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Monday, September 20, 2010

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Abracadabra: The disappearing leak

We all know the ultimate leak issue: your diapers are repelling or have build up and are not absorbing as fast as you would like. There are a ton of tutorials out there about methods of stripping, but I'm here to talk about your everyday leaks. The little 'oops' that you didn't see coming and leaves a patch of wet on your little one's onesie. I've been cloth diapering for almost a year and a half. I STILL MAKE MISTAKES. You heard right, and I bet all the other mamas out there with experience are nodding their heads, too. Let's face it, we all get busy and sometimes those hectic moments can make you fall into a leaky diaper trap. I'm here to 'magic' away those leaks! A little smoke and mirrors, and problems solved. Here's my top tricks:

1. Insert issues. Whether you are using a prefold or fitted/cover, an AI2 or pocket, those inserts can wreak havoc on your baby's nice clothes. For diapers where you use a cover, be sure to check that the insert is tucked in all the way all around the diaper. A wiggly baby can pop a prefold out the back of your cover and in a onesie, you might not even notice until that telltale wet mark appears! Be sure to lift up your baby's legs as well, and poke the insert in if it's hanging out, and readjust the waist if necessary, to get a nice, tight fit around those legs! No gaps=no leaks. For pocket diaper users, you know the drill: you start stuffing and folding and you get pretty good at it, doing it faster and faster... until you get a leak and start to panic! Finish changing your baby and assess the diaper. More than once I've put the insert in and not gotten it completely smooth. No absorbent material means that the urine runs along the pul until it finds a place to 'land', usually the leg elastic. A bump in the bottom is worth a leak out the legs! My biggest trick? I get my husband to stuff the diapers. His hands are twice the size of mine and he can smooth out an insert in about 15 seconds, whereas it might take me a full minute to get a perfectly flat stuff!

2. Clothing issues. Yup, you heard right, your baby's clothing might be to blame. Recently I was noticing more leaks at my baby's legs and I just could not figure it out. It was only happening with her onesies, though, not any other clothing. Then I discovered one day during a diaper change that I was pulling her onesie OUT of the leg holes on her diaper. All her crawling and toddling had shoved the material right into the wet zone. Size up your onesies and your leaks disappear!

3. Time warp. You may have thought you put that diaper on at 7 in the morning, but really, it was 6. Every too-full diaper will eventually leak, if there is no where for the urine to go. If your inserts are super-duper full and heavy when you pull them out, you may have gotten into a time warp. This often happens to me when we're out somewhere. I don't wear a watch and I lose all track of time. What do I pull out of my hat this time? I put a clock in every room and I make it a point to mentally and sometimes verbally say the time out loud to help me remember. If I'm out somewhere, I mentally calculate about what time I'd like to change the baby and then ask what time it is like a parrot. Another option if you are a techie? Go ahead and set an alarm on your phone to remind you. See #5 for more traveling ideas.

4. Brand loyalty. You just buy a diaper and think that the inserts that came with it should work fine, after all, they came with the diaper. A friend of mine had some diapers that she tried out on all of her babies, and had leaks with them all and put them away each time. After seeing me post on facebook about cloth diapers, she approached me with her problem. We went through several things, and finally she came to the conclusion that the inserts to her new AI2 diapers she purchased might fit in her old pockets. They were a lot more absorbent than her 5 year old inserts. If something doesn't work for you, try a different brand!

5. Heavy wetter. Super soaked inserts might also mean that your baby is going through a heavy wetting stage. You can double up your inserts or try buying new inserts/doublers of a thirstier material than you currently use, like hemp or bamboo. A cloth wipe will also do in a pinch! Double up at nap time, during car rides, and at night. I triple stuff my toddler at night. If your stash is low, you might try buying some diapers that have inserts with doublers that attach with snaps. I have a few diapers that I purposefully leave double stuffed at all times. I can take them with me on trips and know that I have a 'super dipe' for the ride home, for impromptu trips while visiting family, or times like playing outside, when I know a diaper change will cause a full-on toddler tantrum!

6. The sneaky rolling over belly sleeper. All the sudden your baby starts sleeping on a side or his/her belly. You get wet sheets. Luckily, this stage doesn't last long, or it didn't for us anyway! Your baby will adjust to sleeping on his/her belly and it will ease up, but some sleight of hand can be done with an aplix diaper pulled REALLY tight, and some fleece pjs. Some diaper covers are made of fleece, and I know there are mamas out there who go cover-less and let fleece pants take the hit. Putting a doubler up front should also help.

Don't let the leaks get you down! You chose cloth because of a number of factors, most of which are not changed by a tiny leak every once in a while. Follow these tips and soon those 'oops' leaks will be gone. Just like magic!

By Jill S.


StephanieU said...

We had a leak this morning - probably because I didn't get the fitted stuffed inside the cover after a potty run in the middle of the night (followed by more peeing before she was up for the day). Ugh! Luckily it is a rare problem these days in our house!

Stacey Ho said...

I know this sounds crazy but does anyone find getting the leg gussets too tight (yes as in a snug fit) actually creates more leaks and that buy loosening the fitting, especially one a one-size - you actually get few leaks? This is a hunch I'm having but want to know if anyone sees this too...

Jennie said...

Wow, this is a great article. I read diaper reviews all the time where people complain about leaks, and I've used some of the same diapers without leaks, and I wonder if it just a bad fit for their needs, and not necessarily the diaper.

Karyle said...

I'm a recent convert from disposables and find I often let my dipes go to long as I can't just eyeball the diaper!

Alycia said...

This post came at the perfect time! DS's night diaper has started leaking suddenly so I'm going to use this post to see if I can figure out why. Fortunately this is the first time we've really had any leak problems!

Caty said...

For those of you that cloth diaper and co-sleep, what do you guys do to keep your mattress from taking a ton of blows from leaks so that it doesn't get ruined? I have a waterproof sheet on my daughter's crib mattress when she naps in there during the they make those for adult beds?

Sarahjenne said...

Haha! The "Time Warp" cracked me up. It happens! I had leaky Fuzzibunz when I first got it and I think the elastic just wasn't adjusted properly.

Brenda said...

very helpful article. thanks for the heads up, it always helps to have another persons perspective.