Last updated: August 4, 2021

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Expecting a child comes with a lot of preparation. You have to deal with topics you've never thought about before - like nappies, for example. It's easy to lose track of everything. This guide is intended to help.

In our nappy test 2021 we present you with detailed background information on the subject of nappies. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions. In addition, we present some types of nappies in more detail and give you some criteria to look out for when buying a nappy.




Summary

  • Nappies are your baby's constant companion in the first months of life and allow freedom of movement and dryness.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between disposable nappies and cloth nappies. Both types are available in different variations and designs.
  • Disposable nappies are easy to handle and dispose of. Cloth nappies are reusable and produce very little waste.

The Best Nappies: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a nappy

Which nappy size is suitable for which age?

The most important thing when choosing the right nappy size is, of course, that the nappy fits properly, i.e. that it is not too tight and not too loose and that it guarantees sufficient freedom of movement.

A nappy fits correctly when about two fingers fit between the baby's tummy and the nappy, the little legs are not squeezed in and the nappy does not leak. While cloth nappies usually come in one or two sizes, it is more difficult to make the right choice for disposable nappies.

Below you will find an overview of common sizes and their suitability:

Size 0 (Before, Premature)

0 to 3 kg body weight, premature or multiple births. This size is suitable for newborns in the first few days. We really only recommend this nappy size if your baby is unusually small and under special circumstances.

Size 1 (Newborn)

2 to 4 kg body weight, 1st - 2nd month directly after birth. This size is recommended for a birth weight of less than 3000g. Attention: do not buy too many nappies in stock, because your child will grow out of this nappy size very quickly.

Size 2 (mini)

3 to 6 kg body weight, 2nd to 3rd month after birth. Many parents nappy their babies for the first time with this nappy size, because nowadays many children are born weighing more than 3,000 g. It is important not to use too many nappies. Here it is important not to buy too many nappies in stock, because the child grows quickly.

Size 3 (midi)

4 to 9 kg body weight, 3rd to 6th month after birth.

Size 4 (maxi)

8 to 18 kg body weight, from approx. 6th month up to 18 months. This nappy size is used the longest. It is therefore worthwhile to buy larger quantities in stock.

Size 4+ (maxi plus)

9 to 20 kg body weight. This nappy size has the same fit as size 4, but has increased absorbency.

Size 5 (junior)

From 16 kg body weight. Most children do not need this nappy size at all because they are dry before.

Size 6 (XXL)

18 to 30 kg body weight. The largest nappy size is specially designed for children who wet the bed at night or are dependent on a nappy due to other circumstances such as physical disorders.

The following table summarises the different sizes according to age:

Diaper size age of the baby in months / weight
Size 0 (Before, Premature) Premature babies, small newborns
Size 1 (Newborn) Immediately after birth until approx. 2nd month
Size 2 (Mini) 2nd to 3rd month
Size 3 (Midi) 3rd to 6th month. to 6th month
Size 4 (Maxi) 6th to 18th month
Size 4+(Maxi Plus) 6th to 18th month with increased absorbency
Size 5 (Junior) From 16 kg body weight
Size 6 (XXL) For children between 18 and 30 kg body weight

How much do nappies cost?

Disposable nappies are available in several price ranges - from inexpensive private labels from drugstores and discounters to world-renowned manufacturers. Depending on budget and requirements, there is a suitable model for every family, also financially.

As nappies are an indispensable product for babies and toddlers, it is definitely worth comparing prices and finding the right nappy accordingly.

The nappy of a discounter's own brand often costs less than 15 cents, while that of a well-known premium brand costs twice as much.

The following table summarises the price differences again:

Manufacturer Price
Discounter 0.13 euros per nappy
Brand (Pampers) 0.30 euros per nappy

You might be more interested in using cloth nappies. You can save money over the first years of your baby's life. The individual nappies may cost a few euros, but thanks to their reusability, you save on the regular purchase of new nappies.

However, whether it is really cheaper to use cloth nappies also depends on how you wash your baby.

Which nappies do I use at night?

It is not possible to make a general statement about the perfect and guaranteed leak-proof nappy for at night.

