
And that brings up another important point: Don’t assume you’ll want one brand, forever and ever, pee without end, amen. There’s nothing wrong with having “going out” diapers and “staying home” diapers. Or—if that just sounds bizarre to you—having daytime diapers and nighttime diapers. Now, sure, you can buy diapers marketed as nighttime diapers. Depending on your baby, you may find you really do “need” those for overnight. Or you may find that store-brand during the day and Pampers at night work just fine. Or that you can skip the nighttime brand simply by going up a size at night. It’s all about experimenting.
(No, no. Not that kind of experimenting. Wasn’t that what got you into this baby situation in the first place?)
Last but not least: Keep online shopping in mind. Amazon regularly does diaper promotions of the “get so much money off with minimum purchase” or “spend this much and get a gift certificate later” variety. Drugstore and Walgreens sometimes clearance out the big-name brands due to old packaging or whatever, as well. Nearly everywhere you can order diapers online is also a place you can get free shipping if you spend enough money. The trade-off of not being able to use your coupons is often acceptable given the savings in gas money.
If none of this sounds good, there’s always elimination communication. Then you don’t need diapers at all! Just 24 hours a day wherein you’re willing to hold your baby over the toilet! WHAT FUN!
(See? Diapers totally sound awesome now, price be damned.)
I hope that helps, mc! Nibble those delectable smooshy baby cheeks for me!