Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Goodnight, Sleep tight! with Night Time Cloth Diapering

So you’ve started Cloth Diapering. You’ve built cloth diaper laundry into your daily wash routine and day time diapering is going great! Night times, ah, now therein lies the rub. For, what if the diaper doesn’t hold or there are leaks and what if baby wakes up when you change. Most cloth diapering mamas dread taking the first step towards night time cloth diapering. But as I experienced and so did most of my cloth diapering mama friends, the first night is the hardest. The morning after the first night of Cloth Diapering is pure joy. When you find that the cloth diaper did indeed hold up all night and baby’s skin is still dry and soft and no rashes or redness, it is pure happiness. Night time cloth diapering is not as scary as it sounds and this post is meant to encourage you to take that step and try it out.

Night time cloth diapering has evolved as a result of many trials for me and even I had my fair share of leaks and loss of sleep as I had to wake up to change babyT. However, with some perseverance, I learned some tips and tricks as to which diapers worked and how to troubleshoot.

When I saw that many cloth diapering families still used disposable diapers for nights, I realized I must share my learning so as to encourage them to show a deeper commitment to cloth diapering.

Getting started

Night time Cloth Diapering firstly requires an understanding of your baby’s wetting pattern. Most babies tend to pee more in the day time and lesser in the nights. This pattern also varies by the season. For example babies (and adults for that matter) tend to pee more in the colder seasons such as monsoon and winters. However, these are broad generalizations. I am also aware of babies who are heavy night wetters. The night time cloth diapering solution you use will depend on identifying this pattern.

Don’t expect miracles

A very important point to note about night time cloth diapering is that MOST cloth diapers will not hold up on their own, ALL NIGHT. You really cannot expect to have a diaper that you can just buy, wash and put on and expect to hold for 10 hours or more. Do remember that cloth diapers are made of CLOTH and there is no miracle cloth which will hold up from the word go. Your Cloth Diapers will most likely need a lot of prep (Read this post on Washing & Prepping Cloth Diapers) and usually the addition of a booster to hold for such extended hours. Once you have this basic understanding you can work towards building an effective cloth diapering system.

Materials that hold well

Your basic research would have shown you that there are several materials with which cloth diapers and inserts are made. In my experience natural fibres once well prepped are capable of holding a large quantum of liquid (read: Pee) and so make ideal solutions for night time cloth diapering. Natural fibres include organic cotton, bamboo cotton, other bamboos, hemp, wool. These materials are therefore what is preferred for all-in-one diapers or night time diapers. These fabrics are also available as inserts which can be teamed up with your existing cloth diapering system to make a great night time cloth diaper.

What worked for us

All-in-one diapers

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I started off using All-in-one (AIO) types of Cloth Diapers for nights. (Read this post to know more about the various types of Cloth Diapers.) And it was a good job I did too because I was sold on the concept of Night Time Cloth Diapering pretty easily then. I used various brands of AIOs which allowed me to understand how natural fibres like bamboo cotton, organic cotton worked. It was a bit of hard work because I had to ensure the diapers had had multiple washes (read: at least 10+ washes) before they were efficient enough to hold up all night.

I have used international brands like Blueberry, Smart Bottoms, and Grovia. All of these are organic cotton or unbleached cotton and do hold well. However, they all need the addition of a booster to make them strong enough to last all night. They also do not offer baby the stay dry feel and need you to add a fleece liner for the stay dry effect.

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My current favourite night time cloth diapering solution is Superbottoms’ Plus diaper. This diaper is an All-in-One type of diaper. It has one insert stitched in or attached to the shell of the diaper and another insert is detachable and can be snapped on when needed. Both the inserts/ soakers are made of organic bamboo cotton and the top insert/ soaker (the one which is stitched on) has a stay dry fabric on top which means baby’s skin is dry all night.

Superbottoms Plus needs about 6 to 10 washes before it can hold up all night for us (that’s about 11 hours) without a change in between. I also don’t see the need to add any booster for my medium wetter baby. But yes if you have a heavy wetter you will need to add a booster in the form of an insert, preferably from natural fabrics.

Prefolds & cover with booster

Prefolds are multi layered cloth most usually made of natural fibres such as organic cotton or hemp. They hold a high amount of liquids purely by virtue of the fact that they are multi layered.

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My tryst with pre-folds for Night time cloth diapering occurred quite by chance when I had to stay overnight at a family member’s place and all I had in my diaper stash was one organic cotton pre-fold and a microfibre insert and a cover diaper. I pad-folded the pre-fold and placed it under the microfiber insert (which had a stay dry cover on it and hence safe against baby’s skin. Microfibre on its own is never meant to touch baby skin as it dries the skin and causes rashes.) I then placed both these inside a cover to give waterproofing. And we were good for the whole night.

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Since then I have loved using pre-folds especially when traveling because they take less space in the bag and also dry much faster than some cloth diapers.

You can also up the holding capacity by using natural fibre inserts, such as organic cotton, bamboo cotton or hemp, along with the pre-fold.

