Okay. You’ve chosen between using hook-and-loop or snap closures on your diapers, or even a mixture of both. No more closure issues to deal with, right? Well, guess what—not all snap closures are the same, and different snap configurations can be the difference between you being able to use a diaper on your child or not!
I don’t mean to depress you, or send cloth diaper newbies away screaming at all the choices they have to make. But more than once, I have heard stories about parents buying a big-brand diaper that others rave about, only to discover that the snaps are too low or too far apart to get a good fit on their child, and they sadly return the diaper. Unfortunately, you won’t know what snap styles will fit your child until you are actually putting the diaper on him or her. Luckily, you can make most diapers work, but it can be frustrating when one just won’t fit properly and you know it’s because of snap placements. Let’s look at some snap styles below.
Once upon a time, there were no hip snaps. Parents everywhere were saddened by “wing droop” on their children—the extra fabric around the hips not secured by a snap that slides or “droops” down a child’s legs as they move around. On some children this is merely an issue of the diaper just not looking pretty when on; with other children the wing droop exposes enough of the underlying diaper to cause leaks. Some manufacturers began adding an extra snap around the hips to prevent wing droop, and these snaps are called hip snaps. While hip snaps can help prevent leaks, be a little wary if a hip snap is located fairly low on the diaper wing and you have a chubby-thighed child. The lower placement of the hip snap makes the leg holes more snug, and I found that my large-thighed children did not seem comfortable in diapers with lower hip snaps. However, a more snug leg hole can also help prevent leaks, if you have issues with leaking from the leg area.
No Hip Snaps
Many diapers still have no hip snaps. For some of these diapers, wing droop is prevented in other ways—for instance, bumGenius’s diapers have stretchy “tabs” that help keep things in place, and Blueberry has their snaps at an angle (rather than in a straight line up and down) to help prevent droop. Some parents might find that they still get wing droop, but it is not a common complaint with fans of these diapers.
Instead of bringing the wings of the diaper around the snap in front, closer to the tummy, side-snapping diapers snap only on the hips. The idea is to minimize bulk and possibly uncomfortable bumps on the tummy area. If you are used to diapers that close on the front, side snaps can take a little getting used to. The fit of the diapers is also a little different than front-closure diapers—how different, as always, depends on the size and build of your child. I have heard many parents say that they think side-snap diapers fit a bit trimmer than front-closure diapers as well. If you are having trouble getting a good fit with front-closure diapers, give side-snapping diapers a try.
Note to Newbies
If you are new to cloth diapering, don’t freak out too much. You will not know what snaps will work well with your child’s build until you try them, so just pick out a few diapers you like and use them! With luck, you will not have to worry about snap placement, but if you have leaks and feel you have exhausted every other option when troubleshooting, don’t discount the idea that perhaps your child needs diapers that snap differently.
Personally, I have found that diaper brands without hip snaps work well on our children (so far!). What type of snap diapers do you prefer?