Diaper suggestions for small infant?
February 11, 2009 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Our newborn pees right through the preemie diapers, through two layers of clothes and into the crib/blanket. This happens every time. Help!

I_love_therain and I just brought our baby boy home from the hospital on Monday. He's absolutely fantastic, and so is his bladder. His weight when leaving the hospital was 5 pounds 10 ounces, so we've been using preemie diapers on him. (A combination of Huggies and Pampers. We probably have about 100 of these diapers left right now.) The diapers contain the poop no problem, but whenever he pees it soaks right through the diaper (usually through one of the legs) and gets everything else wet. I don't mind changing 5 diapers in one hour (which is what we did last night, when he just peed and peed and then peed some more) but 5 outfits in an hour is just ridiculous. Isn't it?

This is our first child. Everything else with him is going great, and I'm just wondering, should we be using normal diapers instead of preemies? Am I installing them incorrectly? Is this just something you suffer through until the infant is big enough to wear real diapers? Oh, and if you've read this far, here's the obligatory link to a photo of our kid. :-).
posted by Happydaz to Human Relations (25 answers total)
Are the diapers soaked? We had the problem with some diapers that the urine would flow out of the diaper through a fold in the baby fat - it essentially just got channeled out along the fat fold at the hip. It wasn't as common as your son (who is a cutie, btw) seems to have it, but we solved it two ways - first, we changed diaper brands by buying several small packages of different brands and trying them out. Second, we didn't really dress him for a while, we just kept him wrapped in a blanket. Cleaning blankets was easier than cleaning whole outfits. We had to keep the heat turned up for that, though, to make sure he was warm enough. Our boy outgrew it in a couple of weeks.
posted by procrastination at 7:54 AM on February 11, 2009

What a doll! Congratulations--enjoy him!

a few things:

make sure the diapers fit him snugly around his thighs--of course at under 6 pounds, I'm using the term thighs loosely! You may have to try different brands to discover the best fit.

If you need the move to newborn size, you can usually fold down the diaper around the waist and overlap the closures to get a more snug fit.

take one or two of those burp cloths/cloth diapers you have and cut them into about 6-8 pieces. Lay one piece over his penis before securing the diaper over it. Also, point the penis down before doing this so he doesn't pee out the top of his diaper.

5 diapers an hour does seem a bit much. Are you changing him because he has soaked his clothes? If so, it's probably just an ill fitting diaper. If the diaper is fitting snugly but he pees through a completely soaked diaper 5 times an hour, run it by his pediatrician.

Now, go snuggle!
posted by agentwills at 7:56 AM on February 11, 2009

Congratulations on your new baby!

They seem to fit snugly around his legs? hard to tell from here if you're putting them on there right. They sound too big, I don't think moving to bigger ones would help. If anything I would try smaller ones if you can find them. It might be worth buying a few cloth diapers and maybe cutting them up to stick in there strategically to absorb the flow? You'll have to launder them but I think he's going to grow out of this quickly.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:56 AM on February 11, 2009

It sounds like the fit at the leg isn't good. Don't cut off circulation but there shouldn't be any gaps. - It has to be snug and the outside elastisised ruffle can't be tucked in, you have to pull it out. Larger diapers would give you larger leg holes, so I'm not sure that's the way to go. If everything fails you could try double diapering.
posted by Artw at 7:59 AM on February 11, 2009


We had a preemie about 6 months ago, and I don't recall this kind of issue with the preemie diapers. If he's completely soaking several diapers an hour, then I might check with your pediatrician to see if that much peeing is okay.
posted by swift at 7:59 AM on February 11, 2009

And if you have to switch preemie diapers, please give the remaining ones to the hospital so they get used before they become landfill.
posted by plinth at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2009

Also if you;re gettomg down about this remember that whatever happens now won't happen forever - babies grow fast. And baby pee, unlike babypoo, is pretty clean and not really going to harm anyone.
posted by Artw at 8:01 AM on February 11, 2009

Congratulations! He's beautiful. We had similar issues, and we found that we had to try several different brands to find the diaper that worked for him. We had the best luck with pampers baby dry, although the swaddlers didn't work for us at all. They might be too big for your baby now, but maybe worth a shot. Make sure that the little leg ruffle thing is spread out all the way around the leg. Also, and I'm trying to ask this delicately, where are you pointing his penis? You might try pointing it up and to the side, so it's not spraying the umbilical cord, but is hitting the more absorbent part of the diaper.

If it's any comfort, the diapers will be easier to fit as he gets bigger.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:02 AM on February 11, 2009


I'm with the folks who say that the diaper isn't on quite snuggly enough, and he's probably peeing through the leg/out the top. A friend told me "some kids have Huggies butts, some kids have Pampers butts, some kids have Luvs butts". Different brands of disposables do fit differently.

Make sure his penis is pointing straight down, and that the diaper is as snug as you can get it on him. (Don't worry, you won't squash him.) A soaked disposable diaper will swell up as the moisture gets trapped in the secret gel they put in diapers these days, and will physically feel much heavier than it did when you put it on him. If the diaper you take off him isn't swollen/heavier, then I'm certain its a case of the pee escaping from the diaper rather than the diaper being overloaded with pee.

