My Diapers are LEAKING! HELP!

The 3 most common reasons why diapers leak:

1) Absorbency

Babies pee a lot, especially within about 15-30 minutes after eating.  With cloth diapers, you might find yourself changing your baby every 2-3 hours or as needed.  If the diaper is fully saturated and soaked, it will likely leak. 

Tips for dealing with absorbency related leaks:

  • New cotton, bamboo, and hemp inserts may need to be washed 3-6 times before they become fully absorbent.  If you have new natural fiber diapers wash them a few more times and see if they still leak.
  • Most pocket diapers come with 2 inserts.  You may need to use them both.  If you are having leaks with just one insert add the second insert before trying other tricks. 
  • Hemp and bamboo inserts or doublers may provide more absorbency then microfiber or cotton.  Hemp works really well when placed behind a microfiber insert.  Microfiber is quick to absorb, and hemp will hold more pee and is trim.  We prefer the BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz or Knickernappies Loopy-Do hemp inserts, but any hemp insert will help increase absorbency.  Note: Microfiber is typically used inside of a pocket and should not be placed directly next to your child’s skin.
  • Fitted diapers paired with a cover provide even more absorbency and are a preferred overnight option.  Please note that fitted diapers are absorbent across the entire diaper and not just in the wet zone. 

For additional tips and advice with nighttime diapering, please visit our Nighttime Solutions section.

2) Size

If the diaper doesn't fit properly, it will leak. Diapers that are too small or too big will cause leaking. If you're using a one-size diaper, they may not begin to fit properly until your baby is roughly 8-10 lbs.  Newborns may or may not fit into a one-size diaper at birth depending on how much they weigh.  For smaller newborns, a sized or newborn specific diaper might fit for the first several weeks.  If you are experiencing leaks with a newborn diaper and the diaper is soaked, it’s probably time to move to the next size or a one-size diaper.

Cloth diaper fitting tips:

  • No holes or gaps around the legs.  This might indicate that the diaper is too big.  Adjust the rise and waist settings to a smaller size and try again. 
  • Too loose around the waist.  You might notice leaking around the belly or back if you don’t have a good fit around the waist.  A diaper should be snug but not too tight.  You should be able to place 1-2 fingers easily without too much effort. 
  • Boys VS Girls.  Boys tend to pee in the front or towards the top of the diaper.  Girls tend to pee in the middle of the diaper.  You may need to adjust where the absorbent layers are or add an extra insert where they need it most. 
  • Leg rolls.  Some babies have more rolls than others.  Be sure that your diaper is fitting inside the leg rolls where the natural underwear line would be.  If you happen to get some squishy leg rolls inside the diaper, when your baby moves it might create a gap for pee to escape. 

Can a cloth diaper be too tight?  Diapers may leave a slight red mark on your child’s leg or waist similar to the red marks that socks, underwear and elastic clothing.  The marks should not be deep or cause pain.  If it looks like it may be too tight, try loosening it just a bit.  

3) Residue Buildup

The third main reason you could be experiencing leaks has to do with residue buildup.  Some detergents may leave your diapers with residues that may cause them to leak or repel.  Additionally, if you have used fabric softener, fragrances, dyes or diaper creams with your diapers they may be clogging the fibers of your diapers.  To remove any build up, you’ll want to read our tips on how to strip your diapers. 

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