When talking about cloth diapering the question often comes up – What do you do at night? Is it possible to get adequate absorbency and leak-protection overnight with cloth diapers?
Yes! It’s not only possible – it’s actually pretty simple.
The Real Diaper Association polled experienced cloth-diapering parents and created a tip sheet for night-time cloth diapering. We’re expanding on their basic advice – start with good absorbency, add good moisture resistance and finish with simple tweaks to adjust for your baby – with some specific product recommendations.
We selected the following products based on our collective personal experience in cloth diapering (4 mamas, 6 kids, 14 years), the experience of our friends and customer feedback. These items are all ethically made in the U.S. and meet our standards for sustainability and quality. We’ve used these products on our own babies and believe that they are truly the best – for you, your baby and the planet.
1. Start With Good Absorbency
This diaper rocks for both absorbency and coverage. Hemp is more absorbent than cotton and is naturally anti-fungal and antibacterial – making it a great material for cloth diapers. Growing Greens fits babies from 5 to 35 lbs using a snap-system to adjust the size of the diaper. For newborns use just the contoured insert that converts to a snap-in doubler later.
Pair the Growing Greens diapers with wool soakers for breathable, all-night protection that even works for heavy-wetters. This style of diaper is also excellent for babies who sleep on their sides; that extra bit of absorbency in the hip area makes all the difference.
Hemp & Organic Cotton Prefolds
For the mamas (and papas) who love their flat or prefold diapers, this hemp & cotton blend is a great option for overnight cloth diapering. Made from 55% super-absorbent hemp and 45% organic cotton fleece, the they are soft, trim and highly effective.
We love using this diaper with Polar Babies Fleece Diaper Covers at night; it will also work in any diaper cover that works with prefold diapers.
2. Add Good Moisture Resistance
Wool is like a miracle fabric for overnight cloth diapering. It’s natural, soft and breathable, so it’s more comfortable for your baby. Wool can absorb a lot of moisture without feeling wet, and the lanolin present in wool fibers creates a natural moisture barrier – so you won’t have to worry about leaks. Long or short wool soakers (pull-on wool pants or shorts) work best with fitted diapers or prefolds that have been pinned (or snappied).
Polar Fleece diaper covers are another great night-time diapering alternative. The outer fleece is soft and breathable and a laminated inner panel prevents moisture from escaping but still allows air to circulate. The microfiber leg-bindings on these covers are soft and comfortable while still being snug enough to prevent leaks. These covers are really easy to care for – machine wash and dry – and they dry quickly. We recommend using this cover with a hemp/cotton flat or prefold diaper.
These beautiful diaper covers give you all the coverage and breathability of wool soakers but are designed for use with flat or prefold diapers. The outside layer is constructed from super-soft, upcycled wool sweaters, the inside layer is made from Oeko Tex 100 certified Merino Wool, with three rows of snaps to ensure you get a good, leak-proof fit for your baby.
3. A Couple of Tweaks to Perfect Your System
Now that you’ve addressed absorbency and moisture resistance, you’re almost done. Our final suggestion is to add a diaper liner or barrier cream to help keep your baby’s skin dry overnight. We love these options:
Polar Babies Hemp & Microfleece Diaper Liner
The ultra soft microfleece side of this liner goes face-up, so it’s next to your baby’s skin. Moisture passes through the fleece, keeping baby’s skin dry and comfortable. The hemp/cotton blend layer on the other side of the liner helps wick the moisture through and adds an extra bit of absorbency.
Babee Greens Wool Diaper Liner
Once again, wool’s amazing ability to absorb moisture without feeling wet saves the night. This wool diaper liner will add a bit of absorbency to your diaper while also wicking moisture away from your baby’s skin.
We love this product so much that we should probably just marry it. We’ve carried (and used) it for years and it is by far our favorite diaper balm. Sweet Almond, Olive Oil and Beeswax based and infused with healing herbs, it is safe for your baby, safe for your diapers and it creates an effective moisture barrier to protect baby’s skin.
We hope these tips and recommendations help you along the way to successful night-time cloth diapering. Please feel free to ask questions or share tips of your own in the comments. Happy Diapering!