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A mother changing a baby's nappy to prevent it leaking overnight.

why does my baby's nappy leak at night? how to stop your baby’s nappy leaking overnight

3 minutes

When you’re exhausted from a happy but non-stop day of parenting, the last thing you want to deal with is your baby’s nappy leaking overnight. Here, we share some helpful hints and tips for how to avoid the very common night-time dilemma of nappy leakage.

  1. Why does my baby’s nappy leak at night?

  2. Check the nappy fits snugly

  3. Is nappy too big?

  4. Is nappy too small?

  5. Change your baby’s nappy just before bed

  6. What to do if your baby’s nappy does leak

1. Why does my baby’s nappy leak at night?

There are few things more frustrating than checking on your baby at night, only to find the sheet they’re lying on drenched in wee – or worse, poo. If this is happening to you, don’t worry. Almost all new (and many experienced) parents face a battle with a nappy leaking overnight at some point, but there’s lots you can try to stop nappy leakage from becoming a common occurrence.

2. Check the nappy fits snuggly

One of the most common reasons for a nappy leaking overnight is that the nappy isn’t fastened properly. Before you put baby to bed, make sure their nappy is fitted snugly to their body, that it’s securely done up, and that there are no gaps – including gaps between the nappy and baby’s back, the nappy and baby’s tummy and the nappy and baby’s thighs.

3. Is nappy too big?

Little ones tend to move around a lot when they’re sleeping and even the most well-fastened nappy can consequently slip and cause nappy leaking overnight – this is especially true if the nappy is a little bit too big for baby.

When next fastening baby’s nappy, try running your finger around the edges. If there’s a gap (even a little one) between the nappy and baby’s waist or the nappy and baby’s legs, then it means liquid can and will escape and you may need to try a smaller size.

4. Is nappy too small?

The smaller the nappy the less liquid it absorbs, so if you’re regularly waking up to a saturated nappy or wet baby bed sheets, it might be time to go up a size.

Red marks on baby around the nappy area are also a sign that a change in nappy size is needed, as it means the nappy is too tight. A too-tight nappy can also cause nappy rash.

5. Change your baby’s nappy just before bed

One of the best tips for avoiding a nappy leaking overnight is to change your baby just as you’re about to put them to bed, as a fresh nappy will take longer to become saturated. And to really maximise your chances of baby staying dry overnight, you could also try changing them just before you go to bed.

To learn how to change your baby's nappy read our nappy changing tips article.

6. What to do if your baby’s nappy does leak

If you’ve ticked off all of the above and your baby’s nappy is still leaking at night, try and identify which part of the nappy didn’t do its job. If you feel the leakage came from the back, pull the nappy up a little bit higher over baby’s bottom the next time you put them to bed. If you think the leak came from the side or thigh area, make doubly sure in future that the leg gathers aren’t folded inwards. If the tummy area is responsible and you have a little boy, remember to point their penis downwards (rather than upwards) when fastening their nappy.

If you're still having leakage problems read our article where we explore the pros and cons of different types of nappies (both reusable and disposable).

As for the mess itself, a quick wipe with WaterWipes biodegradable, vegan, cruelty-free and sensitive baby wet wipes will have baby clean and fresh in no time, leaving you to go back to bed (for a few hours at least).

If you found these hints and tips helpful, why not take a look at some of the other articles on our Parenting Hub? For example...

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