Have you ever gone to get your little one out of bed in the morning and instead of being greeted with smiles and giggles you find a cranky, soaked baby?
Or maybe your poor baby wakes in the middle of the night, screaming and uncomfortable because his pajamas are soaked and cold.
When this happens, our frustration as parents matches that of our babies who are tired of being woken up by cold, wet clothes!
Why is my baby waking up soaked? More than likely, your little one’s diaper is becoming overly saturated with urine during the night, which results in leakage and diaper failure. If it is not urine that is soaking your baby, it could be sweat from excess sweating while sleeping.
Let’s take a closer look at why this happens and what you can do to prevent it!
Baby Waking Up Soaked in Pee
Yuck! As parents, we hate to see it, and we know our little ones are highly uncomfortable when they wake up soaked in cold urine.
Take comfort in knowing that it happens to almost every baby, and there are things that can be done to make it stop!
Why It Happens
Unlike older toddlers, babies and non-potty-trained toddlers do not know how to control their bladder at night.
Therefore, they will pee during the night and, if they have had a healthy amount of fluids during the day, they will probably pee A LOT!
As babies and toddlers begin sleeping longer stretches at night, it is very possible (and common) for them to wake up in the morning with a full diaper and soaked pajamas.
There can be several reasons why a baby wakes up soaked in urine. Here are a few possible explanations:
1. Overnight Diaper Leakage
If your baby’s diaper is not adequately absorbent or is not the right size, it may leak during the night, leading to wetness.
Ensure you are using the appropriate diaper size, and consider trying different brands or styles to find the one that provides better overnight protection.
2. Heavy Nighttime Wetting
Some babies produce more urine during the night that can exceed the absorbency of their diapers.
This can be normal for infants, especially if they are drinking a lot of fluids or have not yet developed bladder control.
3. Improper Diaper Fit
Improperly fitted diapers can contribute to leaks. Ensure that the diaper is snug but not too tight around your baby’s waist and thighs.
Make sure the diaper is pulled up high enough in the front to catch the urine effectively. This is especially important if your baby likes to sleep on his belly or side.
Also, make sure that the material around the diaper’s leg holes is positioned correctly.
4. Infrequent Diaper Changes
If your baby’s diaper is not changed frequently enough, it can become saturated and leak.
While toddlers and older babies likely do not need diaper changes during the night, newborns and infants do since they are drinking more fluids during the night and their bladders have limited capacity.
Your baby waking up wet is not a reason to be alarmed; there is nothing wrong with your baby if he wakes up soaked from an overfilled diaper.
It’s just another one of those frustrating things that you have to diagnose and fix with some minor adjustments.
7 Tips To Try
Fortunately, morning soakings can be prevented, and the issue can be resolved rather quickly by making a few small changes.
Consider the following ideas for keeping your little one’s clothes dry at nighttime:
1. Size Up at Night
While it might seem like a larger diaper would cause more leakage, going up just one size could actually provide the extra absorbency needed to keep all of the urine in the diaper and prevent leaks.
You do not want to use a diaper that is too big, but sizing up just one size at night typically does the trick.
2. Use Overnight Diapers
Using a sized-up overnight diaper was the key to keeping my twins dry at night!
Overnight diapers are made to be more absorbent and have a higher capacity than regular diapers, which can help to prevent leaks.
3. Use Diaper Boosters
Adding diaper boosters or inserts like these specifically for overnight use can help manage heavy wetting.
4. Diaper Change Right Before Bed
You want to ensure that your baby has a perfectly dry diaper at bedtime. They need all of the diaper absorbency they can get overnight!
5. Bump up Feeding Time
Perhaps try to nurse or bottle-feed a bit earlier in your bedtime routine.
As my twins got older and began eating more solid foods, we eventually cut out the bedtime bottle, which helped tremendously with preventing leakage. I just ensured that they got plenty of fluids during the day.
6. Double Up Diapers
Some parents have had success using two diapers at night with a larger one placed over their regular size.
I personally have never tried this, but if you have a very heavy nighttime wetter, it could do the trick.
7. Diaper Change At Night
I know this is every parent’s last resort, especially as your baby gets older and diaper changes during the night could yield broken sleep.
