Baby Diapers in Japan

Congratulations on the new baby! Though a happy occasion, being a new mom (especially in a foreign country) can come with a lot of worries. Being confused about diapers should be the last of those. Today, let me give you a quick guide to diapers in Japan.

Useful Feature

Japanese diapers would usually have yellow lines running across the middle from front to back. These lines would turn blue when the baby wets or soils the diaper – very useful in signaling when to change.

Types of Diapers

There are two types of diapers in Japan based on how they are worn: tape type (テープ) and pants (パンツ) which is the pull-up kind.

Tape-type Diaper

Tape-type diapers come with fasteners on the side and come with the advantage of being easily adjustable.

Pants-type Diaper

Once your little one starts rolling over or crawling, you may want to switch to these pull-up type diapers. For easy changing once it’s soiled, this type of diaper tear at the sides. Also you might notice on the back of these diapers which is used for rolling it up once it’s soiled.

Sizing

Diaper sizing is indicated outside the bag of diapers and depend on the weight of the baby which are typically as follows: enter enter

Tape-type diapers:

  • 新生児小さめ(Shinseiji Chiisame/Smaller Newborns): Good for preemies – up to 3.5 kgs.
  • 新生児 (Shinseiji/Newborn): Up to 5 kgs.
  • S (Small): 4-8 kgs.
  • M (Medium): 6-11 kgs.
  • L (Large): 9-14 kgs.

Pants-type Diapers:

  • S (Small): 4-8 kgs.
  • M (Medium): 6-10 kgs.
  • L (Large): 9-14 kgs.
  • ビッグ (Big): 12-22 kgs.
  • ビッグより大きい (Big yori okii/bigger than big): 15-28 kgs.

There are also brands that size their diaper based on baby milestones:

  • ねんね (Nenne): literally means ‘sleeping’ and is meant for Newborns
  • 寝返り・ねがえり(Negaeri): Can roll over
  • ハイハイ(Haihai): Crawling
  • おすわり(Osuwari): Can sit by himself
  • たっち (Tacchi): Can stand by himself
  • 一人歩き (Hitori Aruki): Can walk by himself
  • トレーニング (Training): For those who are potty training
  • 卒業 (Sotsugyou): Literally means ‘graduation’ and is meant for babies who are about to ‘graduate’ from diaper use,
Diaper Brands

From my experience, the most effective way to settle on a brand is to try out as many of them as you can. Personally, I find ‘Merries’ to be best for my baby after trying out a couple of other brands. That said, here is a quick rundown of the most popular brands in Japan.

Merries

This is the brand I have decided on using for my little one because I find that it causes the least amount of reddening on his skin and also, I feel like it can hold more pee before my baby starts fussing. True enough, it is known for being breathable and keeping baby’s skin feeling smooth and dry.

Merries is a domestic brand with such a good reputation that it used to make headlines for selling out due to the high demand on Chinese tourists.

Pampers

This was the first diaper that we used since it was the one included in our hospital’s birthing package. I did not really have any particular complaint about it until I tried Merries and observed that it causes lesser reddening on my little one’s skin.

The brand, however, claims that their product was designed to reduce risks of diaper rash by keeping acidity levels inside the diaper to a minimum.

Moony

This is another brand that I tried. As in the case of Pampers, I don’t have any particular complaint about this one except that I felt like it wasn’t as good as Merries.

The brand prides itself for their snug fit that prevents leakage.

Genki

I have not personally tried this brand but it is known for its affordable price.

GOO.N

GOO.N offers a wider range of sizes compared to other brands – great if you are having a hard time finding sizes that fit you little on snugly. Another unique feature of this products is that their lining contains Vitamin E to protect your baby’s sensitive skin.

Where To Buy Diapers

Online

Because they’re bulky, I think the best place to get your diapers would be online. Personally, I use Amazon because I find it the most convenient. I hear that if you order from Rakuten, you can also get added rebates and discounts.

Stores

Keep in mind that diapers are not available in most convenience stores. You can get them from the supermarket of course. However, the best place to get them is the drug store.

If you are up for the trip, you can also get them from specialty stores like Akachan Honpo or from the babies and kids corners of department stores and malls.

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