Two toddlers sitting next to each other wearing cloth nappies and one is holding a flower
let's fix those leaks

The most common frustration that we hear from the cloth nappy community is about leaks. Let's face it, whilst we set out with the best intentions to avoid leaks no matter whether we're using a disposable or cloth nappy, when does parenting ever follow the playbook. However, if you're using cloth nappies, we have some clever hacks to help you avoid those pesky leaks and keep baby happy, comfy and dry.

If you're having trouble resolving your leaks, please get in touch. We'd love to help you solve the problem so you can get back to admiring how good they look on the bum.

A table which shows the differences between the absorbency of different cloth nappy inserts in Australia
Check those inserts

When it comes to leaks, the first thing you need to know is what fibre your inserts are made from. If you've been researching modern cloth nappies for a while, you may have come across several types.

Each type of fibre reacts differently in terms of speed of absorbency and the volume it can hold. Ella & Maeve chooses to use a blend of bamboo viscose and organic cotton for their inserts to achieve the perfect combination of speed and capacity.

If you are using microfibre inserts, make sure that they're not directly on baby's skin as they are notorious for drying their little bottoms out.

what type of leak is it?

Broadly speaking, you can divide the cause of cloth nappy leaks into two categories. The first being issues related to absorbency and the second being issues related to fit.

Let's start with absorbency. If you're noticing leaks, after you've changed baby, take a look at the inserts. With a bit of clever detective work, we can help solve the pesky issue of nappy leaks.

You'll need to determine if the inserts are completely saturated or if they're only damp in certain places. Read on to find out more.


If your inserts are saturated, the common cause can be one of two things.

1. Not enough absorbency

2. Compression leaks

If you're noticing leaks, make sure you're changing baby every 2-3 hours. Unlike disposable nappies, cloth nappies use natural fibres (rather than a bunch of nasty chemicals) to soak up wees. If you have a booster and have not used it, add it into the insert. If you're using our anchor shaped insert, place the smaller booster at the top of the widest part and fold the tail underneath. The booster will then be sandwiched in between. If you're using our trifold insert, the place the booster in the middle when the trifold is folded into thirds.

Compression leaks most often occur with microfibre inserts. Whilst they are the fastest at absorbing wees, they have the least capacity. You may also notice that tight rompers, pants and onesies can result in leaks, as can a ride in the car when using microfibre inserts.

Here at Ella & Maeve, we know from our real world experience that it can be hard to find clothes that actually fit cloth nappies, and bigger babies. That's why we set out on a mission to create our own range of Australian made organic cotton clothing specifically for cloth nappy users.


The most common cause of cloth nappy leaks when the inserts are either only slightly damp or are only saturated in parts, is how the nappy has been fitted.

Check out our easy to follow fit guide to get the perfect fit each and every time.

Other things to check when you're experience leaks is to:

1. Inserts: make sure the inserts are not bunched up and are laying flat inside the shell. When running your finger along the elastic line (step 5 in our guide), smooth the inserts out to avoid bunching. A well fitted nappy with have flat inserts that are sitting in the correct spot with the leg elastics sitting in the underwear line to create a fool-proof seal.

2. Flooding: You may notice that your baby goes through different stages of wetting. This is a result of baby growing and developing just as they should. It may be that your baby is holding onto their wees and then flooding their nappy when they eventually go, which is too fast for the natural fibres to absorb. You can try adding a cotton face washer or a microfibre insert into the mix.

3. Repelling: It is possible for the stay-dry layer to repel smaller volumes of wee which can then roll off the top rather than being absorbed. If you think this may be happening, you can flip the insert over so that the bamboo side is laying against baby's skin. If you are using a pocket nappy, try laying the inserts on top of the pocket and see if it makes a difference.

4. Wicking: This can occur when an absorbent fabric such as a cotton t-shirt, onesie or pair of pants comes into contact with the inside of the nappy. If you're noticing wet clothes, make sure the inserts are safely tucked inside the nappy shell and the clothes aren't tucking into the top or side of the nappy. Tight onesies which sit snugly against the underwear line can be one of the main culprits of wicking. If you're looking for beautiful, 100% organic cotton clothing which has been designed specifically for cloth nappies, be sure to check out our range.

5. Position: As if penises aren't annoying enough already, if you have a darling baby boy, make sure that appendage is pointing downwards. If you notice you're experience leaks out of one leg or straight up the middle and out the top of the nappy, you've probably found the culprit.