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My Diapers are LEAKING! HELP!

Diaper Leaking - Improve Absorbency

The 3 Most Common Reasons for Diapers Leaking:

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, you will experience diaper leaking.

Tips for Dealing With Absorbency Related to Diaper Leaking:

  • 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 you experience diaper leaking.
  • Most pocket diapers come with 2 inserts. You may need to use them both. If you are seeing the diaper leaking with just one insert add the second insert before trying other tricks.
  • Hemp and bamboo inserts or doublers may provide more absorbency than microfiber or cotton. Hemp works really well against diaper leaking 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, Geffen Baby, 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 against diaper leaking. 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. So, how should a diaper fit? 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. If you still have questions on how should a diaper fit your child, visit Kelly's Closet for more tips and info.

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. Note: For easier handling, search Kelly's Closet for the best diapers for boys.
  • 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) Mineral/Residue Buildup

The third main reason you could be experiencing leaks has to do with mineral and/or residue buildup. Hard water minerals can get trapped in the fibers of your diapers and prevent the detergent from rinsing clean. This can cause your diapers 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.

For more specific troubleshooting tips and advice please contact us or join our private Cloth Diaper Support Group on Facebook.