Making the right choice of diaper for an adult baby would be tough for the dad. Thankfully, most little ones seem to know which diaper they like best although they’re constantly looking for improvement!
One of the most common questions I hear amongst diaper lovers and ABs is – “What kind do you wear?” The answers can be very specific and opinionated. Diaper lovers like specific brands for specific reasons but will nearly always have a complaint or two – ‘nearly perfect but not crinkly enough’, ‘holds lots but the wrong color’.
Diapers can be considered, in part, a fetish – by which I mean the more traditional definition of an object with specific powers, as in the Wikipedia description:
A fetish (…from the Latin facticius, “artificial” and facere, “to make”) is an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular, a man-made object that has power over others. Essentially, fetishism is the attribution of inherent value or powers to an object.
For the adult baby or diaper lover, a fetish has an inherent value and a power. It is transporting, provides something that other objects simply can’t (like, well, underwear, say), and for some has an almost mystical or supernatural property, invoking a sense of transformation, trance state, or external emotional pull.
Now, the little ones aren’t thinking such complicated thoughts of course. They just know there are certain things they like and other things they don’t. And I have my own preferences as a daddy, just as other dads probably do. Now, you can assess all the diapers out there, and it doesn’t take much to find long discussions of Tena versus Depends or whether someone can fit into Pampers size 7 or not – there will be questions of whether they leak or crinkle, fit snugly or are bulky, and what color people prefer, and all of those are important and you need to consider your own and your baby/diaper lover’s preferences.
But there are a number of emotional factors that I think about in choosing diapers, and my guess is that variations on some of these factors play a role as the more ‘practical’ considerations:
Nostalgia: Squared-up Pampers with two tapes are the only game in town. Or cloth diapers with plastic pants. Or Pull-Ups. There’s a nostalgia and set of associations with diapers that can be very specific to the real and inner age of your AB/DL. These associations are an extremely powerful subtext to their wearing. Diapers provide associations to innocence, love, humiliation, or specific times in life associated with less care or, in some cases, with pain.
Most often, seeing a diaper in a certain color or style will evoke nostalgia and memory – even if those memories are very vague or distant. As you hold the diaper in your hand, your son will associate it with memories of diaper wearing by himself or others from a simpler time. Those associations will trigger a sense of return or transportation to times and situations in which those diapers were used. The association of a diaper with specific looks or types from the past can play an important role.
Do I Look Old in this Thing? Similar to association with a particular time period, a diaper can associate with a certain age. Do you have an adorable toddler? Or a baby? Or is your son a big boy with a wetting problem who needs diapers? This can have vast implications for the choice of diaper: babyish patterns and color can be critical to the former, less important to the latter. Your boy needs a diaper that’s appropriate for his inner age, whether it’s close to his real one or whether it’s the toddler within. Looking for diapers, or for ways to adapt the diapers to these circumstances, is important.
There are, of course, other ways to help your son or baby with this – the clothes he wears, the language you use, furniture or toys. But finding a good ‘diaper fit’ for their age sure doesn’t hurt!
Safety: Diapers can provide a sense of comfort and safety. They can also, for some, provide a feeling of humiliation. My preference is for more care and comfort – my little ones need tenderness and love rather than embarrassment or punishment, although these latter can be important and hard to avoid.
Safety is reflected in how well the diaper protects, pads, and, well, does what it’s supposed to: keep their pants dry! Diapers that tend to leak at the legs or waist or have insufficient padding and absorption won’t make either daddy or son happy.
When your son wears his diaper he should have the reassuring feeling that he is well protected and, most critically, he shouldn’t have thoughts in his minds that his diapers won’t work. One goal is to remove resistance to using his diapers. Inner questions about whether the diaper is ‘safe to use’ need to be taken out of the picture as much as possible through a sufficiently snug, padded diaper.
Social Standing: Depending on your circumstance, you may only ‘play’ dad/son (adult/baby, etc) in private or at certain times. Or, wearing diapers may include periods where your son is in public. The way the diaper wearer perceives that others will notice or recognize that he’s wearing a diaper is an important factor in what you choose. Diapers that are bulky or bulge beneath his clothes can make him feel conspicuous, but this can be a delight or a curse. For some, their bond to their diaper is an important part of who they are, and there may in fact be a certain amount of pride (often mixed with embarrassment) in realizing that others recognize them as a diaper lover or, especially with the right clothes or “look”, a baby or toddler.
More practically, however, there can be a preference to keep the diapers hidden. Training diapers can be used or Pull-Ups or less bulky brands. But just because OTHERS don’t know he’s wearing – he does and so does daddy. This can be like a ‘secret bond’ bringing the caregiver closer to his little one.
But social standing works in private as well as public spaces. Your son may feel a special pride walking around the house in nothing but a very noticeable diaper. You might even notice him strutting a little or walking or sitting in ways that elicit loud crinkles from his diaper. Or there may be other times that are perfect for a sort of quiet comfort – a less noticeable diaper under his clothes, making the point that diapers are an integral part of his life even when they aren’t as noticeable.
In fact, a diaper lover or adult baby may have a range of diapers for different circumstances, and just as there are as many schools of thought on which ones are ‘best’, you may also find that specific ones are also best for specific moods and situations. So keep a good stash on hand!