For some reason, disposable diapers feel like a relatively new invention. But actually, they were invented in 1949 by a mom who made them herself and sold them at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. She got $1 million for the patent rights. Today, the diaper industry brings in about $50 billion a year. Now might be a great time to buy stock in Procter & Gamble.
With a new baby on board, you will be changing a lot of diapers over the next few years — until they potty train, which might feel like a million years from now but will be here before you know it!
Here's what our Mommy M.D.s — doctors who are also mothers — do to make changing their own babies' diapers easier.
"A baby's first few diaper changes can be tricky," says Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year," nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky. "That's because meconium, a thick, dark green, tarlike substance that lines your baby's intestines before birth, can be a real challenge to remove from your newborn baby's tender bottom. Normally, meconium is expelled with the stool in the first two to three days of life.
"I found that olive oil works beautifully," McAllister adds. "It helps remove the messy meconium without scrubbing and tugging. Olive oil is very gentle, so it cleans without irritating your baby's sensitive skin."
"I never thought I would need a Diaper Genie, but it was key," says Rachel Rohde, M.D., a mom of a daughter and a son, an associate professor at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and a partner in Michigan Orthopaedic Surgeons in Southfield, Michigan. "We empty our trash frequently, so I thought we could get away with a small trash can and bags; how much volume could a few diapers create? We were shocked at how many diapers one little baby could use, how bad they could smell and how much they could weigh!"
"We kept the Diaper Genie right next to our baby's changing table in the nursery," Rohde adds. "It helped tremendously with the smell. We sometimes bag the poopy diapers in extra bags within the Diaper Genie. It can accommodate a few days' worth of diapers. Using the Diaper Genie is definitely more expensive than just taking diapers out to the trash immediately, but it's a time- and nose-saver."
"I completely understand why people use cloth diapers," says Jennifer Bacani McKenney, M.D., a mom of two and a family physician in Fredonia, Kansas. "New babies go through so many diapers in a day, and disposable diapers are so expensive! But I use disposable diapers. I used to counsel my patients on the importance of changing diapers frequently to prevent diaper rash, but I can see how some parents might try to change their babies' diapers less frequently because disposable diapers are so expensive. It's super important to change diapers often to prevent rash."
"My husband and I also found that it's important to use the right size of diaper for our baby," McKenney adds. "When we were transitioning from newborn size to size 1, we went through so many onesie changes every day because the diapers were still too big for our baby and didn't fit her right. Urine and poop would leak out of the sides all the time!"
"I found that disposable diapers were easier than cloth, especially when we were away from home," says Christy Valentine, M.D., a mom of one daughter, a specialist in pediatrics and internal medicine, and the founder of the Valentine Medical Center in Gretna, Louisiana. "I did have some cloth diapers, but I used them as catch-all cloths, not as actual diapers."
"I also found that using disposable diapers made the transition from diapers to pull-ups much easier," Valentine adds. "We mainly used Pampers diapers, but we also used a biodegradable brand. They are better for the environment, which made me feel better about choosing to use disposable diapers."
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay