Questions and comments always seem to come in groups. One week it’s rashes, the next it’s cloth diapering a newborn. Recently, I’ve had a string of questions dealing with leaking.
Leaking is no fun- ever. It never fails that your child is dressed for church or a play date in the cutest outfit, then you feel wetness. Isn’t that supposed to be one of the benefits to cloth diapering, no leaking?
Here are the main causes of leaking:
- Poor fit.
- Soaker material vs. pee speed incompatibility.
- Poor construction of the diaper.
- Heavy Wetter.
- Over saturation.
- Compression leaks.
- Repelling either from rash cream or fabric softener (& occasionally some detergents).
- Wrong size.
- Inserts need to be replaced.
Fortunately, all of these can be remedied. Unfortunately, some of them will cost you.
Today I will address the first 4 causes. Part 2 will follow on Tuesday, August 31st.
Leaks due to poor fit
Every baby, just like every mama, is built different. A shirt that fits me perfectly will probably bunch, gather or sag somewhere on another mom. We’re all slightly different.
It’s no different when it comes to cloth diapers. Some cloth diapers fit better on long, skinny babies, others are better for chunky thighs.
In my experience, side snapping diapers work really well for chunky thighs. Paisley (our 3rd child) was well endowed in the waist and thighs. After many diaper brands, I finally found Blueberry side snapping pockets (which they no longer make). Comparable to the Blueberry side snap would be GADs or Grasshoppers (aio).
Side snapping diapers work well for skinny legs, as well. Sterling wears Grasshoppers occasionally and I can get a super trim, very snug fit on his long, skinny body.
Cloth diapers that velcro in the front are the most leak prone. Without the added adjustability of 2 rows of snaps (one for the waist, another for the legs) you aren’t able to customize the fit. Most often the diaper is velcroed to the tightness best suited for the waist. If the adjustment is loose to accommodate a round belly then the legs are often left with space.
It’s important to ensure that the diaper is snug on all sides. Gaping in the back will cause the worst of all leaks–blowouts!
Leaks due to soaker material
The incompatibility of soaker material to your child is most often seen when hemp is used. Hemp is a slow absorber. One solution is to not use cloth diapers made of hemp. Another is to combine it with microfiber. If you are using hemp inserts in your pocket diapers, add a microfiber insert on top. Microfiber absorbs quickly and as it fills it slowly drains down on the hemp. A great nighttime combination.
Leaks due to poor construction
This is the most disappointing. To spend your money on a diaper that is poorly made is like a slap in the face. Most of the time this occurs when you buy from someone who makes cloth diapers on the very small scale and you are trying to save money. There have been a couple of times where I’ve questioned how a big brand made it as far as they have.
I love supporting start up WAHMs but I will always be honest with them. Sometimes a design they had in theory does not translate well into the manufacture. Reading reviews and asking other cloth diaper parents their opinions is a great way to get a feel for a diaper before you buy.
And never buy an entire stash before you see it and try it. That goes for small or big name brands.
Leaks due to a heavy wetter
Every child is a heavy wetter at some point. Usually between 3-12 months at night every mom describes their baby as a heavy wetter. This is normal. However normal it is though, we all want a dry night.
In December of 2009, I listed several nighttime solutions. You contributed with some great suggestions in the comments. Check out Best Cloth Diapers For Nighttime if you are need of help with nighttime cloth diapering.
Nighttime leaks can aren’t isolated to one diaper system. It can take multiple attempts before you find what works best for you. The simplest for me is the double layered Flip. It’s not my favorite cover (because it gaps in the legs a little) but the inserts are super absorbent. I like that I can toss the inserts in the pail without unstuffing. My other go to nighttime solution is a Pooters hemp fitted.
Sterling isn’t a heavy night wetter since he weaned so really I don’t have as much to worry about.
Next post I will go through #5-#9 above. My hope is that if you are having leaks we can work through it together and cloth diapering will again be a joyful experience for your family.