Huggies Little Snugglers vs. Pampers Swaddlers (Newborn)
Which Diaper Is Better?
I wanted to use cloth diapers on my newborn; however, she arrived 6 weeks early, and I was left with little choice but to use disposable diapers until she was big enough to fit into cloth ones. This gave me the opportunity to use and compare the two big-name diaper brands: Huggies and Pampers. While these products look almost the same and tout similar perks, they were not created equal, as I found out.
Pampers Worked Best for My Baby
My ultimate conclusion is that Pampers Swaddlers are better, at least up until diaper size 3. To see why I chose Pampers, let's compare the following aspects of these two diapers:
- Visual Appeal
- Umbilical Cord Clearance
- Wetness Indicator
The size of the newborn diapers is the same for both brands, and the design looks almost identical—with the exception of the closure tab shape and the waistband. Both brands of diapers work the same; however, the Huggies tabs presented some problems.
- Con: First, the tabs are not part of the Huggies diaper itself; they're merely attached to the side of the diaper. This causes problems when putting the diaper on baby. The tabs flop and fold into the diaper, creating more work for the parent who has to continually fish the tabs out and manoeuvre them into place.
- Con: The tabs are on stretchy material attached to the back of the diaper, which means that baby's sides were not covered by the diaper if the waistband folded in.
- Con: The stretchy material is flimsy, and a rushed or unmindful parent is apt to yank the tab right off the diaper.
- Con: Lastly, I discovered that the round shape meant there was less tab surface holding onto the waistband. When baby is active, the Huggies diaper tabs become loose and require frequent refastening to make sure the diaper doesn’t fall off.
And, yes, the diaper does fall off. We had an unpleasant episode of baby pee leaking all over because the tab on one side had come undone and the diaper had skewed enough that baby wasn't properly covered.
- Pro: While the Pampers tabs are not as visually aesthetic, they are a more solid part of the diaper. When you open the diaper and pull out the tabs, they stay there.
- Pro: The tab placement ensures that the diaper wraps completely around baby, so her hips were fully covered.
- Pro: No matter how active baby is, the tabs stay put.
The tabs give Pampers a huge advantage over Huggies in function.
2. Visual Appeal
Huggies has a cute Baby Pooh Bear pattern with a colourful print while Pampers sports the Sesame Street Babies. While the commercial invention and prostitution of “baby” versions of beloved characters is offensive to me, I’d much rather look at Baby Pooh than the slightly creepy Sesame Street Babies.
The Huggies brand gets my vote for this category.
Which Looks Better to You?
Which "babies" theme do you prefer?
3. Umbilical Cord Clearance
The Huggies brand umbilical cord cut-out has better belly clearance than the Pampers umbilical cord notch. However, I found that the top of the Pampers-brand diaper above the waist is loose enough that it does not interfere with or irritate the umbilical cord in any way.
- Pro: Huggies has a Dry Touch® liner made to quickly pull moisture away from baby. This equates to an extra layer of what looks like quilting on the inside of the diaper.
- Con: We've discovered that these diapers use silica gel to lock in wetness. Daddy found little silica beads on baby when changing her wet diaper, which was both annoying and disturbing. After a bit of online research, I discovered that, ironically, the "leak lock" technology . . . well, leaks. The leakage of silica onto babies wearing Huggies diapers is a common complaint from parents.
- Pro: The Pampers diaper lacks the extra quilted layer; however, I found that it is not necessary. During my first “baby pees when the diaper is off” experience, I grabbed a Pampers diaper to use as a shield and discovered that this brand soaks up wetness immediately (thank goodness!).
- Pro: There has been no appearance of silica with Pampers.
- Con: When baby pees, the diaper occasionally emits an unpleasant chemical smell.
5. Wetness Indicator
Both brands have a wetness indicator in the form of a yellow line that runs down the middle of the diaper from front to back. When the diaper is wet, the line turns blue.
Do I find a wetness indicator useful? Not really. I find it near impossible to miss the heavy bulk and smell of a wet diaper. I’ve never needed an indicator in the past and never think to look for one. This is a pointless “perk” for me, although Daddy finds the indicator priceless.
It's slowly grown on me, but I'd rather have a diaper with a “poop indicator” so we don't have to do the "sniff test" to find out if baby left us a present.
Do You Use It?
Do you find a wetness indicator useful?
How Huggies Fit
- Con: Despite their acclaimed Baby Shape® design, the Huggies newborn diapers leave an excess of material hanging down between the legs (see the photo above). This bulge will not go away, regardless of how high you hike the diaper up baby’s crotch or how tightly you secure the waist tabs.
- Con: They also leave a gap around baby’s legs, regardless of their double gusset leg design. No matter how I adjusted the diaper or waist tabs, I could not create a snug fit around the legs. It seems that Huggies are made for babies with chubby legs only, and the Dry Touch® liner is no protection against leakage when baby has a squishy bowel movement.
- Con: When baby finally reached a respectable 7 pounds, I expected the gussets to fit better around the legs. They did. Unfortunately, the waist no longer fit properly. The tabs were so low that they cut into the top of baby's legs when she tried to move. I tried securing the tabs higher on the waistband, but the problem was the low anchor point of the tabs. The next size up (Stage 1) was still too big for baby, making it a no-win situation with the Huggies.
How Pampers Fit
- Pro: The Pampers Preemie diapers folded perfectly around baby’s bum, and when the diaper was affixed around her waist, the leg gussets sealed nice and snug. I was confident that the fit would continue to be just as superior when baby finally reached 5 pounds and could fit into the less expensive newborn diapers. This was the case. The Pampers continued to fit nicely when baby reached 7 pounds.
- Pro: Unlike the Huggies, the interior gussets seal snugly, eliminating the likelihood of leakage.
- Con: However, just like the Huggies, the Pampers newborn diapers also have excess material between the legs that cause unwanted bulk (although not as big).
- Con: The Pampers diapers also have a slight gap around the leg.
Bonus points to Pampers for a great fit.
Conclusion: Huggies Failed to Perform
These two diapers seem to be clones of each other, right down to the price. While the Huggies brand appears to be higher quality due to its special perks, those perks could not propel them above Pampers in functionality.
The fit was the biggest deciding factor for me. One package of Huggies was enough of a nightmare that my darling baby went right back into Pampers, and there she’ll stay until she’s big enough to fit into cloth diapers.
Update: Baby Outgrows the Pampers
When baby hit size 3 in diapers, Pampers began to give us problems. We had leaks and actual soak-through problems after a few hours. We reluctantly switched to Huggies, and, although we still hated the silica beads, Huggies fit baby better now. The absorbency is also much better.
For a while, we used President's Choice diapers, but as she moved into toddler sizes, they stopped fitting properly and just didn't absorb enough to make it through the night. So, we were stuck with the same dilemma: Huggies Pull-Ups or Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants?
What About Cloth Diapers?
When our daughter reached 8 pounds and was finally big enough to fit in cloth diapers, we did a ton of research to find the best ones. We made a huge financial investment in the cloth diapers we thought would suit us best. And then, we discovered a few hitches in the "eco-parent dream". Here is my review of Flip Hybrid Cloth Diapers.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.