Friday, January 18, 2013

How to size your diapers to prevent leaks

A leaky cloth diaper could have a few different culprits, but getting a good fit could be the easiest explanation for diaper leaks.  The first misconception parents have, is that when diapers start leaking the diaper needs to be tighter.  If the fit was fine for a few months, and you’re suddenly experiencing leaks, consider if your little one needs the diapers moved up to the next size.  A diaper that is too tight can actually leak more.

We experienced this issue with our first pocket diapers: FuzziBunz One-size which we used at daycare.  We were using prefolds at home, and suddenly noticed that daycare was having occasional leaks with our FuzziBunz.  I immediately went on the panic and assumed worst case scenario: repelling diapers.  After stripping the diapers, the problem was persisting.  Next, I decided that the diapers must not be tight enough and I moved the sizing down a setting.  This made the problem worse.  It was through this experimenting that I realized the diapers were actually too tight!  I needed to move them up to the next size setting, and the problem was instantly resolved.

Does your child need to go up to the next size setting on her diapers? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Check the recommended weight ranges of the diaper
    Most manufacturers will give you some idea about how to size the diaper based on weight of your baby.  Obviously this isn’t 100% accurate based on body type of each individual child, but it will get you somewhere close to the right size.  If your little one is right on the edge of size recommendations, or overlapping into two different size settings, you’ll have to do some experimenting to see what seems to provide the most comfortable fit.

  • The diaper is sitting low on the tummy.
    Cloth diapers aren’t intended to be “hip huggers”, so if the diaper is fitting low on your baby’s belly then you might be ready to move up to the next size setting.  Diapers fitting too low on the waist can be prone to leaks during nap times or overnight, and could be especially problematic for little boys.

  • You’re noticing sudden leaks
    Sudden leaks for no explained reason can often be an indication of a sizing problem.  Babies tend to grow in spurts, which means cute clothes fit one day and not the next, and diaper sizing can be equally affected.  If your baby is less than a year old and having many sudden growth spurts, try fiddling with the sizing a bit before you suspect other causes of leaks.
Are your diapers too big?

  • Gaps appear around the leg or waist openings
    Make sure you aren’t using diapers that are too big for your baby.  If gaps are present around the leg or waist openings, diaper contents are likely to escape.  Diapers should fit snugly around waist and legs without leaving red marks on baby. If large gaps are present, try to size the diapers down.  Some styles of diapers may gap a bit depending on how your baby is sitting, but getting a good fit while on the changing table will help prevent leaks for older/more active babies.

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