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I'm a married mum who loves chocolate & music & having an opinion on just about everything! E-Mail summermama@hotmail.co.uk

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Disposable Nappies - Brand Vs Brand

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that a short time ago I took part in the Bambino Mio Seven Day Real Nappy Challenge, where The Boy wore one Bambino Mio reusable nappy a day for a week, to see how much money I could save just by using a single reusable nappy each day and to see whether I would be converted from a full time disposable nappy user to a full time reusable nappy user. It didn’t convert me fully, but I love using my Bambino Mio nappies when we’re at home: For the majority of the time I use disposables.

Early on in his life, I found Pampers nappies to be useless for The Boy – I don’t know whether it’s due to his tall, slender build or whether a lot of other people find the same issue, but I found every time I used them he ended up with a wet back (in the days when he slept on his back) and once when he had a bad tummy and the messy nappies were particularly messy, a Pampers nappy practically exploded under the strain of attempting to contain it, leaving me with a very messy baby, bed and changing area, as well as a lot of washing to do. Now he’s on the move, on the rare occasions I have used Pampers, I found they leak at the legs, too.

With my trusty Bounty packs obtained throughout pregnancy, I had lots of samples of Huggies and lots of vouchers for Huggies. Combined with various special offers at different supermarkets I stocked up and found them to be great. They don’t leak – even when he had a particularly bad tummy – they keep the wetness away from his skin so that even after an all night sleep of 10 to 12 hours he was dry and the skin wasn’t red, and they fit him well and move with him well now he’s active. I rate Huggies highly, but the only downfall for a family on a budget like us is the cost of them – while they are undoubtedly worth the extra pennies, I can’t afford to spend out for them all the time, though I do take advantage whenever I find them on offer and generally buy a box or two at once!

Seeking a more budget friendly alternative lead me to the supermarket own brand nappies. The closest supermarket to our house is Sainsburys, so I tend to go there for whatever bits I can’t pick up at Iceland for the weekly shop, and I found their own brand nappies very good. I always get the ‘dry’ ones rather than the ‘active’ ones, not only because the dry ones are a few pence a packet cheaper but also because I’ve found them to be just as good as the active ones now he’s on the move. Again, under testing from bad tummy they hold up well – we’ve had a couple of minor accidents but nothing as disastrous as Pampersgate! The Boy always appears comfortable in them and they keep him nice and dry, he doesn’t get nappy rash at all and a lot of this I credit to the nappies for doing such a good job of keeping the wetness away from his skin, particularly for those long overnight stretches. They fit him well, leaving no gaps and allowing plenty of wiggle room for his legs, and unlike some other brands (I’ve had the problem with Pampers and Huggies as well as other supermarket own brands) I’ve never had the tabs tear off while I’m trying to put the nappy on, nor have I ever encountered an issue where the tabs don’t stick properly. Say what you like about Sainsburys, but I really rate their nappies!

My office changed location while I was on maternity leave and when I returned, it was to the new office, which is located quite close to an Asda store. I’d never really experienced Asda that much – the closest one to where we used to live was quite a distance away and we never bothered going – so sheer curiosity got me through their doors initially after a day in the office and it turned out they were in the middle of a Baby & Toddler event. I purchased some lovely things at wonderful discounts (I did immediately sign up for the newsletter from Asda when I returned home, so now I get notifications posted to me about the upcoming Baby & Toddler events) and even though I picked up a big box of Huggies on special offer I also picked up a pack of Asda own brand nappies at the same time. After all, I thought, I may as well see if they’re any good, because if they are then it means I know I can pop in on my way home from work and grab some should the need arise, and not worry about going home and then off to Sainsburys. I found the Asda own brand nappies a little less marvellous than Sainsburys – I find they don’t seem to fit quite as well, so if The Boy sleeps on his back he can get a bit damp around the waistband (but it’s rare for him to sleep on his back now anyway) and also when worn for the overnight sleep they are very heavy and sodden by the morning and he generally wakes up a bit earlier when he’s wearing them, I think because he’s uncomfortable; Nine times out of ten, a change of nappy, some milk and he goes back to sleep for another couple of hours. Also when they’re that wet I don’t find they keep the moisture away from him too well, and a few times he’s had red skin where the moisture has been against him. (Probably not helped by the fact he sleeps on his tummy most of the time so he’s pressing into it). When all is said and done though, Asda own brand make a good second to Sainsburys.

While staying with my parents back in November last year with The Boy, their closest supermarket is Tesco, and as we were snowed in and our only method of transport was to walk, we certainly weren’t about to go trekking for miles to the nearest Sainsburys for the sake of the nappies, so we purchased Tesco own brand. About the same price, they appeared very similar to the Sainsburys and Asda own brand nappies, and I used them. When we went for a walk to visit a friend, I changed The Boy before we set off. Admittedly what should have been a 15 minute walk turned into an hour thanks to the snowy and icy conditions, but even so when we arrived I was stunned to remove The Boy from the pram and find his clothes wet underneath his snow suit, his nappy soaked through and even the inside of the snowsuit was damp. Fortunately I’d taken a spare vest and change of clothes with us, so I could change him and put the snowsuit on the radiator to dry out before we left again, and while I was surprised it didn’t for some reason strike me as being due to the nappies. I put it down to the fact that he’d drunk a lot that morning, the fact that he’d been awake for the whole walk so possibly he’d wet more than normal in a shorter space of time, the fact that because he was lying down on his back in the pram the nappy was under pressure to perform! After we got home, I took him upstairs for a bath and found that once again the nappy was heavy and sodden, his vest damp and his skin red and sore looking. Still I didn’t put that with the fact that he was wearing different nappies to normal, and we continued our stay and I continued using the Tesco own brand – though I made a conscious effort to change his nappy much more frequently than I usually did, going from every 3-4 hours to every 1-2 hours to ensure his skin remained dry and he didn’t get uncomfortable.

