Leaks happen all the time.
If they’re happening a lot (and especially if they’re happening at night) then it’s a good idea to try and find out why, so that you can put in place the right solution.
Here’s a list of 7 reasons why your babies nappies might be leaking, how to recognise them and what to do about it.
1. They’re getting bigger
Babies grow all the time and when they do, nappies can seem smaller. This is where the advice ‘move up a size’ comes from.
How can you tell if this is the reason for leaking?: The front part of the nappy doesn’t cover all of the babies abdomen, so the sticky parts of the nappy seem really far apart. Or you might notice lines or marks on your babies skin.
Resolution: This is a simple one – just try the next size up and see if that helps.
2. Positioning is wrong
If the nappy is not on correctly this can easily lead to leaks. But I’m sure you must be thinking, how many ways are there to put a nappy on?! Our experience has shown, that actually there are quite a few.
How can you tell if this is the reason for leaking?: The key here is to look at which part of the nappy is soaked. If only the front part of the nappy is saturated but not the back (see the first photo below), then it’s likely the nappy was too high up the abdomen and not sitting low enough on the babies hips. When the nappy sits lower, there is more space for the wee to pass round to the back. The ideal position allows for the nappy to be saturated completely from front to back like this (see the second photo).
Resolution: Place the nappy lower down to rest on the hips. Also, if you have a boy, it sounds silly, but make sure his winky is pointing downwards and not sideways!
3. Clothes are too tight
Your babies clothes play a surprisingly important role in leakages, which we of course learned the hard way. When your babies vest top, onesie or outfit is too small, it pushes the nappy upwards. When the nappy is pushed upwards, this creates a gap near the leg cuffs that allows wee to escape.
How can you tell if this is the reason for leaking?: Look at where the nappy is saturated (see point 2 and photos above). It may not be saturated from front to back as the wee would have escaped through the gap before reaching the back of the nappy.
Resolution: Dress your baby in bigger clothes so that there is more room for the nappy when it fills up.
4. Wrong style of nappy
Whether you’re a Nappy Pant / Pull Up lover, or a hardcore Regular style sticker fanatic, we’ve learned that nappy pants just don’t cut it at night time and are often the cause of leaks.
How can you tell if this is the reason for leaking?: Aside from the fact that they are not designed to be as absorbent as regular style nappies, when they are full, nappy pants pull downwards creating (yes you guessed it)…the dreaded gap! This leads to an overly saturated nappy which sags at the weight of the contents.
Resolution: Swap back to regular style nappies for night-time’s if your child is a heavy wetter, and just stick to pants during the day time when they’re wriggling about trying to escape the nappy change.
5. Wrong brand of nappy
Just like babies, all nappies are different shapes, styles, sizes and thicknesses. Your babies body changes shape as they grow too, so whilst one brand may have been perfect for them in their life so far, as they grow, change shape and become more active, they may need a different brand or even go down in size.
How can you tell if this is the reason for leaking?: If you’ve tried all of the above, and are still experiencing leaking, then it might be time to change brands.
Resolution: try a selection of different nappy brands out so that you can try them all out and find the best fitting style and shape easily and quickly.
6. Room temperature
If the room is too cold, it’s been suggested that babies often wee more to keep themselves warm.
How can you tell if this is the reason for leaking?: Use a room thermometer to check the temperature of the room.
Resolution: Dress them in the appropriate clothing and ensure your baby is not too hot or too cold. You can find further info on this at the Lullaby Trust.
7. Too much wriggling
Babies often wriggle if they’re uncomfortable, and too much wriggling can lead to leaking. There are many reasons why this could lead to leaking. Perhaps they are simply digesting their food and are uncomfortable, or perhaps the material of that nappy is irritating them (this is often the case if you’re trying a new brand out for the first time. This happened to us with Amazon. It looked like it fit like a glove and actually it didn’t leak but our son seemed so uncomfortable we decided to give it a miss).
How can you tell if this is the reason for leaking?: If your baby doesn’t stay still and always ends up in different sleeping positions then the nappy has probably moved in the process too.
Resolution: Even if you’ve used the same brand of nappy from birth, some children can develop allergies to the material of that nappy, so it might be a good idea to try some other brands out.
So, there you have it. Our top 7 reasons why nappies leak, how to spot them, and what to do about it.
We’d love to hear your thoughts. What other reasons have you come across for why nappies leak?