Nappy Sizes Explained

nappy sizes compared
17 July 2023

Nappy Sizes Explained

It can be daunting for a parent or caregiver to find the right nappy sizes for your child. With so many options and sizes available, you’ll want to know the perfect fit for your little ones.

So, in this comprehensive guide, we’ll be explaining the different nappy sizes, so that you have the knowledge you need to ensure comfort, convenience, and confidence in your child no matter if you’re a seasoned expert or a newcomer to the world of nappy sizes.

Why nappy sizes matter

When it comes to choosing the right nappy size for your little one, you want to ensure comfort, protection, and well-being for your child above all, and an improperly sized nappy can have a deleterious effect on all three of these caused by leakage issues.

Comfort and leakage protection

Your child’s comfort is of the top priority in these early years. An undersized nappy that is excessively tight and restricting on movement causes discomfort and can lead to skin irritation. On the other hand, a nappy that is too large and loose has the potential for leaks.

That’s why properly designed nappies provide the best leakage protection from soiled clothing and bedding. By choosing the correct nappy size, you can minimise the chance of leakage and provide your child with the confidence and freedom to engage with the world.

Skin health

As well as comfort, a well-fitted nappy plays a vital role in your child’s skin health. A too-tight nappy will create friction and pressure points, leading to redness, chafing, and sores. Whereas a loose nappy may allow for excessive movement and rubbing, leading to discomfort and potential skin breakdown. Finding the right nappy sizes for your child will ensure they are always snugly fit and promote healthy skin.

Understanding nappy sizing

Fortunately for parents and caregivers, there are various sizing systems for nappies to help them find the right fit for your child. By understanding these systems more closely, you will have better ways to make informed choices on finding the right nappy size for your child.

Weight-based sizing

This is one of the most straightforward and widely used methods of sizing nappies, and they categorise nappy sizes in weight ranges. The advantage of this system is that it is practical and measurable, though weight alone may not always reflect your child’s body shape or proportions, affecting the fit.

Age-based sizing

This is another commonly used system, when nappies are categorised according to…you guessed it - age range! This system includes labels such as ‘Newborn’, ‘Infant’, ‘Toddler’, and ‘Junior’, serving as a rough guideline whilst your child grows and develops.

Waist measurement

For a more accurate fit, some nappy brands provide sizing options based on waist measurements, which are especially helpful if your child’s body proportions aren’t typical for their age or size.

Combination sizing

Some brands even combine all three of the above sizing systems for a comprehensive and personalised fit. They also tend to include detailed size guides that provide flexibility and accuracy by correlating these different measurements.

Which should you use?

When choosing the best size for your little one, weight-based sizing is generally reliable for infant sizes, while age-based sizing might work better for toddlers and older children. And if your child’s body proportions deviate from what could be seen as the average, consider waist or combination sizing.

Determining the right nappy size for your child

If you’re wanting to find the perfect size for your child’s nappy through their hip and waist measurement, follow these step-by-step instructions to measure your child accurately. For their weight, simply pop them on the scales.

  • Measure the waist circumference - Using a measuring tape, measure your child’s waist. Have them stand up straight, place the measuring tape around their waist just above the hip bones - snug but not too tight - and jot down the measurement.
  • Measure the hip circumference - With a level measuring tape, wrap it around your child’s hips - around the buttocks.

Tips and Tricks for getting accurate measurements

  • Measure when your child is wearing lightweight clothing for the most accurate results.
  • Take measurements at different times of the day to account for fluid retention and digestion.
  • If your child is between sizes, choose the larger size to accommodate for growth and to minimise leakage risks.

Other factors to consider for choosing the right nappy

When choosing the right nappy size, there are some additional factors to consider beyond these basic sizing measurements, and they can have a notable impact on your child’s overall experience.


This is important for managing any accidents throughout the day, and the level of absorbency should be considered based on the severity of your child’s incontinence.

Waistband flexibility

The waistband plays a vital role in ensuring a snug fit, so make sure to look for nappies with flexible waistbands that provide that gentle, secure grip.

Leg cuff

These are designed to create an extra barrier against leakage by providing a secure seal around your child’s leg that especially helps during active periods.

Find the perfect nappy size for your child with Incontinence Shop

So now we know the various nappy sizes, why getting the right fit for your child is so important, and some tips and tricks to make your life and that of your little a bit easier, now all that’s left is to get yourself some high-quality, reliable nappies, and why not from Incontinence Shop?

We stock a wide range of nappies of all sizes and at better than supermarket prices, so your child and your wallet will be happy. With a range of premium brands, fast, discreet delivery, and 10% further savings when you subscribe, there’s no reason not to get your nappies from Incontinence Shop!