Back home, we returned to using our faithful Sainsburys brand, with the occasional Huggies found on special offer, and I didn’t think any more of it. Then again a short while ago I went to visit my parents. This time, although it didn’t snow, I didn’t worry about travelling to the local Sainsburys specially for nappies, I simply popped up the road to Tesco and picked up the nappies when I got a few other bits and bobs and didn’t think twice about it. I was down to the last two Sainsburys nappies, so I needed another pack, and it didn’t cross my mind to worry that they were Tesco and not Sainsburys branded. That evening my mum put him in his PJ’s after his bath, gave him his bottle and put him to bed: The following morning he was awake and screaming at five a.m, which is very unusual for The Boy – he doesn’t tend to scream when he wakes up, he tends to start chatting to himself or singing, and he certainly doesn’t normally wake at five in the morning. Mum got him up and out of bed and found that his vest was soaking, his PJ’s wet through, the sheets and blankets in the cot were damp and his skin was red and sore, leaving one very unhappy boy. She washed and changed him, and blamed herself “I obviously didn’t put the nappy on properly” she said to me once we’d calmed The Boy down, he was in clean, dry clothes and happily throwing his breakfast around the kitchen. I said to her, “Never mind” and didn’t think much more of it. Then later that morning, around eleven, I took him upstairs for bum change, bottle and nap, and again found the back of his vest and around the leg holes was damp, despite the fact he’d been changed at and again at and . Once again his skin was red and blotchy and looked quite sore; In fact it must have been sore, as he screamed blue murder the whole time I was cleaning him up and changing him. Usually he’ll happily lie there talking to you while you’re changing him, or else he’ll start on his bottle as if he’s waiting for you to finish! Each time I touched him with the baby wipe (Huggies fragrance free, ultra mild ones) he screamed a bit more, and there were tears pouring down his face and he went all red and sweaty. After a change of clothes, a fresh nappy and a bottle it still took much longer than normal for him to settle, and when he did he kept whimpering in his sleep and moving around much more than normal as though he wasn’t comfortable.

The next day I was changing him every hour or two to ensure that he didn’t get sore again (I coated him in Sudocream overnight which helped, though the nappy had leaked again by the morning). It was false economy as I thought I’d saved money on purchasing Huggies by getting the own-brand nappies yet because I was changing him so frequently I was getting through the packet twice as fast as normal. The day after that we were travelling home – a long, 100 mile journey in the hot sunshine, just The Boy and I in the car (The Hubby had travelled home a few days previously as we couldn’t leave the Hairy Hounds of Hell on their own for too long, plus he had work to get back to) Added to that, the fact that we got stuck in traffic at the usual spot (on the approach to the Dartford crossing) The Boy started whinging just as I was slowing down as we hit the beginning of the traffic – and he didn’t stop for some time. I passed him his bottle of water once we were totally stationary but it didn’t pacify him for long and soon he was chucking all his toys around in the back of the car, hollering and wailing and carrying on like he never had before in the car. All the talking, singing and turning the radio up didn’t help to chill him out and he continued creating a fuss for the next hour and a half (by which point I felt pretty stressed out too) Finally, twenty minutes from home, he fell asleep and I was intensely relieved!

However as soon as we got home, The Hubby came out to meet us as I parked up and once he got The Boy out of the carseat he frowned at me and said that he was wet. I presumed it to be from where he’d had the water bottle and had been fiddling with the valve while we were stuck in traffic, making it leak onto his lap, but we soon found once we were indoors that instead the nappy had leaked again. Despite me changing The Boy shortly before we set off, in the space of a two hour 10 minute car journey he was soaked through; his vest was wet all the way up his back and to his chest at the front: His trousers were soaked through and his top was drenched. Added to this his carseat fabric was sodden and even when I stripped it off the carseat shell underneath actually had a puddle of liquid in it – as though The Boy hadn’t been wearing a nappy at all.

After we’d washed him and put him in a fresh nappy and dry clothes, he was once again happier and pleased to see his daddy. The pair of them played for about an hour while I unpacked the car, cooked dinner and put the carseat fabric into the wash. Just before dinner, I said to The Hubby, “Better check his nappy” and he thought I was mad because he’d only changed The Boy an hour or so before – but sure enough, when he checked, the nappy was soaking and The Boys skin was red and sore. More concerning, The Hubby noticed something else – tiny crystals on the surface of the skin. The crystals that should have been contained within the nappy to absorb the liquid, and as the inside of the nappy appeared to be disintegrating the crystals had got stuck to his skin and were a nightmare to clean off, even with a baby wipe.

That evening we dealt with his nappy changes by doing it much more frequently than normal and putting lashings of Sudocream on him. Overnight I used a Bambino Mio reusable nappy as the disposables were so useless, and I went to Sainsburys the next day to pick up some of the usual ones. I’d had enough worrying about the Tesco nappies and the leaking, the crystals, the red, sore skin and the screaming and crying from The Boy as soon as I tried to wipe him clean when changing him. I’m so disappointed in these nappies I’m never going to buy them again, and I’d advise anyone else to steer clear, too. I have written to Tesco, though I haven’t heard back yet, if I do I’ll let you know here!

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