My non-toxic baby guide to disposable diapers
Emily is a mother to baby Isabella, who is beginning a journey to find non-toxic baby products in a world full of disappointingly unsafe chemical filled ones. We’ve re-posted her article on disposable diapers:

I’ve been meaning to look into nappies for as long as my blog has existed. There have however been a few things that stopped me from getting to it so quickly- Firstly, diapers don’t have an ingredients list on them and so it is much more time consuming and difficult to investigate and assess their toxicity status.

I feel like at the moment, I’m in the best position I’ve ever been to test diapers. (READ: Over Christmas, Isabella got gastro for 10 days and so I started breastfeeding her day and night. Now, she breastfeeds almost continually each night and I haven’t got around to night weaning her again. – we previously used the Jay Gordon method successfully if anyone’s interested, though it’s never easy and you have to be really ready to do it.) Anyway, at the moment, I have a super hydrated baby who feeds all night and is in the same diaper from 7pm- 7am. Those morning diapers are HEAVY and we’ve had our fair share of leaks I navigate the brands!!s a!

Absorbency in a diaper is important to all of us and so I have carried out an at home absorbency test on a whole range of diapers (the results and photos are below!). I would never go back to a mainstream supermarket diaper now and am kicking myself a bit for not having investigated diapers earlier. We’re all on a journey and sometimes we just have to go at our own pace.

I wish I’d been able to get to this point earlier, but it’s important to not beat yourself up and to use that energy to promote action instead. I’ve since found some truly awesome diapers and would NEVER go back to the others now I know more.

How is a diaper structured?
The ingredients of what makes up a diaper varies dramatically between brands, however the essential structure is the same.

Absorbent Core

The absorbent core is designed to pull moisture in and keep it away from the baby.

Outer layer

Is waterproof to prevent leaking.

Inner layer

Sits right against the baby’s skin and is designed to be soft and to stay relatively dry.

SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer)

it has an amazing ability to absorb liquid- it can suck up 300 x its weight in water.


What to look for when choosing

Less diapers used. Less residual waste

What are the ingredients in diapers to avoid?

Bleach with chlorine which can leave small amounts of carcinogenic Dioxin residues

Unsustainable Packaging Use unsustainable forestry to make the wood pulp and packaging

Not biodegradable and have a horrible impact on land fill

Synthetic fragrances (Endocrine disrupting phthalates are often hidden in synthetic fragrances and used as preservatives as well)

Formaldehyde containing glues holding them together

How do you compare diaper brands?

Looking at the non-toxic status of diapers is difficult. diapers don’t have ingredients lists on their boxes and I had to email companies and search their websites. A lot of supermarket brand diaper companies didn’t reply to my emailed questions. I can understand why… If you knew you were going to give answers like “yes, our diapers are bleached with chlorine and contain phthalates” you wouldn’t reply either!

Unless a company is forthcoming with how non-toxic and eco-friendly they are, I make the assumption that they are not, otherwise I’m sure they’d be telling us how wonderful they were! (Which I’m guessing is why the eco-diaper companies did write back and the others didn’t!)

Even if a diaper is non-toxic, it still needs to perform its function well as otherwise it’ll leave your baby with diaper rash which isn’t healthy either.

I have tried samples of all of the below brands. Some brands I only got a sample pack of 2, so I could feel them and try them for fit and use one on Isabella overnight and then I used the other for the absorption test.

I think it is also important that a disposable diaper is eco-friendly. We shouldn’t just be concerned about what chemicals make contact with our baby when the use of a product has the potential to come back and bite in their future world too. (And let’s face it, we go through a HUGE amount of diaper per child before they are toilet trained!)

I’ve also included the cheapest prices I could find the nappies for, which are the prices they are per nappy (size 4) when bought in bulk – newborn nappies are always cheaper than this in each brand. A lot of us mums aren’t back to working full time yet or are paying child care fees and so cost has to be thought about at least!

Absorbency test
Like what you see in the old school diaper ads, I got a certain amount of colored water (that way you can see how far the liquid is spreading.
  • 1. You will need 4 diapers to test 300 ml of liquid
  • 2. Pour quantity of water evenly over the front part of the diaper
  • 3. Stretched out the diaper to let the liquid distribute and absorb. (leave for 4 minutes)
  • 4. Press and rub the diaper to help liquid distribution and simulate body weight and movement.
  • . After 5 minutes, I pressed the diaper with a piece of paper towel to see how much residual fluid was left and not absorbed into the diaper
The Results

The Results