Which diapers for sensitive skin are best?
Every parent knows the inordinate amount of time and money spent on diapers. For many, the fight against diaper rash can feel like an uphill battle, especially if your baby has sensitive skin.
In the battle against your baby’s diaper rash, you need the best diapers for sensitive skin. A favorite of parents with babies who have sensitive skin is The Honest Company Baby Diaper. Designed with plant-based materials, these diapers are proving to be one of the best on the market and a must for any parent of a sensitive-skin baby.
What to know before you buy a diaper for sensitive skin
Finding the right diaper for a baby with sensitive skin can be tricky. The first step is understanding the types of diapers available to you.
An option to consider is cloth diapers. It comes in a few forms. With prefold cloth diapers, you diaper your baby with a cloth rectangle and cover it with a waterproof layer to prevent leaks. These prefold cloth diapers come in a variety of fabrics, including bamboo, cotton and hemp.
Another cloth diaper option is the hybrid cloth diaper. It brings the benefits of a cloth diaper while remaining convenient. It consists of a waterproof layer on the outside and two types of inner absorbent layers.
The all-in-one cloth diapers are one single piece and a favorite for those who choose cloth diapers. The waterproof layer on the outside is sewn together with the absorbent inner layer so when it’s soiled, you simply throw the one piece in the laundry.
Pocket cloth diapers are often compared to all-in-one cloth diapers. While similar, pocket cloth diapers have a built-in pocket on the inside. This is made of material that wicks away moisture. It does have a removable insert you’ll have to work with.
One-size cloth diapers are the ultimate cloth diaper. They grow with your baby thanks to an intricate system of closures that allow you to customize the fit. While these tend to be the most expensive, they will last for years.
Finally, there are disposable diapers. They are sold in different sizes determined by your baby’s weight. Disposable diapers are better at holding more liquid than cloth diapers and are undeniably more convenient. That being said, they often have chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin.
One chemical to be aware of is sodium polyacrylate. It’s used in the absorbent core of disposable diapers. According to BabyCenter, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found inhaling small particles of sodium polyacrylate can irritate the airway, though it’s currently not considered toxic. The publication Clinics in Dermatology tells us about a case of a possible allergic reaction resulting in skin irritation because of sodium polyacrylate.
Dyes are also present in many disposable diapers. While these are generally considered safe, there are some rare reports of allergic reactions. Perfumes are a similar case. Some babies are more sensitive to citral and the other mild perfumes used in diapers. This can lead to skin irritation.
The last chemical to be aware of are dioxins. In the absorbent layer of the diaper, there is often wood pulp. That’s where we find the dioxins. They are a chemical that becomes present when the wood pulp is bleached with chlorine. Experts are aware that dioxins can cause cancer. Although there are generally not enough dioxins in a diaper to even be a close call for something serious, they may cause irritation.
One of the biggest concerns when you have a baby with sensitive skin is persistent diaper rash. If your baby’s skin is especially delicate, they will be more likely to get irritant diaper rash, also known as irritant dermatitis. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you can identify this by pink or red patches on the buttocks, but normal-looking groin folds.
Another possible cause of your baby’s diaper rash is an allergic reaction, something common with babies who have particularly sensitive skin. This is a reaction to a specific ingredient and you’ll notice the rash flare up every time your baby is exposed to the ingredient. To be sure, the AAP recommends switching brands for a couple of weeks.
During your search for the right diaper for your baby with sensitive skin, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Amount of work
There’s a big reason parents of babies with sensitive skin love cloth diapers: there are no chemicals. You can rest assured the only chemical it touches is your laundry detergent. However, cloth diapers require more effort. There’s significantly more laundry and the diaper changing process is more involved.
Disposable diapers, on the other hand, are extremely convenient. That being said, there’s a definite chance of irritants being in the material. Depending on how much work you want to put into diapering your child, you may choose one over the other.
