Before the babies were born, we began stockpiling diapers. Every time we’d go to the store, any store, we would buy two or three boxes of Huggies. By the time the babies came home from the hospital, we had over 250 boxes of diapers, in varying sizes, in our garage.
We quickly learned that a newborn goes through approximately 10 diapers a day and the newborn sizes in the brand we’d purchased 100 boxes of - had less absorbency than a paper towel. Before we even finished the first box of diapers, I was infuriated that I had spent a small fortune on a product that did no better keeping my child dry, than if I’d stuck a sheet of Bounty in my baby’s onesie.
I believed that my leaky diaper fate was sealed … unless, I wanted to spend another small fortune on the world’s top selling diaper brand.
My mother, however, is a stickler for customer satisfaction. So for five days, she went through the process of loading 50 boxes of diapers in the back of Charlie’s truck and set out to make exchanges at every diaper-carrying store within a 10-mile radius of our house. I had my doubts regarding how successful she would be on this journey, considering she didn’t have a single receipt.
But minor details like that never stop my mom.
First, she drove to Target. She put as many boxes of diapers as she could fit in to the cart and walked in to the store. Mom told the manager that all of the diapers had been purchased at that store, and they needed to be exchanged for Pampers.
Then she drove to Wal-Mart and loading up a shopping cart with as many boxes of diapers as she could fit, repeated the process. Then she drove to Safeway and repeated the process, again. Much to her dismay, she was informed that Safeway didn’t carry that particular size and brand of diaper and they called her on her tiny white lie. But she was not deterred. She showed the manager a picture of her newborn triplet grandchildren, played off his compassion and quickly made the exchange – before he changed his mind.
Mom then went on to Ralph’s, Albertson’s, and a multitude of pharmacies. Then she went back to Target and repeated the process, skipping over Safeway a second time, until every last box of Huggies had been replaced with Pampers.
Ever since then, we’ve been Pampers people - even though they are the most expensive diaper on the market. Not only do Pampers work better than any other diaper I’ve tried, the fact that we are entrenched in the Pamper's Gift-To-Grow Rewards Program, is enough to keep us loyal customers ... despite the fact that entering the tiny codes from packages is one of my least favorite activities. EVER.
We currently have over 800 points and once I get around to it, we’ll be the proud owner of two Kettrike tricycles.
Yet even with Pampers, there was a time when we suffered from frequent breakthrough. But because I didn’t believe that our babies could have outgrown a diaper – when they still had five pounds to go before reaching the “upper weight limit” – I tried everything imaginable to keep them dry.
I created “pee-pads” from sacrifical diapers, cut in to small squares for extra absorbency within the children’s diapers. When that didn’t work, and tiny moisture absorbing beads from within the sacrificial diaper coated our children from their navel to their knees, I used a super absorbent maxi pad.
That didn’t work, either.
After a desperate call to Proctor and Gamble, I was told that maybe I needed to go up a size. And lo and behold, the babies stayed dry. (Here I am with a master’s degree and I couldn’t figure that one out on my own.)
Even though we went through a lot of diapers in those infant days, our diaper bill is more expensive now than it’s ever been. Although we get fewer diapers per box with the larger sizes, they cost more. I suspect that the high price for larger diapers, is intended as a financial motivation for parents to potty-train their children before they reach 50 pounds.
In my case, it is making me more resourceful because I don’t see our toddlers becoming potty trained any time in the near future. And since we’ll soon have four children in diapers, it’s a matter of weeks before our monthly diaper bill will constitute 35% of our income.
Because we are spending an exorbitant amount of money on diapers, I’ve become extremely thrifty with our diaper supply. Whereas I use to change the children every 3-4 hours, or whenever they would have a poop, now I do a “squeeze” test to evaluate if the maximum absorbency potential of the diaper has been achieved. There was once a day when a poop automatically warranted a new diaper. These days, if I catch the poopetrator before they sit down and squash it, I can usually remove it from the diaper without so much as a smudge.
And really, why replace a perfectly clean, dry diaper that costs $0.35?
Because Charlie is as much of a stickler for cleanliness as my mother is for customer satisfaction, it drives him positively mad when I don’t give our children a brand new diaper for every scoop-able poop. The other day, Charlie put it in perspective when during the course of plucking a poop out of someone’s diaper, he commented “You know, Jen, there’s an excellent chance that one day our children will be changing your diapers and how would you like it if they got cheap with you?”
He’s right. I probably wouldn’t like it.
But I’d also understand if I found myself wearing one of these garments.