Sunday, September 16, 2012

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Keep Calm and Carry On

At first, it is a very subtle dampness that can be explained away. Probably he is just a little sweaty. Didn’t he spill a cup of water on his lap earlier? I’m pretty sure it is just dew from sitting on the grass…

Eventually, though, it can no longer be ignored. The alarm bells sound: WARNING! It’s a LEAK! And in just a few short seconds you are catapulted from enjoying your day to taking all sorts of drastic steps in order to fix said leak.

The important thing to know is that, in my experience at least, leaks from my pocket cloth diapers are pretty uncommon, as well as usually fairly simple to fix. Very rarely is leaking cause by the scary word, REPELLING (yep, the capitals are there on purpose), so don’t pull of the boiling water, scrubbing brushes or dish-detergent just yet – you are likely to actually cause damage that way, not fix it (I am speaking from experience here).

In future, follow these handy step-by-step instructions when you face diapering malfunctions:

Step One: Stay calm. Go have a cup of coffee.

Step Two: LOOK at the diaper closely. Did you put it on correctly? Is all of the white, stay-dry inner tucked inside? If you have a little Mister, is he also (ahem) properly tucked inside?

The fit of a diaper can really affect how well it works. If you use one-size diapers like me, it might be worth playing around with the different rise settings a little. Also, try laying baby on the changing table and moving his or her little legs around. Do you see any gaps between the legs and the leg holes? Liquid can leak out if the fit around the legs isn’t decent enough (not too tight so as to cause red marks, though). Be willing to experiment a bit. Babies can not only thicken up at the waist, but also thin out a bit occasionally. We have be known to not only have to adjust how tight we out the diapers on at the waist, but we have also moved up to the next rise setting, then back down to the previous one a few weeks later. Be willing to be flexible with how you achieve a good fit!

It is also worth doing a little inspection of the diaper itself. How is the elastic holding up? Over time, some elastics can degrade, and stop the leg-holes from fitting nicely around those chubby thighs. Also, check the inside (the shiny side) of the PUL. Can you spot any holes or cracks? This is an unlikely cause of leaking, but it is good to be aware that drying your PUL diapers in a tumble dryer, washing in too-hot water or even leaving them out in the sun for too long (it happened to me!) can cause the PUL to crack and allow wetness through.

Step Three: FEEL the diaper. More specifically, the insert inside the diaper. Is it soaking wet? If so, your bub might be filling the inserts to capacity. No diaper can hold an infinite amount of pee! Try stuffing with another insert, adding a booster or changing baby more often.

Step Four: SMELL the diaper. Got that fishy ammonia smell (believe me, you’ll know it if you’ve got it!)? Ammonia can be a sign of build-up, and build-up can cause leaks. Now might be a good time to try stripping, but BE GENTLE! No need to go at the problem with guns blazing. If at first you don’t succeed, you can up the ante gradually. Many a diaper has been ruined by gung-ho mommies attacking their poor defenseless dipes with bottles of bleach and jugs of boiling water.

Seriously – if you are a mom (or a dad), you have plenty more important things to worry about than the odd leaky diaper. It happens. Just remind yourself it is not the end of the world that there is most likely a simple explanation for it… and go treat yourself to a cappuccino.

Bio: Belinda Lamprecht currently lives in Africa with her husband, working for an international missions agency and raising her two kiddos, one who joined the family through adoption and one…ahem…the old-fashioned way. You can read more about their experiences at www.reaboka.wordpress.com