Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Doable Details: Nighttime Cloth Diapering

Based on the answers in our survey (it’s still open through 2/28, and you could win a FuzziBunz diaper for answering), many of you have not found a good overnight cloth diaper.  Several of you still use disposables at night, and I think it may be partly due to the difficulty of finding just the right diaper for your baby at night.

I tried several different diapers before I finally arrived at our current nighttime solution.  There is some trial and error to this process, because every baby is shaped differently and wets differently and sleeps in different positions for different amounts of time.  Don’t give up!  Here are some things that I have found helpful when finding a good overnight routine.

Try a Pocket Diaper

I prefer to use a pocket diaper for overnights because they are completely customizable.  The inner fleece/suede lining ensures my baby will stay dry all night.  The waterproof outer layer ensures wetness will not escape.  The pocket opening allows me to customize the diaper to meet my baby’s overnight needs.  I can choose how many inserts/layers, what fiber the fabric will be composed of, and the order of the layers.

If you don’t like pocket diapers, a good fitted diaper (perhaps with a booster layer) would be a good choice as well.

Try a Super Absorbent Fiber

There are several different fabric fibers in cloth diapers, and some are more absorbent than others.  Try using a super “thirsty” fiber for your overnight diaper! Some fabrics are just more “thirsty” than others, and they can absorb quicker, or hold more liquid.  These are the fibers that you want to stuff in your overnight diapers.

Some excellent choices are Hemp, Bamboo, and Cotton.  Hemp is a great choice because it is also very trim, so your baby won’t look like a turtle in his overnight diaper.  Hemp can hold a lot of liquid, and it is also naturally antimicrobial.  This property can help to stave off some of the odor that may greet you in the morning if your baby sleeps 10+ hours like mine does!

Bamboo is also highly absorbent, and it is very plush and soft against your baby’s skin.  If you want to get the benefit of the softness of bamboo, then you would use a fitted diaper with a bamboo lining.  However, this means that there is no stay-dry fabric keeping your baby dry at night when he will not be changed as often. I don’t feel comfortable leaving my baby’s skin next to the wetness for extended periods of time, so I would choose a bamboo insert inside of a pocket diaper.

Cotton is very absorbent also, but it can also be very bulky.  You might experiment with tri-folding a cotton prefold diaper and stuffing it in a pocket for overnights.  This will likely give you enough absorbency, but it will be rather awkward on your baby. 

Microfiber absorbs liquid very quickly, but like cotton it can be rather bulky in order to get enough layers.  Try using a thin microfiber insert laid on top of a hemp or bamboo insert.  I would stuff it in a pocket.  Place the microfiber layer closest to the baby’s skin to absorb the pee quickly.  The trim hemp or bamboo layer beneath it will add the boost of absorbency that you need to make it through the night.

Bulky is Okay

Diaper blog headerIt’s okay for your baby’s overnight diaper to be more bulky.  He or she won’t be crawling, climbing, or walking in his/her sleep (hopefully!).  They may look funny, but be sure to add enough layers to your diaper to make it through the night without leaks.  You don’t want to wash sheets and blankets everyday!  Considering the extra bulk of the overnight diaper, it might be a good idea to buy pajamas up a size from normal.  I forgot to do this recently and my daughter wore her new PJs for all of about a week before they had to be retired!

Try Adding an Insert

If you find that a diaper is not absorbent enough for overnights, just add an insert.  You may choose to double the insert, or use a smaller doubler that won’t add quite as much bulk. Sometimes these doublers are contoured to cut down on the extra bulk between your baby’s legs.

If you are using a one-size diaper, add the second insert.  Many one size diapers (FuzziBunz, bumGenius, and Rumparooz, for example) come with a small insert to use with newborns and little babies, and a larger insert for toddlers.  If you use both inserts together you may have enough layers to get through the night.  I really like the Rumparooz 6R soaker for this purpose.  The inserts snap together to keep them in place, and the small insert is contoured between the legs.  It is available in microfiber or hemp

My Solution…for now!

When Elaine was tiny we used a bamboo fitted diaper with a cover.  Once she started sleeping for 10-12 hours, we needed more absorbency.  We prefer Rumparooz one size diapers for overnights.  The double gussets help keep everything inside.  We use a hemp 6R soaker at night, and we use both parts of the insert.  If my hemp inserts are all soiled, I use a microfiber 6R insert and add a cotton doubler strip.

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