How to Adjust Rise Settings on Cloth Diapers for Your Baby's Best Fit

by Bailey Bouwman

Cloth diapering can seem overwhelming at first, with so many options and adjustments to consider. One important aspect of cloth diapering that can have a big impact on the fit and effectiveness of the diaper is the rise setting. It can be a bit of a guessing game, but finding the right rise setting for your baby is key to preventing leaks, blowouts, and other cloth diaper catastrophes. As with any new skill, getting the hang of cloth diaper fit takes practice, and even experienced cloth diapering parents can face new challenges as their baby grows and changes.

What is a rise setting?

The rise setting in cloth diapers is a double row of snaps located in the middle section of the diaper. These snaps help adjust the length of the diaper to fit babies of different sizes, from newborns to toddlers. The rise setting is important because it prevents leaks and blowouts by creating a snug fit around the baby's legs and waist.

It's important to differentiate the rise setting snaps from the waist snaps, which are located in the top two rows of snaps. The waist snaps are used to adjust the diaper's fit around the baby's belly, while the rise snaps are used to adjust the length of the diaper to fit the baby's body proportions. When adjusting the rise setting snaps, it's important to ensure that the leg elastics fit nicely in the crease of the baby's leg without leaving any gaps or causing any discomfort.

How do I choose a Rise Setting?

Choosing a rise setting can be a bit of a guessing game since it depends on several factors such as the width of your child, the size of their legs, and their overall body proportions. These factors influence which rise snap you need to snap into place. Additionally, it depends on how much or little you are putting inside the diaper cover or pocket cloth diaper.

If you find that your baby gets bum crack, has trouble pulling the waist snaps around thighs, or you notice gaps along the leg crease, it may be time to adjust the rise setting to something more suitable to your child’s size. For some, this will mean going up, and for others, it will mean going down. It's normal for rise snaps to change in both directions during a child's life. Many babies get to open rise settings around 9-12 months of age, but once they start running, they need a smaller rise snap for their thinner legs.

It's important to look for signs that it's time to adjust the rise setting, such as gaps in the leg crease or red marks on the skin that do not fade quickly after wearing a diaper. If the leg elastics fit nicely in the crease of the leg without leaking or leaving angry red lines, then you have the right rise setting. However, if there are gaps or the leg elastics are too tight, it's time to adjust the rise setting.

Okay, but which one for which weight/size?

It's important to note that every baby is different and may require different rise settings even at the same weight or age. Other factors like your Childs thigh size, inserts, or style of diaper influence these numbers in ways that are hard to articulate. You want the diaper to fit snug against the body. It shouldn't sag, or creates gaps.

Here's a general recommendations for finding the best rise setting based on weight/size for Kinder Cloth Diapers  This is one of the sized cloth diapers we have in shop - check out our Kinder Cloth Diaper Collection here. 

Rise Setting Weight Range
1 ~7-12lbs
2 12-17lbs
3 17-25lbs
4 25-~40lbs


Remember, these are just guidelines and it's always best to try different settings to find the one that works best for your baby, the diaper you are using, and the insert combo. Also, keep in mind that some babies may need to move up or down a rise setting at different stages of their development.

How do I adjust the setting?

To adjust the rise setting on a cloth diaper, first remove any inserts. Let's start with the bare cloth diaper cover or pocket. Of course if you're using an AIO, you can't do this, so skip this step.

Then, locate the rise snaps on the front of the diaper. These will be located towards the middle crotch. They may be in a row of 2, or 3 snaps with  3-5 in a column. Choose the snap that corresponds with the desired rise setting, and snap the lowest snap up to the snap you want. This will create a fold, as you change the length of the diaper to be shorter. 

You do not need to unsnap rise settings for the laundry. 

Remember that adjusting the rise setting may take some trial and error to find the best fit for your baby. Don't be afraid to try different settings and observe how the diaper fits to determine which one is best.

Do I push the material in the rise setting up or down?

This can be contentious in the industry. Personally, I like to ensure a nice crisp fold that is pushed up because it gives a better fit for under clothes and reduces leaks. This also ensures that the insert remains close to the body.

If the diaper is buckling around the thigh area, it may be necessary to push the rise setting up. This will allow for a more comfortable and snug fit around the legs. This will often give more tension on the elastics that reduces any leg gaps. 

Even more answers to questions you didn't know you had about rise settings

Question Answer
What if my baby is in between two rise settings? Which one should I choose? It's best to try both settings and see which one fits better and doesn't give you leaks. You can play around with the rise settings and unsnap the middle, or the left for a better fit on certain parts of the body.
How often should I check and adjust the rise setting on my baby's cloth diaper? Typically once you notice bum crack it might be time to change the rise setting, additionally if the diaper is getting hard to secure around baby, or find your pinching the thighs with the hip snaps it might be time to go up a rise setting. 
Can the rise setting affect the absorbency of the diaper? No, the rise setting only affects the fit of the diaper and not its absorbency. However, a poor fit can cause leaks and reduce the effectiveness of the diaper - you want the inserts to have a good fit close to the body for maximum absorbency.
Are there any cloth diapers that don't have adjustable rise settings? Yes, some sized and one-size cloth diapers have a fixed rise setting. These diapers may have adjustable waist snaps or elastic to help with the fit. They might also be designed to fit a certain weight range like the line up from Esembly Baby. 
How do I know if the rise setting is too high or too low for my baby? If the rise setting is too high, you may notice gaps or leaks around the leg area. If it's too low, the diaper may dig into your baby's skin and cause discomfort or red marks. You might also get bum crack
How do I ensure that the rise setting is adjusted properly to prevent leaks and blowouts? The rise setting should create a snug fit around the baby's legs without leaving any gaps or causing discomfort. Make sure to adjust the leg elastics to fit nicely in the crease of the baby's leg.
Are there any specific adjustments or considerations to keep in mind when using cloth diapers for overnight use? For overnight use, you may need to add extra inserts or use a more absorbent diaper. You may need to open the rise setting to adjust for the additional bulk of night time inserts. 
Are there any specific techniques or tips for adjusting the rise setting on certain types of cloth diapers, such as pocket diapers or all-in-ones? The process for adjusting the rise setting is generally the same for all types of cloth diapers. However, some diapers may have different snap configurations or require different insert placement. Your brand product may provide specific recommendations if they are needed.

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