One of the most frustrating aspects of using pocket cloth diapers can be troubleshooting leaks. Although you might be tempted to throw in the towel if you get a lot of leaks at first, rest assured that it takes everyone a little while to learn all the ins and outs of cloth diapering. Once you’ve learned to avoid the following six reasons for leaks, you’ll find that pocket cloth diapers are just as effective – if not more effective – than disposable diapers at keeping your baby’s clothes dry.
A common reason pocket cloth diapers leak is that they’re just plain full. You can put the diaper on correctly, but if it becomes saturated, the liquid has nowhere to go but out. To avoid this problem, change your baby more frequently or reconsider what you’re using as inserts. You might need to use two standard inserts or consider upgrading to hemp or bamboo. Although more expensive, these alternatives are thin and can hold much more liquid than standard fleece or microfiber.
Sometimes when you put on a pocket cloth diaper, part of the cloth remains exposed. When your baby wets, the moisture might wick out of the diaper through that exposed cloth. Check whether the diaper is rolled down in the back, crooked at the hip snaps, or flipped out at the leg gussets. If you’re using a disposable liner, part of that could also be exposed. Also be sure to train dads, grandparents, and babysitters to keep an eye out for exposed cloth when helping with diaper changes.
If your pocket cloth diaper doesn’t fit your baby correctly, you might be getting leaks out of gaping leg holes or around the waist. It might take a little trial and error to find the right size, but doing so will keep your baby comfortable and eliminate leaks from incorrect sizing. Make sure you also fasten the diaper tightly enough around the waist each time you put a diaper on your baby.
If you’re using one of the higher-absorbency doublers like hemp or bamboo, it’s important to stuff them at the back of the diaper, closest to the waterproof layer and furthest from the baby’s bottom. This is because, even though they absorb a lot of liquid, they absorb it slowly. Any liquid your baby releases will pool and leak out if it comes at the doubler more quickly than the doubler can absorb it.
If you are using too much detergent, too little water, or a type of detergent that doesn’t rinse clean, you might have an issue with detergent buildup. You’ll usually notice this, if not by a leaking problem, by a foul smell when your diapers come out of the dryer or when changing a wet diaper. To take care of this issue, you’ll have to strip your diapers. The basic way to do this is to rinse clean diapers in nothing but hot water enough times that you no longer see any trace of soap in the rinse. Some people suggest using products such as Dawn, baking soda, RLR, OxiClean, or Biokleen Bac-Out in the wash before starting the rinsing process.
There are certain care requirements for cloth diapers which, if not followed, could lead to leaks. Such requirements include refraining from using fabric softener, dryer sheets, not-recommended detergents, or diaper creams, which can all leave residues that coat your diapers. The coating causes liquid to repel from your diapers rather than absorb into them. In this case, you’d also need to strip these diapers using the instructions above, or some recommended variation thereof.
If none of these are the cause of your pocket cloth diaper leaks, you may want to reconsider the brand you’re using, brainstorm with some cloth diaper message board users, or stop into a nearby cloth diaper retailer to troubleshoot the issue.
More from this contributor:
Make Cloth Diapering Easy for Your Babysitter
4 Reasons to Invest in a Large Cloth Diaper Stash
My Top 5 Cloth Diaper Rookie Mistakes
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