Putting a cloth nappy on is easy and leak-free when you know what to look for. Vashti and Andrew have a deep conversation on what to look for if you have a nappy leak.
Transcription: Cloth Nappy Leaks
#085 Nappy Leaks
Andrew: how you doing Vashti?
Vashti: I’m good, Andrew, how are you today?
Andrew: I’m doing fine. Doing fine. What’s new.
Vashti: Not much, we’re sort of just ticking along the weather’s getting warmer. We’re seeing more bums out in cloth and
Andrew: that’s good.
Vashti: good Um, had a beautiful day yesterday. It was all bright blue, sunny skies.
Andrew: It was, yeah. It’ll probably be raining the day this podcast comes out tho.
Vashti: I hope not.
Andrew: I, I don’t mind the rain, the rain’s cool.
[00:00:50] Nappy Leaks
Andrew: so let’s talk about leaks I’ve I’ve seen a lot of little things about talking about nappy leaks at the moment. Oh, hang on. Nappy leaks. That’s the name of the show? It is. So, yeah,
Vashti: always makes people laugh.
Andrew: it does. Yeah. Well, I remember when Vicki suggested that I , I instantly laughed.
Even though I’d already. Registered all the domains that I wanted for the other subject that we were gonna call the podcast, but Vicki was like, no, that one get, get all those domains, you know, it’s like, sure, gimme a credit card. What causes a leak?
Vashti: Oh, there’s lots of things that cause leaks, poor fits probably the biggest one.
Like if you haven’t fit a nappy properly, where you’ve got gaps earound the legs, or it’s not like the elastic isn’t sitting up in the underline and it moves and stuff like that, you’re gonna get a leak because it’s like anything. If you don’t have a sealed receptacle, it’s going to leak
Andrew: I remember actually some of the early pictures of nappies that we produce for the candy.
When we first brought out the candy, you look at them now and you go, oh, that’s gonna leak.
Andrew: um, because it was like, you’ve got a sleeping baby. And you’re putting a nappy on very carefully. And yeah. Okay. You might not have done it properly, but the nappy on the baby.
Vashti: Well, it’s the same as like with a newborn, like you’re being so careful and so gentle. Cause you don’t want to your newborn. Yeah. yeah. Second and subsequent children, they just like, yep. Just get it on
Andrew: So leaks are probably caused by the fact that this is the first time you put a nappy on
Vashti: Quite possibly, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, if you haven’t done it before and you’re trying to, you know, just put it on loosely cuz you don’t wanna hurt them.
Um, you’re gonna end up with a leak, so you really do need to make sure that those elastics are nice and snug up in the undy line.
Andrew: So how do you tell if you’re not putting it on too tight? What’s the trick there?
Vashti: The best way to tell is to try slide your finger in, at the back of the thigh, and in between your baby and the elastic.
And if you can sign your finger in easily, but still feel the elastic pull back on your finger, it’s at a good , tension or
Andrew: Good Okay. So if it’s looser than that, you need to go to another snap.
Vashti: Yeah. Like if you can, if you can lift their leg, sort of up into a cooked M shape. So sort of, you know, bring their knee up above their hips and sort of roll the leg out so that you can see into the groin line and you can see any gapes or if you can see that the elastic is moving, then there’s a very good chance that, it’s too loose yeah.
[00:03:32] Red Marks
Andrew: And that other trick you said about putting in the groin line, that also helps avoid red marks too. Doesn’t it?
Vashti: look red marks. Aren’t a bad thing. So, you know, you get a red mark from wearing a pair of tight pants
[00:03:46] Has the nappy been on too long?
Andrew: So could the leak also be caused by the nappy being on too long?
Vashti: It definitely absorbency is a big issue. You need to make sure that you do have enough absorbency for your little one. If you’re planning on going up for an extended period, you need to have a bit more absorbency, or if you have a heavy weather, you need to have a more absorbency, but you know, nappy should be changed within two to four hours, depending on the age of your little one.
