This is the last post in a 4-part series on cloth diaper care.
Mama is proud to have this Cloth Diaper Care series sponsored by Cloth Diapers Rock: the unique cloth diaper matching service.
Using cloth diapers can certainly be the easiest way to diaper your baby. However, when things go wrong with cloth diapers, they go wrong in a big way. A messy way.
If you are going to cloth diaper for any length of time, you’ll likely run into diapers that are leaky at some point. They wick urine onto your baby’s clothes or the diapers just don’t seem to be as absorbent as they once were.
First consider: Am I changing the baby’s diaper often enough?
It’s obvious but if the baby is wet, change her. While one could go 3 or 4 hours without changing a paper diaper, this is just not the way cloth works. You have to change cloth diapers frequently –every couple of hours.
And just to be on the safe side, you are welcome to stop reading right now and go change your bundle of joy.
(This is not what a cloth diaper should look like)
Leaky Cloth Diapers
If you’re diapers are leaking, the first thing to do is figure out why.
-Is the diaper a poor fit? Too small or too big?
-Is the elastic shot?
-Do you need to add a soaker insert?
-Will they not absorb liquid and repel instead? Does the liquid run right off of them?
Let’s tackle each of these scenarios.
Cloth diapers are just like paper diapers in that the right fit is essential. As your baby grows, you’ll need to move up to a different size in diapers or covers. To get the best fit, go to the manufacturer’s site and read the sizing for each diaper. Don’t guess what you think the circumference of your baby’s thigh or waist is – get the tape measure and measure accurately. I’ve guessed and been wrong many, many times. So make sure you measure correctly.
Also note that if you are adding extra layers to a diaper, this will cause the fit to change. For example, if you are using a pocket diaper with only one insert during the day and use the same style pocket diaper at night with 2 inserts and a prefold, the fit will be drastically different. Some diapers hold extra soakers better while maintaining a good fit and some don’t.
Cloth diapers can be horribly leaky if the elastic no longer stretches.
How do you know if the elastic is shot?
This is the test:
If it is a pocket diaper, take out all inserts. Hold it by the waistband at eye level.
– Are both sides of the diaper the same length?
– Is one side longer than the other?
– If you pull down on one side of the diaper does it recoil back?
You must have elastic that is in good condition for your diapers to not be leaky. If you suspect you have shot elastic in your cloth diapers you can replace it easily in this tutorial. This method doesn’t involve a sewing machine – just very simple hand-stitching.
Add More Fluff
As your baby gets older, he will wet more frequently and in greater amounts. If you could get by with one prefold and a cover last month you may have to increase it to one prefold, a newborn prefold and a cover this month. Such is the nature of those babies getting older!
So what do you add to a diaper to make it more absorbent? For nighttime leaks, try adding a true doubler and see if the leaking stops. If your baby needs more padding during the day, you can try something less bulky such as a newborn prefold or a doubler that is meant for babies in the 0-6 month range.
It is pretty rare that cloth diapers are truly non-absorbent. If they are actually repelling, it is because they have a waxy coating of some sort that is built up on the outside of the diaper and won’t allow liquid to penetrate to the core.
How do you know if your dipes are truly repelling?
The inside of the diaper will be dry and your lap will be wet. A lot.
If they are repelling, this won’t happen just one time – it will happen over and over until you remedy whatever the build-up is.
If you know that your diapers are non-absorbent, you’ll need to strip them. There just isn’t another way to fix the problem. You can prevent it, however. Make sure to read through the Q&A below.
General Cloth Diaper Q&A
(For Smelly Dipe Q&A, visit the post on Smelly Diapers)
My baby has awful diaper rash. Can I use diaper cream?
Before using any creams, try would use a baking soda rinse every time you change the baby’s diaper to get rid of the rash. Baking soda isn’t going to harm your little one’s bum or the diaper in any way and it will work wonders on diaper rash. Make a mixture of warm water and baking soda and mix well. Dip your wipe into the mixture and wash the baby each time you change a diaper. Don’t rinse off the solution and either air dry or pat dry. It should help lessen the rash within a couple of diaper changes. I’ve used this method a million times with great success.
If you must use a diaper cream, there are a few approved creams for cloth diapers out there.
My diapers have a lot of stains. Will stains effect the absorbency?
While stains are unsightly, they have zero effect on how well the diapers absorb. If you truly don’t like the stains, wash them as you usually would but make sure you dry them in the sun. The sun is the best, frugal stain remover there is!
My baby has a stomach bug with worse-than-usual poop. Can I still use cloth diapers?
Yes, you can still use cloth diapers but you need to:
-wash them daily so the bacteria doesn’t breed as readily
-use the sanitizing cycle on your washing machine if it has this as an option
-use 1/4 bleach or 3/4 cup bleach to sanitize dipes if you don’t have the cycle on your washer
-if you have 2 little ones that share the stash of diapers, be extra careful not to spread from one to another
-make sure you hang dry in the sun
Cloth Diaper Link-Up!
Now it’s your turn!
Do you have a post you’ve written in the past few months on how you launder and care for your cloth diapers?
It’s always helpful to see how another family’s routine works, so share your permalink in the linky below.
And I totally love a cloth diaper giveaway and truly appreciate a WAHM, but those types of links will be deleted for this specific link-up. Only posts on how you launder or care for your cloth diapers, please. I ask you to link back to Mama’s Laundry Talk so the rest of your cloth diaper friends will know where all of the cool cloth diapering posts are.
Please take a few moments to visit the sponsor of Mama’s Cloth Diaper Care series: Cloth Diapers Rock.
Cloth Diapers Rock is a unique cloth diaper matching service. If you need cloth diapers, they’ll match you with a great product and distributor. Cloth Diapers Rock offers information on styles of cloth diapers, sew-your-own diaper tutorials and more!