Review of the basics
The tabs on the diapers go in the back. You then tape from the back to the front, and this holds the diaper on securely. (This may seem self-explanatory, but for beginning diaperers, it is not always easy to tell the front from the back -- of the diaper that is!)
Make sure the diaper fits your baby properly. You may have to try several brands to see which offers the best fit. The moms we interviewed all said that the different brands of diapers fit their children individually, and they all had a favorite brand. Ensuring a proper fit will keep leakage to a minimum and also make baby happier.
Dispose of the diapers properly. Follow the package instructions for disposing of solid wastes in the toilet prior to throwing the diaper away. Failure to do this can result in disease and contamination of water supplies as well as some other nasty problems, so make sure to read the package carefully.
Try the store brands at your own risk. Many of the mothers we spoke to said that the diapers worked well for them, especially the ones from Costco, Sam's Club and Wal-Mart. But other mothers were disappointed with the results. Since buying in bulk is not always a better bargain, ask your friends for recommendations on specific store brands that work for them and offer to buy a few diapers from them directly as test subjects. If these work well, then invest in the whole case.
Natalie W. has another little trick for store brand diapers. "I buy 'cheap' off-brand or store diapers for daytime use AND more pricey, higher quality ones for overnight. I do think the 'Ultra' and 'Premium' - type diapers are more absorbent. But, with very young babies, absorbency isn't really an issue. In my opinion, it just doesn't make sense to put them in expensive diapers; they'll often soil it the minute you put it on anyway!"
Diapers are formulated differently. One mother we spoke to said that Luvs was the only brand that didn't give her son a rash, while another reported that Luvs was consistently the brand that caused diaper rash on her three children. Trial and error is unfortunately the only way to discover which brand will work best for your baby's skin type.
Now that we have covered the basics, here are some tips from moms in the know. Dawn L. told us that she always carries a couple of extra plastic grocery bags in her diaper bag. This makes disposing of a dirty diaper much more sanitary, and the bags can also be used for dirty clothes. Remember to keep the plastic bags out of reach of the baby, as they are a suffocation hazard.
Peggy tells an interesting story of how her dog loved to eat the diapers. Her husband was mortified and almost had her come home from work to deal with "the situation." As gross as this is, other pet owners report the same situation so it is best to get a Diaper Genie or other locking device to keep out curious pets. In case you haven't been introduced to a Diaper Genie yet, they have a locking top and feature special bags that compact the used diapers into a plastic-coated "sausage." Moms can't say enough about them.
Michelle P., mother of three, says, "Even if you've just changed your child an hour before, put a fresh diaper on just before bedtime. It will make your child much more comfortable for the night and chances are you won't be greeted with a soaked diaper that's falling apart in the morning."
Theresa R. confided that she tried both the boy's and girl's diapers on her daughter. She concluded that both diapers performed about the same, but the boy's diaper package had two or three more diapers than the girl's package. She suggests trying out both styles and going with the package with the most diapers.
Natalie W., mother of 4, suggests, "I keep my kids in the smaller size as long as possible since there are more diapers per pack for the same price. The sizes overlap, like small 14-21 lbs. and med. 19-24 lbs. etc. so you can do this for several weeks before needing to up-size."
The one thing that all the moms agreed on was the need for trial and error. Each child is individual in their diaper needs, and it may take trying several brands and styles before finding the right one for your baby. Don't be afraid to talk to other moms and dads and ask for their tips and suggestions. Finally, remember that this is a transitional phase. Your baby won't always need diapers, so any problems you might be having will be over in a little while. Enjoy the rest of your time with your baby as she will be growing up soon enough.