One of the major milestones of becoming a full time cloth bum parent or carer is tackling reusable nappies overnight.
Maybe you have an inconsistent sleeper and you’re worried about doing anything to make it worse. Perhaps you have one of those unicorn babies that is sleeping through the night and you don’t want to rock the boat. Or maybe you have a real guzzler, who is drinking lots and flooding out everything you’ve tried so far.
It’s great to start using cloth nappies over night from birth, rather than putting it off. This way you don’t build it up in your head and you are able to adjust your set up over time to accommodate your babies’ changing needs. However, it doesn’t always happen that way and there is no bad time to start. The best time is whenever you feel ready to give it a go.
So, what reusable nappy combination to try? It can be daunting even when you have cracked daytime cloth nappies to take the plunge into nights. I am here to hopefully make it a little easier.
Firstly, take a look at what you are using in the day. Is it flats, pockets, prefolds? There might be a way to adapt your day nappy to suit nights without too much fuss at all. Two-part nappies are great for overnights, so if you are already using such a system in the day, it is easy to carry over.
Below I will get stuck into some of the set ups I have used successfully over the years. All these will have varying success depending on the age and stage your baby is at, their shape and individual needs, but hopefully it will give you some ideas!
Fitted nappy with cover
I’m talking about the Tots Bots Bamboozle, the LittleLamb bamboo or organic cotton, or the super thirsty Ella’s House Bumhugger specifically, but there are lots of different variations of these on the market. All are good options with a PUL or wool cover (either the LittleLamb, Tots Bots PeeNut, or Disana woollies in our case) over the top. I would say that this option works for most babies, most of the time. However, there are always exceptions, and for those special few babies, this bombproof combination might not hold the golden twelve hours we are looking for.
In these cases it is possible to boost the nappy with a hemp, cotton or bamboo booster – and here is a trick – you can put this booster between the nappy and the cover, not actually inside the nappy, if that makes sense. This can help with the issue of making the nappy too bulky to fasten for example.
You could try a Baba + Boo hemp booster on the outside of a Bamboozle and underneath the PeeNut wrap. You could try a LittleLamb hemp between the nappy and wrap, or an Ella’s House bum booster. The list goes on. One of my favourite things is to use a Disana tie nappy over the top of whatever fitted nappy is beneath to add an all-round layer of absorbency to the mix.
Flat Nappy with Cover
Leading on from the above, and a super popular and budget option for nights is the trusty flat nappy – a Terry square or a cotton prefold for example. Pros – these are cheap, and easy to wash well – no mega layers of bamboo to try and get clean. They dry super-fast too, so you can get them in circulation much quicker than their fitted counterparts. You can boost them as much as you like, fold them a certain way to increase the layers and / or pop an additional booster inside.
You can wash these over and over again with no fear of decaying elastics, but after many, (and I mean many) washes, you might find they start to go bald – treating them gently (less tumble drying, lower temperatures) will avoid this for even longer – it’s more likely to happen with a bamboo than a cotton blend as cotton is generally more hardwearing.
All you will need to make this work is a nappy pin or a nippa, or even just a solid cover to hold everything in place. Again the cover can be PUL, wool, fleece, or anything else waterproof you can think of.
Now it is mostly assumed that pockets are a day nappy only, and they do make a wonderful option for daytimes. But they can also be adapted to suit nights, just by adjusting the filling inside. Think about adding a hemp booster or a cotton prefold to get them up to the absorbency level you will need.
Just bear in mind with pockets if you have a very heavy wetter, you might not be able to stuff enough inside without negatively affecting the fit or causing compression leaks, so you may need to switch to a two-part nappy if you find your pockets aren’t working. Still, it is worth a try if you already have some, as they are very easily adapted.
All in Ones
The best ‘all in one’ I have tried for nights is the GroVia O.N.E, usually with an added booster (like these from Little Lamb) just to help it see through the whole night. I love this option as it is so soft and fluffy (like ‘Buttah’) and a real no brainer for when you just can barely keep your eyes open at bedtime.
Another really versatile nappy, the Close Pop-in is a trusted brand, and hailed for daytime use all over. The double leg gusset is great for keeping everything contained, especially for boys. So if you have a tummy sleeping boy on your hands, a Close Pop-in with a night time booster could be just the trick for you.
If you have a light to moderate wetter overnight, then the Bumgenius Elemental could work for you. You will want to use a fleece or silk liner as it has no lining sewn in, but it can be a very slim and neat option for nights. You can also slip a thin booster in-between the layers like a Little Lamb triple bamboo for example.
Most little ones will probably need slightly more than an all-in-one can give for a night time, but these stand the best chance if you are going down that route.
I couldn’t write about nights without mentioning wool covers. The Disana woollies are so great for nights, if you are having trouble finding a nappy to suit your babe for the night shift, I urge you to give wool a go.
One thing I do suggest as a last resort for when nothing seems to hold, is to try popping a wool cover on like jammies, so over the top of your PUL system. Wool has some natural absorbency – as well as being water resistant and breathable – so it can be just the thing that is needed to hold everything in.
There you have it; I really hope this gives you some confidence and some options to make the switch to cloth at night. Why not let me know your winning combo! Tag me on Instagram with your night nappy set up @loving_by_nature_