In order to find the best model for you and your child among all the manufacturers, you simply have to try out several and find out which nappy enables a relaxed sleep without a wet baby's bottom.

Every mother has a different favourite and you will find the right nappy for your child's dry and peaceful sleep just as individually.

To find the right nappy for the night, you should simply pay attention to whether your child feels most comfortable with a particular nappy. If your child cries more than usual at night, you should try a different nappy. (Photo: 25444452 / 123RF)

Why is a normal nappy not suitable for the swimming pool and what swimming nappies are there?

Many parents take their children to the swimming pool. There are special nappies for this that don't absorb any liquid, but do the main thing: they don't spread any solid matter in the pool.

For swimming fun in the pool or on summer holidays, a leak-proof swim nappy is part of a family's basic equipment. This is because normal nappies are not suitable for use in the cool water. They would immediately become soaked.

How often do I have to change nappies?

You always have to change your baby when the old nappy is full and wet or has already leaked.

Did you know that a baby needs about 6,000 nappies until it is "housebroken"?

That's six to eight nappies a day, or 2,200 nappy changes a year. In terms of costs, this is not particularly cheap either; parents spend about 800 to 1,000 euros a year on nappies.

At night, it is usually not necessary to change the nappy, unless your child drinks a lot at night. Newborns wet their nappies more often thanks to the breast milk stool, which means that you will have to change the nappy up to ten times a day for the first few months of life.

If your child is a little older, then under normal circumstances you will change nappies between three and five times a day. However, how often your child really needs to be changed is completely individual and cannot be generalised.

Nappies with a special moisture indicator that shows when the nappy is full and needs to be changed are especially suitable for parents of first-time babies.

How do I dispose of disposable nappies?

You can simply put disposable nappies, also called disposable nappies, in the residual waste.

If you choose the disposable system, you will have to dispose of a handful of nappies every day. In some cities there are extra nappy bags for this purpose. In most cases, however, they are disposed of in the residual waste. The nappies are then incinerated. This prevents bacteria and germs from spreading.

Thus, about six million disposable nappies are thrown into the rubbish every day. They thus contribute to a considerable amount of waste, which is worth thinking about in terms of ecological aspects. From this point of view, cloth nappies are the better alternative.

How do I wash cloth nappies?

You don't need to use a special washing programme or detergent for cloth nappies. The boil wash/colour wash programme is sufficient for reliable cleaning.

If you have chosen cloth nappies, you will of course need to wash them after each use so that they can be reused. Of course, you don't want to wash several times a day just to clean a single cloth nappy.

Therefore, they should first be stored open and dry to prevent the formation of germs and ammonia. Before that, the solid waste is disposed of in the toilet.

If you have collected a considerable amount of nappies at the end of the week, the cloth nappies are washed in the washing machine in the boil/colour programme.

Afterwards, we recommend using a dryer to get the cloth nappies ready for use again quickly. This shortens the waiting time, but means more electricity consumption, which could be a burden on your ecological conscience.

Cloth nappies can easily be washed in the washing machine using the boil/colour programme.

Decision: What types of nappies are there and which is right for you?

Despite the widespread use of the term "Pampers" as the naturalised name for disposable nappies, there are basically two types of nappies that parents can choose between:

  • Disposable nappies
  • Cloth nappies

Depending on the criteria you attach particular importance to when buying nappies and daily nappy changing, a different nappy system is suitable for you and your child.

In the following, we would like to help you find out which diaper system is best for you. To do this, we will introduce you to the two nappies and go on to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each diapering system.

Who are disposable nappies suitable for and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The biggest advantage of disposable nappies is definitely that they are as practical and easy to use as they are to dispose of. This makes it the most suitable nappy for everyday use and on the go.

Disposable nappies are largely made of an absorbent material that quickly absorbs moisture from the baby's bottom into the inside of the nappy and traps it there. In this way, it effectively protects against the leakage of liquids.

Baby's skin is kept dry by this and not every bowel movement leaves an unpleasant feeling or causes skin irritation.