Andrew: It it’s. It’s kind of a, an unknown isn’t it?
Vashti: It really
Andrew: And it’s a, it’s a variable that changes all the time because sometimes they’ll pee a lot. Sometimes they won’t
Vashti: especially like, okay. In hotter weather when they’re drinking a lot more, there’s generally more output. , you know, it’s through winter in the middle of the night, you’ll find, or like nights cold winter nights, your little one will wee more.
And I know it sounds really counterproductive, but it’s actually a warming mechanism. So they will produce urine to. wet, themselves, because that warmth, floods that area and helps warm them up. So if they’re too cold, they’ll wet more. So you know, you really,
Andrew: you don’t do that when you’re an adult though.
Vashti: No, you don’t. Cause you don’t wanna get outta bed. It’s too
Andrew: put a jumper on,
Vashti: can’t go and put a jumper on, but like, it’s about making sure that you are changing your nappies regularly. Like if you take the nappy off and the insert is completely drenched, there’s nowhere left for it to absorb. Then that’s an absorbency issue.
If you take the nappy off and it’s just wet in one spot and you think that there’s definitely room in that insert to absorb more, then it’s probably a fit issue. It could also be what’s known as flooding. So flooding is where your little one wets so quickly, they let their urine out in such a rush that the urine sort of hits that absorbency and it bounces off and looks for the quickest route out. It’s not enough time for the, for the material to soak that urine up. So
Andrew: that’s, that’s when you’ve got the stage dry layer against their skin, isn’t it
Vashti: not. always, we do find that folding it, like if you have a stage dry layer against their skin, you can fold it. So you’ve got more natural fibers against their skin and
Andrew: It faster.
Vashti: It, it does absorb that little bit quicker. Synthetics will while they act like that stage dry layer, they will sort of take a little bit longer for the moisture to soak through.
[00:06:09] Compression Leaks
Andrew: Cool. Okay. , compression leaks.
Vashti: Uh, they’re always a good one. so look, there’s a whole range of issues there. Compression leaks can be caused from a number of things like sitting in a car seat for too long, where the seatbelt is pressing up against them and pushing on that absorbency.
It can be caused from the materials you’re using. Like if you are using a microfiber insert or a synthetic insert, that material is really great for absorbing quickly, but not so great for holding onto it. If you think about like your microfiber cleaning cloth, they’ll soak up lots of moisture, but as soon as you put any pressure on them, it starts pushing it out really quickly.
Andrew: So if there’s a little puddle, wherever your child has sat down,
Vashti: that’s probably a compression. leak
Andrew: compression. Yeah.
[00:06:59] Dammaged Nappies
Andrew: What about damaged nappies?
Vashti: If your pul is starting to fail or your elastic or loosening, that can also lead to leaks. So pul does have a limited lifespan. It’s generally, we say approximately about 600 washes.
It’s not indestructible by any stretch of the imagination. So if you’ve been washing on really high heats and using the clothes dryer, it will actually degrade quicker. If you’ve been keeping your PUL shells out in really hot summer sun, it can sort of start to, to break down. That laminated layer.
And if your laminated layer is compromised in any way, if there’s small tears in it, or if it started to detach from the polyester outer, it can, have like openings where the moisture can seep through.
Andrew: So that would be leaks on the outside of the nappy, not coming.
Vashti: It comes straight through the material.
Andrew: Not, not to the,
Vashti: not to the openings, the legs or the waist or anything. , But in saying that if your absorbency is completely drenched and there’s nowhere left for it to absorb, it can push straight through the PUL as well. PUL is not waterproof, it’s water resistant. So what happens is like there’s millions of minuscule holes throughout your pul or your TPU, that water resistant layer that allow airflow around your baby’s bum.
