The curse of the mandatory nighttime nappy leakage


When my baby was young I was a real connoisseur of nappies, I tried them all.

Naturally my favourite, Huggies, went out of production so after importing some from abroad I settled for whatever I could get my hands on.

Whatever I tried I have ended up with leaks (yes even with my favourites) and although friends had the occasional leakage, I seemed to have it nearly every night*

One particularly horrible evening after changing the moses basket sheets twice, changing clothes, a poonami, many feeds, infacol, raised lets at the head end of the moses basket etc I went through everything I could to make him sleep, I finally got him off and as I was drifting into sleep he started squalking.  I was grumpy and exhausted, I had run out of ideas and had no idea what ELSE could he need.  I picked him up and there it was AGAIN, literally 10 minutes after I had put him down, the cold damp patch on the front left side of the nappy.

Why?  WHY? and HOW?

I understand that there are times when the nappy isn’t done up quite right, or a child is in between nappy sizes.  Now I expect it more as Jem sleeps on his front so if he’s particularly wee-ey in the night it has an excuse for squeezing out, but when he was little I just couldn’t work it out.  Always in the same place, not every night but at least once a week.  I label it “the curse of the mandatory nighttime nappy leakage” because it doesn’t seem to happen to other people but I really suffer from it.  Surely after all this time my nappy fastening technique has improved…?


* I say night, but those of you who know me know that when he was little Jem didn’t really sleep at “night” so by “night” I mean whatever ungodly hour he dropped off to sleep for his long** sleep


**by “long” I mean 2 hours…max…it’s “long” because the rest of the day he only slept 20 minutes at a time…I don’t miss those first few months.

Sleep…the shock


I’ve always loved sleep, I could literally sleep 23 hours a day and be happy (I would wake for food of course…)

I knew that sleep would be an issue with a young baby, but I didn’t think it would be too bad.  My biggest worry was the Turk…he also likes his sleep.  Given that on one occasion when I heard footsteps in our flat and tried to wake him up (and it took a LOT to wake him up) he turned into a monster who found it quite unreasonable to have to wake up for a burglar and said “what is it you think I’m going to do if it is a burglar…” (note: it wasn’t a burglar, it was our upstairs neighbour creeping around her own flat…) so I was a tad concerned that (a) he might not get woken up by the baby when it was his turn; (b) that he would get angry at the baby waking him up.

I needn’t have worried.

He managed to sleep through any noise the baby or I made except on 3 extreme occasions…

I didn’t do so well, the first day he was born he slept a lot so we napped together, and that first night apart from mad screaming to try and feed he slept pretty well too, admittedly with me on my hospital bed (of course with mandatory nighttime leakage…this was to become my friend over the coming months).  Our first night at home he slept a straight 6 hours (not a good thing…but lovely) before he fell into his routine…

Routine = good…?

No, Jem’s routine was to nap after every feed for about 20-30 minutes.  Only on me, he would wake as soon as he was put down (which I appreciate is very very common).  We would all go to bed at around half 10, I would sit up with the baby feeding and crying until 2am, when he generally fell asleep for 2 hours…then it would all start again for the day.

It was hard, much harder than I expected.

With hindsight I should have been firmer, but I had no confidence.  The baby really didn’t need feeding every time he cried, he needed sleep.  He was very tired.  I was very tired…I cried a LOT.

At some point during the first week or so I was waiting for the 2am sleep, but he didn’t go down…it took another hour.  I felt horrendous.

During the fourth week I attempted sleeping sat up on the sofa with the baby on my shoulder (I know how dangerous this is, but I was desperate, I literally hadn’t slept more than 2 hours in one go and that was only once a day!) which worked a little better, he slept longer and I could doze a bit, but it wasn’t great for my back and I was scared something might happen to him.

If I could go back and speak to myself at that time I would say “it will get a lot better…then a lot worse…then better again”.  In fact I feel slightly guilty that this is the advice I give to anyone with a new baby who asks me for advice, it sounds a bit negative, but I think if you’re really down it helps to know!

I would also send Jem out with someone (literally anyone I could find, the Turk wasn’t around to do it and was pretty unwilling when he was) for an hour or two a day and give myself strict instructions to nap during that time.  It would have done us both a massive amount of good, I didn’t appreciate at the time how much sleep a baby would need or should have.  I assumed if they were tired they would sleep…no?!

Poonami the first


Ah it happens to us all, that leaky nappy moment, doesn’t it…?

Well I thought it didn’t happen to me, I heard the stories about why you need to carry a change of clothes but I’d never had to break open my spare outfit and I was beginning to think it was all a bit unnecessary.


At around 4 months old we were enjoying a delightful NCT meet up in the park (I have a lovely NCT group if I haven’t already told you).  I was a bit wary it’s fair to say as it had been 4 days since the last poo, but nothing had prepared me.

In an attempt to settle a grizzling boy I was giving him a good old jiggle in my arms when I felt it explode.  My first thoughts were delight, finally he’s been, no need for a trip to the GP…I continued to jiggle…big mistake.

My previous experience was that, other than the curse of the mandatory nighttime leakage (always leak wee on the top left side just after you finally get the baby to sleep, for no apparent reason, tried loads of different nappies, never resolved this, only ever happens when you’re having a particularly fractious night) my choice of nappies could withhold any amount of poo.  This is true, my experience before and since is that even most high street store nappies can manage pretty much anything (again other than the curse of the mandatory nighttime leakage) but nothing can withstand the poonami.

For those not in the know a poonami is an unbelievable level of runny bf baby poo, which flows in a manner similar to a tsunami (hence the name) and will ruin anything it comes into contact with.  No nappy can contain the poonami, it will ruin the baby’s clothes…and your clothes…and possibly your buggy/changing bag/picnic blanket…

The feeling of helplessness as you watch the nappy literally explode with poo, sending rivers of the bright yellow stuff over everything in sight is truly one I have never experienced prior to having a baby.  On the upside I was in a park therefore the damage was limited…but be warned mummies.