Up & Up vs. Mama Bear Diapers: Real World Testing Review 2023

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Mama Bear vs. Target up & up diapers

Trying to choose between Target’s Up & Up and Amazon’s Mama Bear Gentle Touch diapers? Unsure how these two store brand diapers differ?

Then read on because below you’ll find an in-depth comparison of Mama Bear Gentle Touch vs. Target Up & Up diapers diapers. I analyze size, absorbency, cost, ingredients, fit and more.

In addition to time-on-baby-butt testing, I also tested the absorption of each diaper. These tests were photo documented and made into visuals so you can personally see how well these diapers absorb in comparison to each other.

And don’t forget to check out my full review of Mama Bear diapers and some of our other diapers comparisons:

Let’s go.

[NOTE: This article offers costs comparisons that were current as of July 2023]

Review updated for a walking baby

I have updated this article in July 2023 based on re-testing Target Up & Up diapers now that our baby is walking. The performance on our walking baby has been very disappointing, with many many leaks.

I’ve added notes throughout this write up with this new information. I’ve left my original assessment for those with smaller babies, since the diapers did work great when she was smaller.

This article reviews Mama Bear’s standard line, Gentle Touch diapers. I do want to note that now that we can’t use Up & Up’s, I’ve switched to Mama Bear’s premium Plus Protection line. You can read my full evaluation of Gentle Touch vs. Plus Protection for more information on Plush Protection.

Size of Up & Up’s and Mama Bear Diapers

The Mama Bear vs. Up & Up comparisons throughout this article were based on size 2 diapers, which accommodate 12-18 lb. babies.

target up & up diaper vs. amazon mama bear diaper side by side comparison

Mama Bear size 2 diapers run a bit larger than Target’s Up & Up’s. Below you’l find a table of measurements for each diaper:

Target Up & UpMama Bear
Between Legs3″3.5″
Front waistband9.5″10″
Velcro Strip5.4″4.5″
Back waistband10.5″9.5″
Back waistband stretched12.25″13″

Both Amazon Mama Bear diapers and Target Up & Up diapers are available from newborn (up to 10 lb.) to size 7 (above 41 lb.).

WINNER: TIE — It is personal preference as to whether a bigger or smaller diaper is better. I like diapers that runs larger for cost saving reasons, because cost per diaper increases as you go up in sizes.

Absorption Testing: Mama Bear vs. Up & Up Diapers

To test absorbency, each diaper was filled with 350 mL of liquid in 50 mL increments. Photos were taken every 5 seconds after each pour to document absorption. After 25 seconds, remaining wetness was checked with a paper towel.

Once filled with 350 mL, diapers were rested for at least 10 minutes before a final dryness test.

High testing volumes were selected to stress the diapers’ absorption. 50 mL pours were based on an average infant bladder capacity of 48.9 mL (source). 350 mL reflects an estimated daily urine output of 393.6 mL/day for a median 9-month old (assuming 2 mL/kg/hr and 50th percentile weight of 8.2 kg, source & source).

Mama Bear Diaper Absorbency Testing

Mama Bear: Visually, Mama Bear diapers sucked up the test liquid quickly. However, they felt wet after 25 seconds when tested with a paper towel. This wetness was significant and present even at low volumes.

This review specifically compares Up & Up’s vs. Mama Bear, but it is worth noting that this wetness was the most of the four brands tested during this trial run.

mama bear diaper absorbing liquid animation

That said, the diaper did feel much much drier after a 10-minute rest, and was on par with the other diapers. This suggests that Mama Bear diapers have absorption capacity but are not as efficient and absorb more slowly than Up & Up’s.

After the 10-minute rest, the final paper towel test was dry. To the touch, the Mama Bear diaper felt slightly damper vs. the Up & Up.

[NOTE: We did our first run with the Mama Bear diaper so you’ll notice us working out some kinks in the photos. The dye in the testing liquid was adjusted after the first pour. We also didn’t hit a good photo-every-5-seconds rhythm until the final 350 mL pour.]

Target Up & Up Absorbency Testing

Target Up & Up: Up & Up diapers also performed visually well and appeared to soak up liquid quickly. On the paper towel test, it had some residual wetness but nowhere near as much as the Mama Bear diapers.

