Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cloth diapering at night

Yes. You can do it. In fact, you can likely make your current daytime diapers work overnight simply by adding doublers, or by using a different cover. There are no hard and fast rules, simply put, all babies are different; some pee a lot at night, some hardly pee at all. You basically increase the absorbency of the diaper until your baby doesn't leak anymore.

Night-time diapering isn't generally an issue for parents of newborns since most babies will poop 24 hours a day for the first 6-8 weeks. You can't let your baby sit in poop, so you have to change your baby through the night. When your baby stops pooping at night (praise be!), she will likely still be eating through the night, so you have to make the diaper more absorbent -- she may wear it for 10-12 hours. Here are some options:

  • add a doubler. Hemp or bamboo doublers are a good choice because they are more absorbent than other fibers. If your baby still leaks, try adding two doublers.

  • use a bamboo or hemp diaper. Same idea as using hemp or bamboo doublers with your regular daytime diaper, but more absorbent overall.

  • use a wool cover instead of a PUL cover. Wool will hold up to 30% of its weight in liquid without feeling wet (seriously, I'm not making it up!). Back in the day, before we had access to the technical fabrics used today, parents relied on wool soakers to contain wet diapers. As an added bonus, wool is very breathable -- a great benefit when your baby is wearing a diaper for a 10-12 hour stretch. If you're going to use wool diaper covers, it's a good idea to have 2 in rotation --when you wash your wool cover, it will take 1-2 days to dry. Wool covers do have to be washed by hand, but it's not as scary as it sounds: put the wool cover in a sink with enough warm water to cover it. Add some Eucalan wool wash, and gently squish the wool cover a few times in the water. Drain the water (don't rinse the cover, you want the lanolin present in the Eucalan to stay in your cover), and gently squeeze out as much water as you can (you can roll the wool cover in a dry towel and sit on it to help draw out the moisture, or you can spin it in your washer.

  • use a pocket diaper overnight. Pocket diapers are essentially two leak-proof materials sandwiched together, so they are a little more forgiving than a traditional diaper/cover combination. You will more than likely need to double-up on inserts -- for a moderate wetter, 2 microfiber inserts may do the trick, for a heavy wetter, use a hemp or bamboo insert along with the regular microfiber insert. Be sure to place the microfiber insert on top of the hemp insert, since it's a fabric that absorbs slowly. Some people feel their children sleep better when wearing a diaper that wicks moisture away (like a pocket diaper), so if you're worried about your baby's comfort at night, pocket diapers may be a good option for you.

  • use fleece pants as pyjama bottoms. This is a great extra layer of defense. Similar to a fleece diaper cover, the fleece pants will keep moisture in. The pants won't feel wet (and cold!), and your baby's bedsheets won't get wet (and cold!).

The least expensive way to combat night-time diapering is by adding doublers. If baby still leaks, you could add a doubler and use a wool cover, or you could try a bamboo fitted diaper with your regular PUL cover (or a bamboo fitted diaper with a hemp doubler and a wool cover, if you have a super-duper-heavy-wetter!). The combinations are endless!

If you're dealing with a toddler, limiting fluids in advance of bedtime can help reduce the wetting at night, or pottying your toddler before bedtime can also help.

Diapering at night can be just as easy as diapering through the day once you hit that sweet spot, I promise. Step away from the disposables and give it a shot!


  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog -- that's so exciting that you get to work at such a fabulous spot!
    I'm located in Peterborough, ON :)

  2. Love this! We've received a lot of similar recommendations (though not so extensive!) in the current RDA campaign. Check it out: realdiaperevents.org/archives/nighttime-cloth-diapering-roundup/

  3. This article was great in suggesting new brands and
    styles to try out.
    , I thought this article was suppose
    to help those of us who have never used diapers,
    Thank you so much for this comprehensive list!
    I have read many reviews and done a ton of research
    . This has helped me make decisions
    on diapers.I am completely happy with your website
    . All comments and articles
    are very useful and very good. Your blog is very
    careful-take control.
    I am loving all of the inside ,