My co-workers were skeptical, but I could see the headline: Dear Diapers, Why Are You So Ugly? My family and I had just made the switch from cute, subscription-based diapers to what I’ll call regular diapers, the brands available within three blocks of my apartment. These regular diapers work just fine, but are extremely lacking in aesthetics: They feature stale cartoon characters with dead eyes. The colors are washed out and the lines blur, as though the diaper’s been left behind in a puddle. I wanted to know who liked diapers that looked this way, if anyone did at all.
“Isn’t a diaper for pooping in and throwing away?” asked a co-worker. Okay, sure, in a sense. Still, I was determined. I emailed Pampers, wanting to know if I could talk to one of their designers about why diapers look the way they do.
This pursuit ended in a phone call with Chrissy Teigen, the television host, cookbook author, and talented Twitterer. As you probably already know, she’s the mother of Luna, who’s almost 2, and currently expecting a baby boy with her husband, John. She’s also the creative consultant for Pampers Pure, a new line of diapers that are not ugly. We talked about changing dirty diapers on the floor, the difference between Luna and her dogs, what makes her nervous about having two kids, and how she felt when her first round of IVF didn’t work.
What’s the craziest place you’ve ever changed a diaper?
I don’t even know what’s crazy anymore. I tend to follow very realistic mommy blogs, ones that poke fun at the crazy things mommies do — the crazy things they say, the crazy things we see them do. I read a lot of Passenger Shaming — do you follow that Instagram account? It’s so great.
So I try to avoid doing things because I’m learning like, obviously, don’t change a baby on the tray table of an airplane seat. I’d say any time you have to do it on the floor anywhere, it feels extra sad. I did that on the floor of a baseball stadium — maybe that’s the weirdest. I felt so bad. I laid down my coat and my coat got all poopy.
My son was born three days before Luna —
Yeah! And I feel like the craziest part of changing diapers for me right now is just that he doesn’t want to hold still to get changed.
Yeah, that’s the really hard part. Sometimes I’m like, Man, at least with the floor I feel safe. But I’ve realized that if I give her a little tub of coconut oil, she’ll just kind of palm at that, and it’s so natural and pure. She just kind of piles it into her mouth. I need to distract her in any way that I can. But you know, John changes a lot of her diapers too and he sings little jingles and poopy-diaper songs. It’s all about being masters of distraction, when you’re changing them. Luna’s definitely a wiggler. It’s scary!
On a different diaper-challenge note — I’d originally gotten in touch with Pampers because I wanted to write a story about what I found lacking in mainstream diapers. When I went to buy mainstream diapers, it boggled my mind that there weren’t designs I wanted to buy. It just felt like there are so many things we need to improve for parents — paid leave, better breast pumps. Why not diapers, too?
I know! For such a major market, for something that every mother needs, that every parent needs.
So as part of your new role with Pampers, you’re sharing your mom expertise. Do you feel like an expert?
Oh god, no. I still hit up other people for advice all the time, especially people with two kids. That’s something I’m really curious about right now — how to deal with your first when you have a second coming along, especially when they’re so young. Luckily, a lot of my best friends have two kids and they’re teaching me so much. I get really worried I’m not going to pay enough attention to Luna, but they’ve told me you actually start overcompensating and paying too much attention to your first. So there are a lot of these little things I always wonder about.
But no — I don’t feel like an expert in any way. I just know what our family loves, and that the public deserves a choice when it comes to wanting to do the best for the baby.
What do you think the hardest part of being a working parent is?
I’d say that the good-bye when you’re leaving the house, or the questioning about where you’re going. Right now, though, Luna’s pretty good about it because she’s always had a lot of people in her life, she’s always been on the move, on the go. She’s pretty independent. Aside from John, she’s not really attached to any one place or any one somebody. But I think that’s going to be really hard in a few months, when she sees me breastfeeding Baby Boy. All I can do is really worry about the future. But for now, it’s not too bad.
Luckily, we’re able to bring her on so many of our trips. And that’s where she really shines, too — she really enjoys John’s touring and she enjoys traveling. I’d say we’re the most boring when we’re at home. When we’re in L.A., we really are homebodies. We don’t tend to leave the house very much, she’s just kind of creeping around in the backyard. But when we’re working, when we’re on tour, that’s when she gets to have the most fun because we’re exploring different cities, visiting the aquarium, little theme parks. We try to do whatever we can to take advantage of whatever city we’re in. She handles it really well; she’s always been really good about adapting to new cribs, new blankets. I love it, because I grew up that way, too. It’s pretty helpful in life.
That’s been my favorite part of toddlerhood — how adaptable they can be.
Yeah, I mean, my dogs have a tougher time than Luna does. They won’t eat, won’t sleep. But she’s fine. We recently discovered that you can bring a car seat on the airplane and buckle them in. That’s our big strategy now. It changed everything!
When you first decided to have kids, what were your fears or hesitations? Do you think those ended up playing out?
You know, we did IVF and it’s kind of crazy because even though you do all this planning and preparation, you take progesterone and inject your body and do all this stuff — and when I finally did get pregnant I was like, Oh crap, are we ready? I think it kind of doesn’t matter whether you do all that preparation or whether it’s a surprise. You still wonder if you’re ready. But then you hear from enough people that you’re never really ready, and you just go for it.
No, I definitely didn’t have worries like “How will we balance it all?” because I knew that our family kind of thrives on a controlled chaos. I knew we’d be fine, really. There were no grim things that I came from, where I didn’t know if I would be able to get her through any issues I went through. I’ve had a pretty simple life. I’m very lucky. The depression thing came out of nowhere! And I will say, I’m not even worried about it for this time — because I know what to expect at least.
Yeah. I didn’t really have any worries.
Because of our genetics, my husband and I need to do IVF with PGD for our second. So I’m really grateful to women like you who speak so openly about it. Do you have advice for women like me, who might find the process intimidating?
It’s kind of amazing, because you’re like, Oh my goodness, I grew up my whole life trying to avoid pregnancy and hearing stories about people in high school randomly getting pregnant the first time they slept with someone. But IVF makes you really appreciate that, my God, this is a miracle. There are so many different factors that go into being able to conceive a baby. The process really makes you appreciate that.
But it’s also easy to grow resentful of how easy it is for some people, when you’re literally mixing your own powders and chemicals to inject into your belly, shoving progesterone up there. It’s almost like one of those things where there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s like the physical pain of labor. Once your baby is actually born, you don’t remember that pain at all. When you go through IVF, it does feel like, Oh it’s not fair I have to do all this. Still, it’s a complete miracle when it works. There are so many people that still struggle, even with access to IVF.
You hear stories about IVF working the first try. But you’ll hear a lot more stories about when it takes a few times. Ours didn’t work the first time, and it was devastating. You realize that a lot of it is luck, and you can’t blame things on yourself. It’s so easy to try to figure out what you might have done “wrong” and do the opposite the next time. The first round I did of IVF, when it didn’t work, I remember thinking, Oh, I was on my feet too much, and that’s why. You just look for anything to blame, especially yourself. I think hearing stories is just really important. You realize there’s no right way to do it, or right way to react.
I don’t know. There’s no right way to do IVF. You just have to keep hoping that it will happen. It’s easy for some, and not for others. And that’s okay.
This interview has been edited and condensed.