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Leaking Diaper

Stomach Sleepers & Nighttime Leaks

By Amalah

Now 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???

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.

If there is a question you would like answered by Amalah on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected]

Published July 6, 2011. Last updated October 29, 2017.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


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 Ama...

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 [email protected].

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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