Cloth Nappies & Nighttime

Added on 21 September 2011 - updated 2022

When you have a newborn, you don't really need to look into different cloth nappying options for night. Not only is the wee capacity of a newborn quite small, but as you're changing them when you feed them several times a night, you don't need a nappy that will absorb huge amounts of liquid or last for hours.

Once your baby starts sleeping though the night, though, or becomes a heavy overnight wetter, or your toddler starts having several large wees overnight you may find that the nappies you've been using just don't work so well overnight.

There are several options available to you if you want to continue to use cloth nappies overnight.

Add extra absorbency to the nappies you use during the day. 

You can add extra boosters or inserts to your everyday nappies. How much you NEED to add will depend on your child's weeing capability, how much you CAN add will depend on the nappy. Generally a nappy with a wider crotch and a roomier behind works better than trimmer options for nighttime boosting.

Some brands actually have specific nighttime boosters you can add to their nappy for increased absorbency, which makes it nice and easy.

When you're adding extra absorbency to a nappy, make sure that the extra bulk doesn't create gaps around the leg or waist - you don't want leaks.

If you're using a nappy with a built in waterproof layer like a pocket nappy, make sure that the outer is 100% polyester - so poly PUL or minky PUL outers are best. If the nappy has a cotton PUL outer we wouldn't recommend it for long periods or nights as the wee can wick to the cotton outer and then spread to clothes.

For the best absorbency (and reducing in 'compression leaks'), avoid using only microfibre inserts at night. Bamboo is the most popular fabric for nighttime boosters and inserts, but hemp and organic cotton are also useful.

For children who sleep with their bum in the air or otherwise not flat on their back, a Pocket, All-in-One or All-in-2 nappy may not be the best choice (though every child/nappy combination is different), as the position can cause gaping and leaks. If this is happening to you, the best option is a fitted nappy and good cover.

Which brings us one of the best night options:

Use a fitted nappy and cover

A fitted nappy and a separate cover can be the best option for the average nighttime wetter. As the whole nappy is absorbent, it can take more wee than the average Pocket, AIO or AI2 nappy, and having a separate cover over the top really helps with leaks. You can also add additional boosters to the outside of the nappy, between it and the cover.

Wool covers can be a great option for night covers due to their breathability. Wool not only absorbs extra moisture, but actually evaporates it.

One of the best fitted nappy options is the Baby Beehinds Bamboo Onesize Nappy.

Use a dedicated night nappy

If you're finding that an ordinary fitted nappy just doesn't have absorbency that you need, then have a look at the various dedicated night nappies available.

Most of them are fitted nappies, so still require a waterproof cover over the top, but they have many more layers of fabric and absorbency in them than most standard fitted nappies. They can be bulky, and take longer to dry, but most of them fold out or disassemble for faster drying, and bulkiness is not the same issue it would be in a nappy used during the day.

If you still experience leaks using a night nappy, then using a wool cover rather than PUL can give you extra protection.

Dedicated Night Nappies include the Baby Beehinds Night Nappy.

It is possible to cloth nappy at night successfully - you just need to find the right system for your little one. Email us if you have any questions or need advice to suit your circumstances.

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