6 Surprising Causes of Diaper Leaks

Hello everyone! Tamara here. I came by today to talk about 6 surprising (yet very common) causes of diaper leaks, and how you can avoid them.

GIF of 4 dancing adults dressed up in giant baby suits. 6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog

Compression Leaks

Imagine that you are holding a damp dishcloth in your hand. What happens when you make a fist and tightly squeeze it? Water squeezes out and through your fingers, right? The same thing happens with a cloth diaper. Squeezing a damp diaper causes diaper leaks, imagine that!

An astronaut squeezes water from a cloth while in zero gravity. 6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog

If your little one’s inserts are wet enough and they are then strapped into a tight car seat or carried snuggly against your hip, you may experience compression leaks out of the legs of their diaper. Yes, even with the use of a diaper cover.

A mom holds a baby on her hip. 6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog
Surprisingly the vast amount of my son’s compression diaper leaks came from dressing him in too-small-onesies. The onesie would snap up between his legs, and that continuous pressure alone would be enough to cause a leak.

Baby wearing a onesie sits on his dad's knee. 6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog
How to avoid it?

Size up generously in your onesies, use a onesie extender, or ditch the onesies altogether. (They only cover up the adorable diaper anyway!)

Also, consider changing more often or adding some extra absorbency in the diaper by using an additional liner or ‘booster’.


Inadequate Prepping

Have you ever noticed how the old, shabby, thin towels in the back of your Mom’s linen closet do the best job of drying you after a shower?

Or, have you ever bought a luxurious new towel from a fancy department store, only to bring it home and find that it had the absorbency of a plastic bag? What gives?!

GIF of a soaking wet cat, sitting in a sink, wrapped tightly in a towel. 6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog
Many cloth diapers, like towels, get more absorbent with use.

This is especially true for natural fibres (like cotton, hemp, and bamboo) which contain naturally occurring, water-repellent oils which need to be washed away before the material reaches peak absorbency.

It is advisable that brand new, natural fibre diapers are washed & dried 5-10x before use to reach full absorbency potential.

Click HERE for details on how to prep your natural-fibre cloth diapers & prevent diaper leaks.

How to avoid it?

I’ll be perfectly honest with you. I find ‘prepping’ diapers annoying at heck and also to be a huge waste of time, water, and electricity! I don’t want to have to wash my perfectly clean diapers TEN TIMES before they do what they are supposed to do. That seems crazy to me.

Did you know that Lil Helper charcoal diapers do not need to be ‘prepped’ before use? That’s right! Lil Helper diapers are absorbent right out of the package.

Of course, you should still wash your new Lil Helper diapers once before use just to rid of them any dust or dirt that may have accumulated on them from the storing and shipping process. But one wash is enough. They will do their job from then on.

Check out Mohammed’s tips on how easy it is to prep Lil Helper diapers

Poor Fit due to Loose Elastics

This might seem like a no-brainer, but a diaper needs to fit snuggly at all openings in order to prevent diaper leaks. A diaper should be snug around the waist and especially around the legs. If there is any gaping while the baby is in any position at all, you might experience leakage.

After countless washes, elastic material relaxes & loses its elasticity over time. This is especially a problem in previously worn diapers that have been around the block a time or two before. Thankfully, Lil Helper cloth diapers use the best elastics we can find. It is VERY rare to find a Lil Helper cloth diaper with loose elastics – even after catching poo for multiple children from newborn to potty training.

 GIF of two kids pulling a 'Stretch Armstrong' doll from the 90's. 6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog
How to avoid it?

If you are buying previously-loved diapers, make sure you ask how much use they have seen and/or inspect the elastics yourself. Elastics should feel firm, and snappy.

Also, it’s a good idea to wash your diapers in warm water and only with other diapers. Washing diapers with anything that they could get tangled up in could cause your diapers to stretch on the washing machine putting undue wear & tear on the elastics.

Loose Elastics + Pee = Diaper leaks.

6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog

Did you know that a build-up of minerals, soap, diaper creams or fabric softener can cause perfectly good diapers to leak? Well, they can!

Many people make the mistake of using ‘natural soap’ detergents to wash their diapers, but what they don’t realize is that soap is made out of oil and we all know that oil is not known to be very water soluble.

Infographic of various Detergent Strength Rankings for Cloth Diaper Laundering. 6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog
An improper wash routine is one of the #1 causes of diaper leaks.

How to avoid it?

First and foremost, educate yourself on how to wash your diapers and what products to avoid altogether.

Using Tide Original, avoiding diaper rash creams, and never using fabric softener is key.

If you must use diaper rash cream (and let’s face it, sometimes we must), use a disposable liner to keep the cream off the diapers.

Fluff Love University has the most comprehensive wash routine information available online right now. Follow this link and let your mind be blown.

Mind Blown GIF. 6 surprising causes of diaper leaks by LilHelper.ca Blog

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