However, if you have tried all of these tricks and your baby is still waking up wet, they may require an extra change during the night.
Baby Waking Up Soaked in Sweat
It is also possible for your baby to wake up soaked from another source… sweat!
Why It Happens
There can be several reasons why a baby wakes up soaked with sweat. Here are a few possible explanations:
Babies have a less efficient temperature regulation system compared to adults, and they can easily become overheated.
If the baby is dressed too warmly or if the room temperature is too high, they may sweat excessively during sleep.
2. Illness or Fever
Sweating can be a symptom of an underlying illness or fever. When babies are unwell, their bodies may sweat more as a way to regulate their temperature and fight off infection.
3. Nightmares or Night Terrors
Believe it or not, babies can have nightmares. These nightmares can cause intense emotions and physical reactions, including sweating. These can be more common in older babies and toddlers.
The process of teething can sometimes cause discomfort, leading to increased sweating during sleep.
5. Sleeping Environment
The sleep environment can also play a role. If the baby’s mattress or bedding doesn’t allow proper air circulation or is not breathable, it can trap heat and contribute to excessive sweating.
5 Tips To Try
If your baby is waking up soaked in sweat, here are some tips that may help prevent excessive sweating during sleep:
- Adjust room temperature: Ensure that the room where your baby sleeps is kept at a comfortable temperature. A temperature between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit is the general recommendation.
- Dress your baby appropriately: Try dressing your baby in lightweight, breathable clothing that is suitable for the current room temperature. Avoid overdressing or bundling them up too much. Use clothes made of natural fabrics such as cotton or bamboo rather than polyester.
- Use Breathable Bedding: Choose bedding materials that are breathable and promote airflow. Avoid using heavy blankets, and opt for a light blanket or sleep sack that provides warmth without overheating.
- Use a Fan or Air Circulation: Try putting a small fan in your little one’s room to improve air circulation and create a gentle breeze. Ensure that the room has proper ventilation. Consider opening windows or using an air purifier with a fan mode to help improve air quality.
- Regularly Check for Signs of Illness: If you notice other symptoms or if you are concerned about your baby’s well-being, consult with a pediatrician for a thorough evaluation.
If your little one has been waking up soaked regularly, you know the frustration that comes with it — early wakings, less sleep, bed changes, and more laundry to do.
The best thing to do while you are trying to remedy the issue is to be prepared for when it comes.
1. Have Backup PJs At The Ready
Have an extra pair of dry pajamas out and ready to go in the case of a middle-of-the-night changing session.
2. Layer The Crib
This is a tip for managing the mess of overnight leaks while you are working to prevent them!
Try layering your baby’s crib mattress with multiple layers of puppy pads and sheets. This will prevent you from having to change the entire bed when they leak through during the night.
Simply remove the wet layers, and you’ve got a fresh, dry layer beneath!
3. Use a Mattress Protector
A waterproof mattress protector will prevent moisture from ruining the mattress. Just makes sure that it fits the mattress and is topped with a tightly fitted sheet.
Can a Baby Sleep Through the Night With a Wet Diaper?
All babies have different sleep patterns and preferences, so whether a baby can sleep through the night with a wet diaper can vary.
Some babies may be able to sleep comfortably even with a wet diaper, while others may wake up and become unsettled due to the discomfort.
It’s generally recommended to change your baby’s diaper before putting them down to sleep, especially if it is visibly wet or soiled.
A wet diaper can cause discomfort, skin irritation, and even rashes if it is left unchanged for too long.
Should I Wake My Baby for a Diaper Change?
It is important to strike a balance between attending to your baby’s diaper needs and allowing them to sleep.
Waking your baby up for a diaper change during the night may disrupt their sleep patterns and make it more difficult for them to settle back to sleep.
In such cases, you may consider using high-absorbency diapers specifically designed to keep babies dry for longer periods, such as overnight diapers.
Each baby is unique, so it’s important to observe your baby’s cues and adjust your approach accordingly.
Remember that every child and situation is different. Keep trying different things, and pay attention to your little one’s cues until you find what works for your baby!
Charlynn is an educator and mom to fraternal boy/girl twins. She loves learning through the experiences she has with her littles and using her knowledge to help other moms as they embark on the journey of motherhood.