When Cloth Diapers Leak: Compression Leaks

Thanks to a few suggestions on our Facebook page, I’m going to start a series on Why Cloth Diapers Leak. First up is Compression Leaks. Keep in mind compression leaks can happen with both cloth and disposables. Quite often they occur on road trips, where your little one is in their car seat for an hour or two or can happen at nap time. For us, the car seat was the big culprit.

There are a few different reasons why compression leaks happen. First, depends on how heavy of a wetter your little one is. Heavy wetters need a heavy duty cloth diaper insert solution to help minimize compression leaks. Microfiber inserts tend to be the cause of many compression leaks. Don’t get me wrong, microfiber is great because it wicks urine away quickly and is fabulous for the stay dry feeling, but microfiber doesn’t not absorb as much as say hemp or bamboo. For heavier wetters, try adding a hemp or bamboo doubler to your diaper. They don’t add much bulk and they can absorb a ton!Diaper leaks

Some babies, specially as they get older, tend to pee all at once. So, you can have a perfectly dry diaper and then whoosh, major leak. Well, it doesn’t matter what you’re using, diapers (disposable or cloth) can only absorb so quickly. If this is the case, or you’re planning on a longer road trip and not able to stop as frequently as you might need to, a fitted diaper with a wool cover works really well. With a fitted diaper, the entire diaper can absorb pee, rather than just a small insert strip down the middle of the diaper. Fitted diapers are often made of hemp and/or bamboo and this increases overall absorbency. Add a wool cover or a pair of wool longies (perfect for winter time) and anything that might leak out of the fitted diaper gets caught. Wool is waterproof if lanolized and can absorb a ton of liquid too, so it’s the perfect match for babies and toddlers that tend to have compression leak issues.

Compression leaks can also happen during nap time or at night. With our little guy, we had a horrible time with diaper leaks overnight for the longest time. We even resorted to trying disposables, and still had problems! What happens, is your little one is happy sleeping and peeing away on their back. When boys pee, it’s up front. Then early in the morning hits and little one rolls over. 20+ pounds of pressure on the pee accumulation right at the front. Whenever you have liquid and then add a bunch of weight, it’s going to leak. This is also a perfect situation for the fitted and wool diaper cover combo. Same as above, the fitted absorbs more and anything that leaks gets caught by the wool cover.

What can you do if you’re trying all of the above? Well, timing diaper changes for about 20 minutes or so after fluids tends to work. Some babies hold on a little longer, you may need to experiment with timing on this one. Piddle Pads can be very helpful and save your car seat from getting soaked. And always pack an extra pair of pants just in case 🙂

Do you have any suggestions for dealing with compression leaks? We’d love to hear about them and share them with everyone else!

Part Two: When Cloth Diapers Leak: Inserts
Part Three: When Cloth Diapers Leak: Fit & Size

Julie @ Little Monkey Store


13 thoughts on “When Cloth Diapers Leak: Compression Leaks

  1. Pingback: When Cloth Diapers Leak: Fit and Size « Little Monkey Store

  2. Pingback: When Cloth Diapers Leak: Inserts « Little Monkey Store: A Cloth Diaper Blog

  3. Hi! I found you from Google – and I promise I am not spam! LOL I am a SAHM to 3 children, the youngest is 6 weeks old. I have been experiencing compression leaks every time I put her in the car seat and googled “compression leaks, cloth diapers” and found this article. So glad I did! I had no idea the microfiber was the culprit. Well there ya go! That is all I have been using on her when we drive.

    My favorite fitted and wool cloth diaper company (Nifty Nappy) is going out of business. She sews cotton and bamboo dipes and makes wool covers. I have a few of her diapers and am thinking of getting more since I now know wool can be a huge help in the car. Thanks for the very informative article!

    • Thanks Annie! I’m glad you found my blog. We are a huge fan of Nifty Nappy wool as well around here. Give it a shot on your next car trip, and you’ll solve your compression leak problems.

  4. Pingback: Face (down) the facts… « The Diaper Genie

  5. thanks so much for the informative article!! i’m just now starting to experiment with more nighttime options as our 18 month old is a heavy wetter at night.. this is very helpful! 🙂

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