Successful cloth diapering at night is an important milestone and honestly it can be intimidating. No one wants to spend time experimenting with cloth diapers if there’s any possibility of a leak at 2am and a nighttime cloth diaper solution becomes especially important when you have a heavy wetter on your hands. Nighttime and nap-time cloth diapers are a bit different because your baby will be sleeping in their diaper for a long period of time rather than being changed every 2-3 hours or when dirty like during the day.
Usually the first thing people do when they attempt to cloth diaper at night is to adapt their current diapers by adding absorbency. Logical right? Adding a booster or second or third insert to a pocket diaper or all in one style diaper will give you more absorbency yes, but at some point, no matter how much extra you stuff in there you’re going to get leaks. Why? because the integrity of the diaper gets compromised by the extra bulk and you get gaps at the legs or a shorter rise (which exposes but-crack) inviting leakage up the back or out the legs.
So what do you do? The solution is a fitted diaper. What’s special about a fitted diaper is that it isn’t waterproof. There is no PUL layer, it’s completely absorbent all the way around, not just through the crotch like other diaper options. Because of this, it has more total absorbency and of course you can add boosters into a fitted if you find you need to. On top of the fitted you need some waterproofing, so a PUL or wool cover is what you put on top.
Now, fitted diapers are generally made of natural fabrics – bamboo, hemp, cotton etc. so they will generally feel wet against the skin. Not comfortable or good for the skin over long periods of time. So adding a fleece liner is a quick, cheap and thin addition that will provide a stay-dry layer and keep baby comfy and feeling dry. A layer of cloth safe diaper cream is also a good preventative moisture barrier to keep skin in good shape.
Nighttime Diapering Solution - What you need for success:
2-3 good quality fitted diapers (so you can rotate when the others are in the wash).
1-2 covers (PUL or wool) – we love the fit of our Rumparooz one size snap cover on our kids
Fleece liners if desired for a stay-dry feeling for baby.
Cloth safe bum ointment if desired. A thin layer is really great.
**Please keep in mind that newborns and babies under aprox. 6 months will still need nighttime diaper changes as they still tend to poo overnight. Anytime baby is dirty they need to be changed, night time or not. The suggestions above are for babies who are a little older, usually 6+months who have started to go the night without pooing. If they are just wet at night you can implement the above nighttime routine**
Nighttime Diapering Trick – Fighting Ammonia
Rinsing out your nap-time and overnight fitted diapers before placing them in your wet bag between washes will go a long way to combating the ammonia that sometimes plagues nighttime diapers. Simply run them under the sink or tub faucet and wring them out a few times.
Keep those things in mind and you’ll enjoy many happy and dry nights!
Do you have a bulletproof overnight cloth diaper solution? Share it with us in the comments below!