Overall, it did a was pretty good of absorbing most of the liquid quickly for the first four pours. Its performance started to wane some at the 300 mL pour, when it became wetter on the paper towel test.

Up & Up’s had a dry paper towel test after the 10 minute resting period. They also pulled ahead of the Mama Bear’s by feeling drier to the touch.

WINNER: Up & Up — The Mama Bear diapers absorbed liquid more slowly than the Up & Up’s. Up & Up diapers had a very solid performance, especially for a store brand.


Mama Bear: We had multiple leaking incidents when we trialed Mama Bear Gentle Touch diapers overnight. I did not feel they were reliable enough for us and ultimately ended up limiting them to day wear only.

Up & Up: Up & Up diapers work great for us overnight. We will very rarely get leakage overnight and I don’t wonder if she’ll wake up wet when I put her in an Up & Up. I’m also impressed at how the diaper also stays on our baby’s body when it is filled to that capacity in the morning.

UPDATE: Now that our baby is bigger and walking, Up & Up’s no longer work for us overnight. We’ve had her wake up soaking wet when trying to use Up & Up diapers overnight now.

WINNER: Target Up & Up — Up & Up wins because they did work as overnight diapers when our baby was smaller, unlike the Mama Bear’s. When I curtailed the Mama Bears to day wear, I replaced them with Target Up & Up diapers at night. However, once your baby is bigger, I wouldn’t use Up & Up’s overnight.

Cost Comparison: Amazon Mama Bear vs. Up & Up’s

[NOTE: Prices are dynamic and change frequently. This comparison is based on July 2023 pricing, and this date is highlighted with each price mention.]

Both Mama Bear and Up & Up diapers are store brands, for Amazon and Target respectively. They are both more affordable diaper options and will save you a substantial amount of money compared to name brands (they’re almost half the cost!).

When buying the large box, Mama Bear diapers run a few cents more per diaper than Up & Up’s. They are essentially comparable in price.

However, Mama Bear diapers price jumps if you only need a small pack of diapers, and is significantly more than the Up & Up’s.

I really appreciate that Target’s Up & Up pricing is consistent regardless of the package size. You can buy the small bag or the biggest box and the cost per diaper is essentially the same.

This is a really nice feature. Often you don’t need the huge box or it is not convenient to store. Buying smaller packages also helps you avoid being stuck with a lot of outgrown diapers when your baby sizes up.

WINNER: Up & Up — Not only is Up & Up slightly cheaper, the more consistent pricing across package sizes makes me more likely to buy Up & Up vs. Mama Bear (as of Feb. 2023).


The reported ingredients of Up & Up vs. Mama Bear diapers’ ingredients are essentially the same. They both claim to be hypoallergenic, and free of fragrance, elemental chlorine and latex.

Up & UpMama Bear
Fragrance Free?YESYES
Chlorine Free?YES – ElementalYES – Elemental
Latex Free?YESYES

Elemental chlorine-free means that no direct chlorine was used, but other chemicals used in the wood bleaching process may contain chlorine.

Mama Bear: Mama Bear lists their ingredients as fluff, an absorbent sodium polyacrylate polymer and a nonwoven dryness layer. The outer shell is made of polypropylene nonwoven fabric, non-latex elastics, adhesives and ink (exact materials not specified). They also list ingredients that don’t give any real details on ingredients like “fastening system” and “moisture barrier.”

Target Up & Up: Target provides a general materials list for their Up & Up diapers that includes polyester, polypropylene, and polyethylene. They do not break the material list down by layer.

WINNER: TIE — Both diapers claim to be hypoallergenic but leave something to be desired on ingredient details.

Where are Mama Bear & Target Diapers Manufactured?

TIE — Both Target Up & Up and Amazon Mama Bear diapers are made in the USA.

Are Up & Up or Mama Bears More Comfortable?

Softness: Mama Bear diapers are much softer than Target Up & Up diapers. Mama Bear diapers are impressively soft and velvety for a store brand. The insides of Mama Bear diapers are much softer and ever-so-slightly fluffy compared to the Up & Up’s.

Bulkiness: Mama Bears and Up & Up diapers are similar in terms of bulkiness. Both diapers are thin when dry but when liquid is introduced, they bulk up quite a bit. The Target diaper is a little narrower and thicker than the Mama Bear diaper when full.

