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A Baby Diaper Troubleshooting Guide

Stopping Diaper Leaks

Baby diapers can leak for all sorts of reasons -- the size or brand of the diaper that needs changing, or how you put them on. Here are some common causes of leaks and how to leak-proof your baby’s diaper:

  • If your baby is two weeks old or younger, he probably still has his umbilical cord stump, which diapers don’t lie over smoothly. Be sure that when you put baby’s diaper on, it’s fitted snuggly below the stump.
  • The diaper may be too big or too small. Try going up a size -- or down, if the diaper is too loose.
  •  The diaper may be the right size, but fastened too loosely. Try closing it tighter.
  •  A baby boy’s diaper sometimes leaks if it has been fastened with his penis pointing upward. Try directing the penis downward as you put on his diaper.
  •  Your baby is between sizes. In that case, the solution is time. Wait a few weeks and then try the next size up.

Preventing Pin Sticks with Cloth Diapers

Do you love the idea of using cloth diapers, but worry about the pins? Here’s how to pin safely:

  • Buy diaper pins that are stainless steel and have plastic protective heads that lock, so they won’t pop open as baby moves around.
  • Keep your hand between baby’s skin and the pin during diapering, so you won’t stick baby.
  • Look into buying disposable diaper tape for cloth diapers. Velcro-fasten diaper covers or cloth diapers fitted with snaps or other baby-safe fasteners are also an option.


Diapering a Busy Baby

As they get older and more active, some babies squirm, wiggle, or even kick and scream when you change their diapers. What can you do about it?

First, understand that it’s probably just a phase your little one is going through, and he’ll grow out of it. Until then, a few parental pointers:

  • Ignore it. For some children, wiggling is a power play. For others, it becomes a game. In both cases, your reaction is key. If you laugh, you’ve given your baby a delightful reward: Your attention! Minimize this by maintaining an even temper and disregarding the squirming as much as possible.
  •  Foil baby’s fidgets with distraction. Some parents suggest singing to the child, hanging mobiles overhead, or giving baby a new and interesting object during changing time to hold his attention.
  •  Never leave a baby unattended on a changing table. (This goes for any baby -- wiggly or not.) If you’re reaching for supplies with one hand, keep your other on baby.

Reeling in Roaming Hands During Diapering

Babies are interested in everything, and changing time is no different. There’s the charm of your dangling earrings or tie, the chain on their changing table lamp -- and often their own genitals. What can you do to keep your child’s exploring hands out of the diaper region during changes?

First, it’s good to know that this exploration is normal, and that babies are interested in all parts of their bodies, especially the parts they don’t get access to very often. But that’s not in anyone’s best interest when there’s a diaper full of poop, or you’re in a rush to get out the door. Moms and dads offer these suggestions:

  • Don’t reprimand baby for his curiosity. It won’t work, and it can send messages of shame and wrongdoing about something that’s completely normal.
  • Offer distractions such as singing, mobiles, or a rarely seen toy, preferably one that occupies both hands.

Have a diapering question we didn’t cover? Put your head together with family, friends, and your child’s own pediatrician. They know you and your baby best -- and chances are good they’ve been where you are now.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on July 08, 2013