09 January 2008

Color-code diapers to distinguish different sizes at a glance

Diaper Marker hackChristel's simple and practical hack for parents who have more than one kid in diapers:

When my son was a newborn it was easy to tell his diapers apart from his toddler sister's -- his were so very tiny, it was obvious whose diapers I had and how many of each, whether in my diaper bag or worse, in the basket of the stroller where I was in the habit of tossing handfuls of supplies as I dashed out the door. Now that he's bigger the differences aren't so obvious, especially once the diapers have had a chance to rattle around in the aforementioned clutter zones and get all wrinkled and expanded. Sure, the diaper companies print the size on the diapers, but always in what seems to be very faint ink and in seemingly random places (it's on the front right waistband on the smaller diapers, but on the back of the bigger ones). Plus who wants to do inventory by pulling every diaper out of the bag or basket and finding the size spot, much less looking for the right size when you've got a messy kid?

My new solution is this: the first thing I do when I open a new pack of diapers is grab one of my permanent markers [Sharpie love! -- Ed.] and run the marker up and down the bottom crease of the diapers a few times, using a different color for my son and my daughter (I confess I went for the obvious pink and blue). The diapers are always packed so tightly in the wrapper that it's easy to mark up several dozen in a matter of seconds, and now I can store them anywhere, upside down with that colored seam facing up, and know exactly whose I've got and how many of each.

Related: Pass secret messages on diapers

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Parent's choice brand at wal-mart doesn't have numbers on it at all. So we did something similar. THe first time I did the crazy color. The second time for a nicer look we just did one line all the way down the pack for baby. ANd two lines all the way down for toddler. And it totally worked and they didn't look as white trashish with a totally scribbled diaper crotch. Though seriuosly I know it does not matter! :)

It took more time than the trick above, but with twin boys wearing different sized diapers we just marked their first initial on the front of each diaper that we put in the diaper bag. This made it easier for caregivers to get the right size on the right kid.

The Day care marks each diaper with the kid's initials before they take them out of the pack. Since we had a little stamp made with his name when our kid was born for all the birth announcements (we stamped them on the envelopes) we just started stamping the diapers before giving them to the day care. This was much appreciated as they had 30 less diapers to initial every week!

We just switched to another brand of diapers for the 2nd kid. That way his size 3s and his brother's size 6s look quite different.

Consider putting your baby and toddler in the same sized diaper. When my baby was 4 months old, I switched her to size 4 diapers, which is what my two-year-old wore. It was a little bulky at first, but it was definitely worth it not to have to worry about how many of each diaper to pack when going out, etc.

We're definitely working our way towards the same-sized diaper (or praying the older gets potty trained soon and it will be moot). But the times we've tried this in the past we ended up with a gaping, leaking, slightly too big diaper on the smaller guy or a wedgie-inducing, leaking, slightly too small diaper on the bigger girl. On the plus side, she quickly introduced the phrase "Mommy, my butt cheek is hanging out!" into her conversational repertoire.

Just be careful about the marker/ink that you use. Our day care wrote the initials on the bottom of the diapers too, I usually did it for them (figuring then the teachers could spend more time with the kids!). Once I did it with a non-sharpie perm. marker and once the diaper got wet the ink bled onto my daughter's clothes. After that I switched to ball point pens.

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