UPDATE: With our walking baby, Up & Up filling shifts a lot and bunches up.

We found that the inner filling would bunch a little with movement when our baby had peed a lot in both types of diapers.

amazon mama bear diaper cut in half to show absorbent filling
target up & up diaper cut in half to show absorbent filling

Umbilical Cord Space: Both Amazon Mama Bear and Target Up & Up newborn diapers have space for the umbilical stump.

WINNER: Mama Bear — Mama Bear diapers are impressively soft. They are much softer than Up & Up diapers, and they are even softer than name-brand Pampers. The bulkiness of Up & Up vs. Mama Bear are comparable.

Fit & Secureness: Mama Bear & Target Up & Up

Fit: Mama Bear diapers fit bigger while Target’s Up & Up diapers smaller fit. That said, I was still able to get snug and secure fits with both diapers easily (our baby has been 20th percentile and below).

Ultimately though, the fit of a diaper will depend a lot on the proportions of your baby. For example, Target Up & Up’s work great for our current baby but they didn’t fit our first baby as well (they still got the job done though).

Waistband: Both Target Up & Up and Amazon Mama Bear diapers include elastic cinching on the back waistband.

Tabs: Target Up & Up tabs have a lot more elastic stretch than Mama Bear diapers under light tugging. At first I didn’t even realize Mama Bear tabs had any stretch because the tab I tried barely moved. However, when I went to put the diaper on my baby, I was pleasantly surprised with the stretch I was able to achieve on the tab given how un-stretchy it originally appeared.

Once you hit size 3 in Mama Bear diapers, they add a thin strip where the tabs fasten that is slightly tacky. I believe these strips are to add secureness for a more mobile baby which is a nice touch.

Sturdiness: Overall, Target Up & Up and Mama Bear diapers were mostly comparable in terms of sturdiness. They stayed on our baby as she moved around. I think Target had the slightest edge of staying on her in place, but not enough to makes any claims about diaper superiority.

UPDATE: Up & Up diapers do not stay on well now that our baby is walking.

WINNER: TIE — A lot of fit is going to come down to personal preference. I preferred Up & Up’s stretchier tabs, but Mama Bear adding extra security at size 3 is a nice feature.

And I do want to repeat, there is a little cost savings to be had with a bigger fitting diaper like Mama Bear’s, as diaper price goes up with size.


Wetness Indicator: Both Up & Up and Amazon Mama Bear diapers include pH-based wetness indicators.

Size Indicator: Mama Bear diapers include a clear size indicators on the waistband. Target Up & Up’s do not. Size indicators are a nice feature because it takes the guess work out of sizing up.

Design: Both diapers are generally simple-looking and also similar-looking. They each have an option that is a white shells with simple bluish or greenish pattern on the waistbands and a second option that has more design on the outer shell.

front of a amazon mama bear diaper to show design
front of a target up & up diaper to show design

WINNER: Mama Bear — Mama Bear has the edge by providing size up indicators.

Conclusion: Are Up & Up or Mama Bear Diapers Better?

Target Up & Up vs. Mama Bear Gentle Touch diapers are both good diaper options, especially for the cost. Amazon Mama Bear’s have the convenience of Amazon’s fast shipping, while Target Up & Up’s have a bit of a cost advantage.

In terms of performance, Up & Up diapers outperformed Mama Bear diapers on both the absorbency test and during overnight wear. Because of this and the cost difference, I’d personally opt for Up & Up diapers.

UPDATE: This assessment holds for smaller babies, but if your baby is walking I do not recommend Up & Up. Now that our baby is bigger and walking, we can no longer use Up & Up’s overnight and have been disappointed in their day performance as well. I’ve switched to using Mama Bear’s Plush Protection premium line for overnights instead.

Up & UpMama Bear
Fit & SecurenessWINNER

That said, my guess is that most people will get what they need out of either diaper. If you already do all your shopping on Amazon and rarely go to Target, then the Up & Up vs. Mama Bear differences probably aren’t enough to tip the scale for you.

Still undecided on diapers? Check out some of our other diaper comparisons, including Huggies and Pampers diapers:

About the Author

Elizabeth Jon is a Ph.D. researcher whose work focuses on pregnancy and education. At Shoestring Baby, she uses her skills to research baby name trends, in-depth baby gear reviews & money savings ideas for parents.

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