Overnight Diapers- Cloth Diapering Solutions for a Better Night’s Sleep

Tired of getting up with an unhappy and wet baby? You do NOT need to switch to expensive disposable overnight diapers! There are some great cloth diaper options available for night-time diapering.



What to do with Heavy Wetters?

If your baby is a heavy wetter, cloth diapering at night can be a frustrating experience until you find overnight diapers that works.

It may take a bit of experimentation to find your favorite night-time solution, but it's well worth your time so you can forget about:

  • Having to get up in the middle of the night to change your baby
  • Dealing with wet clothing and bedding in the middle of the night
  • Dioxin and other chemicals found in disposables touching baby's bum all night



During the daytime, you likely change your baby's diaper every 2 to 3 hours. At night, your baby's diaper needs to hold up through night feedings and up to 12 hours!


If your daytime diapers aren't keeping up with this challenge, it's time to think about a new nighttime diaper solution!



Overnight Cloth Diaper Options

Looking for a new night-time diapering solution? Try these options below.


Add More Absorbency

Unless you're having repellancy or fit issues, cloth diapers don't leak until they become fully saturated. This means that if you add more absorbency, you can usually avoid leaks.


Adding doublers or extra inserts to your overnight diapers can be an easy way to increase the absorbency of the diaper you already own. Want more details? We have a whole article on cloth diaper inserts. There are two challenges with going this route:

  1. Bulk
  2. Leaks if the elastic in your pocket or diaper cover doesn't fit snuggly against baby's legs



Hemp and bamboo are both materials that can work well as a doubler. Both fabrics are tightly knit and very absorbent. You can layer these fibers on top of or behind a microfiber insert or cotton prefold (be sure not to put the microfiber right next to baby's skin). I love AMP's thirsty hemp tri-fold inserts, which rinse clean easily and dry quickly. Knickernappies SuperDos are another great night-time insert that combines layers of both microfiber and hemp in one faster-drying loop.

While microfiber terry is very absorbent, you may find that it wrings out easier. This means that it may not hold the moisture if your baby moves around a lot at night. Microfiber can also be harder to rinse clean.


If you plan to add extra inserts to pocket diapers, you may want to consider "sizing up". If the bulk pulls the elastic away from your baby's legs, you'll get leaking, no matter how much extra absorbency you add.


Double up a Prefold

Prefold cloth diapers are a popular and very affordable cloth diaper system, and are also frequently offered by diaper service companies. If you're already using prefolds, you'll know that the multiple layers of cotton make it a very absorbent diaper. An excellent solution for overnight diapering is to layer a preemie or infant prefold inside of a larger pre-fold. This adds more absorbency, without increasing the bulk too much.


While prefolds aren't waterproof on their own, you'll find that a wool cover will work great to contain leaks, and will also provide breathability that can reduce rashes. The air movement that wool allows will work to keep your baby cooler and more comfortable. There are lots of options for wool soakers, such as these ones found on Amazon. Read our Baby Diaper Covers article to learn more about wool covers.


You can also try pairing this affordable option with a regular wrap, such as the Bummis Super-Brite wrap that has leg gussets to contain leaks, or a Mother-Ease Airflow cover that allows for air movement through side vents.


Try a Fitted Diaper

Hemp and bamboo fitted diapers, combined with an extra insert, can also work well to keep your baby dry all night long. There are lots of great fitted options out there. Sugar Peas two-size hemp fitted diapers are a great option that offer lots of absorbency and a good fit. These should also be paired with a wool cover or a wrap. Some parents who don't like wool also suggest polar fleece covers, since they also offer breathability and keep moisture inside the diaper.


Add a Stay-Dry Liner

Trying to get through the night without a diaper change? If you find your baby fussing partway through the night, they may be sensitive to their wet diaper. Adding a layer of raw silk or fleece between the absorbent material and your baby's bum will wick moisture away from your baby. This helps baby feel dry longer, so you can all get a bit more sleep.


Back-Up Protection

If you're tired of changing crib sheets or toddler bedding in the middle of the night, we highly recommend that you buy a baby mattress pad to make middle-of-the-night accident clean-up a breeze.  You can read more about two great mattress pad protectors we discovered from Lil Helper in our review.



Do your overnight diapers smell?

If your baby's diapers smell like ammonia by morning, you're not alone!

There's a few reasons for the smell.

  1. Nighttime cloth diapers are bulkier, so it's harder to rinse them clean
  2. Microfiber and other synthetic fibers and trap urine
  3. Your washing machine may not be agitating your diapers enough


If you love science you can read more about the molecules that cause stinky overnight diapers in this article from Rockin Green here.



How Can I Get Rid of the Smell?

Here's a few ideas for you to try:

  • Rinse your night-time diapers before adding them to your diaper pail. We found a diaper sprayer was the easiest way to get a good rinse, but you can also try dunking or swishing. We found this was an especially important step when our little guy was teething - the urine can be especially acidic then!
  • Add an extra, warm water rinse to your laundry cycle


If these simple suggestions don't do the trick, you may need to use a pre-wash additive to combat ammonia. You may already be familiar with Rockin Green cloth diaper detergents, but have you heard of Funk Rock? Rockin Green Funk Rock is a first-of-its kind ammonia fighter that strips ammonia build-up from diapers, and can keep stinks from coming back.



Does your baby get a diaper rash from his or her night diaper?

Some babies' skin is more sensitive to moisture than others. If you find your baby's bum is turning pink in his or her overnight diapers, a microfleece or raw silk liner might be just the thing you need. These fabrics wick moisture away from your baby's bottom, helping them feel dry overnight.


PUL and TPU fabrics, while waterproof, do not allow for air movement. Sometimes switching to diaper covers made of wool (a natural fiber that breathes) can eliminate redness as well.


This article offers more information on diaper rashes.



Conclusion

A good night's sleep is important to both you and your baby. Finding the right overnight diapers for you and your baby is well worth the time. Do you have an overnight solution that works well for you? Share it with us below!


Disclosure:  The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own, and your experience with the product may differ from mine. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. This article contains some affiliate links.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, see our Disclaimer and Copyright.



More in Our Cloth Diapers: Ages and Stages Series

how to cloth diaper
  1. Newborn Cloth Diaper Rental Programs: Try Before You Buy
  2. Newborn Cloth Diapers
  3. Mom to Mom: Advice on Switching to Cloth Diapers
  4. Cloth Diapers and Formula Fed Babies
  5. Successful Cloth Diapering Overnight
  6. Using Cloth Diapers at Daycare
  7. Potty Training: Cloth Training Pants
  8. What To Do With Your Diapers When They Are No Longer Needed



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