/ Parenting

Is it time to change your nappies?

A baby wearing a nappy

Before I had my first child, I’d never changed a nappy in my life. I’d certainly never considered what brand I should buy. But the results of our latest survey show the brand you choose can make a big difference.

When I came to buy my first pack of nappies, I simply bought the brand I’d heard of – Pampers. Over time, the way I changed a nappy evolved – you learn all sorts of tricks to avoid getting covered in a fresh delivery of what you’re trying to clean off.

But over all that time, the brand I used didn’t change. So I was fascinated to see the results of our latest survey, in which we asked nearly 1,500 parents about their experiences with nappies.

Best nappies for value

Our survey found a real mix of how well brands did. Some of the more expensive brands did well while others were rated poorly, and some basic brands did better than I’d have expected. However, I’m not alone in my choice of nappies – as 41% of people we surveyed buy Pampers, making it the most popular brand of disposable nappy.

Disposable Nappies infographicEven with my second baby, I stuck with Pampers. So why didn’t I shop around to see which brand offered the best value? A combination of extreme tiredness and the nappies doing what they were supposed to, meant I didn’t see the need for change.

It can be hard to try a range a different brands and see how you get on. After all, you can’t really afford to throw nappies away if you don’t like them. A year’s worth of nappies from one of the most expensive brands could set you back £438 a year at current prices.

And even if you go with a cheaper brand, the money you save can turn out to be a false economy. Particularly if you end up using your washing machine more often as your nappies regularly let you down. However, you might amuse friends and family as they watch you try to cope with the fallout.

But our survey found that you don’t necessarily have to spend huge amounts to get great nappies. In fact, the two best nappy brands varied in price by a not insignificant 6p per nappy. The cheaper of the two brands came in at 7p per nappy, while the more expensive brand came in at 13p or 14p per nappy, depending on where you shop.

Reusable or disposable nappies?

Considering that a baby can go through more than 4,000 nappies until they’re potty trained, many parents choose to use reusable nappies instead of disposables. However, they didn’t fare quite so well in our survey, as the top scoring reusable nappy brand gained a customer score of 67%, compared to 73% for disposables.

Did you chop and change nappy brands, or stick with the same one? Did you ever try reusable nappies, and did they save you money?

Dean says:
2 October 2016

Recently tried Tesco Loves Baby Easy Fit (5 – Junior) disposable nappies to save a few pounds on our usual Pampers. Never again! They leak terribly and fit poorly compared to Pampers. Due to the poor containment and fit, my daughter now has some very raw and painful areas that is causing her considerable pain. Absolutely not worth compromising – lesson learnt!

Well done Dean for discovering this Conversation – yours is the first comment since it was launched in May 2013. I cannot understand why it’s taken so long to get going – it’s an important topic for hundreds of thousands of people every year [double that if you include the infants].

When I think of what I had to put up with in the late 1940’s, today’s baby really is pampered. Any of the modern products must be ten times better than the terry towelling nappies that were boiled to death and became as coarse as sandpaper in hard water areas because people could not afford to have more than a few and they had to last. Mothers who opt for terry nappies today are probably getting a far superior product and washing performance is also much better.

All my chums were smothered in Nivea, so since it’s Sunday there’s time for some trivia: Something I have never understood is how a popular pipe tobacco by Dunhill came to be called “Baby’s Bottom” – you would think that would be a marketing disaster but apparently it was its smooth smoking characteristics that had appeal. I have no idea what it smelled like. In response to many requests, the blend was relaunched earlier this year under the anonymous description of Blend 1938 BB [for obvious reasons of sensitivity in these more correct and careful times].