Diapers are almost a necessary evil. No matter how much you enjoy and love your baby, changing dirty, smelly diapers is not fun. You will change your baby's diaper about 10 times daily; typically 6 wet diapers and 4 soiled diapers. That is more than 3,000 diaper changes in the first year alone. So it really is no surprise that changing diapers is one of the most time consuming tasks for parents.
There are three different approaches you can take to diapering: disposable diapers, cloth diapers, and a diaper service. You may decide to use a combination of cloth and disposable diapers, depending on whether you are at home or traveling.
Babies are not alike and neither are diapers. Some diapers absorb better in the front, some absorb better in the back, and some diapers leak down the leg. You may need to try several brands to find the one that works best for your baby.
As a general rule, diapers should be changed when wet, regardless of their absorbency. Newborns urinate frequently, around 8-20 times a day, in small amounts. When your baby is closer to one year, your baby may urinate less frequently, around 7-10 times a day, but in greater amounts. Frequent diaper changes will keep your baby's skin healthy and protect your baby's skin from diaper rash. Some babies have very sensitive skin and easily break out in a rash. It is always a good idea to have diaper rash cream on hand as a preventative measure and for healing.
When trying different diapers, you want the diaper to absorb where it is supposed to, but you also want it to fit properly. A diaper that fits properly will help prevent messy leaks, and it will also prevent friction on your baby's skin that can lead to irritation. Diapers are available in many sizes, many with stretchy waist bands and leg openings. Diapers with elastic around the waist and leg opening should be snug to fit comfortably and minimize leakage. Diapers that are too small or closed too tightly around the waist or legs can cause discomfort.
You have many diapering options available to you. If your baby reacts to disposables, you may want to try cloth. If you prefer ease of use and convenience over extra time in the laundry room, disposable may be the best way to go. The diapers you choose will depend on what is available in your area, your lifestyle, your baby's skin sensitivity, the overall cost, and the environment.