Last Updated on July 9, 2023
This is a guest post by Jim.
There’s the old saying “we all want what’s best for our children,” but then we have them and begin to have doubts whether everything has to be the best. Because “the best” usually means expensive. And that’s certainly the case with diapers.
Leaving the hospital, you’ll come home with lots of diapers generously provided by the hospital (read: diaper manufacturer) and to a stock provided by friends and family. But once supplies start dwindling, you start looking into buying them yourself and find… they’re expensive. Even at the membership-only big box warehouse stores or through Amazon Prime. Each brand-name diaper line has coupons upon coupons and frustrating loyalty programs that involve scanning receipts or entering codes, but their diapers are pillowy and have popular cartoons on them. They are the best.
Aldi’s Little Journey Diapers do not have popular cartoons on them, are definitely less pillowy (though nearly as soft where it counts), and are 1/3 of the unit price compared to big brand names like Pampers or Huggies. The Little Journey N (newborn) size offers 42 diapers for $4.29 (about 10 cents per diaper), and the next size up, 1, offers 50 for the same price (about 8.5 cents per diaper).
Rather than being branded with Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh, which newborns and infants do not know anything about, Aldi offers a generic porcupine. The cartoon is there so you know which part goes on the front, and which on the back.
Like the more expensive brands, Aldi’s Little Journey diapers offer the yellow wetness indicator strip that turns from yellow to blue when there’s been a deposit by your little one.
They’re perfume and latex free, and they offer a hypoallergenic liner infused with Vitamin E and Aloe. This, supposedly, is to help prevent diaper rash.
Having sampled nearly every major brand of diapers over the first few months of parenthood, I definitely prefer the Little Journey Diapers. Because of the cost. Since we have twins, we go through diapers very quickly, and every time you have a changing incident and put a new diaper on too quickly and it is immediately soiled, I just see 36 cents disappear if it’s an expensive diaper, and about 11 cents disappear if it’s an Aldi diaper.
My wife disagrees, of course, and sees my quest for savings as borderline maniacal. (I’ve pitched the idea of trying Aldi’s formula, but she insists on the most expensive Similac formula. Sometimes you have to choose your battles.) Besides Aldi’s Little Journey diapers, BJ’s and Costco offer house-brand versions that are slightly more pillowy. BJ’s cost about 14 cents per unit, and Costco 17 cents.
At the end of the day, you and your spouse should do what you’re comfortable with, but know there is a wide variety of diapers to choose from, and you’re always going to suffer blow-outs. No diaper can prevent them. And Aldi’s do just as good of a job for a third of the price of the top brands.
Jim Swift is a journalist in Washington, D.C. and writes at The Bulwark. He can be found on Twitter.