Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meditation on the Little Blue Stripe

Ok, I don't plan for this to become a baby blog or anything, but the truth is that there is an almost-three-month old living in my house (henceforth known as Baby G), and that has a significant impact on my life in a variety of ways. Now, I've never really had the charge of an infant before, so what I know about feeding, clothing, changing, and caring for him has only been knowledge recently acquired. Today's topic is diapers. Sure, we want to do the right thing and use cloth diapers most, if not all, the time. It theoretically costs less (although the price of the diapers we use, which have to be replaced as he grows, plus the cost of constant laundry, probably make it almost the same) and fills up fewer landfills. But anyway, the point is that we use disposable diapers more often than we probably should, and that has recently become a Problem.

See, when we were in the hospital, we were provided Pampers Swaddlers New Baby diapers, presumably because Pampers has some kind of sweet deal with Bay State where they provide the maternity ward with free diapers and then we all become addicted to their magical technology. Well, that's what happened--somehow we developed a kind of strange brand loyalty to Pampers, so much so that when we thought about switching to Huggies (heated conversation conducted in the Costco aisle), it would have functioned as a kind of betrayal. For me, the reason wasn't so much for the absorptive gel, or the lovable Sesame Street characters that adorn the diaper (except Elmo, he can disappear forever as far as I am concerned), but the blue stripe technology. Now, for those of you not in the know, the blue stripe appears as if by magic when the diaper is wet. Yellow = dry, blue = wet. Easy [click on "Product Tour"].

Now, I can recall thinking something along the lines of "Pampers has probably designed these so that they turn blue upon coming into contact with the smallest drop of pee, or perhaps even on a time-release formula, whether the kid pees or not, just to make sure that we use and therefore buy more diapers." I'm cynical like that. But even these thoughts did not shake my brand loyalty. In fact, the only thing that can shake my brand loyalty, apparently, is the disappearance of this technology in the next size up of diapers for Baby G. WHERE IS MY BLUE STRIPE, PAMPERS? I have honestly had several times in the last few days when I could not tell whether the diaper was wet or not, even when comparing it directly to an unused diaper, conducting a sniff test (these diapers are heavily perfumed--another argument for cloth, but that's another post), and weighing them thoughtfully in my hand. Now, I'm thinking that Pampers has deliberately designed their diapers to be as opaque as possible about their saturation level, in order to make use use, and therefore buy, more diapers. I am still cynical, see, but now I am cynical and deeply distressed. I am an outraged consumer of really expensive baby products, and apparently I am addicted to blue stripe technology.

The issue is one of Ruling Things Out. When Baby G is crying, a series of things must be ruled out as the cause of the upset before I throw my hands up and decide he is just having a fit. Number one on the list is, naturally, "is he wet?" When it is difficult to determine if this is the case, the whole chain of rulings-out is thrown out of whack and no progress can be made in the soothing of the baby until the question is settled. So Pampers, please get on this and make sure that all the diapers you produce have this capability. Or we are going to have to take our business elsewhere, such as the evil Huggies (whose server is currently too busy to even let me on the site to verify that their diapers are covered with Disney rather than Sesame Street--the question of why diapers must be decorated at all is the subject of yet another post), figure out an optimal cloth-diaper-washing strategy, or we might just buckle down and figure out when the stripe-less Pampers diapers are wet. Let's see if their website can offer any tips on when to change a diaper:
Diapers should be changed whenever they are wet or soiled. Your baby will often (but not always) let you know. With a super-absorbent diaper like Pampers diapers, you can tell if it's wet by feeling for lumps in the absorbent material. Here are some common times for changing diapers:

* Right before or right after every feeding
* After every bowel movement
* Before bedtime
* When your baby wakes up
* When you go out with your baby
So, basically, all the time. At any given moment, you will probably be changing your baby, have just changed your baby, or be about to change your baby. That's just about what I figured, Pampers. Thanks for that.

ETA: Apparently you can get the blue stripe if you buy the (more expensive) "sensitive" version. Hmm.


booksNyarn said...

BWAHAHAHA! Ah, memories.

Gotta tell you though, I was a Pampers gal with my two also. I'd use Huggies if I HAD to, but Luvs? No. Way.

Helgagrace said...

Oh, I had completely forgotten about Luvs in my Pampers-induced temper tantrum! Yuck. :P