A concern that regularly comes up in the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook group is cloth diapering the different sexes. Many new parents will make posts like, “I’ve diapered two girls, but now I’m having a boy; what do I need to know?” or “This is my first girl, what do I need to do differently with my diapers?”
Differences Between Boy and Girl Cloth Diapers
So, is there a difference between boy and girl cloth diapers? For the cloth diapers themselves, there are zero built-in differences between diapers designed with “boy,” “girl,” or “gender-neutral” prints and therefore they can be used on all babies. That said, parents using prefold diapers, flat diapers, or diapers with several inserts, may choose to place extra absorbency in the front of the diaper for boys, or the middle of the diaper for girls.
Extra absorbency is placed in these spots as this is where the urine is released for both sexes, and so you want to catch it as soon as possible by layering in more absorbency in the right spots. This is not a necessity though, for most babies, a cloth diaper with absorbency of the same thickness front-to-back works just as well.
Differences Between Boy and Girl Disposable Diapers
Is there a difference between a boy and girl disposable diaper? Yes, sometimes there is a difference between where the absorbency is concentrated in disposable diapers. Over the years, disposable diaper makers like Huggies and Pampers have identified, what they call “pee points.” These pee points are where cloth diapering parents have been focusing their absorbency for years, in the front for boys, and in the middle for girls. You can usually tell what diapers will have these pee points included in their construction as they will be marketed for boys or girls accordingly (look for the pink boxes for girls, and the blue boxes for boys).
Again, the pee points are where the urine hits first for boys and girls, but a regular diaper with absorbency front-to-back also works just fine.
Differences Between Boy and Girl Swim Diapers
Are there any differences between boy and girl swim diapers? No. Both cloth and disposable swim diapers have no absorbency in them at all; they are just there to catch poop! This is a safety thing; any absorbency in a diaper would just fill up with pool water and weigh your baby down. For this reason, there are no differences between any swim diapers made for girls or boys.
If you want to learn more about swim diapers and where all that pee goes, check out the article I have on that here.
At the Changing Table: Tips for Changing Boys and Girls
Of course, while the diapers themselves may only have slight differences, you will want to make a few changes to the way in which you’re changing your baby based on their sex.
Peeing While Being Changed
Some babies, but not all, feel that cool air down there and their first reaction is to pee. If you’re changing a girl, this just comes down to making sure you have a good and absorbent changing mat under her.
If you’re changing a boy, however, you now have a tiny firehose pointed directly at you, that you’ll want to cover up as quickly as you can when taking the diaper off. Simply placing a wipe over the penis as you take the diaper off will save you a lot of showering and clean-up. There’s also the infamous Pee-pee Teepie covers (Amazon link) that you can get right to place over them while you’re changing baby.
Boys Need to Be Pointed Down
After you’ve taken the old diaper off, and are about to snap or Velcro on the new diaper, it’s important if you have a boy to remember to point their penis down inside the diaper. If they are pointing up, there’s a good chance urine can leak out of the top of the diaper, especially when the baby is active and mobile.
Often moms will be surprised to find their little boys erect during a diaper change. It’s still ok to carefully point them downward before closing them inside a new diaper, you won’t hurt them if you’re gentle.
If you’re uncomfortable with that, do the diaper up and let some time pass. Hopefully, your little one won’t pee out of his diaper before you can get the chance to go back in and point him downward.
Have More Questions?
If you have more diaper questions you can check out our FAQ’s page here, or come over to the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook group where we have tens of thousands of moms, dads, and other caregivers of all levels of experience, chatting about diapers every day!