Advantages
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to dispose of
  • Practical for travelling
Disadvantages
  • High waste production
  • Purchase of large quantities required

The disposable nappy is the most common type of nappy. Logically, because it is almost unbeatable in its ease of use. Whether on the road, on a trip to the zoo or simply at home - the nappy is quickly changed and disposed of in the rubbish.

Who are cloth nappies best suited for and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Cloth nappies are an ecological alternative to disposable nappies, but in today's form they are in almost no way inferior.

There are basically three different types of cloth nappies. In the case of the two-piece nappy, the main component of the absorbent core, the actual nappy, is supplemented by a protector that prevents the baby's clothes from becoming soaked.

With all-in-one nappies, both components are already integrated in one, similar to a disposable nappy. On the other hand, these cloth nappies are a little more complicated to clean.

A third type of cloth nappy is the so-called pocket nappy. Here, the absorbent pad is inserted into the nappy through a bordered pocket. This means that the absorbent material can be adapted to the needs and cleaning the nappy is not as time-consuming as with an all-in-one nappy.

To further reduce the cleaning effort and to benefit from the advantages of a disposable nappy, a so-called nappy fleece is often additionally used as an insert when diapering with cloth nappies.

Advantages
  • Overall more cost-effective
  • partly more environmentally friendly
Disadvantages
  • Higher cleaning effort
  • More stench
  • Less suitable for on the go

Nappy fleece can be bought on rolls. This makes it easy to tear off the required amount and place it in the cloth nappy. Since more fleece means more absorbency, the material can also be easily folded to guarantee more dryness.

When choosing the right nappy fleece, you should pay attention to the composition. On the one hand, there is fleece made of paper, which is particularly cheap. It has a certain absorbency, is especially suitable for newborns and their mushy stools and can be reused several times.

Cellulose fleece, on the other hand, is a little more expensive to buy, but can be reused several times and is guaranteed to keep baby's skin dry. Nappy fleece and absorbent pads take away the feared disadvantages of modern diapering with cloth materials.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate nappies

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you should consider when you have different nappies to choose from and want to compare them with each other. In this way, we would like to help you decide on the perfect nappy.

All in all, these are the points to consider:

  • Available sizes
  • Handling
  • Product weight including packaging
  • Number of pieces per pack
  • Materials
  • Design
  • Special extras

In the following, you can find out more about the individual purchase criteria and then better classify them.

Available sizes

In order for a nappy to fulfil its function properly, it should fit your child perfectly and not restrict its freedom of movement.

Only then will it be comfortable to wear and hold back what it is supposed to hold back. To find the perfect nappy size, there are different sizes in the disposable nappy range from 0 to 6. Some manufacturers offer so-called plus sizes for certain sizes.

A size 4+, for example, corresponds to fit size 4, but has an increased absorbency. With cloth nappies, there are usually not so many different sizes, but usually only two or three.

Handling

With Pampers and other disposable nappies, you don't usually need instructions. You may have already changed a sibling, godchild or friend's child. It is likely that you have used a disposable nappy.

The part with the fastening strips for the back is placed under the baby's bottom and then connected to the front part of the nappy around the hips on the baby's tummy. Be careful not to close the nappy too tightly, but not too loosely either.

As a rule of thumb, if there is room for two fingers between the nappy and the baby's tummy, then the nappy fits properly.

If you choose a cloth nappy, the diapering systems are more complex. You can choose between folding, tie, insert, system and pant nappies.

Since each system requires a different technique for diapering your baby, you can find some instructions and practical video explanations online. This should enable you to learn the diapering technique for your nappy system and to put it into practice.

Product weight including packaging

If you want to buy disposable nappies for your baby right away when you go shopping for the week, the retail packs are usually quite handy and not heavy to carry.

With a weight of one to two kilos and easily portable plastic packaging, you usually won't have any major transport problems.

Of course, it's even easier if you order online and have your nappies conveniently delivered to your home. Larger economy packs from some manufacturers such as Pampers come in large cardboard boxes and can weigh up to six kilos.

The postman has to do most of the transport. All you have to do is make room for so many nappies and stow them away.

In contrast to disposable nappies, cloth nappy packs logically contain less material and therefore weigh less. This makes transport and storage much easier.

