Parental Advisory

Parental Advisory: Poo vs. Pee

Went for a jog with a good friend this morning and, as almost ritual at the conclusion of our runs, we briefly converse, comfort, advise, encourage, deprecate, insult or otherwise entertain each other. This morning, as we wrapped up our four-miler and stretched out our stressed leg muscles, we worked our way around to a discussion of diapers, diaper absorbency and when to change the diaper. The answer is not as clear as you might think. Common logic, I contend, is that you change the diaper when it’s either wet or full of solid matter. Sure, diaper companies would suggest you’re not a good parent unless you change that diaper the second you notice a foreign element in it. A parent who has had to pay retail for diapers, you make concession in how often you change out the diapers.

For the family on a budget (and trust me, if you have an infant in the family, you’re on a budget), consider this. If you wanna estimate the cost of diapers for an infant, call it a quarter for every time they crap or wet a diaper. Given that their colon is the size of a lima bean and their bladder the size of a thimble and that they’re taking in 16-20 ounces of milk or formula a day, you’re going to be changing diapers about eight times a day if you change it if has anything in it. That’s $2.00 a day. That’s $14 a week and close to $750 a year. That’s some cash.

Enter the assistance of Vanessa W., an elementary student who conducted an experiment for her Science Fair to find out which is the most absorbent diaper on the market. Yeah, no kidding.

What Vanessa discovered was that, in 1999, Pampers Premium was the most absorbent diaper holding close to 270 milliliters of fluid. Now, if you’re scoring at home, that’s over nine ounces of fluid. That’s more than a few bladder’s full. In fact, if a typical feeding is two ounces of milk or formula and it’s administered eight times a day, you could potentially only use two or three diapers a day. That turns into only about $275 annually. Stark in comparison to the $750 we were talking before.

Said my good friend, “If you changed a diaper for every time she pee’d in her diaper, you’d have to take out a loan for diapers.” He suggested this small nugget. If you pull back the diaper and it appears that it contains only urine, squeeze the sides of it and listen for a “squishing” sound. If you have a squishing sound, it’s near or at saturation and needs to be changed. If you don’t hear a squishing sound, wait until you do or until you see a big ol’ oil slick of poo. Then switch that puppy out. Take no chances is turds are present. That’s a stink that’ll attract every varmint in the county. Pee, however, is what the diapers were made for. That’s why they’re made to absorb nine ounces of fluid. You don’t poo nine ounces of fluid. You don’t even pee that much as an infant at once.

Why would they make them so freaking absorbent if you never max one out? Perhaps it’s just to be able to claim in advertising that you’re the most absorbent and nothing else. But changing out the diaper every time the girl pees her drawers, that’d mean that you’re only using about 16% of that diapers absorbency.

Advice to new parents on a budget, like in my brief travels to Mexico: If it’s yellow, let it mellow (to approximately 8 ounces or squish, whichever happens first). If it’s brown, flush ‘er down. It could save you potentially $400 a year.

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