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Stomach Sleepers & Nighttime Leaks

Jul06

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Advice Smackdown ArchivesNow that my little daughter is 6 months old & sleeping without her swaddle, (we only stopped a couple of weeks ago & she did great transitioning, thanks to some of your suggestions!) she ONLY sleeps on her belly. Which is fine, she has great head control so I’m not worried about it at all. But she sleeps 10 hour stretches (YAY ME, I realize how lucky I am) but she is leaking through her diaper daily. When she was in the swaddle on her back, the diaper always held it all. but now that she’s on her stomach, it all leaks up & out the front. I can’t find any brand of diaper that makes an overnight in her size (2). Someone online suggested cloth diapers…I’m not terribly interested in trying those. We have always used a sheet saver but now that she’s in her sleep sack & can move around in her bed, no way she’s staying on that thing.

Any suggestions???
Kara

For the record, I should state the (mostly) obvious: I cloth diaper my young ‘uns*, and can truthfully attest that after switching to a pocket-style one-size cloth diaper (I recommend bumGenius or Fuzzibunz) that you could double- or even triple-stuff with absorbent inserts, your leaking woes would likely dry up overnight. You could still use disposables during the day, and invest in the smallest of small diaper stashes for a one-diaper-a-night schedule and do absolutely MINIMAL laundry.

But! As someone who used disposables on my first baby, I also know from experience that I’m probably not ever going to convince you that cloth diapers are anything other than a crazy-pants hippie crock of high-maintenance disgustingness. Because that’s what I thought, anyway.

And I remember this specific problem, right around this specific time — rolling-over-capable baby switches to tummy-sleeping and starts sleeping for longer and longer stretches…and wakes up in a puddle of urine and soaking clothes and crib sheets. NOT FUN.

Personally, whenever my kid’s disposable diapers started consistently leaking, it was USUALLY a sign that it was time to go up a size. A bigger diaper will be more absorbent, have a higher rise in front, etc. I know it might sound counterintuitive (wouldn’t a bigger diaper just gap more or something?), but chances are, if you look at the weight range on the next size up, your daughter actually fits in the low end of it. Her weight might still qualify her for the size 2 diapers, but perhaps it’s her length or general body shape that’s actually outgrown it and is better suited for the size 3s. There’s always a significant overlap in the weight ranges, and if your diapers are leaking or you’re experiencing regular blow-outs, moving up a size often is the solution.

If your daughter really is nowhere close to the size 3 weight range, or you just purchased a jumbo box of 235 size 2 diapers and BY GOD YOU ARE GOING TO USE THOSE SUCKERS, try putting the diaper on backwards. The back of disposables tends to be more absorbent, since it doesn’t have to leave room for the grippy tabs and such. I’ve also read the suggestion of affixing a maxi-pad to the inner waistband of the diaper to catch the forward-moving leaks. And while that actually sounds quite clever in theory, if your baby is a big mover/wiggler I wonder if you might actually end up finding a rogue maxi-pad somewhere loose in her footie sleeper, depending on how good the adhesive works. Still, though, it’s an option for the “what the hell, I’ll try it once” pile.

Lastly, and here I ask that you HEAR ME OUT, even though I said I understood the disposable-user’s natural ambivalence to cloth diapers, but this is a decent compromise to consider: Keep using the disposables, but buy some waterproof cloth diaper COVERS and put them over her diaper at night. These are cheaper than the fancy pocket diapers I mentioned, and can be laundered with her clothing, no specialized detergent or washing instructions or dealing with yucky horrific poop required. I like the Thirsties Duo wrap-style covers (available with snaps or velcro). They have an extra gusset at the leg hole to contain blowouts and fit super-close and tight across the waist. Provided you purchase the right size and fasten it up right, the cover should go up and over the edges of the diaper and help cut down on the leaks. And the waterproof-ness of them would allow you MacGuyver all sorts of other solutions, like putting burp rags or washcloths across the front of her diaper — even if that fabric gets wet, the cover should protect her clothes and crib sheets and keep her wetness contained and her tummy more comfortable.

*Yes, yes! I know. I have seen your questions (the many, many questions!) and sense your general antsy-ness to hear how cloth diapering a newborn is going. And I will tell you! Just…let me get more than a couple weeks of experience under my belt before I start bossing other people around about how it’s done. As a sneak peek, though, yes. I am indeed cloth diapering my newborn about 99%  of the time. (The other 1% is out of a compulsion to use up the free Pampers Swaddlers we got from the hospital before he outgrows them.) Yes, there are some things I would do differently and some things that didn’t quite work as well as I hoped and some things that I love, love, LOVE so much, but still. Patience, young padawans. Patiennnnnce.