Number of pieces per pack

Many manufacturers of disposable nappies offer handy pack sizes of approx. 20 to 70 nappies in supermarkets or retail stores, as well as large economy packs or monthly packs at a discount.

A large pack often contains well over a hundred nappies. In addition, when you buy such packs, you don't have to go shopping or order as often, but reduce the whole thing to fewer orders or purchases.

With cloth nappies, you mainly buy a starter pack. The individual parts, such as nappy liners and fleece, are bought again and again later.

Produktbild

In addition to the normal pack sizes with 20 to 70 nappies, many manufacturers also offer larger economy or monthly packs.

Materials

Soft and breathable materials keep baby's bottom well taken care of in Pampers and other disposable nappies.

The innermost layer provides the protective layer that absorbs urine and passes it through the absorbent layer underneath. This absorbent layer consists of a polyester layer that can both quickly absorb liquids and conduct them away from baby's skin, as well as being particularly soft and gentle.

Did you know that babies have more bones than adults?

In fact, babies have about 300 bones in their bodies when they are born. Adults have only 206. This is because babies' bones grow together after birth, which explains the loss of almost 100 bones. For example, your baby's skull is very fleshy because of the fontanelles.

Then the fluid is transferred to the absorbent core, which is increasingly made of a certain gel that does not release fluid but keeps it safe. The outer layer of a disposable nappy is made of a cotton-like composite structure that keeps the pants clean.

The fabric of cloth nappies can be made in many different ways. As you will find many different nappy systems in this area, the materials are also correspondingly diverse.

There are absorbent pads made of natural materials like cotton, hemp or bamboo, but also of synthetic fibres like polyester or microfibre. In addition to the different materials, different weaves such as terry cloth, jersey or fleece are also used.

The overpants, and thus the outermost layer, can be made of wool or the very popular polyurethane laminate. This fabric is breathable and water-repellent - properties that you may be familiar with from outdoor clothing.

The following table shows the different materials:

Type of nappy Material
Disposable nappies Absorbent layer made of polyester, outer layer made of cotton-like composite structure
Cloth nappies Can be made of cotton, hemp or bamboo, synthetic fibres.Overtrousers are made of wool or polyurethane laminate.

Design

Cloth nappies are often colourful and creatively designed. Disposable nappies, however, are usually quite plain. The materials simply limit the design possibilities.

Nevertheless, most are dyed with pigments to make them look similar to a piece of clothing or pretty trousers. Unlike dyes, the pigments cannot cause allergies and are therefore not a risk for your baby.

If you like colourful and creatively designed nappies, you are more likely to find what you are looking for in the cloth nappy range. Some of these come in beautiful bright colours and patterns. They make your baby look cute, especially in summer.

Especially in the area of overpants, some manufacturers offer different designs as a variety for every day. Other models are just plain white and offer simple comfort. No matter which design you prefer - you're sure to find the visually appropriate nappy for you.

Special extras

To care for your baby's skin, some inner layers in disposable nappies are soaked in lotions for extra protection. If your baby has particularly sensitive skin, there are also special models on the market that are either additive-free or use fragrance-free lotions.

Interesting facts about nappies

When do I wean my child from nappies?

In the first few months, nappies are both practical and necessary. But at some point you will want to get your little one used to the potty. But when? A very good sign is when the child no longer wants to walk around with a full nappy.

For your child to become dry, it is not only necessary to provide a potty or a toilet seat, but above all the child's will to part with the nappy. For most children, this happens between the 18th and 25th month of life, but it can also happen as late as four years of age.

How long have nappies been around?

From the 19th century until the 1960s, cloth nappies were the order of the day at the changing table and no one knew about Pampers & Co.

With industrialisation, the disposable nappy came onto the market and largely replaced the cloth nappy. Recently, however, the cloth nappy has experienced a revival and is now used again by parents with pleasure.

Windeln aus Stoff

Unlike disposable nappies, cloth nappies are reusable and produce less waste. You may be able to save some money in the long run with cloth nappies. (Photo: PublicDomainPictures / pixabay.com)

Photo source: Pixabay.com / PublicDomainPictures

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