As parents, we’re all familiar with the standard reasons for a baby’s nighttime waking or toddler’s nighttime waking. Newborns and young infants often wake at night out of hunger. Many babies wake out of habit, because they’ve formed sleep associations. Toddlers may wake up in the middle of the night because they’ve had a nightmare.
Let’s add another cause for nighttime waking to our list: leaky diapers. Have any experience with that? I’ll bet most of you have. If so, you know how it goes — you wake to find your little one wet and cold and wailing loudly.
Sometimes, one leaky diaper is all it takes to turn a peaceful night of sleep into a chaotic mess!
So, what’s a parent to do? How do you stop leaky diapers from waking your baby or toddler at night?
Today, we’re spotlighting 7 tips that’ll help you banish those leaky diapers and keep your little one sleeping peacefully.
1. No drinks before bed (for toddlers).
Ignore this tip if you have an infant; babies need to nurse or take in formula frequently, and you should never withhold a feeding from your baby in order to prevent diaper leaks. If you have a toddler, however, it’s a different story. If your toddler routinely has something to drink right before bed, this could be part of the leaky diaper problem. Change your routine, and make sure that your toddler’s last drink of the night happens an hour (or more) before bedtime.
2. Do a diaper change right before your baby or toddler’s bedtime.
This one seems obvious, but not all parents take this step. If your baby or toddler is routinely waking up with a wet, leaking diaper, be sure to do a fresh diaper change right before you put your little one to bed for the night.
3. Do a diaper change right before your bedtime.
Disclaimer: this won’t work for all babies and toddlers. If your child is a light sleeper who will wake up completely if you try to do a late-night diaper change, then forget it. You’ll probably end up creating more problems than you solve! But if you think your child may sleep through (or at least wake only slightly during) a late-night diaper change, then consider sneaking in a diaper change right before you go to bed yourself.
4. Start buying bigger diapers.
Once your baby or toddler starts approaching the upper end of a diaper’s size limit, the leaks will probably start. If your little one is waking regularly because of a leaky diaper, consider moving up a size (at least at night). Some parents find that this solves the problem completely.
5. Invest in good overnight diapers.
If none of the above tips make a difference in the leaks, consider purchasing separate overnight diapers. Huggies Overnites are a great solution (I can vouch for them personally!); Pampers Extra Protection Nighttime Diapers are also a good choice. These overnight diapers are thicker and more absorbent than regular diapers, making them a good choice for nights. They’re also more expensive than regular diapers, but since you only need to use them at night, a large box will last a long time.
6. Consider using Diaper Booster Pads.
I’ll confess — I’d never heard of diaper booster pads until I found them while researching this article. Turns out that some parents swear by them as THE solution for their little ones’ nighttime diaper leaks. These booster pads look a bit like feminine pads, and they’re designed to fit inside a regular (or overnight) diaper. The booster pad acts as a first line of defense — it absorbs up to 8 oz. of liquid. Once the pad is full, the diaper absorbs the excess. These might make a good last resort option for those parents who find that even overnight diapers aren’t doing the trick. Using cloth diapers? They have cloth diaper insert pads, too!
7. Keep Sleep Training
Although inconvenient, if you are sleep training, you will of course want to clean your baby up, change the sheets, redo a mini routine, and still have your baby try to settle herself. You don’t want to let something like a leaky diaper lead to inconsistency in your behavior and undermine your progress.
Have you struggled with leaky diapers waking your baby or toddler? How did you cope? Any tips to add to our list? Share below!
Maybe leaky diapers aren’t the issue — maybe your baby or toddler is waking out of habit, and it’s time to sleep train! If that’s the case, please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.
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