My disposable nappies are leaking - will a cloth nappy cover over the top help?

This might surprise you, but this is a really common question we're asked - usually by parents who exclusively use disposable nappies, but have a baby or toddler who is leaking out of their disposables at night. In desperation, parents come to us to ask whether putting a cloth nappy cover over the top will stop the leaks.

The answer is… probably.

Many parents find a cloth nappy cover is better at containing the wee than a disposable (yay for great elastic!) and if there’s only a little bit of wee escaping, then this may solve the problem. You can find great cloth nappy covers here. We especially recommend the Thirsties and Baby Beehinds brands for this purpose.

But if there’s a significant amount of wee leaking from the disposable, you can end up with wee trapped in between the disposable nappy and the cover. The truth is that once a nappy (cloth or disposable) has reached capacity, the wee will find its way out somehow. There’s always a weak point - the legs are common, or the top front for a tummy sleeper. This means that the wee may not stay sandwiched between the two layers, but will force its way out, especially for a little one who moves a lot at night. Even if the wee does stay in situ, the likelihood of wee escaping all over when you’re changing that nappy increases!

This can be solved, however, by adding a cloth nappy booster between the disposable nappy and the cloth nappy cover - just lay it inside the cover and pop both together over the disposable nappy. The booster will soak up any wee that leaks out of the disposable, and it will stay there until change time. Our favourite boosters for this is the very absorbent Thirsties Hemp Insert or Thirsties Fab Doublers. It’s generally better to use a booster in between the two layers, rather than inside the disposable nappy as the additional layers inside the disposable can compromise the leg seal, causing more leaks.

Another option, of course, is to look into cloth nappy options for night. A child who outwees a disposable might need more absorbency than even a reusable night nappy can provide, but the problem may be the fit of the disposable (tummy sleepers can be especially tricky), how the child is moving at night, and their weeing patterns. Lots of parents have found that cloth nappies provide additional security (especially if they use a fitted nappy with a separate cover over the top) and they experience less leaks in cloth even with a heavy wetter. Many parents successfully cloth nappy their children at night. Here’s an article about reusable night nappying options.

If you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to send us an email.

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