Even if you feel completely at ease with cloth nappies, using them at night can seem like a whole other world of adventure and uncertainty. When you have a heavy wetter or a baby that has just started to sleep through the night, it can be difficult to keep leaks at bay. However, this doesn’t mean you have to switch to disposables at night. Many moms have figured out how to keep their babies from leaking through their cloth nappies and soaking their bedding. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your baby comfortable and dry all night long, so you can both sleep well.
Expect to Change Nappies During the Night
First of all, it’s important to be realistic. No matter how well-prepared you are for your baby’s night-time wetting, you are going to have to get up in the middle of the night to change nappies. There is no way around it. This is especially true when your child is a newborn since they'll poop during the night, making those midnight changes completely unavoidable.
Even once your child starts sleeping through the night, you’ll still have to be ready for the occasional nappy-leak accident. Prepare for this with waterproof mattress covers. Here’s a tip: get two! That way, you can swap them out quickly in the middle of the night without doing any extensive clean-up until morning.
Invest in a Few Night Nappies
Night nappies are made specifically to meet the absorbency and leak-proofing needs of a sleeping baby. They’re more absorbent, keeping your babies feeling dry so they’re less likely to wake up and cry for an urgent changing. This extra absorbency also helps prevent the nappies from leaking. Additionally, night nappies are made from fabrics and materials that can withstand the compression from your baby laying down without allowing liquids to squeeze out.
If you use your normal daytime nappies during the night, they will not hold up to the long periods your bay has to go between changes. We recommend choosing fitted night nappies instead of using pre-folds or flats. Fitted nappies conform better to your baby's shape and therefore are more effective at preventing leaks while your baby is laying down. Get at least 4 night nappies so you have enough time to let them dry after washing.
Night Nappies for Newborns
Newborns won’t sleep through the night, so you’ll have to get up and change them frequently anyway. Regular newborn-sized nappies will work just fine during the night. You probably won’t need special night nappies at this age, though you may want to add an absorbency booster if you have some miracle child that sleeps for extended periods of time.
Choosing the Right Night Nappies
Before you go out and buy some night nappies, know what to look for. The best night nappies are those that meet the needs of your own baby. So, you’ll need to consider how much they pee during the night, how well the nappy fits, and how well it whisks moisture away from your baby’s skin.
When you’re looking at nappy linings, seek out fabrics such as microfleece or suedecloth. Bamboo fleece is more absorbent but doesn’t wick moisture as well as synthetic fleece fabrics, so you may want to use a stay-dry liner with these. Natural fibers, like bamboo, absorb liquid faster, which is important when your baby is laying down. Also, look for microfibre absorbency layers because this type of fabric will hold a large amount of liquid. Just make sure that microfibre never sits directly against your baby's skin since it is overly drying.
Little Piglet sells some fantastic night nappies, so be sure to check out the shop. For example, these super-absorbent night nappies are made with bamboo fleece and are perfect for medium to heavy night wetters.
Stack Up the Absorbent Layers
The Australian Nappy Association recommends adding one extra layer of absorbency for every hour your baby will stay in the nappy. Many night nappies already come with multiple layers of absorbency. However, if this still isn't enough for you, you can easily purchase night boosters to increase the amount of liquid your nappies can hold before a leak become imminent. Look for microfibre, cotton, hemp, or bamboo in your boosters for the greatest absorbency.
Just make sure you never overstuff your nappies so much that they no longer fit snugly against your baby. Gaping at the leg creases, stomach, or back is a sure way to cause leaks.
Know When to Use a Cover
Many night nappies will require a waterproof or wool cover to pull over top. This is required for night nappies that consist solely of water-absorbent layers and no waterproof shell. Some people prefer using a separate waterproof PUL shell so that any moisture that the nappy fails to absorb will not leak out onto bedding.
However, many parents prefer to use a wool layer over top of night nappies instead. Wool wraps are breathable so they can prevent your baby from developing eczema or a rash from sitting in a damp nappy all night. If you have enough absorbency layers in your night nappy, you shouldn’t have a problem with your wool wraps getting wet. This awesome wool nappy cover is form-fitting and super stretchy so it can fit over even the bulkiest of night nappies.
Know How to Deal with Common Night Nappy Problems
The dreaded night nappy leaks can usually be fixed with some additional boosters or trying a different style of nappy. Two-part nappy systems, consisting of a night nappy and a separate cover, are usually better than pocket nappies or all-in-ones during the night. You'll find that natural fibers, such as bamboo and hemp, are better overnight fabrics since moisture can be squeezed from synthetic fibers when your baby moves around at night.
An Uncomfortable Baby
If your baby seems uncomfortable in their nappy, consider adding some stay-dry liners to their night nappy. You may also want to use a barrier cream during the night, as long as you also use a liner to protect your cloth nappies from being damaged by the cream. Also, try wool covers for added breathability and temperature control.
Since you’ll be leaving these nappies on for a longer period of time, it’s natural that they might acquire an unpleasant scent. Wool covers can help with this since wool is naturally odor-resistant. Also, try to wash the nappies first thing in the morning. If you just can't get those odors out, try this Rockin’ Green detergent. It’s filth-fighting and environmentally-friendly!
Using cloth nappies at night doesn’t have to be intimidating. Even if you face a few leaky nights, you’re bound to find a system that works best for you and your baby. Eventually, you will be able to enjoy the bliss of an uninterrupted sleep!