Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cloth Diapering Girls vs. Boys...Is there a difference?

Don't let the title deceive you, there is no boys versus girls cloth diaper competition, this post is going to discuss the differences between cloth diapering boys and girls.

You might be thinking, "there are no difference in the cloth diapers for boys and girls, besides colors and prints..." but that doesn't necessarily mean that what works for one gender will work for the other.

From my experience and from chatting with tons of cloth diapering moms over the years, there are always the mysterious complaints about brand new diapers leaking, clothes and bedding getting soaked without the diaper even feeling wet inside and tons of issues with heavy wetters leaking through diaper after diaper.

It doesn't take much looking over the similarities to realize that a lot of issues seem to be gender specific.  Personally I think girls are more prone to leakage than boys, at least the type of leaks when you put her in a diaper and she miraculously seems to have a soaking wet onesie and carseat moments later.

It all makes perfect sense to me.  If women could control the flow of urine like men then we'd pee standing up too!  However we can't, everyone's body is shaped differently and the flow can shoot out at all directions.  This is especially an issue with girls who are in diapers that may have a little extra room.  Imagine there being an open space in the crotch area of the diaper, she pees but it doesn't go directly into the absorbent inserts, it sprays out this way and that, trickles here, there...leaks are inevitable.

With boys there is more of a concentrated and pressurized flow of urine similar to spraying a squirtgun.  On top of the "squirtgun" effect, the tip of the penis is in some cases already up against the absorbent layers or very close to it.  The urine has less room to pool in the diaper and ends up getting absorbed more easily by the inserts.

What can be done to prevent leaks and make cloth diapering more effective for each gender?

Custom stuff your absorbent areas!  Pocket diapers work great for being able to manipulate your inserts and customize ares of the diaper where you'll need extra backup.  Generally boys need more padding in the front and near the tummy area.  They have a tendency to soak right through, especially if they're tummy sleepers.

Girls need more stuffing between the legs, especially if you're using diapers that are generously sized and that   allow for growth.  The less empty/open space there is between her legs the more her urine will be absorbed into the inserts.  You'll also need to make sure the leg casings/elastic don't gape open when she's sitting, that will definitely cause leakage.

Experiment with different inserts!  Just because a diaper comes with microfiber inserts doesn't mean that they'll end up being what works best for you.  It's vital that you have a variety of inserts in a variety of materials so that when you do have an issue with leaks or heavy wetting you can experiment and find the right combo to suit your needs.  Hemp is a great, more natural alternative to microfiber.  It provides more absorbing qualities while also being less bulky.

There are also specialty inserts and diapers out there specifically for heavy wetters and overnight diapers.  Our SuperDo is one such insert!  It combines both hemp and microfiber in a loop design for faster drying and is the go-to insert for many moms who just couldn't find a diaper or insert to get their baby through the night.

Most importantly...Don't give up!  Just because you're having trouble doesn't mean you should give up.  Cloth Diapering is all about finding the system that works for you and it may not be the pre-packaged diaper with basic inserts.  Every baby, every gender, every family is different and has a whole new set of needs.

If you having issues and need support please visit our FaceBook Page and leave us a comment, we'll get back to you with a response and often many other mamas will respond as well with their advice.  You're not alone!


Nik said...

This is a great comparison! Thanks! I have a son, and have noticed that if he doesn't have a lot of absorbency in the front, and his diaper isn't snug, he definitely leaks out toward the top of his diaper!

Jen P. said...

I have a boy & have had a lot of leaks with him esp. when he was a newborn & I was still figuring things out. If the diaper wasn't super tight which was hard because he is skinny but has chubby legs, he would pee straight out of the diaper. This happened a lot in the beginning. Later I noticed with some fitted diapers he has such a strong stream that he literally can soak straight through the diaper & wool in one pee. It's like a bullet & goes straight through. Other times he would leak out the leg if it weren't tight enough. Now he usually soaks in the front so I put extra soakers in front but he will often be wetter in the back all of a sudden just to change things up on me. I think boys just keep you guessing..I would hope a girl would be easier.

Sarah R said...

I have recently discovered that for my daughter, it's best I use both microfiber inserts in my Knickernappies because they are a thinner insert. Then I use SuperDos at night and they ALWAYS contain all of her pee. :)

Powered by Blogger