Huggies Little Snugglers Vs. Pampers Swaddlers (New Born)
I wanted to use cloth diapers on my new born, 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. 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.
The size of the new born diapers are the same with both brands and the design looks almost identical with the exception of the closure tab shape and waistband. Both brand diapers work the same, however the Huggies tabs presented some problems.
First, the tabs are not part of the Huggies diaper itself, but 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, making more work for the parent who has to continually fish the tabs out and manoeuvre them into place.
The tabs are on stretchy material attached to back of the diaper which means that baby's sides were not covered by diaper if the waistband folds in. Moreover, the stretchy material is flimsy and a rushed or unmindful parent is apt to yank the tab right off the diaper.
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 required 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.
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. The tab placement ensures that the diaper wraps completely around baby, so her hips were fully covered. No matter how active baby is, the tabs stay put.
The tabs give Pampers a huge advantage over Huggies in function.
Which "Babies" theme do you prefer?
Huggies has a cute Baby Pooh Bear pattern with 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.
Umbilical Cord Clearance
The Huggies brand umbilical cord cut out has better clearance of the belly 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.
Huggies also 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. 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 common complaint from parents.
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!). There has also been no appearance of silica with Pampers, however when baby pees, the diaper occasionally emits an unpleasant chemical smell.
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, however Daddy finds the indicator priceless.
It's slowly grown on me, but I'd rather 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 find a wetness indicator useful?
Problems with Huggies
Despite their acclaimed Baby Shape® design, the Huggies new born diapers leave an excess of material hanging down between the legs. This bulge will not go away regardless of how high you hike the diaper up baby’s crotch or tightly you secure the waist tabs.
They also 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.
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.
The Pampers Preemie diapers fold perfectly around baby’s bum and when the diaper is affixed around her waist, the legs gussets seal 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 new born diapers. This was the case. However, just like the Huggies, the Pampers new born diapers also has excess material between the legs that cause unwanted bulk (although not as big) and a slight gap around the leg. Unlike the Huggies, the interior gussets seal snugly, eliminating the likelihood of leakage. Moreover, the Pampers continued to fit nicely when baby reached 7 pounds.
Bonus points to Pampers for a great fit.
[Price in 2012] Both Huggies and Pampers brands offer new born diapers in a 36 pack for $13.97 CAD. This works out to 38.8 cents per diaper. Neither brand has the advantage in this category.
UPDATE Feb. 2015: A 36 pack of Huggies Little Snugglers newborn diapers is $29.95 CDN (83¢ / diaper) while a 36 pack of Pampers Swaddlers newborn diapers is $22.99 CDN (64¢ / diaper) ... WOW, that's a HUGE price difference!
Conclusion: Huggies failed to perform
These two diapers seem to be clones of each other, right down to price. While the Huggies brand appears to be higher quality due to their 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.
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 and the absorbency is 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 lbs and was finally big enough to fit in cloth diapers, we did a ton of research to find the best ones and made a huge financial investment in the cloth diapers we thought would suit us best. And then, we discovered a few hitches to the "eco-parent dream". Here is my review of Flip Hybrid Cloth Diapers.
Baby Shape ® and the Dry Touch ® are registered trademarks of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.
Winnie the Pooh characters are registered trademarks or copyrights of Walt Disney.
Sesame Street characters are registered trademarks or copyrights of the Children's Television Workshop.