What Diapers Do Hospitals Use and Should You Bring Your Own?

First-time parents are often filled with uncertainty about what to expect when delivering their new baby. One of the biggest concerns revolves around diapers. New parents ask what diapers do hospitals use and whether they should bring their own.

Hospitals in the US do provide diapers for new parents to use during their hospital stay, with Pampers being the leading brand used. Of the Pampers line, the leading diaper provided is the Pampers Swaddlers. This diaper is hypoallergenic and unscented, which is why many hospitals prefer it.

Read on to find out more about diapers that the hospital provides as well as what other items may come home with you after the delivery.

What brand of diaper do hospitals use for babies?

Based on polls, online forums, and talking to other parents, we found that Pampers is the most used brand of diapers at hospitals.

In a 2013 poll on BabyCenter, there were over 300 parents who said their hospitals used Pampers while only 35 parents said that their hospitals provided Huggies. There was only one who said their hospital used Luvs. Other forums also showed that Pampers was the most used by hospitals. 

Pampers Swaddlers in particular is a hospital favorite. This diaper is unscented, hypoallergic, claims to be the softest available for newborn skin, and includes a notch for the umbilical cord.

The other major diaper brand used by hospitals is Huggies, with Huggies Little Snugglers being used that most for newborns. The number of hospitals using Huggies is growing, and sometimes hospitals will switch back and forth between brands so be sure to ask your OB or call the hospital to find out what brand they are currently using if you have a preference.

Very few hospitals provide a different brand, but Luvs did come up in the BabyCenter poll. A couple of other hospitals also provided both disposable and cloth diapers, but this is not the norm.

What size diapers do hospitals use?

Hospitals tend to provide newborn sizes for new babies; however, you might also be provided with a size 1 diaper. Most babies will at least start in newborns for the first few days.

Some hospitals do provide size 1 diapers to begin with rather than the newborn size. There will be more of a variety of sizes available if your hospital also has a NICU and/or a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) attached to it. Often it just depends on what they have in stock at that time.

Preemie sizes are often found at hospitals with NICUs. Many of the babies who end up there are very tiny and cannot wear newborn sizes. A larger baby may also need to stay in the NICU prompting the need for larger diapers.

Do hospitals provide diapers for newborns?

Diapers are one of the items you can leave at home if you choose to since hospitals will provide them throughout your stay.

Even better, they will also usually allow you to take any leftover diapers and wipes home. They may also give you a fresh package as a parting gift. Oftentimes, all you have to do is ask and your nurse will provide a new package of diapers and wipes. 

Valentina, a mom from California was shocked at what the hospital provided. “With my oldest, the nurse packed up what was left in the crib compartment as well as handed us a brand new package of diapers and wipes to take home.”

Can I bring my own diapers to the hospital?

Parents are also able to bring their own diapers from home if they choose. Some want a more natural diaper or may want to cloth diaper. Feel free to bring them and use them!

If you choose to bring your own diapers, plan on bringing around 10-12 for each day you anticipate being there. Typically for a vaginal delivery moms will stay 1-2 days while with a cesarean the stay is 3-5 days. If you plan to cloth diaper, plan for the number of days plus a couple of extra per day, just in case. 

On a side note to that, many parents who decide to cloth diaper will choose to use disposable ones while at the hospital. For the first few days, your baby will be pooping out meconium, which is very tarlike and can be challenging to get out cloth diapers. There’s a lesser chance of damaging the cloth if you use disposables until the meconium passes.

Allie, a mom from Michigan said, “I cloth diapered two of my kids. We still used disposables at the hospital because of the meconium. And yes, we took diapers home with us. The nurses encouraged it!”

What else does the hospital provide after delivery?

Besides diapers and wipes, there is a huge assortment of items that your hospital may give you once you’re ready to go home, for both mom and baby. It will vary from hospital to hospital, so if you don’t see something just ask your nurse. They will be able to tell you if they can give it to you or not.

Here are items that hospitals will often provide as well as what they are used for:

  • Mesh panties – These are wonderful, especially if you don’t want to mess up your own underwear post-birth. They’re very stretchy and will accommodate the large pads and icepacks that are coming up on this list. Ask for extras!
  • Large menstrual pads – They are large so there’s worry about leaking and are easy on the skin. Just like with the mesh panties, ask for extras!
  • Ice packs – If you can get extras, get them! You simply activate them and they provide an added relief, especially in the first few days. They can be worn with any underwear, even the mesh, and will not leak.
  • Peri bottles – This is used to clean up after using the bathroom post-birth since mom won’t be able to wipe for a few days
  • Dermaplast – This numbing spray is especially helpful when you’re in pain.
  • Witch hazel tucks – These are used to provide a cooling feel that helps ease pain and any itching or irritation.
  • Nipple cream – This may come as a sample or a small bottle, but even if not breastfeeding, nipples will be sensitive and potentially chafe.
  • Nursing pads – Hospitals sometimes provide disposable ones. These are necessary even if not breastfeeding since it’ll take a few days for a woman’s body to adjust or dry out.
  • Aquaphor – If you decide to circumcise your baby boy at the hospital, this is used to help prevent the baby’s penis from sticking to the diaper or any clothing.
  • Diaper rash cream – Hospitals provide this if a rash has occurred or to help prevent a rash from happening.

These are just items that moms across the country have received. Typically anything you have opened and are using while at the hospital goes home with you, but sometimes you may walk out with more!

“As I was leaving the nurses basically shoved everything except the bassinet and bedsheets at us. I even got a really nice little fan that clips to the headboard!” said Lauren, a mom from Alabama.

We’ve also covered the most common hospital freebies in a lot more detail if you want to check it out!

So when in doubt, definitely ask and you just may receive!

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