So it reduces your chances of nappy rash, but if there’s nowhere left for it to absorb inside the nappy. Those holes are generally too small for a water molecule to pass through. But as I said, if there’s nowhere left for it to absorb in the nappy, it will break the water molecules down and push it through your water resistant layer.
Generally we’ll find those leaks are around the leg lines because that’s where the bigger holes are from the stitching, but it can go straight through as well. So keep that in mind, like, you know, and that comes down to your absorbency. If you haven’t got enough absorbency in the nappy. you can end up with leaks.
[00:09:04] Nappy Creams
Andrew: And you’ve also gotta watch the, absorbency of the fabric too. You’ve gotta watch how you handle the absorbency, don’t you. So if you’ve been using a lot of, nappy creams and the wrong type of nappy creams that can block the absorbency of the,
Vashti: definitely of the grease. So your zinc based nappy creams can, if your wash routines are not up to scratch, you can have that zinc based nappy cream form, a bit of a layer over the top of the fabric, which will sort of mean that when your little one does a, wee, it bounces back because it’s not being absorbed through it.
forms. Like waterproof barrier, which is what a zinc based cream is supposed to do is form a barrier on your baby’s skin. So that moisture doesn’t get to it and cause rashes and stuff. If you’ve got a good wash routine, though, if you’re making sure that you are getting that zinc based out all the time, that shouldn’t be an issue.
The other thing that you can do is use liners or, you know, make sure your cream is rubbed in really well and maybe use, a corn flour over the top of it. So you rub your cream into your baby’s bum and then pop, a corn flour or TAPIoki powder or something over sprinkle that over the top. And that will help stop the transfer of the cream onto the nappy using nappy liners.
So either fleece or, a disposable bamboo liner or silk liners will also help stop the transfer of the creem onto your absorbency in your nappies does mean that oh, if you’re using reusable lineers, I would generally recommend washing them in really high heat. So that’s 60 plus degrees.
Andrew: You don’t have to worry about any waterproof layer in those, do you?
Vashti: No, definitely not. Because it’s just that little liner that sits on top of the nappy between your baby and the nappy, and helps with Poo cleanup
[00:10:49] Fabric softner and detergent
Andrew: could it be the detergent or the fabric software you’re using?
Vashti: look, most of your mainstream detergent. It’s a work, no dramas whatsoever. If you aren’t using enough detergent, you can end up with an ammonia buildup in your nappies. That generally, isn’t going to have an effect on the absorbency. It’ll have more an effect as there there’s that ammonia build up.
So it’ll break down the fabrics in your nappy, which means that you’ve got less absorbency in them. But can also introduce rashes and things like that because your nappies aren’t clean. Fabric softener is something we generally recommend to steer clear of in nappies or anything with optical, whiteness, and brightness.
The way that those products normally work is by leaving a coaching on top of the fabric to make them feel softer. Or a peer water and brighter. Now that coating can have an effect absorbency. So it builds up in the fabric and then it doesn’t absorb. So stay away from fabric softness with your towels as well.
Cause they won’t dry. You
Andrew: I’ve never thought of that before.
Vashti: Yeah. It’s like, and like it’s one of those things is that we want our towels to be nice and soft.
No you don’t want scratchy towels off to get outta the shower. So we put fabric softener. And that actually is counterproductive to what the tower is designed for.
Andrew: Oh, well I guess the only way to fix that would be only using new towel.
Vashti: Yeah. That’s not very eco-friendly.
them, that’s very costly as well.
Andrew: That’s yeah. gonna have to come out with Bubblebubs towel so I can get ’em at cost
Vashti: Oh gosh. Okay. I think that’s still way, way outta the budget.
So, but I mean, there’s lots of things. That you know, your links can lead to. And if you are having leaks, I think it’s really important to not just give up on your cloth nappies , you know, get in contact with your local retailer, send, send your manufac, oh, you know, whoever you bought your cost nappies from send them a message.
