2. Fear of leaks
That’s about it.
If you’ve been diapering long enough, you know that leaks… well they happen. They happen with disposable diapers, they happen with cloth diapers. Eventually a diaper will just get TOO wet and that’s when either the sticky gel stuff inside a disposable goes AWOL and bursts or a cloth insert gets saturated and wicks through the waterproof material and onto baby’s clothing.
Ready for some honesty?
After nearly 7 years, if a baby leaks a little urine around the legs, has a spot the size of an egg or an apple on the crib sheets, and it’s not soaked through the other layers of the bed? Lean in close now… shhh! I turn the ceiling fan on and let it dry. Yup. I’m that mom. The mom who doesn’t have time to spend all day on laundry. I’m just like you, but I have honestly just given up on worrying too much about a tiny damp spot on the blankets. A larger spot than that, with baby’s entire outfit being saturated and requiring a bath, or a poop leak? Yup, I wash for those times. Then I troubleshoot WHAT was wrong with the diaper. Follow along and see if you can figure out WHY you might have an issue.
Common leak issues and how to solve them:
- Not changing often enough–change more often: If you’re expecting a diaper to go 12 hours overnight, think again. Disposable diaper companies tell you that babies should sleep through everything, but it’s simply not true. Changing babies that wake at night is no big deal. Some parents have a deal where dad gets baby out of bed, changed and brought to mom while mom uses the bathroom and wakes up enough to feed baby. We’ve done this for years and it works well for us, especially during the first few months. It’s perfectly fine for baby to cry to eat for 90 seconds while the diaper gets changed if it means no leaks and everyone gets back to sleep more quickly. Baby sleeps through the night? See #2.
- Not enough absorbency– if it’s a pocket diaper, just add hemp: you can tell this is your issue if the insert is completely saturated. There was nowhere for it to go, like overfilling a glass of water from the faucet.. it just.. overflows. You can also try bamboo, cotton flats or prefolds, and additional microfiber boosters. Some people switch to fitteds and wool covers overnight because there’s more square inches of absorbency. The point is you need more ‘fluff’ if your baby wets that much.
- Compression leaks–change your insert material: you can tell this is your issue if the insert is microfiber and baby has been somewhere that presses down too hard on the diaper. Examples: swing, car seat, etc.
- Improper fit aka user error–fasten it better next time: Your baby may have grown or changed shape seemingly overnight, you could simply need to snap it tighter, affix the hook and loop (velcro) angled down a bit (on newborns) and adjust the rise snaps if there are gaps at the legs. This happens to everyone. Even 3 kids in, I noticed a diaper snapped in the middle of the night was barely on… duh no wonder the sheets were wet. User. Error. Gets you every time. *But no reason to throw in the towel.. or diaper!
- Poor quality diaper–fluffgrade (that’s me speak for upgrade your fluff): you can tell this is your issue if you purchased stretched out second hand, cheapies off of ebay, diapers without a warranty, they took 3 weeks to get to you, there is no customer service, and so on…. a lot of new parents get sucked into low prices and so-called bargain diapers. Experienced fluff experts know that the print might be gorgeous, but not to expect it to last forever overnight. In the day either for that matter. I have had a few of those myself (purchased for the print) but fully understood when they leaked after 2 hours. Cheaply made equals lower quality.
Repelling–strip your diapers: Okay now this is where I heave a HUGE sigh, because true repelling of diapers is so rare that I don’t even want to put it on the list. At all. I didn’t even give it a number. Repelling is when a diaper or diaper insert combo truly becomes like a duck’s back or a windbreaker, and water rolls right off of it. Zero waste is absorbed and you have every bit of output on the bed, floor, or whatever. All of it. Not just some, not a drop of wetness, but ALL of it. The insert will be dry and everything else completely wet. Many tutorials exist out there for stripping diapers, but the main thing is that if it’s truly repelling, you need to figure out why. Most of the time it’s the fault of washing for months with fabric softeners that coat the fabric and make it unable to absorb… but again, this is so rare that it barely rates mentioning.
*An aside–onesie type clothing can also ride up into the creases of baby’s legs into the diaper itself and promote wicking to the legs of the outfit, a quick tip I learned this year is to only snap the middle snap and the outfit will be secure without the material becoming a conduit for fluid to escape.
To read more about the Real Diaper Association and see other posts from awesome bloggers who have ‘been there done that’, check out the RDA’s take on overnight diapering here and the linky below: