A heavy wetter. You’ve seen this term bandied about in the cloth nappy groups, on websites, in blog posts, but what exactly is a heavy wetter and how do you tell if you have one?
Well I’m here to hopefully answer some of those questions, because if you do have a heavy wetter, chances are you’ve been wondering what you are doing wrong with your nappies, why they leak…always with the leaking and what you can do about it.
First I’d like to define what a heavy wetter is because I think there may be some confusion about this out there in cloth nappy land. A heavy wetter by my standards is any baby or child who has a larger than usual output, and can just about out pee a decently boosted nappy in the space of 2 hours or less.
I’m talking those super doper nappies that come with highly absorbent material (think bamboo or hemp with a decent weight or layers) plus boosters to up the quantity they can hold. Your best bet is to try and have around 10-12 layers or a high gsm (400 or more) going in your nappy.
If you baby is lasting 3 hours in something like one bamboo charcoal insert then I’m afraid to say that you don’t have a heavy wetter. I’ve seen some people mention that they have heavy wetters in a Grovia O.N.E overnight, or a Pop In with a night time booster.
Usually an all round heavy wetter would not go 12 hours in either of those nappies. They might make a nice daytime nappy but at night time you are going to need to bring out the big guns in a dedicated night time fitted nappy. Please note there is a difference between a daytime fitted and a night time fitted nappy, a night time fitted nappy is dedicated to lasting 12 hours or more without needing to be changed. Yes you can boost a daytime fitted nappy and use overnight, BUT this is more suited to average wetters.
I have a heavy wetter – what can I do?
First consider moving into fitted nappies during the daytime. These are heavy duty workhorse nappies that can also be boosted either with an extra insert inside the nappy or with inserts or a prefold on the outside of the nappy and underneath the cover.
If daytime fitteds are not an option then you need to look at the makeup of the inserts in your stash. Go for Bamboo and Hemp inserts and off load anything with microfiber in it (unless you have a baby that floods in which case you might need to hang onto those). If you only have 3 layer bamboo inserts then you may need 3 – use one folded in half and either place at the top of the nappy for a boy or in the middle for a girl. If you have prefolds pad fold these in either the girl/boy fold and add in an extra insert. Any nappies you have that came with a trifold and a booster fold the booster in half and use up the front/in the middle (otherwise known as the wet zone). You will need to be pretty vigilant about changing every 2 hours and I’d probably start checking the nappy at around the 1.5 hour mark for wetness.
Some nappies or insert combos that the ladies in our Green Parenting Community swear by are as follows:
Anything with hemp
Night Time Solutions
If you are using cloth full time then you will need a dedicated night nappy. The three biggest are the Baby Beehinds nights, The Rawr soakmaster (get the tummy booster) and the SHP Sandman. These are designed specifically for a heavy wetter and are made from heavy duty bamboo material, for example the Baby Beehinds night nappy has over 20 layers of bamboo in it. A wool cover is also something you should give consideration to as wool is slightly absorbent itself and will allow the nappy to breathe better than a PUL cover. In addition because these nappies are a fitted nappy you can further boost if needed in between the nappy and the cover.
Having a heavy wetter does not mean the end of your cloth journey or that your journey is going to be harder than everyone elses, it just means that you will need to give careful consideration to the makeup of materials that are going against your babies bum. It’s also a good idea to make sure you change every two hours, this is most likely the easiest way to prevent leaks because maximum absorbency has been reached.