[00:12:56] How to get help
Vashti: Say, Hey, I’m having some links. Can you help please?
Andrew: And cloth nappies have been around. Such a long time that the problems that you are having, somebody else has already had.
It. Ah, exactly. It’s it’s not gonna be hard To, to find the problem.
Vashti: No. Nine times out of 10, your local cor therapy expert will be able to fix your problem.
In a few minutes, every so often we do have the occasional one that stumps us. I’ve got one at the moment. One of my customers is having major issues with leaking overnight we’ve been through as much as we can online. And unfortunately she’s a little bit of a drive from us, so she lives a little bit out of Brisbane.
Andrew: That’s still worth a trip.
Vashti: She was about to make the trip, but unfortunately her family got COVID. So I said, Hey, just stay clear until you’re finished with COVID. And once you’re finished with COVID come back in so she should be in to visit us within the next week or so. So they’re all clear now. And you know, I have a. Feeling it’s a fit issue. And we’ve sort of done some fit troubleshooting online, but it can be very difficult to do fit issue, like fit, troubleshooting online. So, you know, if you don’t have a retailer near you reach out to your local cost nappy group, there is lots of mums and dads and, and caregivers online who are probably fairly close to you and are more than happy to give you a hand.
Andrew: I did also have one once. where tried to boost it all in too.
and of course they, that means that there’s too much absorbency in there. And then of course the, nappy doesn’t seal around the legs and no leaked, like a if, it didn’t, it took a while though, because you know, it was a lot of absorbency, but eventually when the absorbency filled up, it leading.
Vashti: Yeah. And that’s, that’s the other thing is that like trying to boost your all in ones or your all twos, or even your pocket nappies, if you put too much absorbency in your nappy, you can push the nappy shell away from the body and that will open up holes and gaps and stuff. So that comes down to your fitting as well.
Andrew: Yeah. So if you need, if you need to boost a nappy, you kind of need a separate nappy in a separate cover. Don’t you
Vashti: there are some nappies that you can boost on the inside. Generally we find double a gussets work better, best for that, because the way a double a gusset works is that in a gusset is what is against the skin.
And it drops the shell of the body away from the skin a little bit. So it gives you a bit more room to get more absorbency in there. Single leg gussets are a very trim nappy. And so it is harder to boost in them, but they’re fantastic for wearing underneath clothes because they’re so trim. So yeah, having, having your Fitts, your flats, your pre-folds, where you put the nappy on, and then you pop some boosting on the outside of the nappy before you put the cover on, , is a much easier way to boost if you need to.
And like with a fitted. Nappy or, or a flat, even the absorbency goes all the way around the body, cuz you’ve got absorbency up into the wings and stuff like that rather than just being the strip through the wet zone.
Andrew: Yeah. And that’s good too, because moisture wicks, like it doesn’t matter that these Orbinsey sea is not exactly where it’s coming out. it wicks around travels it’s it’s fine. Yeah.
Vashti: Well, and, and like, that’s the other thing is like, if you’ve got, , body suits, so if you are putting your little one in body suits, which I love, my kids always wore body suits, cuz it didn’t pull up and it meant their kidneys didn’t get cold.
Andrew: that, uh, had the snaps down
Vashti: Yeah. In, uh, like under in the crotch.
Andrew: I love, those. Yeah. They were great. So.
Vashti: But one of the big things with bodysuits is the trim around the legs does pull into the DY line and can cause what’s known as wicking. So wicking is, think about having a wet cloth and a dry cloth sitting next to each other on a bench.
They’re not quite touching, but they’re very close. You will tend, generally find that the dry cloth will actually pull the moisture out of the wet cloth, cloth. Um, and so that’s wicking. So. Body suits can wick. So if you find that you are getting leaks with your body suits, just double check and make sure that the trim from the leg on the bodysuit, isn’t pulling up into the undy line, and causing wicking.
Andrew: Thank you, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks Andrew.