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My 8 month old son has been sleeping throughout the night for a couple of months now without problem. However, over the past month, we've been having a problem with diaper leakage overnight.

We switched to extra-absorbent overnight diapers, and they help, but we find that if he rolls over onto his belly, the diapers still leak. My son is at the bottom end of the weight range for the diapers (he's 23 lbs, and the diaper is for 22lb.-35lb. babies), so it isn't a matter of the diaper being too big.

Since my son is rapidly becoming more mobile, it is now very common for him to wind up in a completely different position from where we leave him (usually upside down and perpendicular!). Unfortunately, this seems to have resulted in him soaking through his diaper more. Due to a local heat wave, we've been having the air conditioner run, however he invariably kicks the blankets off during the night. For the past few nights he has started whimpering in his sleep around 2am, and when I check on him, I find that it is because he is cold and soaked. Fortunately he hasn't had too much trouble falling back to sleep after he is changed, but clearly we'd like to avoid this situation.

We have been feeding him a bottle right before bed, as he is always hungry by bed time. At one point we had been giving him a larger-than-normal bottle (8oz.) in an effort to help him sleep through the night, but that made the peeing problem worse, and he doesn't wake up urgently hungry anymore, so we've switched back to his normal feeding (6oz.). This, plus the overnight diaper, was working well up until he started rolling over during the course of the night.

Any suggestions on how to eliminate the problem of him winding up soaking wet in the middle of the night?

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Have you tried different brand or night-time diapers (i.e Huggies Overnites)? –  jny Jun 2 '11 at 18:06
    
@jny The Huggies Overnites are the ones we are using now. Even though we put them on right before putting him to bed, they're overflowing by 2am (but only if he winds up on his stomach). –  Beofett Jun 2 '11 at 18:11
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

What about an oatmeal or other type of cereal in place of half of his usual milk? I don't see how you're going to eliminate soakage if he's so hungry before bedtime.

Try something that's filling, and cut the milk he receives in half?

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We actually tried that last night, although we used fruit instead of cereal. He ate two bites and then refused to eat more. It may just have been the change of routine, so we'll try it again tonight, and this time we'll use cereal (didn't think to try that, but its a better choice than fruit; thanks for the suggestion!). –  Beofett Jun 2 '11 at 16:36
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Two bites are more than one, so at least he doesn't dislike it. It's a change of routine, and it will take some time to make this the new routine, so be patient. I agree that t sounds like too much fluids at bed time, so replacing with solids might help while keeping him full. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jun 2 '11 at 20:56
    
The cereal did the trick. Thanks! –  Beofett Jun 6 '11 at 10:53
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We have a 3-year-old, and the way we handle leaky diapers at night is to bring her to the potty at night. For example,

  • 8 pm Daughter goes to sleep
  • 10 pm Take daughter to pee at the potty, and we go to bed
  • 2 am Take daughter to pee at the potty, drink some water and go back to bed
  • 7 am Wake up

Using this method, our daughter is able to sleep without a diaper, while being "potty-trained" at night. This method is inspired by the Elimination Communication method of toilet training.

If you still want to use diapers, you could do something similar, e.g.

  • 8 pm Daughter goes to sleep
  • 10 pm Change daughter's diaper, and we go to bed
  • 2 am Change daughter's diaper, drink some water and go back to bed
  • 7 am Wake up

One might ask, "How do you get good sleep if you have to wake up in the middle of the night every night?" In fact the following article The myth of the eight-hour sleep suggests that before the advent of artificial lighting, it was normal for humankind to wake up after a 4-hour sleep cycle, have an hour of quiet activity, before another 4-hour sleep cycle. If we have this adjusted expectation about our own sleep and our baby's sleep, it is no longer necessary for one diaper to last through the night.

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Uh, before the advent of artificial lighting, if you woke up after 4 hours of sleep, it was pitch dark. Unless you consider sex a "quiet activity", that theory is utter nonsense. –  Martha Sep 25 '13 at 21:45
    
@Martha, perhaps a one-hour candle was lit? Though why on Earth you would do that, I do not know. I could take a guess though: The fire to heat the house lasted 4 hours, so one quiet activity was adding wood to the fire? –  Ze'ev Felsen Oct 28 '13 at 5:42
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We were having a similar problem and a combination of three things helped:

  1. We switched back to brand-name diapers. We'd bought a box of generic ones from Costco or Sam's Club that worked fine all day but leaked overnight. Pampers helped.

  2. We ensured the diaper was on perfectly, specifically that nothing was folded under the elastic bands around the legs and that the tabs were snug and straight.

  3. We started feeding him a little earlier. Instead of having him basically fall asleep while eating and then laying him down right away we fed him a little earlier so that he'd wet his diaper post-feeding. That gets you a head start on the night if you change him right before bed.

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