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All About Leaks

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

No one wants all the extra washing that comes from leaky nappies and constant outfit changes. One of the biggest areas parents and carers contact me about is leaks and whether they need to get some boosters.

Sometimes this is the solution however before spending out too much on lots of additional inserts there are a few other things to check. If these aren’t resolved adding extra inserts wont fix your problem or not for very long and could actually make matters worse.

Often I see pictures of overstuffed nappies which is making the fit really bad. So before you stuff your nappy full of inserts check this list.

1) Detergent and Washing

Do the nappies smell strongly of washing powder? If so you need to put all your clean nappies back in for a nice long detergent free wash or if it’s about to rain hang them out on the line and let nature rinse them out for you. Try adding a little less detergent in future and add a rinse on the end of your wash cycle. Some nappies just seem to retain washing powder so occasionally you might have to just run a plain cycle to help them out.

Also make sure you aren’t adding any fabric softeners to your wash.

2) The Fit

Have you got the fit correct? Check out my guides to getting the right fit as this is so often the cause of leaks. A nappy that is too tight will cause leaks just as much as one that is too loose however you need the rise (front snaps) on a smaller setting than you might think. Cloth nappies only just cover the bottom at the back so are naturally smaller than disposables – this can take a bit of getting used to if you are used to disposable nappies. As you nappies are likely to be used to potty training just think – does it seem right that I am on the biggest setting? If you baby is only a few months old the chances of needing the bigger setting is really unlikely.

Just to keep you on your toes, often you need to go back down a rise setting when your toddler gets to a certain size and they slim down a little. You may have had the right fit for ages but sometimes a change in their body shape means suddenly there are gaps round the legs. Recheck your sizing and fit as if they are new nappies.

3) The Inserts

Are the inserts completely saturated? If so you probably need to boost the nappy with either hemp or bamboo. If not you could have either a different problem (see the rest of this list) or your nappies might not be absorbing the liquid fast enough. Have you got anything in there that’s fast absorbing? If your baby is holding their wee and then doing it all in one go sometime this can be too much liquid too quickly for you nappy if you have filled it completely with bamboo and/or hemp. While Microfiber often gets talked about negatively it is amazing at absorbing quickly. This gives the bamboo or hemp time to absorb the excess more slowly and hold it. Reducing your inserts down to one microfiber and one or two bamboo or hemp could be the answer rather than adding more and more and creating fit issues.

Sometimes just checking the inserts are nice and flat in the nappy can make the difference so the liquid isn't going round the soaker straight to the outside layer. I remember an incident when this happened to my little one standing in the queue for Nursery. That wet patch forming on his clothes all because the insert wasn't flat.

4) Compression

From a nappy that is too tight to a vest that is squishing the nappy or a long car ride where car seat straps are compressing the nappy - these can all cause leaks. To work out if vests are the culprit try using the nappy without a vest on and use some other loose fitting clothing instead (or some baby leg warmers and a t-shirt). The cure here is either to go up a size in vests or purchase vest extenders so you can continue to use them for longer. For longer car journeys a bamboo or hemp insert can help the nappy last that bit longer.

Out of vests? Often it will be the trousers or tights that are causing the compression.

5) Expectations

Are you changing the nappy often enough? While cloth nappies are amazing and used right you are likely to have less leaks and poo escaping than in a disposable they are not as absorbent. They are not filled with all the gels and chemicals that disposables are so they need changing more often. You should look to change cloth nappies every 2-3 hours. If you are leaving them for longer than this (with the exception of night nappies and boosters) reducing the time between changes could be the answer.

6) Damage

If the waterproof layer (PUL) is damaged the nappy will leak. This can be due to age of the nappy, Velcro regularly catching it in the wash, chemicals (such as bleach) or heat (radiators, tumble dryers, washing too hot). There are a few tests you can do to see if the PUL is damaged. If you have looked after your nappies well and bought them brand new however this is less likely to be the case.

If you are struggling with leaks after going through this list or just aren’t sure you are getting the fit right please get in contact. If you bought the nappies from The Norfolk Nappy Company we want to try to help you get it right. If you didn’t we hate to hear of anyone struggling and we have a trouble shooting service you can sign up for.

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