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If there is a question you would like answered by Amalah on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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23 Responses to “Stomach Sleepers & Nighttime Leaks”

  1. Wallydraigle Jul 06 at 11:16 am Reply Reply

    My children are extremely heavy wetters. We use cloth diapers during the day, but I have yet to find a cloth diaper adequate for nighttimes. Lucky for me, our kids are large enough that by this age, we could find Overnites in stores that fit them. But it’s harder with normal-sized babies. However, they do have Overnites in small sizes online:
    .
    http://www.amazon.com/Huggies-Overnites-Diapers-Count-Packaging/dp/B0046X8NUG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1309965159&sr=8-2
    .
    We order them one size up anyway; they don’t fit quite right otherwise, and they leak. I’m sure it depends on your baby’s build, but it’s worth a shot.

  2. Cassie Jul 06 at 11:24 am Reply Reply

    Overnight disposables, one size up. They worked wonders. Cannot state enough one how the one size up really does improve things.

    (I love Huggies, but know other people who go with Pampers or store brand. The branding is all a matter of personal choice and your little ones personal shape, size, etc.)

  3. Trish Jul 06 at 11:41 am Reply Reply

    I’d try the Huggies Overnights one size up. We tried the Pampers Overnights before the Huggies and I wasn’t impressed. We still had leaks. Not a leak with the Huggies. I also considered covers for overnights, if the Huggies didn’t do the trick.

  4. Mama Bub Jul 06 at 11:46 am Reply Reply

    We used Pampers Baby Dry with a lot of success, and when things got super soaked, we added in a Diaper Doubler – like a big maxi pad. Worked like a charm. But, I do like the idea of using a cloth diaper cover and may try that this time around if we start having the same wetting problem with my daughter.

  5. JCF Jul 06 at 12:11 pm Reply Reply

    Another thing along the lines of trying a cloth diaper cover over the disposable would be to try anpair of fleece soakers over the disposable. Fleece is a common cloth diaper cover that breathes and wicks away moisture. If you are having night leaks with either cloth or disposables, fleece can really help prevent wet jammies and sheets. Search on Etsy for fleece soakers and you’ll find a ton of (inexpensive) options.

  6. Karen Jul 06 at 1:34 pm Reply Reply

    What great suggestions! We use cloth in the day but paper at night and my daughter (nearly 2 years) frequently leaks on the backside (no matter what size she’s in). I really don’t want to spend the extra $$ on night dipes and extra stuffing for pockets didn’t seem to help so I just ordered three fleece soakers off Etsy to cover the diapers. Thanks!!!!

  7. Lizzie Jul 06 at 2:31 pm Reply Reply

    Yes! I remember that. Wetness every morning that would wake my daughter up and thus us at 4-5am or so. I tried the above suggested disposable overnight diapers but it wasn’t enough. So I tried cloth. I did one of the trials (I think it was Kelly’s closet?) so I could see what I liked and if they worked. And lo! We slept all night! What worked for us were the Bum Genius (I preferred the all in one’s with an optional pocket) stuffed with the hemp doubler. Success!!!

  8. Meredith Jul 06 at 2:33 pm Reply Reply

    I CANNOT WAIT to hear about your newborn cloth diapering experience! I am 33 weeks with my second, and we’ve been cloth diapering my first (now 2) since he was about 4 months. My initial thought was that I would just use disposibles until my new baby was big enough for our cloth collection (medium FBs and BG one-sizes). I seem to have little kids, and I don’t think the one-sized ones will fit my inevitably skinny-thighed baby for at least several months. At the same time, I did not want to spend a ton of money on teensy-tiny cloths that won’t last too long. But how I loathed the disposible’s blowouts (why is there no elastic at the top?!?) I hadn’t thought about pre-folds and covers. Please share your experiences and tips as soon as you are able. We are waiting anxiously!!!

  9. Janell Jul 06 at 2:54 pm Reply Reply

    I couldn’t assemble any configuration of cloth to stop night leaks for my son, and the Huggies Overnights leaked, too. But then I added an adult incontinence pad, and voila! Yes, they’re like maxi-pads, but in my mind since they were designed for urine and not, you know, blood, they might absorb it better. I attach it just under the waistband and it runs almost the whole length. I’ve never had it detach, and my son is 2 1/2, plenty wiggly. Plus you get the fun of buying diapers and Poise pads at the same time, like, what is up at your house?!

