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Why Do Diapers Leak At Night? (10 Steps To Prevent It!)

There’s nothing more frustrating and disheartening as a new mom than finding your baby soaking wet in pee in the mornings. Especially when this becomes a regular occurrence. I found myself wondering why do diapers leak at night and how can I prevent it?

Typically, leaks occur at night because the diaper isn’t placed correctly, leaving space around the thighs. Another common cause is due to babies sleeping on their tummy or your baby is peeing too much at night for the diaper to absorb.

When a diaper is already full, the pressure on the front causes leaks on the side, if the baby is sleeping on their tummy.

Keeping your baby comfortable during the night is one of the best ways to ensure that they (and you) get a good night’s sleep! Through sleep training and late-night feeding, we do what we can to provide our babies with a better night’s sleep. 

Unfortunately, all of this can go down the drain if your baby keeps peeing through their diaper at night. This is something most of us do not plan for and it can ruin a good sleep routine by making your baby wet, cold, and uncomfortable.

I remember waking up every morning to find my daughter drenched in her pee.

It would honestly break my heart to find her like this and I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. As a first time mom, these things can make us feel like bad parents, even though in retrospect, I realize it happens to all of us at some point.

But beyond the feeling of disappointment in myself, I was also tired of washing the crib sheets and pajamas every day. I knew there had to be ways to prevent my baby from peeing through her diaper at night.

To stop your baby from peeing through their diapers at night, there are actionable steps to try, to give you both a better night of sleep.

Is It OK To Let Baby Sleep In A Wet Diaper?

Although we may feel guilty for leaving our baby with a wet diaper, unless the diaper is very wet or has pooped, you can let your baby sleep. Poopy diapers do need to get changed immediately.

Sleeping is a luxury for a mom and you don’t need to wake up your baby every time they pee their diaper.

Once they wake up on their own or you need to wake them for a feeding, go ahead and change the diaper then.

Actionable Steps For Preventing Babies Peeing Through Diapers At Night

1. Avoid Too Many Liquids At Night

Having too many liquids before bed might be the main reason that your little one wets through their diaper during the night.

For many babies, a bottle before bed is just what they need to settle down. However as their bladders are still small, they cannot handle that much liquid throughout the night.

This in no way means that you should not let your baby have their formula or milk before bed, but try and get into the routine of them having this bottle around 2 hours before bedtime.

This gives them time to empty their bladder, and for you to change their diaper before they sleep for the night.

This isn’t an option for some moms who have developed a bedtime routine with their baby. If your baby can’t fall asleep without being fed right before, this is a step you can omit.

Don’t worry, we have plenty of other solutions for you!

2. Diaper Change Right Before Bed

You might not want to disturb a calmed, soothed baby just before they fall asleep, but you need to try to change their diaper right before bed.

This gives them a fresh diaper, which is more comfortable for them to fall asleep with, and more absorbency for when they do pee during the night.

If you are lucky, you might have a deep sleeper who doesn’t mind having their diaper changed while they are asleep.

Also, try to change their diaper while you are nursing them during the night. Make sure to change their diaper before you feed them so that they can soothe back down to sleep when feeding.

3. Switch To Overnight Diapers

Check to see if the diaper brand you use has special overnight diapers. Overnight diapers offer more absorbency over an extended period.

You will have to try out a few different types to find which one works best for your baby, but to start just purchase a small bag of the overnight diaper brand you are using already.

These overnight diapers have been my favorite. You can get a pack of 30 to tryout for less that 5 bucks at Walmart. (They’re also on Amazon, but they’re double the price for the same amount. Not worth it.)

My Recommendations for Overnight Diapers:

Luvs Pro Level Leak Protection Diapers – 108 ct // 15.97 at Walmart / $15.99 at Target

Huggies Overnights Diapers – 80 ct // $24.27 at Walmart / $24.99 at Target

Seventh Generation Disposable Overnight Diapers (Eco Friendly) – 17 ct // $11.99 at Target

4. Use Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers might be able to help prevent leaks overnight if you use them right. Even if you use disposable diapers usually, you could try to switch to cloth diapers at night time.

Forget the old cloth diapers that our parents used, there are some great easy-to-use cloth diapers available on the market that are such a breeze.

To make the cloth diapers suitable for overnight use, you can use a thicker insert to catch more liquids. You could also try to add in two inserts to increase the amount of liquid that the diaper can hold.

5. Double Up On Diapers

One of the simplest ways to avoid leaks is to use two diapers! This really is just putting one diaper on top of the other, so your baby is wearing two diapers instead of one.

You might need to use a bigger size diaper as the outer layer so that it is not too tight on your baby when they sleep.

This extra layer provides more protection if the first diaper does leak, and prevents the sheets from becoming wet and stained. You might also find that the top diaper is dry in the morning, so you can use it the next night again.

One method I found to work was putting a regular disposable diaper first and a larger cloth diaper on top, almost like absorbent baby shorts.

6. Use A Bigger Diaper

You might just need to use a bigger diaper for your little one at night. If you use a size 3 during the day, you might be able to move up to a size 4 at night.

The larger diaper will give more absorbency to liquids and will prevent spills and leaks.

Just make sure that the larger diaper still fits snug around your baby’s legs and waist. If it doesn’t, the liquids will easily pass through and mess the sheets. If the diapers do not fit around their legs and waist, you will have to move back down to a smaller diaper.

7. Make Use Of Diaper Liners

You can purchase some diaper liners to give extra protection to your baby at night. These diaper liners hold about eight fluid ounces, so they do make a big difference when it comes to preventing leaks and spills.

You can also try these booster pads specifically made for nighttime leaks.

They do not cost that much more every month, and they can help save you a whole lot of time changing and washing sheets that are wet in the morning.

8. Double Up On Bedding

While still in the process of figuring out the best solution to stop your baby from peeing through their diaper at night, you should look to double up on bedding.

To do this, lay down a mattress pad, a sheet, then another mattress pad, and another sheet. This way, when your baby wets through their diaper and clothes at night, you can simply remove the top sheet and mattress pad for them to sleep on the dry bottom layer.

Having one or two waterproof mattress toppers is a game-changer and helps protect your babies mattress.

This also means you do not have to worry about changing bedding while your baby is crying and miserable in the middle of the night.

9. Encourage Back Sleeping

Babies that prefer sleeping on their bellies are more likely to leak.

This is because they put pressure on the front of the diaper, creating openings and causing leakage.

Plus, most diapers have more support in the backside to hold the poops.

Whenever you put your baby down for a nap, put them on their back and encourage them to sleep on their back.

Whenever they wake up, put them back to sleep on their back and eventually (hopefully) they will adjust to the new sleeping style.

10. Potty-Trained Toddlers

If your little one is at the age to start potty training, you need to get them into the habit of going to the toilet just before bed, even if they still wear diapers during the night.

Put them on the toilet or potty just before they go to bed. They might not wee or do anything, but make sure to do this every night. This will get them into the habit of going to the toilet and hopefully emptying their bladder before getting into bed.

This will obviously lessen how much they pee during the night, and hopefully prevent them from peeing through their diapers!

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