I've received quite a few emails from people asking if and why their diapers are repelling. More often, the question is simply, "Krista-could you tell me why my diapers would be repelling? Could it be my detergent?" While I'm always willing to troubleshoot and figure out if it is fact their detergent or laundry routine causing repelling issues, my first question back is always, "Hey customer! When you change the baby, are the inserts/diaper itself really soaked? If not completely soaked, is the front/back of the diaper feel pretty wet??"
Nearly 99% of the time, the answer is "yes." Usually the entire soaker pad or diaper is saturated or the front (if a boy) or middle/back (if a girl) if almost entirely soaked. Once the entire soaker or part of the soaker gets saturated, the diaper is going to start leaking. Most of the time the leaks will happen out the legs and occasionally it will be up the front, if on a little boy. While this can be incredibly frustrating to a caregiver, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
First, you may just have a super-soaker. But this is usually temporary. Most children go through phases where they're breastfeeding/eating/drinking a ton because they're in the middle of a growth spurt (or about to start one) and thus their urine output is extreme. Yes, this can even happen with a newborn. We'd like to think that a newborn pees just a teeny, tiny bit but let's remember that newborns go through crazy growth spurts and if you breastfeed on demand, around the clock, expect a lot of pee. Once a growth spurt is over, the urine output may slow a bit and you may find that you can go a bit longer in-between diaper changes.
Second, in regards to growth spurts, at some point your child will stop with the constant small pee-pees and will do one big pee-pee every 3-4 hours--much like how you and I do it as adults. Your older child (19 months-2.5 years) is really close to potty training, understands when he has to go pee-pee, and may bring a diaper to you after he does it. More than likely his diaper was dry for the first 3 hours it was on and then when he peed, it was a lot. And if he also drank a lot of of water within those 3 hours, he may soak through that diaper. After all, his bladder is larger and is holding a lot more urine.
Third, cloth diapers are not made of synthetic materials or chemical gel to aid in absorbency. It's just cloth. It works pretty darn well but a super-soaker can saturate a piece of microfiber pretty quickly. During these growth spurts, change more frequently. Some moms tell me that if they don't change their kiddo on the 3 hour mark exactly, they can expect wet pants. If that seems really frustrating to have to remember to change that often OR you need that diaper to last a bit longer (you're going on a longer car ride, etc.) then add some absorbency! A hemp or bamboo doubler is super thirsty and will absorb, in some cases, 10x the amount of liquid that the microfiber or cotton insert did. Bamboo tends to be less bulky and so is becoming a more popular choice. If you decide to double-up on absorption, remember to put that extra bamboo or hemp insert under the microfiber/cotton. That way as the microfiber quickly wicks away that moisture and becomes saturated, the bamboo or hemp will come to its aid and start absorbing.
Now, sometimes true repellency does happen (you accidentally used fabric softener, mom put vaseline on baby, etc.,) and the best way to know if you're having repellency issues is to first feel how heavy the diaper is when you take it off. If its feels like it's been barely peed in, then I recommend testing it for absorption. Drop a few drops of water on the diaper and then lay the back of your hand against the diaper where the water is. If your hand comes up really damp and/or the water rolls off the diaper, then sure enough you have repellency and you'll need to strip your diapers clean.
I hope this helps! As always, email me with any questions you may have!