Why Diapers Leak and What We Can Do
August 4, 2009
The most common cause of diaper leakage is the diaper – not the cover. It is the responsibility of the diaper to absorb all wetness and hold it until a diaper change can occur. Covers are not really intended to act as a second diaper – covers are meant to keep the diaper wetness from spreading to the outside and that’s it. Wool covers, adequately lanolin zed, are an exception – wool actually absorbs and holds a significant amount of moisture before it begins to wick wetness to the outside.
The number one cause of diaper leaks, in my opinion, is an inadequate diaper. If your child can wet enough to get a diaper to leak in a 3 hour period, then you probably need more absorbency. Rather than buying new diapers, try boosting the current absorbency of the ones you have by adding diaper doublers or soakers. Diaper doublers and diaper soakers are one and the same thing – fabric inserts that you lay inside a diaper to increase the diaper’s absorbency. I personally prefer thinner doublers made from super absorbent hemp or micro-fleece and will use one of these during the day, two for naps, and up to 4 at night or for long car trips. Other people prefer using a thicker, more absorbent doublers at all times. There is no right or wrong way to use a doubler – what ever works for you is what is right for you.
Do you have leakage problems when a diaper is mostly dry? Then perhaps your child has a very strong urine stream and literally blasts through the diaper – the challenge we have with our son. Adding an extra layer inside the diaper and perhaps doubling that layer in front for boys and towards the bottoms of the diaper for girls can slow down the urine stream enough so that the diaper has a chance to absorb it.
Does your diaper seem to repel moisture rather than absorb it? Brand new cotton and hemp diapers require several washings to remove natural plant oils before they become absorbent. Try shaking a few drops of water on your diapers – does the water bead up on the surface or get instantly absorbed? If the water droplets bead up then your diapers need a few more washings in hot or warm water using detergent.
Are your diapers not new but still seem to repel moisture? Then check your detergent to see if it contains fabric softeners. Fabric softeners work by coating fabric fibers – and this coating can greatly decrease absorbency. Avoid using softening sheets in your dryer for the same reason.
Is your baby a newborn? Newborns are notoriously challenging to diaper. Why? Because a newborn baby’s digestive system is immature at birth and produces lots of gas. Gas pushes any bowel movements out with great force – and blowouts can happen through the leg openings, up the front of the diaper, and more commonly, up the back of the diaper. Newborn blowouts are rarely caused by inadequate diaper absorbency because newborn bladders are small and emptied frequently. A diaper with gentle elastic around the legs and at the back of the diaper waist can be very effective at helping to control newborn blowouts.
Is wetness happening around mostly around the legs? Check to make sure that all parts of your diaper are completely tucked inside the cover. Even a teensy bit of diaper fabric sticking outside of the cover can cause a surprising amount of urine to wick out quite quickly.
If you still get wicking at the legs, the next step is to check your cover. Do the cover leg openings fit your child’s thighs snuggly without leaving red marks? Are there signs of peeling or disintegrating waterproofing on the inside of the cover? Does the cover have a fabric binding or cotton thread that might be wicking? Has the cover been washed using bleach, non-oxygen bleach, or similar wash additives that are known to damage waterproofing? Has the cover exhausted its normal useful life span and need replacing? If the cover is wool, does it need to be relanolinized? If the cover is windbloc fleece, has the waterproofing worn off?
Leaks and blowouts happen – but the good news is that tend to happen less and less as your child grows and as you develop hands-on expertise using your cloth diapering system. The challenges definitely shift and change with different stages in your child’s development but using the above ideas, suggestions, and troubleshooting steps can help you handle new challenges with ease and expertise.
This article is taken from http://www.diaperpin.com