Whichever type of diaper you choose, the fit should be in the forefront of your mind. If the diaper doesn’t fit properly, it will rub against your baby’s soft skin and cause irritation. Some diapers are more contoured than others and not all brands fit the same way. Pay attention to how your baby’s diapers are fitting and don’t be afraid to size up or down as needed.
There’s a new kid on the block when it comes to diaper material: bamboo. More companies are turning to bamboo as their primary material and for good reason. Bamboo is not only hypoallergenic, antibacterial and bacteriostatic, but it’s also chemical-free so it’s easier on sensitive skin. It also absorbs more liquid and it’s biodegradable, making it a more eco-friendly option for disposables.
What to look for in a quality diaper for sensitive skin
Some diaper companies include additives in the lining of their diapers. Typically, these will be lotions. Often it’s a petroleum-based lotion that helps to protect your baby’s skin by lubricating it as the diaper rubs against them. While the addition of lotion is a good idea, it often means there are fragrances in the diapers, as well, meaning more chemicals.
Just like you don’t want to lounge around in tight pants, your baby doesn’t want a tight, rigid diaper. Stretch is important for comfort. It also means a better fit and easier changes.
Depending on the brand of diaper, you may find a wetness indicator. This is a stripe on the front of the diaper that turns a different color when your baby urinates. This helps indicate early when your baby’s diaper is wet so you can change it faster rather than letting that sensitive skin sit in the wetness.
Babies and toddlers are busy. They are exploring and learning about the world. With that, you need their diaper to stay on so strong fasteners on the diaper you choose is an important feature. Look for one with Velcro fasteners instead of tape. These tend to hold in place better.
How much you can expect to spend on diapers for sensitive skin
For cloth diapers, you can expect to spend anywhere from $2-$20, depending on the style of cloth diapers. A box of disposable diapers typically falls between $10-$50. The price is dependent on the brand and the number of diapers in the box.
Diapers for sensitive skin FAQ
Can certain diapers cause a rash?
A. Diaper rash most often comes from soiled diapers that are changed too infrequently, a baby having sensitive skin or chafing. While no diaper will be the direct cause of a rash, some have more chemicals that could cause a reaction. The key is watching how your baby’s skin reacts to the products you put on it and changing your baby’s diaper frequently.
How can you tell if a baby is allergic to diapers?
A. The key to telling whether your baby is having an allergic reaction is to pay attention to what their skin does. If you notice redness, tenderness, redness around the anus or peeling skin, it could be an allergic reaction. If you’re concerned, speak with your doctor.
Are baths good for diaper rash?
A. Baths are a great way to treat diaper rash. Giving your baby frequent baths with warm water and a mild baby soap can help soothe the rash, especially if you use a soap with colloidal oatmeal.
What are the best diapers for sensitive skin to buy?
Top diaper for sensitive skin
What you need to know: The Honest Company Diapers are a crowd favorite thanks to their plant-based materials that are gentle on sensitive skin.
What you’ll love: These diapers are constructed to have multiple layers that pull moisture away from your child’s skin quickly. They are also sustainably sourced, making them a great choice for the eco-conscious parent.
What you should consider: These tend to run small so you may have to buy two sizes to find the right one.
Top diapers for sensitive skin for the money
What you need to know: Babyganics Ultra Absorbent Diapers are an organic option at an affordable price.
What you’ll love: These are designed specifically to be free of chemicals and irritants so they are perfect for baby’s with sensitive skin. They also have a plant-based core, as well as a wetness indicator for your convenience.
What you should consider: Some users report they have a tendency to leak so check that you have the right size.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: ALVABABY Cloth Diapers are a great way to step into the world of cloth diapers without overspending.
What you’ll love: These are cloth diapers that grow with your baby through their system of snaps to customize the fit. Great quality and a low price, these are highly recommended for first-time cloth diaper users.
What you should consider: You may find there are occasional leaks.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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