newborn baby in esembly cloth diaper

How to Cloth Diaper: The Ruffle Tuck

Perfect Fit Tips: How to Put on a Cloth Diaper Like a Pro


There's a nasty little rumor going around that cloth diapers are so bulky that you need to size up your baby's clothing. While this may be the case for some brands/styles of cloth diapers, it DOES NOT apply to our Esembly diapers. We make some of the trimmest, most form-fitting natural diapers around! When properly fit on your baby, you will barely notice a difference between it and a disposable.


In this blog post, we'll share the most important things to be mindful of when putting on a cloth diaper and the tips and tricks you can use to keep things comfortable, leak-free, and, of course, blowout-proof! 🙌🏼


Are sized diapers better than one size?

We totally get the allure of one-size diapers. Buy once, and you're done! The problem is that there is quite a large size difference between a tiny newborn and a rough-and-tumble two-year-old. What One Size diapers gain in cost savings, they lose in trimness. In our testing, far too many babies didn't fit into One Size diapers at birth and/or sized out of them before potty training, which meant you weren't getting the "one-size" advantage anyway. For us, having a trim, well-fitting diaper was paramount. So our Inners and Outers come in 2 sizes. Size 1 fits babies from approximately 7-17lbs, and Size 2 fits babies from approximately 18-potty training. We say "approx" because these are estimates. Depending on their body type, some babies might move from Size 1 to 2 at 15 lbs, whereas others will linger till 19 lbs. We recommend paying more attention to fit than weight when knowing when to move up in size.

How Tight Should the Diaper Be? 

Generally speaking, the fit should be cozy but not too tight. This is not Tupperware; you do not have to create a seal to prevent a leak. Instead, your baby's diapers should fit like a well-worn pair of leggings or socks.

It's worth noting that even a properly fitted diaper can cause imprints on your baby's skin. This is nothing to be alarmed by. Baby skin is soft and juicy and imprints quite easily. This happens to our skin, too, though not as easily (we're generally not as soft and juicy!). Think about if you're at the beach or pool in a swimsuit, sitting on a lounge chair, and then you get up and the stripes from the chair are imprinted on the back of your thigh. It's certainly not painful, but it can look alarming! When should you worry about your baby's imprints? The cause for concern is if they look red and irritated and don't go away quickly. If this happens, check to make sure the diaper is not too tight, that the baby is being changed regularly (every 2-3 hours or immediately if they poop), and that you are following our recommended wash routine with a clean-rinsing detergent

We've heard of the "two-finger test" (which basically states that you should be able to slip 2 fingers in your baby's diaper at the waist), but it's not our favorite because we all have different-sized fingers! Two mama-sized fingers might mean a perfect fit, whereas two daddy-sized fingers might leave the diaper far too loose. 


How to fit the diaper to avoid leaks

The key to getting your cloth diapers in a position to avoid leaks and blowouts is ensuring that you've got a great fit at the waist and at the leg holes since these are the two most vulnerable areas.

At the waist, our recommendation is to fasten both the Inner and Outer high up on your baby towards the belly button. Doing so will give you a better fit in the crotch by hiking those leg openings into the groin and not around the thighs.

Speaking of leg openings, you want to make sure those leg elastics of the Inner and Outer sit tucked in at the groin and not around the thigh. The fit of the Outer* should be nice and snug with no sagging or excess room between the elastic and your baby. 

*It's totally okay if the Inner inside has some gaping around the legs, as long as the Outer is snug and cinches it all together. You can also try the ruffle tuck as outlined below.

One other thing to consider with Esembly diapers: once you put the Inner + Outer on the baby, you'll want to check that there is no Inner cotton peeking out of the Outer. Any exposed cotton will wick moisture onto anything it touches.


Get the Perfect Fit for Your Newborn with "The Ruffle Tuck"


Newborns often have the sweetest, most delicate little baby bird legs, and these tiny little legs often need some time to chunk up before they can fill out the leg holes of the diapers. 

If you're already using the smallest snap setting that is comfortable on your babe, and you're still left with a little gaping at the leg openings, you'll want to do what we call the "ruffle-tuck." 

Here's how it works: snap the Esembly Inner on your baby. But before you cover it with the Outer, take your finger and push the cotton ruffle around the legs inside the diaper so it plugs up the gap left by the elastic. Then, put the Outer on over as usual. That simple tuck helps keep liquid-y newborn-poo from escaping while you wait for your baby's thighs to chunk up!

This hack can be used for more than just the newborn phase! You can also use "The Ruffle Tuck" if your baby's thighs need more time to chunk up when transitioning from Size 1s to Size 2s.

Pro tip: If you're having difficulty with "sneaky cotton," – do your best to secure the Outer over the Inner as best you can while your baby is on the changing table. Then, while holding your baby in your arms afterward, poke around and tuck any sneaky cotton back in. 




The Ultimate Esembly Diaper Fit Checklist

In the spirit of keeping things simple, we'll wrap up this blog post with a helpful checklist that you can use at diaper changes to ensure you've covered your bases for the perfect fit:


  1. Secure the Inner on your baby high up on the waist towards the belly button to ensure you've got the leg holes properly positioned at the groin. 
  2. Secure the Inner snaps so that you've got a fit at the waist that feels snug like a pair of well-worn leggings.
  3. (If needed) Tuck the ruffles of your Inner at the leg holes back up into the diaper to "plug up" the opening if your little one has skinny legs! 
  4. Put the Outer over the Inner using the same tips for the waist and leg holes, and ensure that no sneaky cotton is poking out past the Outer.



Want to learn more?

Our co-founders host a free, virtual, Cloth Diapering 101 class every month to help cloth-curious parents get all the tools and information they need! You’ll learn:

  • How to use the Esembly diapers and accessories 
  • How to easily and effectively launder your Esembly diapers
  • The impact that your choice has on the planet, your wallet, and your day-to-day. 

You'll leave with the confidence to Live Less Disposably and a 20% discount code to use on your first order. 🥳 We hope to see you there!

Sign Up for Our Next Cloth 101 Class


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