Fitting reusable nappies can often seem a bit daunting at first (so many poppers!), and a badly fitted nappy can sometimes be a cause of leaks. We have created a guide to help you understand how to put a cloth nappy on a baby, and hopefully understand how to solve any leaks.
Not everyone will get leaks when they start, but this blog post may still be helpful if you find yourself getting leaks later on in your nappy journey, as the fit can change as babies grow.
To start, a few vocabulary notes:
Nappies are usually fastened by poppers or hook and loop. Hook and loop is just a non-branded way of saying Velcro!
The rise refers to the poppers in the centre of birth to potty nappies. They adjust the size to make the nappy smaller or larger depending on your baby's growth.
Rise clipped (medium rise) Rise unclipped (large rise)
In this fit guide, the nappy used is a Baba+Boo birth to potty pocket nappy. Baba+Boo birth to potty nappies use poppers to fasten so that is what is shown here. The hook and loop nappies are generally a bit simpler to fasten at the waist, though most birth to potty ones will still have poppers on the rise. The general principle is the same for any non pocket nappies, which will be summarised at the end.
Basic Fit Guide:
Your first step is to fit the rise. You can then keep this clipped permanently until it is time to change the size of your nappy for your baby. No need to unclip every time you change the nappy.
Place the baby on the nappy. Where you place the baby on the nappy may require some experimentation. You can place it halfway up the back, as pictured, or you might like to place it lower down and then pull it up once the nappy is fastened. Find what works for you!
Fasten the hip poppers (the second row) first. Which popper you choose will depend on the size of your child. If you are straining to fasten it or they're crying...might be too tight! And if there are gaps round the legs when you're done, it's probably too loose.
Next, fasten the top row of poppers round the waist. Usually they will naturally fall in the right place according to where you have placed the hip poppers. It is okay to have a gap at the top, so no need to pull these too tight.
Inner lining showing Inner lining tucked in
Now you should check round the legs and make sure that none of the inner lining is showing. This collects moisture and therefore if it is not inside the waterproof wrap, will wick this out onto baby's / your clothing! You just need to tuck any you find in.
It may also be useful to pinch the middle of the nappy in around the baby's leg crease so it is neat and not spread out over the thighs.
And there you go! Your nappy should be well fitted now.
The points to remember, should you be using a different style of nappy, are:
Okay to have a gap round the waist
Not okay to have gaps round the legs
Make sure all material is tucked in to the waterproof wrap. This is especially important for all in two or shaped nappies as there is more material that could escape.
Adjusting the fit
As your baby grows, you may find you are getting leaks again - or for the first time - despite definitely having checked nothing was sticking out! This may mean you need to adjust the rise, or the hip poppers if your nappy has them. Which size to choose does depend on your baby so may require a bit of experimentation. You'll be able to tell if the nappy is too big though, so if you adjust it and there are obvious gaps, you probably don't need to change the rise yet.
As babies grow, they change shape, so you also may find that you are changing back to a setting you thought you'd left behind! Their legs grow longer and thinner but their bellies get bigger so don't rule out going down a rise setting or up a hip setting if this looks like it might help.
Hopefully this has helped you learn how to fit a reusable nappy, and how to problem solve any leak issues caused by the fit in the future. If you are still having problems, or have any further questions, please get in touch and we will happily do a personal fit check for you.
While you're here, to help us be able to give advice like this and hire out nappies to more local families, please consider donating to our crowdfunder.