Other options for Night time cloth diapering

Apart from the tried and tested solutions that work for me the favourite night time cloth diapering solutions used by cloth diapering families:

1) Multiple inserts inside pockets – layering up 2 or more inserts inside a pocket diaper. It is ideal to use natural fibre inserts again but some people also use man made fabric inserts. (microfiber, charcoal bamboo etc.)

2) Flats & cover diapers – Padfolding multiple flats inside a cover also works for nights. It may not hold up on its own for a medium or heavy wetting baby. However adding an insert will again help increase the holding capacity.

3) Fitted diapers and a cover diaper – Fitted diapers are made entirely of cloth. They have no PUL and so are not waterproof. However, since they are entirely made of cloth they have absorbing capability all across. This makes them ideal for babies who sleep in funny positions – tummy, sideways, acrobatic. Pairing fitted diapers with a cover diaper on top makes it leak proof and so good for nights.

4) Wool diapering – Wool when it is pure animal wool has a unique ability to be water resistant. And being a natural fibre it is also 100% breathable. This is why many caregivers prefer night time diapering with a wool cover. This is used together with flats, pre-folds or over a fitted. It is basically a replacement to a cover diaper made of PUL.

Have you tried Night Time Cloth Diapering? What have been your go to night time solutions?

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23 Comments

  1. I used nappies for my twins, maybe you can call that cloth diapering? A cloth nappy and then on that was plastic;)
    I didn’t know about these, they do look better and cuter 🙂

  2. AAh!! Tara that is quite some information about cloth diapering. I never knew all this. Its like a different world altogether. I am passing this to my best friend who became a mom just as week ago!

  3. This looks a great post for a mom who is planning to make her child diaper free. Night time cloth diaper is really a nice idea. To help the child feel comfortable in bed time.

  4. Awesomely informative much needed post, I am a cloth diapering parent but still use disposables at night and on outings. This post has definitely boosted my confidence and I will give it a try tomorrow night for sure. Thanks for writing this detailed post.

  5. I regret not using cloth diapers for my daughter. We backed out after the first step.. Didn’t have the courage 🙁

  6. I really like your detailed posts on cloth diapering. This is another great post for managing night time happenings. Sharing this one as well.

  7. This is a detailed post which I might need as we are planning to switch to cloth diapering I don’t know how successful I will be with night but day time I am going to stick to cloth diaper but now your post has motivated me more

  8. Tara, I got to know about cloth diapering via Instagram. I regret buying so much of disposables diapers for my first born, even after knowing it’s not good for them. But now after knowing about the cloth diapers I did buy one AIO from super bottoms. I received it last week but then I got confused about how to prepare and use it! And then you showed up with this post. Now I shouldn’t wait to try it on my kid. Thank you Tara 😊

  9. I use pockets for day time. Yet to start with AIO and night time diapering. Thank you posting this.

  10. This is such an informative post! I have never heard of cloth diapering. I would love to use this for my toddler since we’re currently training her to use the potty. We’re almost done with the “DRY BY DAY” and will proceed with the “DRY BY NIGHT”. This could be useful as a stepping stone for me to finally ditch disposable diapers.

    PLUS, they look adorable!

  11. Oh we had so much happiness cloth diapering L. I don’t cloth diaper Isha much because of time constraints, but will make the switch when she needs to be potty trained.

  12. I wasn’t very confident using cloth diapers at night. But recently started using AIO with Inserts and so far they are suiting us. You are right understanding the child’s wetting pattern is quite important.

  13. I have never used cloth diapers and I regret it immensely. I guess I just didn’t have the correct information. This is a post all new parents would gain inspiration from! BTW: that pin on the diaper (looking like a spinner here) is lovely. so much better than those gigantic safety pins I remember seeing.

  14. I tried cloth diapering at night but couldn’t be successful. After reading your post I feel like I quit too son, will try it out again. Though we use cloth diapers during the day 🙂

  15. This is such an informative post Nayan. I am sure, most of the moms are unaware of this. I have never used CDs for Merog. I wish I had some knowledge about CDs earlier during his babyhood. 😊 you are like pro in this topic now!! I will surely advocate new moms to opt for CDs and to contact you if they ever face any issues using CDs for their kids

  16. Such an informative and detailed post on cloth diapers. I never used cloth diapers for my daughter but after reading this post, I am going to buy some for my second baby, who is yet to come. 🙂

  17. I mostly used diapers for my girls as we were not in India. My MIL got some cloth diapers from India which we used sometimes but this looks like a great range and thicker than normal cloth nappies.

  18. Yet another informative post on cloth diapering. This actually reminds me of the time I msgd you for advice when Karma had a leak with night time cloth diapering. Next time onwards, I followed your instructions and had no problems. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – had such detailed info been available to me when Karma was born, I probably would have been a full-time cloth diapering mom!

  19. Cloth diapers are worth a try for sure. I had a bad experience when I started using it for my baby, may be I wasn’t aware of the right way or the right product. I am sharing this for all the moms who are struggling to find how and what to use when it comes to cloth diaper.

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