  10. Jan Jul 06 at 3:18 pm Reply Reply

    Another vote for bigger diapers…. I always ignored the weight recommendations and put them in bigger diapers at night. They looked silly with diapers practically up to their armpits, but the leaks stopped. :)

  11. Emily Jul 06 at 7:08 pm Reply Reply

    just gotta say if you decide on cloth, don’t do grovia. I have to make sure my baby isn’t wearing one of those when she naps because they always wick out. No problems at all with my pocket diapers. If you don’t want to do cloth, get a larger size, I think that should definitely help. I like Janell’s post though.. hehe.. I still have some of the super duper pads from the hospital and I have wondered how to get rid of them.

  12. Stefanie Jul 07 at 1:12 am Reply Reply

    All three of my kids had this issue. The best solution I found was putting two regular disposable diapers on them at night. True, it cost me an extra diaper a day, but I didn’t have to hassle with stocking both the regular and overnight diapers and I could do it even when they were little and too small for overnights. It solved two problems–the diaper becoming saturated and leaking through the front cover, and wicking up the front.

  13. AJ Jul 07 at 8:19 am Reply Reply

    For those of you dying for a newborn option :) Itsy Bitsy Bums does a newborn diaper rental:
    http://itsybitsybums.blogspot.com/2010/04/newborn-diaper-rental.html

    (I cloth diapered my newborn with BumGenius XS which are now BG newborn I believe. Worked great and was easy!)

  14. Cathleen Jul 07 at 8:49 am Reply Reply

    We had the same issue with my daughter. It’s been a few years, but we used something called diaper doublers. It looks like a giant maxi pad that you put in the middle of the diaper, and it absorbs so much more. We used those until she was big enough for overnights.

  15. jL Jul 07 at 12:39 pm Reply Reply

    I have wanted to ask this question for MONTHS and have just figured that there was no hope. THANK YOU THANK YOU.

  16. crayfishgirl Jul 07 at 12:51 pm Reply Reply

    @Meredith:

    We use prefolds with a snappi (http://www.snappibaby.com/products/snappidiaperfastener.html) and Bumgenious whisperwrap with our newborn. Prefolds are super cheap, and can then be used as stuffers for pocket diapers (we use Fuzzibunz). In theory you can just lay the prefold in the cover and do up the cover. I found things were much more contained when we secured the dipe using the snappi, and then put the cover on. We haven’t had any blowouts, and the snappi keeps poops contained around the waist.
    The only leaking issue we had was wetness, and that was rectified when we made sure his penis was pointing down (obvious now, but not initially!).

    Simon is nearly 4 months and just outgrowing the prefolds we have, which I think cost us ~$60. Sweet!

  17. Kim Jul 07 at 1:15 pm Reply Reply

    I totally agree with going up a size. Leaking was always the clearest indication that it was time for some bigger diapers. If you have a big supply of the size 2, maybe just by some size 3’s for night time use until your size 2’s supply is gone.

  18. VG Jul 08 at 9:36 am Reply Reply

    The size up suggesstion is a great one. Another that worked for my daughter was to adjust the position of the diaper. My daughter was always a belly sleeper and after a few big leaks, I figured why not pull the diaper higher in the front, lower in the back. Not sure if your daughter makes any BMs in her sleep, mine doesn’t, so there’s no cause for alarm there. Good luck :)

  19. Jessica Jul 09 at 9:27 pm Reply Reply

    We have used the Huggies overnight diapers since about 6 months of age on my son. Yes, they were GIGANTIC on him at first (they start at size 4) but they work. He’s 21 months now and we still use them at night.

    Order through Amazon and use the Amazon Mom and Subscribe & Save and they are about $16 per box.

  20. Sara Jul 10 at 10:39 pm Reply Reply

    Late to the party here – but yes, I’ll second (third, fourth?) the suggestion of just going up a size at night. Even if you think your daughter won’t fit into them at all, try it – it will work. We’re a cloth-diapering family now, with our second – but I remember this exact same conundrum and I was lucky to have a friend that told me this “secret”. It works… try it. 

  21. Kate Jul 11 at 9:33 am Reply Reply

    I had a super heavy-wetting, tummy-sleeping toddler for awhile. We usually use cloth, but for times when we needed to be able to use disposables, I did the Huggies Overnites and, like Janell suggested, added an adult incontinence pad (sometimes I had to add TWO!). It worked great. You could also try adding either the G-diapers or Flip disposable inserts (they are for cloth/disposable hybrid systems — reusable cover with disposable insert — but no reason you couldn’t put the disposable insert in a disposable diaper).

  22. Yohanna Jun 03 at 11:32 pm Reply Reply

    Huggies overnight with Dr. Smith’s diaper ointment. Not sure which diaper ointment you are using but I figured out some ointments (especially Vaseline or A&D) clog the diaper, resulting in leaks.

  23. kris Sep 15 at 5:20 am Reply Reply

    pampers overnight protection diapers (purchased on Amazon) saved me when I ran into the same exact issue.

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