During their early life your baby will spend almost all their time in a diaper, so it’s vitally important that the fit is correct to prevent avoidable leaks and more mess than is absolutely necessary!
But how exactly should a diaper fit, and how do you know when one is too big?
The majority of diaper (or nappy) brands provide size charts that are based on the average weight of a baby, which on the whole is accurate and helpful.
However, as you may have already found out, the “average” can vary tremendously when it comes to babies, especially given differing growth and development rates.
It’s helpful to parents to know that when a diaper is too big, you are likely to experience leakages, blowouts, excessive gaps around the waistband and leg openings, sagging and difficulty tying the tabs.
Let’s take a look at these signs in more detail.
If you find that your little one is frequently peeing through their diaper, there’s a good chance that the size they are wearing is too large for them.
This is because a large size can cause pee to leak out from the waist and thighs (more on this in a second).
Leakages can naturally happen even if you baby is in the right sized diaper, and they are more common overnight or when your child has spent a long time wearing the same diaper.
But if your baby is leaking through on those occasions when their diaper was only recently changed, it could be a tell tale sign that you need to go down a size and exchange any unopened diapers to the store you bought them from.
Similarly, if you feel like you’re having to deal with more than your fair share of poop explosions and blowouts, the culprit could be a diaper that’s too large.
Apart from being a pain to clean, blowouts can dirty everything in sight, from onesies and other clothing to blankets, bedding and everything in between.
Diapers typically do what they are designed to do (i.e. hold pee and poop) pretty well, so if poop explosions are all too frequent, it could be a sign you need to drop down a size.
Related: The Complete Guide To Buying & Caring For Baby Clothes
3. Gaps Around The Edges
When a diaper fits well the waistband and thigh or leg cuffs should appear snug.
This means there should be no gaps around the edges, and ideally there should be enough room for you to fit one or two fingers underneath.
If there is space in between your baby’s waist or thighs and their diaper then it’s not hard to see how leakages and blowouts occur.
Quite simply, a diaper that is too loose cannot contain the pee and poop inside, and will therefore let the contents out, typically via the leg opening or the back of the diaper.
We’re not talking about sagging when the diaper is full, because this is a natural consequence of a diaper that is holding pee and poop.
The sign we are talking about is when your child’s diaper sags when it’s empty or only partially full, because this is a probable indication that the diaper they are wearing is too big for their body.
5. Hard To Tie The Tabs
When a diaper or nappy fits well, it should close easily, which means it should neither be too easy nor too difficult to pin the diaper closed using the tabs.
The final sign to look out for is therefore whether you need to pull the tabs tightly towards your child’s belly button in order to close the diaper.
Having to pull and stretch the tabs a little is fine, but if you are having to exert quite a bit of pressure and really pull them round, it’s probably another indication that your child’s diaper size is too big.
How Should A Diaper Fit?
We’ve seen what a diaper that is too big looks like, but what exactly does a good diaper fit look like?
Here are 5 signs your baby is wearing the correct diaper size:
- The diaper closes easily – if you need to pull the tabs towards the belly button it may be too big; if the closure tabs are too close to your child’s hips, the diaper may be too small.
- The waistband and thigh cuffs appears snug, with no gaps around the edges (gaps would indicate it’s too big). Ideally there should be enough room for you to fit one or two fingers underneath.
- Leakages and blowouts are relatively uncommon – they they might still happen occasionally, but if they are occurring too often it could be a sign you need to size up or down.
- Your baby’s bottom and belly button are covered.
- There are no red marks around your child’s waist or legs – this would indicate the diaper is too small.