Any parent will tell you that diaper size is important. Fitting your baby with the right diaper will prevent discomfort and disruption. But Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurses have little to no option in the way of diaper sizes for the smallest of newborns. Instead, they're left with large diapers that they have to cut and fit to the premature infants in their care. To help eliminate this practice, disposable diaper brand Huggies and NICU nurses are creating diapers for tiny babies and it's revolutionizing neonatal care.
Huggies announced earlier this month that it will release a new line of Little Snugglers diapers meant for babies weighing less than 2 pounds, according to the Huffington Post. Available to hospitals, Huggies' Little Snugglers Nano Preemie Diapers are specially-designed to help keep extremely preterm infants comfortable and protect their delicate, underdeveloped skin. The new product line is part of Huggies' No Baby Unhugged program, which helps hospital volunteers provide hugs to babies in NICU.
Eleonora Daireaux, vice president of Huggies North America, said of the diapers in a press release:
We're passionate about helping all babies thrive, especially the smallest and most fragile. This Huggies diaper reflects our ongoing commitment to deliver innovative solutions for the NICU.
The World Health Organization estimates that, every year, 15 million babies are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. But only 1.5 percent of infants in the United States are born weighing less than 3 pounds and 4 ounces, according to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Babies who are extremely premature face unique health issues that can be irritated by poorly fitting diapers. According to Refinery29, the Huggies Little Snugglers Nano Preemie Diapers feature a slim, flexible core and specially-sized fasteners that allow tiny infants to rest their legs and hips comfortably and that won't harm their fragile skin.
Huggies' line of nano preemie diapers isn't the only product available to NICU nurses tending to tiny babies. In September, Procter & Gamble introduced a new Pampers Preemie Swaddlers diaper size meant for infants weighing as little as 1 pound, according to USA Today. The Swaddlers size P-3 diaper, which took three years to develop, features a narrow absorbent pad that allows a baby's hips and legs to rest close to the body, thus reducing disruption and promoting better sleep, positioning, and medical care. They run three sizes smaller than the Swaddlers newborn diaper and can fit babies born in the second trimester.
E. Yuri Hermida, Proter & Gamble's vice president of North America Baby Care, said in a press release at the time:
In 2002, we were the first major diaper manufacturer to create a diaper for premature babies. When nurses asked us to design a diaper for babies as tiny as 1 pound, everyone at Pampers was inspired to create our best diaper yet for the most vulnerable babies.
Extremely preterm babies are vulnerable and need all the love and support NICU nurses can provide. Developing diapers that make caring for the tiniest of infants easier could only serve to promote better health.