What To Do When Diapers Leak!

Posted by Tracey Valade on Thursday, April 25, 2013 Under: Educational

What To Do When Diapers Leak!

Darolotty's How To's & What To Do's

Do you have an issue with a leaking diaper? Are you soaking through in a matter of less then two hours? Here are some solutions and ideas, and things you can watch out for!


This is always the first thing I check when a momma comes to me. Does the diaper fit right? Is it adjusted properly? Is the brand favorable for the body shape of the baby?

When buying diapers, one reason I suggest getting different styles and brands is because not every diaper is going to fit every baby. Some will not fit leaner babies as well as the thicker ones. And vise verse. So the first thing you need to do is try them on! Find the ones that fit your child, and your lifestyle. But how do you know it fits? Look for gaps and red marks. Gaps are common between the diaper and the leg of the baby and is the number one reason I see leaks especially in smaller babies. The diaper elastic should be snug against the baby's legs. But make sure as well it's not too tight! This could lead to compression leaks from it being pushed against the baby. You will know it's compression leaks when there is a severe red mark on the baby's legs. (There could also be redness from this on the waist but it would not cause leaks. Just discomfort.) The next thing you want to make sure if the baby's bottom is totally covered. Having the diaper come up a little passed the “crack” is what you want, but also not half way up the back, because really, how comfortable is that?! You don't want it too low as then not only will you likely have urine leaking out the back, but stool, and that could get messy! The last thing you need to look at, is width. Is the diaper wide enough to cover the “northern regions”, and wide enough to go across the baby's hips? Luckily most diapers, one size or not, adjust at the hips very easily, so usually this is an easy fix, but too loose on the waist can lead to leaks too.


There are three things you need to examine for absorbency and leaks caused by it. Amount of absorbent layers, material, and build up in the layers of urine or detergents.

You need to ensure there are enough layers to match the needs of your baby. Heavy wetting babies will need more. Not every baby will have the same output, and even the same one can change because of time of day or age or intake of fluids (or even the kind of fluids! Juice and water go through them faster then breast milk, for example). The amount of layers you need also depends on the kind of material you're using. Most pre-made inserts have at least 3 layers, and some go up to 6 layers. You can also use doublers, what are either inserted or laid on top of the inside of your diaper. The downside to adding more layers is it can become bulky so if you find you're layering alot, maybe try another material. (It could also cause compression leaks if the baby sits alot in a bulky diapers... but rare if it's a good fit)

What brings me to just that! The different materials. There are quite a few; microfiber, bamboo, hemp, cotton, flannel, and zorb.

Microfiber by “It's the Cloth That Counrts”

Microfiber is a synthetic material, usually your free inserts with pocket diapers, and used for many AIOS in the internal soaker. As we said last week, very “quickly” absorbent, great for fast wetters and catching heavy wetters, overall on the absorbency scale not the most dense. This means for most babies as they get older you will need a denser fabric paired with your microfiber to hold their wetness. Microfiber should not be placed directly against your baby’s skin. Because it is so quick to catch wetness, placed against a baby’s genital skin can create the potential for adhering to their skin, but underneath a flannel or fleece liner it is fine. As microfiber gets older/more washes, the fabric will lay down flatter, it won’t seem to “catch” your skin as much if you are stuffing pockets and this skin-adhesion warning isn’t as strong, but new microfiber should be used with a liner. Microfiber can be laid under fitteds, between the fitted and cover, if you have some extras laying around it can boost absorbency this way.

Bamboo by “thinking-about-cloth-diapers.com”

Bamboo fleece is a popular option for cloth diapers. It is super soft, wicks moisture away quickly, and can keep your baby comfortable even when wet. There is, however, some misunderstanding about the eco-friendly nature of bamboo fabrics. Bamboo fleece is essentially a synthetic, not a natural fabric.

Hemp by '”cottonbabies.com”

Hemp Babies products are uniquely designed to provide maximum absorbency, quick drying time and a great fit for a wide variety of babies. Made of organic cotton and natural hemp, these inserts provide the ultimate in natural fiber absorbency (8 times the absorbency of cotton!) and can be used as a diaper inside a regular diaper cover or as an insert inside a pocket diaper.

For more info on the materials feel free to drop me an email, I can send you links to videos showing different absorbency.

Finally, the other issue I see, build up!

Build up occurs usually when your wash cycle is not working out, or you're using a detergent or cream that is not safe.

To find out more about washing cloth diapers, see my blog post about it!

Usually, stripping solves any build-up issues. I have a blog post about that too!

You can tell it's an issue with build up if your diapers just don't seem to be holding in anything. Try soaking it with water. If it does not retain alot, you know there is build up. You also usually get a funky smell or stink from them.


An issue common with leaks in PUL products is delamination. There is where the lamination part of the Polyurethane Laminate comes off. It will cause a different feel and appearance to your diaper or cover. If you're not sure, take all inserts out, and try running it under a trickling tap. Set it to about the same as your baby's urine stream. Put the diaper under before you start the tap. If the water pools in the diaper, it's ok! If it runs right through, you have a determined diaper!

If using wool, and experiencing leaks, it likely means you need to relanolize your wool. And I will be doing a whole blog post on wool itself; washing, lanolizing, and care instructions.

Other Reasons for Leaks

Another thing to remember is washing machines need to be cleaned too. If you notice a smell and or build up, try to recall the last time the thing washing those diapers, was washed itself. If you use a different detergent for your clothing as you do for your cloth diapers, try to do a load of towels with the cloth detergent before you do a load of diapers. This will take out alot of the old detergent that might remain. Likewise, if you have diapers to go in the dryer (fitted or inserts for exmaple) but you need more to make a load full, throw some wet clean towels in there!

Also make sure when stuffing pocket diapers, the insert goes right, flat down the pocket and does not bunch up and cause empty pockets within the pocket. It happens! I've done it!

That about covers all the common issues with leaks.

Feel free to ask me anything you don't see here, or let me know if you have a reason for leaks I have not listed!

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About Me

Owner of Darolotty's. Mother to 3 young children and wife. Believer in stength, love, compassion and passion.