We have two kids in diapers, so we singlehandedly account for a good majority of diaper production in the country. With all that experience comes plenty of trial and error as we experimented with different brands and styles on the market. Pampers diapers were our go-to from the beginning – mostly because that’s what we got at the hospital – and they worked well for our daughter.
Our son was a different situation entirely. He’s a big baby. And big babies bring big diaper loads. With one earth-trembling toot, he instantly fills his diaper with a quart of guacamole. That’s what I call it. Referring to his poop as guacamole or pea soup helps me imagine that I’m doing the dishes, a decidedly less disgusting activity. This terminology has the opposite effect on my wife, who gets the urge to vomit every time I tell her our son filled his guacamole bowl again.
Pampers weren’t cutting it. We needed something that could contain both the guacamole and the lemonade. After trying everything, we found the product that really works: Huggies®.
Every Huggies diaper is an engineering marvel. With additional absorbent pads, overflow compartments and dynamic elastic bands encasing every opening, each diaper change feels like you’re insulating a NASA spacecraft. Huggies hold their loads so securely, you’d think the diaper was welded in place. If you haven’t tried these diapers on your own kids, you need to. Heck, on busy days at work, I wish I had a pair for myself to wear. They’re that good.
I was so impressed with their quality, I reached out to Kimberly-Clark (the parent company that makes Huggies®) to see if I could get a glimpse behind the scenes. Thankfully, Jaime Gervais, Product Technical Strategist, agreed to answer my questions. Over the course of our conversation, not only did I learn a lot about Huggies, but I got an expert’s opinion on the art of changing diapers.
9. Huggies testing involves baby mannequins
As I’ve said, everything about a Huggies diaper is perfectly designed, and they include features I wouldn’t expect (like a secondary elastic strap below the lap band). I asked Jaime what kind of testing is involved, and if they used real babies or simulations.
“We do a wide range of testing in the development of our diapers,” she explained. “We do modeling simulations, lab testing, testing on mannequins that mimic babies’ bodies and movement, testing with babies that come to our research centers, and real-life testing with consumers in their homes.” She said all of these methods are necessary to develop new diaper innovations.
8. Diapers are unisex thanks to well-positioned materials
My son tended to leak out of his diapers more north of the border and my daughter leaked out more south. Given that boys and girls have the propensity to leak in different places, I asked Jaime how they account for both scenarios in a single diaper. It’s not like there are “Mister” and “Misses” diapers on the shelves.
“Thankfully, the size and measurements of babies are not that different when they are young; the biggest difference we need to design for is where they pee,” she said, noting that technology going into the materials has improved greatly over the years. “Today, we are able to make sure that the absorbent materials that specialize in getting the pee into the product are placed in the diaper in a way that will work regardless of whether it is a boy or a girl.”
7. The secret to overnight-use diapers is ‘containment gaskets’
Our daughter is just now in the beginning stages of potty training, so we’ve recently gone the route of using diapers designed for overnight use. That opened up a whole new world diaper options, so I asked Jaime to give me some insight into how those diapers are different from their regular product line. That’s when I learned the magic of “containment gaskets,” a term I’m now trying to use at least once every day.
“Sleep is very important in the development of children – and for Mom and Dad!” she said. “Some children happen to wet more than others during their sleep, which can lead to leakage that wakes the child (and mom and dad) during the night. Our Huggies® OverNite diapers are designed to keep the child comfortable and protected. The products need to contain the urine, so they have extra absorbent capacity and containment gaskets that fit against the body to give the protection. Huggies® OverNites are not the only products we make for the nighttime. We also make special Pull-Ups® Nighttime training pants because it can take a while for kids to be potty trained through the night, and using a training pant for consistency is really important for the child.”
She mentioned that there are roughly 6.2 million children between the ages of 4-12 years old are trained to use the potty during the day but still need some extra protection at night while their bodies are still developing. “As children get older, we know it can be stressful for they still wet at night, which is why we take our job of providing an experience that can give the protection and design that is needed seriously — so kids can just be kids. While many of the functional materials are similar to our Huggies® diapers and Pull-Ups® training-pant products, there are some unique differences to make GoodNites do everything they need to do. The products need to work while the kids are extremely active in their sleep and often sleep on their side. Beyond absorbency, special attention is made to make GoodNites look, fit, and feel like the child’s daytime underwear, as we know it is very important for the child’s self-esteem to feel like they are just like all of the other kids, even when they sleep.”
6. It takes hundreds of people to design a new diaper
Huggies diapers are just like any other product that goes through a lengthy development process. Before a new product hits shelves, an impressive number of people have been involved to get it there.
“Hundreds of people from our team are part of bringing new product innovations to market,” Jaime said. “Work ranges from ideation, development manufacturing, distribution, and sales.” Everyone has a role to play in ensuring customers needs are met.
5. It’s okay if the diaper is too tight or too loose
There’s a constant disagreement in our household about how tight we should fasten the diaper’s waistband. It feels like you should air-seal that sucker, but at the same time, you don’t want it to be uncomfortable. I asked Jaime to settle the argument for us.
“Well, you may not want to hear this,” she said, “but you are both right! The reality is that the best fit for the diaper is really based on what you feel is best for your baby to keep them comfortable and keep the mess in the product.” She said that it’s common for parents to have different opinions. “The great news is that the stretchy materials and design that we use in our products allow you to find what you think is best for your baby, while ensuring your baby is comfortable. Parents are the best ones to decide what is right for their baby as everyone is different.”
4. You might fix leaking by simply choosing the next size up
Jaime mentioned to me that the weight ranges on the packages are meant to be guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules. “Every baby is shaped differently, and they all grow at different paces,” she said. “There are lots of reasons for parents to decide to change diaper size. If you think the diaper is getting too snug or too short for your baby, you may need to move up a size, even if your baby still falls into the weight range on the package.” She said that if you’re starting to experience new occurrences of leakage, you may need the extra absorbency that you can get in the next size up.
3. Get those leg cuffs standing upright for maximum protection
Babies wiggle constantly, which makes the diaper-installing process very difficult. Jaime mentioned that one of the tips they give parents is to take a few moments to prepare everything before you start changing the diaper. “Have everything ready and within arms’ reach to make for a shorter, happier diaper change. And also make sure you open the diaper up and that the leg cuffs are standing up to maximize protection.”
So there you have it. Get those leg cuffs up!
2. You should wipe, even if it’s just pee in there
Did you know that rashes in the diaper area are caused by bacteria that reacts with the urine? “It forms ammonia,” said Jaime, “which then irritates the skin. Cleaning your baby’s skin with a baby wipe during a diaper change – even if it’s just pee – is important.” She mentioned that doctors say keeping a baby dry is the best way to prevent diaper rash.
1. Above all, trust yourself
I asked Jaime if she had any other tips for parents when it comes to working with diapers. She said, “Trust your instincts! You’re the one that knows your baby the best. Something that works for you one day may need to change the next. You are the best one to recognize when something different is needed.”
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Categories: Product Reviews
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