Wondering why your cloth diapers have leaks? There is always a lot of talk about detergent buildup, wicking, and delamination. While these things can be very real, troublesome issues, the answer is sometimes simpler. Two questions you need to ask yourself before you worry about those other things are: Does this diaper fit right? And Am I using enough absorbency?
Sophia is now 17 months old. She is 24 pounds and 32”. I sized up to the larger sized diapers months ago! Currently though, my little toddler’s bum seems to be undecided about what size it wants to be in. I pull the rise all the way up and at the next diaper change the whole diaper is saggy and I can see right in through the leg holes! Now I know they started out good and tight. Hmmm…
Ok, out came the mediums again. All those pretty snapped size 2 diapers got snapped down to the middle rise. Guess what? Perfect fit again.
Until the next diaper change that is! Right now, I feel like I am constantly fiddling with the diapers to get a good fit at every change. But seriously it is important. If you don’t have the right sized diaper or maybe aren’t putting it on quite right it WILL leak! Check out this link from Thirsties for great suggestions on how to get a good fit every time.
Next you need to ask: Are you using the right amount of absorbency? I am currently using a large Ragababe insert with a medium under it. It seems that it isn’t quite enough. A few times now after only an hour or so I it will leak through. You should never feel wetness on the outside of a waterproof shell. I am going to go to 2 large inserts.
Let’s face it…the bigger the kid…the more they drink….the more they pee! My little girl loves drinking water. So I need to make sure I can keep up with her intake.
Obviously, diaper changes need to be frequent enough to keep baby comfortable, dry and hopefully rash free. Probably more like every 2 hours is a good interval during the day. But a cloth diaper really should last more than an hour before they reached their capacity and leak.
I have heard people say it to me before. My answer is: If you are only getting 60 minutes out of the diaper, you NEED to add more absorbency. Pockets are easy to do this with. You just add an extra insert or doubler inside the pocket. With any other type of diaper you can just lay the extra insert, doubler or booster right on top of the existing one.
Many brands sell doublers or booster options that match their diaper but you can really use whatever you want as long as it will fit in the cover.
I also love Thirsties Hemp Inserts for doubling up. They are SUPER trim and absorb a TON! Hemp is more of a slow stable absorber. These inserts are also great for nighttime use as well. We use 2 of them in a Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter and they are now our bulletproof nighttime solution.
Finally a budget friendly option are Flour Sack Towels (FST for short). You can find them at Target or Walmart in the kitchen towel aisle. Or you can find them online here. They run about $1 a piece and add about 8 oz of absorbency to anything. You can use them with any type of diaper or other insert. You can even wrap them around MF and use in covers!
If you are looking how inserts and doublers stack up in the absorbency department, you need to check out my tests!
Keep in mind that many of these inserts and doublers are interchangeable between diaper brands. As long as it fits inside the cover, you are good to go.
Your baby’s diaper should not be leaking. Do a little investigating and experimenting with how different diapers fit. Invest in hemp if you can! Don’t be afraid to add more inserts if you think it’s needed.
What have you done to stop your diapers from getting leaks?
Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.