How to Properly Put on a Diaper to Prevent Leaks

How to Properly Put on a Diaper to Prevent Leaks

Becoming a parent for the first time is like stepping onto a new planet where everything is unfamiliar, exciting, and sometimes a little daunting. One of the common challenges new parents face revolves around diapers and, more specifically, how to ensure they are leak-proof. So whether it's your first time changing diapers or looking for better methods to avoid messy situations, you're in the right place.

Diaper's Materials, Design, and How They Work to Prevent Leaks

diaper's material

Understanding the science behind diapers is useful in ensuring their effective usage. Diapers, either disposable or cloth ones, are designed to be highly absorbent. They contain layers of materials like cotton, bamboo fibers, or synthetic polymer gels that soak up and retain liquid.

Each diaper design is different, but most have a similar setup:

  • The outer shell is waterproof to prevent leaks.
  • The inner absorbent core for soaking up the liquid.
  • A liner to keep your baby's skin dry.

Leg cuffs or barriers also play a crucial role by providing a snug fit around your baby's thighs to prevent leaks.

Knowing the functionalities of these components can assist you in identifying any potential issues. For instance, if the diaper is leaking from the sides, it could be a sizing issue related to the leg cuffs, or if it's leaking from the top, it might indicate that the absorbent core is saturated and needs changing sooner.

Preserving Your Baby's Health


Proper diaper usage is more than just about maintaining cleanliness; it's about ensuring your baby's health and comfort. Incorrect diaper usage or prolonged exposure to a leaky diaper can result in diaper rash, irritation, or even urinary tract infections.

To safeguard your baby's health, here are some tips:

Regular diaper changes: Change your baby's diaper every 2-3 hours or as soon as it's soiled. This prevents the diaper from reaching its maximum absorbency limit and reduces the risk of leaks.

Right size selection: Make sure to choose the right diaper size for your baby. A size too small might be too tight and cause discomfort, while a size too large might not provide a snug fit, leading to potential leaks.

Proper placement: Position the diaper correctly to prevent leaks. The back of the diaper should be slightly higher than the front. Ensure the leg cuffs fit well around the thighs without any part of the diaper tucked in.

Skincare: Apply a layer of diaper cream or petroleum jelly during each change to create a protective barrier on your baby's skin. This can prevent irritation from any minor leaks that do occur.

By understanding the role of proper diapering in promoting your baby's health, you'll be better prepared to prevent leaks and keep your baby comfortable and healthy.

Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers

cloth vs. disposable

The debate between cloth and disposable diapers is often based on personal preference, lifestyle, and environmental beliefs. While initially more expensive and labor-intensive, cloth diapers can save money over time and produce less waste. However, they require frequent washing and might be less absorbent than their disposable counterparts.

Disposable diapers, on the other hand, are convenient and highly absorbent. However, they create more waste and might be more expensive in the long run. Check out this article for more detailed information on the pros and cons of cloth versus disposable diapers.

Correct Diaper Size

Choosing the right diaper size is crucial to preventing leaks. Diaper sizes usually go by weight, not age. If a diaper is too small, it may not cover the baby's bottom completely, and if it's too big, gaps may form, leading to leaks. 

Proper Diaper Placement

The right placement is as important as the correct diaper size. Diapers should sit on your baby's waistline, not too high or low. The edges around the legs should fit snugly, not too tight to cause discomfort or too loose to form gaps. This is especially important when diapering a wiggly baby.

Diapering a Wriggly Baby

wriggly baby

Babies, especially as they grow older, often move around during diaper changes. A distraction like a toy or mobile above the diaper changing station can help. It's also essential to ensure the diaper is fastened securely to avoid shifting during their wriggling and movements.

Secure Fastening Techniques


When it comes to disposable diapers, secure fastening is key. Make sure to fasten the tapes evenly on both sides. If one side is higher or lower than the other, it could lead to discomfort and potential leaks. For cloth diapers, various types come with different fastening methods. Ensure you're familiar with the fastening technique for your chosen style to provide a secure, leak-proof fit.

Gender-Specific Tips


Gender plays a role in diapering. For boys, point the penis downward before fastening the diaper to prevent leaks at the top. For girls, wipe from front to back during a change to avoid infections.

Nighttime Diapering

Overnight diapers are often more absorbent than regular ones. Babies usually sleep through the night without changes. However, the same rules apply: proper size, placement, and fastening are critical to prevent nighttime leaks.

When to Change a Diaper

Knowing when to change a diaper can be tricky. Diapers should be changed every 2-3 hours or when visibly full. However, every baby is unique, and their diaper change frequency might vary. Look for signs like discomfort, restlessness, or a peculiar smell. However, please take your time, as it can lead to diaper rash.

Common reasons for diaper leak

Common reasons for diaper leaks include:

  • Improper size
  • Incorrect placement
  • Rare diaper changes
  • Baby's diet

If you're facing constant leaks despite following the steps, it might be time to consult a pediatrician. It could indicate health issues like diarrhea or urinary tract infections.

Diaper Changing Station


A well-stocked and organized diaper changing station can make diaper changes quicker and easier. Essentials for the station include a changing mat, a stock of diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, a toy or two to distract the baby, and a bin to dispose of used diapers.

Product Recommendations

Lastly, having the right products can make all the difference. Here are some top picks for best diapers, diaper creams, and other related products:

  1. Pampers Swaddlers
  2. Huggies Little Snugglers
  3. Burt's Bees Baby Diaper Rash Ointment
  4. Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Diapers
  5. Honest Overnight Baby Diapers

Check out the reviews and choose the best for your baby's needs.

Best Diaper Creams

Diaper rash is common in babies and can cause discomfort and distress. To prevent diaper rash, apply a good diaper rash cream at each change, particularly when the baby is prone to rashes or is likely to be in a diaper for an extended period, like at nighttime. Some of the best diaper rash creams include Burt's Bees Baby Diaper Rash Ointment, Desitin Maximum Strength Cream, and Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment.


Mastering the art of diapering to prevent leaks can seem daunting initially, but with the right information and a little practice, you'll be a pro in no time. Remember, every baby is unique, and it may take some time to find the perfect diaper brand, size, and changing routine that suits your little one. So, stay patient and diligent, and you'll conquer the diaper leaks!


How often should I change my baby's diaper?

Generally, a diaper should be changed every 2-3 hours. However, it's best to change as soon as possible when the baby soils it or appears uncomfortable.

How do I know if the diaper is full?

The diaper will look swollen and feel heavy to the touch. Some diapers also feature a wetness indicator that changes color when it's time to change.

Can I use the same diaper for night and day?

Using more absorbent overnight diapers for nighttime is recommended to prevent leaks, as babies usually sleep for longer periods without changes.

What can I do to prevent diaper rash?

Changing the diaper frequently, using a good diaper rash cream, letting the baby go diaper-free for short periods, and ensuring the diaper isn't too tight can help prevent diaper rash.

What should I do if my baby's diaper leaks frequently?

Check the diaper size, placement, and fastening technique. If leaks persist, consult a pediatrician, which could indicate underlying health issues.

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