Enjoy him, and good luck!
posted by anastasiav at 8:03 AM on February 11, 2009

Heh, I see that agent willis suggested the opposite penis placement. Our son peed out the leg holes when we pointed down, but YMMV. So maybe just try different penis directions in any case.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:04 AM on February 11, 2009

Welp, looks like the 'leg hole' idea has been covered. My rule of thumb is to make sure the 'ruffles' of the diaper leg are pulled to the outside when diapering. If the diaper is on and the ruffles are even and 'out', I consider it good. (This will become a simple habit after a time. Takes a second to do.)

Good luck.
posted by unixrat at 8:57 AM on February 11, 2009

Our little guy has successfully peed through, around, or possibly over at least a couple of diapers every day...except for the cloth ones. If you're up for it (or have a diaper service nearby), it would be worth a shot; they make them down to preemie sizes, and you could try just a couple to see if they help before investing any significant amount of money.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 9:27 AM on February 11, 2009

Wow, all of your suggestions are great! Happydaz and I truly appreciate it. :-D
posted by I_love_the_rain at 9:31 AM on February 11, 2009

What unixrat said. Mind the ruffles. They become little channels of pee.
posted by Wolfie at 10:10 AM on February 11, 2009

Congrats! By coincidence my son was also 5lbs 10oz at birth, and we had some pee escapage issues for a while too, but not as much as you do. The recommendation to try different brands is great, but I only ever found two brands of preemie size diapers - the ones you already have :)

You could try a diaper doubler, if they are appropriately sized (never used one), in case that helps soak up the flow before it reaches his leg.

The idea of trying some cloth diapers is a good one, as you can customise the fit to his shape. You can grab a pack of cloth diapers from amazon or a store and do it old skool, just pick up some modern fasteners instead of using pins.
posted by Joh at 10:11 AM on February 11, 2009

Congrats! Our first is just a month old, and we've been going through lots of diapers too. Don't worry, you'll start using less in a week or two. I'm not really sure if she pees less, or we're just better at figuring out when she's finished, so we're not changing so many diapers twice in a row.

We're using cloth diapers and they seem to contain things pretty well. The only times that the diaper overflowed, we were able to track it down to an assembly issue.

Were the nurses having this issue in the nursery at the hospital, too? If not, try to find out what sort of diapers they used. Alternately, since this is your first baby, see if you can get a relative or friend with kids to come over and help you hone your diapering technique.

Good luck to all three of you. Babies are magic.
posted by mattybonez at 10:20 AM on February 11, 2009

Congratulations! He's beautiful. Seconding donating any leftovers, Salvation Army and Goodwill are often desperate for newborn stuff.
posted by variella at 10:42 AM on February 11, 2009

My kid was born at 5lb 12oz and also had an amazing ability to pee through anything we wrapped him in overnight until we figured out the 'nuclear diaper' using a Crickett's Diaper with an insert wrapped in a Fuzzi Bunz diaper. Even with his ability to pee what seemed like half his body weight every night his clothes stayed dry...
posted by foodgeek at 11:55 AM on February 11, 2009

I'd also recommend cloth diapers - this new generation of cloth diapers is infinitely improved over the old prefold-and-pin. Check out a few of the options out there!

You can do a combo of cloth and disposable if you find they're too inconvenient - but they do work really well for leg leaks. You can pick up a few sets and see if they're for you - Fuzzi Bunz and bumGenius brands work well for many of my friends. Make sure to check the sizes. The XS FuzziBunz would work for your cutie now!

Otherwise, the above posters are right that you're probably not pulling the leg opening tight enough. And definitely make sure the ruffles are on the outside. And finally, you can put another cloth in there for the first few weeks to catch more of the dribbles - as long as you're changing him frequently, it's no problem.

Try a few other brands, and don't worry if it takes a few times in your sleep-deprived state. You'll get the hang of it :-) Congrats to you both.
posted by barnone at 1:31 PM on February 11, 2009

Seconding all of the above:

1. Try different brands of diapers. My babies were as small as 5.5 pounds when brought home from the hospital and I never used preemie diapers, so you might even try some non-preemie kinds. They do look funny with their diapers up under their armpits, though.
2. Check penis placement, esp if you're getting leaks when the diaper itself is not soaked.
3. Modern cloth diapers are very nice and use-able, as well, and are easy to double for bedtime (though tiny babies in big cloth diapers look hilarious).
4. Run finger around thighs after diapering to make sure ruffles are out.

Enjoy your beautiful boy. Thanks for the picture. I love baby pictures. I wrote this whole redundant note just so I could say, "Awwww, he's so sweet!" without being off-topic.
posted by not that girl at 1:52 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you try cloth diapers, here's something that makes your kid look absolutely ridiculous but it works: put 'em in two diapers at once. Just stuff that diaper cover full of diaper.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:42 PM on February 11, 2009

Thank you everyone for the great answers! My wife tried some of the tips, especially checking the elastic and tightening the diaper. We only had one blowout today, and it was caused by volume, not a gap in the legs. We might also try switching brands. Oh, and we see the pediatrician tomorrow, so we'll ask him why Charlie decided to open up the floodgates yesterday.

We're going to switch to cloth diapers at some point, but I was under the impression it was hard to fit kids in cloth diapers the first few months.
posted by Happydaz at 6:15 PM on February 11, 2009

Once he hits 8 lbs., cloth should be fine.
posted by k8t at 6:33 PM on February 11, 2009

Cloth diapers are disgusting until the kid quits shitting meconium. Wait a couple of months, we had success with prefolds starting around the 10 lb mark.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:43 PM on February 11, 2009

He stopped pooping maconium at 4 days. He's solidly into the mustard-grain poops now.
posted by Happydaz at 11:22 PM on February 11, 2009

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