Nighttime cloth diapering….it can evoke terror in any parent’s heart…sound sleep interrupted (for them AND for you), wet pj’s and sheets in the morning and…dare I say it…rashes! Please don’t let this happen to you. Let’s talk about a few other things you can do to help ensure that your cloth diapers are a SUCCESS at night! In part’s 1, 2 and 3 we covered fitteds and wool, prefolds, hemp and bamboo and touched on Kawaii’s Goodnight Heavy Wetter or GNHW. Click the links below if you missed anything and want to catch up!
Part 2: Wool and How-to Lanolize
Part 5: My Fav Nap and Night Cover
Check out the Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter! They are a great price and you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s a one size, but most people claim that it doesn’t really start to fit well until around 6 months or so. However, Sophia is 22 months and 25 pounds, 32” and is still on the middle rise setting. So your kid won’t size out of it early. The GNHW has a stay dry micro fleece layer, great for keeping rashes at bay. And the pocket will take whatever you can stuff into it. I’ve switched out the 2 included microfiber inserts for 2 large cotton/bamboo blend ones to keep away the ammonia stink problem (and I think they are more absorbent than MF anyway). I also include 2 large Thirsties Hemp Inserts or a Thirsties Hemp Prefold. Sophia pees….a….ton!!! In these, she is totally dry every single morning. If you haven’t tried GNHW’s, you should think about getting one.
One BIG problem many people have with night diapers are the leg gaps. All that stuffing literally pushes the cover away from baby and can leave the elastic nowhere near the skin. If you have gaps…you will have leaks. I have this problem with our Kawaii GNHW’s sometimes (the gaps, not the leaks). My trick to getting it on right isn’t too hard. I even got my husband to learn it!
When I put the diaper on I put the back just above the butt crack. That gives you more to work with in the front (fit and absorbency). Froggy their legs up and out. (For some of us that may be the position you gave birth in!) Now pull the front of the diaper up and as you do tuck the elastic in down past the inserts toward the legs. Snap or Velcro closed the cover so you have a snug (not tight) fit at waist and legs. If you still have a leg gap, use your thumb to push the elastic toward the leg while using your pointer and middle finger inside the diaper to push the inserts away from the elastic a bit (towards the center of the diaper). If you have done it right the inserts should still be lying flat, but you will have created enough give to get the elastic back down to skin.
I am not going to lie, even for me there has been times when I can’t seem to fix the gap. Sophia is tired…crying…I feel like crying myself! Just kidding…sort of! Anyway…take a deep breath and just start over. You can get it!
We talked about it before. Use a bigger cover at night! Whether it’s PUL/TPU, wool or fleece, bigger is better. The larger size gives you extra space for stuffing adequate absorbency in. Secondly, the extra rise will give you more coverage where you need it, in the front or the back to help keep moisture in no matter what position they sleep in. Covers with double leg gussets are great for nights. They are easy to get a good fit and you can stuff a mattress in and not get leg gaps. Thirsties, Sweet Pea, and Rumparooz are great options for this.
Two words….hemp and bamboo. If you don’t have any, get some. These are two super trim options that have crazy absorbency, more than cotton or even microfiber. Hemp may even absorb 2.5x more liquid than microfiber! They clean easier and hemp is naturally antimicrobial so you can kiss smelly inserts goodbye! There is a right way to use these in a cloth diaper, here is the link that explains everything!
Rashes due to wetness can be a huge issue, but are totally preventable. If your baby is sensitive to moisture, then you simply add a stay dry layer or liner. The moisture easily passes through, leaving the first layer dry against baby’s skin. This can be something you buy, I don’t make stuff, so I like Sweetbottom’s Fleece Liners. Or you can make your own by cutting to size an old, thin fleece t-shirt or getting microfleece fabric from someplace JoAnn’s Fabric or Michael’s. Many pocket diapers or all in ones come with an included microfleece or suede cloth stay dry lining as well. Finally, using a good barrier cream will help to keep ammonia burns at bay. Click here to check our list of cloth diaper safe rash creams.
Ammonia can get out of hand in night diapers. Getting a build-up of it will certainly cause a rash. It will usually look like a bad sunburn on their tush. It can be prevented! Please read 5 Simple Steps to Help Prevent Ammonia Issues to learn how.
I hope you learned something from our Cloth Diapers at Night series. If you did, please like it and share it with a friend or in a group! We work hard to bring you useful information and the biggest compliment you can pay us is to recommend the All About Cloth Diapers blog! Thanks!
I’d love to hear any other great tips or tricks you have that make cloth diapering at night easier!
Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.
A nighttime tip I’ve learned for my heavy wetter tummy sleeper. I pad fold a hemp insert & lay it in the front of my daughters fitted diaper, then snap it closed. Makes it bulky upfront, of course, but doesn’t add any unnecessary bulk to where she doesn’t need it. And she wakes up with dry sheets ;)
Jennifer Reinhardt says
Thanks for sharing the tip Cecelia!
I bought the Kawaii GNHW diaper and stuffed it with 2 charcoal bamboo inserts from Happy Endings diapers. My son is still leaking through! He sleeps on his back and on his side. The leaks come from the back of his diaper above his butt crack, on the top side of his diaper on his hip, and on the front of his diaper at his belly button where the diaper has no absorbency and the outer stay dry fabric with the pretty Kawaii patterns on it gets wet.
I am frustrated with finding a night time solution that works! I was hoping the GNHV would be our solution, but it seems to be 50/50. Some nights it works and other nights we leaks through. When he has leaks, I pull out the inserts and sometimes they are soaked through, other times they are surprisingly dry and I am confused as to why it leaked…
You have mentioned Geffen baby inserts before…I’m thinking about switching to 1 bamboo insert and 1 Geffen baby super absorber insert….I’m at my wits end! I need more sleep! :)
Jennifer Reinhardt says
Laura, you can use any insert in any cover as long as it fits. I’ve used different combinations myself. The key is to have enough absorbency and still have a good fit because any gaps at legs and back will leak. I really like THirsties and Geffen Hemp inserts (you will need more than one for nights.) I’ve used 4 inserts on my 2+ year old. I also really like covers with double gussets (Sweet Pea and Rumparooz for example.) You can stuff a mattress in and not get leg gaps.
I use wool covers and noticed after several heavy nights I can’t get the pee smell out. Even after washing and sunning. Any help on what else I can do?
Jennifer Reinhardt says
What do you use for woolwash and lano?