For those diapering young infants that regularly wake through the night for feeding and changing, diapering overnight means maybe switching to bamboo for those few longer stretches they sleep between feeds (if you’re that fortunate). However, once babies hit that milestone of sleeping through the night, your dreamy state of relief is quickly followed by a new nightmare: finding an overnight solution.
In the cloth diapering realm, this is perhaps the most common problem, with few who escape the wrath of wet bed sheets. Forums are littered with pleas of help to find a solution that doesn’t leave your baby looking like… well, this:
This problem can be so difficult for some people to troubleshoot that they simply resort to disposables for overnight. And, you know, that isn’t always a bad thing! You’re talking maybe $65 worth of diapers in a year, if that. Not bad!
However, if your child is sensitive to disposables like mine were, you’re going to scramble across the world wide web looking for a solution! Well, here are a few products that, from my experience as a mom of a heavy wetter with an enlarged bladder, have saved of my sanity (and crib sheets). They can be used altogether, or you can pick and choose products to try. Either way, it warrants mentioning… while your child can have an overnight solution that won’t leave them rotund with diaper layers, it’s going to be a bit bulky, especially on younger babies. This won’t hurt your child’s hips or development, as some fear.
Nighttime Aid #1: Wool!
…there you are, you blacked out for a moment. Wool doesn’t have to be that scary! There are some basic rules to follow, but they’re not only low maintenance, they’re the salvation of many mom’s night time woes! You can read more about wool here. While WAHM or homemade wool covers work great, too, I highly recommend that you buy a quality wool cover. Imagine Baby and Disana are brands that pop into my mind first. WAHM covers made with upcycled wool, even with the added layer of protection in the center, may not hold up to overnight like a quality cover. This has been my experience anyways. Wool can be expensive, but I’ve only needed one for overnights! On days that the cover is washed and laying out to dry, I usually resort to…
Nighttime Aid #2: Double PUL Covers
If you cringe at the thought of wool (or your baby is sensitive to wool), I highly recommend getting a double layer PUL cover for overnights! Most overnight diapers wind up completely and thoroughly saturated. And while PUL is moisture resistance, it will soak through if the inner diaper is wet enough. This is when having double PUL can literally be the difference between wet and dry sheets. Off the top of my head, I know Best Bottoms and Buttons Diapers both offer double PUL.
Nighttime Aid #3: Thirsties Hemp Prefolds
Yes, I’m getting specific here because I feel like a darned fool for having waited so long to try these! They are just so absorbent and are the equivalent of three hemp boosters all in one padfolded hemp prefold! I hesitated to try these for two major reasons: They’re almost $8 a piece and I line dry. However, I’m baffled that they actually dry as fast as my bamboo prefolds, thanks to their intuitive design, and let me assure you: they’re worth every penny. When I realized what a wild success I had overnights with them after prepping them, I instantly bought two more to rotate for overnights only. Simply WOW! I had reached a point with the sir that I couldn’t find a diaper absorbent enough, and these saved the day! I got size 1 because I didn’t see the need for size 2, even though they’re the same price. I wanted to make sure the diaper remained trim and that I could use this prefold in the event of potentially more babies. Having tried numerous hemp inserts, they help, but you may need to double or even triple them to have the same awesome effects these prefolds offer. I really cannot say enough good things about them, but hemp is a slow absorber, so it benefits to pair it with another diaper, like….
Nighttime Aid #4: Bamboo Flats
Not prefolds, not inserts… flats. Why do I recommend flats over the other options? Well, for starters, flats can be folded numerous ways to fit your baby. They lay flatter, and are therefore trimmer, unlike their quilted prefold counterpart or inserts for that matter. Even padfolded flats are trimmer than padfolded prefolds. And unlike prefolds and inserts, flats open up completely and more easily wash out. Anyone with a child with a strong morning urine odor knows how important it is for a heavily saturated diaper to be able to come thoroughly clean in the wash. Flats reduce the likelihood of having to rinse morning diapers out before dropping them into the pail, in my experience. Bamboo is more absorbent than cotton as well, giving that extra oomph overnight dipes need.
Nighttime Aid #5: Fleece Pajamas
If you thought, “well, that’s not a diaper!”, then get out the box for a moment and think about it. Fleece has and can be used as an effective diaper cover. You can DIY them out of a cheap blanket when in a pinch. So why not employ it’s repellent properties as an added layer of protection? In the morning, those fleece pants could be the barrier you need to prevent a wet diaper (and breaching cover) from making a mess of your crib sheets. I will also mention, speaking of fleece, that microfleece liners inside the diaper are great to add for little ones who struggle to stay asleep from feeling wet.
But listen, the fact is, if your child still wakes up to eat in the middle of the night, as much as you don’t want to disrupt or bother them, you’re going to need to change them, too. This is true whether you use disposables or cloth. Babies sleeping through the night, however, seem to have a reservoir of urine they store all day long in anticipation of bedtime just to make moms stress about wet sheets in the morning. At least it feels that way some days. And ideally we’d like to allow them to sleep without waking them up for changes or worrying about wet sheets. This is when the nighttime solutions help a lot.
You may have taken note of the fact that I did not mention All in Ones, All in Twos, or pocket style diapers. This is because if you have a serious heavy wetter, these options usually don’t work for babies sleeping through the night. Many people find Grovia O.N.E. all in ones to work overnights for them. They didn’t for us, although they were great for the longer stretches of sleep when the sir would wake up for feeding and changing only once during the night or for naptime. Some people also find using an overnight hemp booster with an overnight microfiber topper in their All in Twos works for them. That was a big flop for us, though. Those options are only good, though, if you’ve been blessed with a child who isn’t so insanely pee-happy at night. When it comes to pocket diapers on my heavy wetter, the diaper could never hold enough to work. Having everything padfolded and stuffed into a shell created leg gaps, an uncomfortable (and comedic-lookin’) child, and then often leaked before all the layers would properly absorb, rendering all the bulk essentially useless. Its frustrating waking up to a wet bed and pulling out still-dry inserts. Like “where have you guys been the whole time my kid was peeing?!”
My 21 month old is still a heavy wetter. For us, nighttime diapers look like a padfolded Thirsties hemp prefold lain in a large Diaper Rite bamboo flat folded in a modified mini kite fold (I fold the top corners down less to broaden the tabs, which I prefer doing as opposed to a regular kite fold), topped with a microfleece liner, secured with a snappi, and covered usually with our Disana wool cover, although sometimes we use Buttons Super Covers. In the colder months, we definitely put fleece pants on him as an added barrier. While I don’t recommend it for younger infants because of the suffocation risk, I’ve also made my 21 month old some fleece crib sheets (well, I cut a piece of fleece to size and added elastics across each corner to prevent the sir from bunching it up or pulling it out) which helps repel minuscule amounts of wicking that may occur around the elastics of the PUL covers that would otherwise be absorbed immediately into a standard cotton crib sheet. This gives him a nice warm bed for winter and reduces the likelihood of tiny breaches in the cover making me change the sheet more often than I normally would. By the way, the fleece DIY sheets I made as well as his fleece pajamas, are literally the only things in my house that get fabric softener. I don’t like the stuff (a topic for another forum), but it’s repellent properties are perfect for keeping the crib clean and his diaper wetness contained.
I hope you found this long-winded article helpful! Drop a comment below and let me know what system/products work best for you! And thank you so much for your time! Have a blessed day!