Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A bag of tricks for nighttime cloth diapering

Night Time Cloth Diapering

As with most things involving children, nighttime cloth diapering requires a good amount of trial and error. Every child is different and every child changes as they grow. I am happy to share several of the night time diapering methods we have put to use at one time or another, and hopefully I can make some of the challenges a little less foreboding.

Newborns require frequent changes by tired parents. This is the stage where I appreciated the "All in one, sized diaper" specifically the BumGenius XS diapers (with aplix). Luckily this stage does not last long, and I am a huge fan of NOT changing diapers mid-night, so we stopped using them pretty early on.

Next came the "one size up" snappied prefold and PUL diaper cover. I used one size bigger than our daytime diapers for the sole purpose of having extra absorbtion so that we could make it through the night without changes. As baby grew, and that didn't quite cut it anymore (especially with regular nursing sessions during the night), I added doublers - the tri-folded newborn prefold or the hemp doubler (top right, both from Green Mountain Diapers). These I lay inside the cover before putting it on over the diaper.

To keep sleepers feeling dry and comfortable all night, I have at some times used stripes of fleece (purple strip) in between the baby and the diaper. Nothing fancy, just some no-pill fleece from Joann's cut into strips to fit - no sewing required.

With older babies, many people have good luck at night with the bumGenius One-Size diapers with both inserts (we did!). However, this was when I really came to love my night-time woolies. The toddler would always wake in the morning with a dull (sometimes not so dull) urine smell to her jammies. Adding a wool soaker over the One Size diaper made this issue disappear completely.

Wool soakers also work great over fitted diapers (old style shown in pink - new duo Thirsties Fitted). I don't use wool over my snappied prefolds, but I do like to use them over a PUL cover! The soaker that looks like underwear is great for using during the summer months or under children's pjs. The pants soaker (the longies) are for use in place of pj pants. My girls have a lot of full body zip up jammies so we get more use out of the soaker/underwear style. I love the video of how to wash and lanolize wool from GMD.

In the end, you need to do what works best for you. We have been through stages with our oldest where only a disposable diaper worked at night - though for others they switch to cloth because disposables don't work at night for them. As I said before, trial and error! Happy diapering!


  1. Now I think I need to make some soakers again. we have that gross urine smell in jammies every morning, even if J's diaper isn't soaking wet.

    Thanks for the video. Lanolizing was my problem, I don't think I did it properly and that's one of the reasons I gave up on soakers.

    1. Glad to help! Soakers will definitely save you from nasty urine smell - yuck!

  2. So far (which is only 4 months, so not all that far), our nighttime diapering setup looks identical to our daytime setup. Our LO sleeps through the night (except for when he doesn't), but we've honestly had more trouble with leaks in the daytime. We're using GMD red-edged prefolds snappied with hemp doublers, and either pul covers or soakers. We'll probably use some longies come winter (after I've had a chance to knit some and also once maybe not all of his pajamas are one-piece sleepers). The pockets we've tried have leaked every time, no matter what we stuff them with.

    1. young ones, especially exclusively breastfed young ones, can have leakage problems with pockets because it is difficult to get a really good fit. I am really in love (as much as you can love a diaper) with my prefold (GMD red-edge) and Flip cover combo for my 12 month old - and we have been using that combo since about 4 months or so. We almost never have leaks. Even though the flips don't have the double gussets they have this elastic band(?)around the leg openings that really form fits to the baby - works great!

  3. Thanks, Stephanie! Very informative!


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