The overnight stretch can be one of the tricky areas of cloth diapering. Many parents want to sleep - and let their baby sleep - through longer stretches than the typical 2-3 hours daytime cloth can last. If your baby is comfortable, sleeping, and hasn’t pooped, it’s fine to cloth through the night without changing the diaper - if you have a diaper that will hold! That’s what can sometimes take some trial and error. You may have to try out a few different nighttime systems before you find what works best for your child, so it’s probably a good idea not to go all in with one system until you know it works for you.
Keys to a good night diaper, especially if you have a baby who pees a lot (ahem all-night-nursers) are absorbency throughout the entire diaper, not just the wet zone, layers, and super-absorbent natural fibers, like hemp.
Before we found our bulletproof night solution, we had plenty of nights where I woke up pee-soaked from the cosleeping baby next to me. I even resorted to putting her on a towel to avoid having to change the sheets. Eventually, we found a combination that lasted the whole time our baby slept. Read on for our advocates favorite nighttime combinations…
Sadie: flat, hemp, and layers with a PUL cover
We started with a hemp or cotton flat in the Jo fold, then added a trifolded hemp doubler. On top of that, a pad folded flour sack towel for an additional layer of absorbency. The whole thing got secured with a snappi and topped with a PUL cover. Finally, dry jammies and dry bed!
Erika: hemp flats and wool
We use a hemp flat origami folded, with a newborn size hemp flat folded in the wet zone. For a cover, wool longies. We have used this same combo for ages.
MaryAnn: Sloomb fitted and cover, wool
We use a Sloomb fitted with a Thirties cover. We do wool shorties as PJ pants over top for an additional layer of protection.
Hilary: workhorse fitted, hemp, wool soaker
We use a GMD workhorse, boosted with a hemp doubler, and a Disana soaker.
Amanda: fitteds and wool
THX hemp blend fitted with Truly Charis wool pants over, or a stretchy hemp flat origami folded with a hemp booster.
Jenna, Courtnay, and Rebecca: GroVia O.N.E.
We use a GroVia O.N.E. with an extra insert or booster
Other things to think about: if your kiddo is sensitive to wetness, you may want to add a stay dry liner to help them feel dry. We applied a thick layer of diaper cream before putting on the night diaper. If your diapers are synthetic fibers, you’ll want to use a liner to protect from petroleum-based creams, if you use one. Also, if you find that your night diapers are stinky in the pail or have trouble getting clean, a good first step is to rinse them with hot water in the tub faucet in the morning before placing in the diaper pail.
Of course, the bottom line is always that you should do what works for your family -- if that means disposables at night some or all the time, that’s a viable solution as well.