Any parent of a baby knows what a pain it can be to discover a leaky diaper. It often requires a change of clothes -- yours and hers, sometimes -- or clean sheets, but you can reduce the number of diaper leaks with a few simple techniques. While you'll still experience a leaky diaper from time to time, these strategies will help cut down on the mess and keep you from having to do all that extra work cleaning it up.
Change Diapers Often
One of the best ways to prevent diaper leaks is to change your baby's diaper on a regular basis. This sounds obvious, but diapers aren't designed to hold large amounts of urine, and once they've reached their saturation point, the only place for the urine to go is out the sides and top. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that you give your baby a dry diaper every two or three hours. If you know your baby has urinated in his diaper, change it right away. Not only will this prevent future leaks, but it'll also reduce his risk of diaper rash.
Use Diaper Covers and Other Supplies
If your baby is prone to diaper leaks, consider using plastic diaper covers. These covers look similar to a pair of underwear, and they're designed to be worn over a diaper. They fit tightly around the diaper to help hold urine in. Diaper covers are particularly useful during the night when you don't change your baby's diaper as often. You might also also use an absorbent insert, according to Sandy Jones and Marcie Jones, authors of "Great Expectations: Best Baby Gear." The inserts fit inside the diaper and help absorb more wetness than a diaper alone.
Put the Diaper On Properly
It's not difficult to diaper a baby, but there are a few secrets that can help cut down on the diaper leak risk. If your baby's diaper tends to leak in the front, pull the diaper up above his belly button before attaching the tabs. If your baby's diaper leaks in the back, adjust the diaper so it sits higher up his back. Position the tabs downward and try to get them to overlap slightly so the diaper is a bit tighter, suggests the authors Jones and Jones. Once the diaper is on your baby, pull the leg bands outward, which creates a better seal, or fold the top band down, which can help trap moistness inside. If you have a boy, point his penis down to help prevent urine from leaking out the top of the diaper. Use the right size, too, because diapers that are too small or too big increase the risk of leaks.
If you have an older baby or toddler, reduce her liquid consumption before bed so she doesn't need to urinate as much during the nighttime hours. Give your baby a dry diaper before you put her to bed, and she'll probably be able to sleep leak-free for several hours. You might change your baby's diaper again before you go to bed to further cut down on the risk of leaks in the middle of the night. If nothing else works, try different brands of diapers. You might find that a certain brand works better for your baby than the one you've been using.