Using Cloth Diapers Overnight

Using Cloth Diapers Overnight

Using cloth diapers overnight requires a few minor adjustments to your daytime diapers. You’ll want to have a good overnight diaper ready for the day your baby starts sleeping longer than 3-6 hours at a stretch (or at the age you are ready to leave baby in a diaper until morning in an effort to increase sleep for you and for baby.) An effective nighttime diaper has added absorbency so that it can work, without leaks, for up to 10-12 hours. It will also have a stay dry liner of some kind so that baby doesn’t wake due to feeling wet.

Overnight diaper style suggestions:

  • Double up. If you use flat diapers during the day, consider adding a second flat diaper in a pad fold to increase absorbency.
  • Try a Fitted Diaper. Fitted diapers make for a great overnight diaper. I liked to add a trifolded cotton terrycloth washcloth right in the wet zone to give our fitted diapers that little added absorbency boost. Terrycloth make for a great way to add absorption to a diaper. All of the little loops in terrycloth add surface area to the fabric which allow it to absorb faster than non-terry fabrics.
  • Try a nighttime version of your daytime diaper. Many manufacturers make nighttime inserts which provide added absorption for longer wear time.
  • Use a wool cover. Wool covers are a great addition to an overnight diaper, provided you or your baby are not sensitive to wool. Wool has two unique qualities that make it ideal for longer wear time. While it serves as a water resistant barrier when lanolized, it also provides some absorption and allows for better breathability than PUL. While the PUL portion of diaper covers only repel fluid, wool is able to absorb small leaks that get past the absorbent portion of your baby’s diaper. Learn more about wool HERE.
  • Layer your fabrics. Many cloth diaper users that own a mix of microfiber and natural fabrics, find that layering their fabrics work well for nighttime. A layer of microfiber (remember that microfiber should have a stay dry layer on top of it to avoid drawing moisture from baby’s skin) on top of a natural fabric work well together. The microfiber tends to grab liquid quickly, while the natural fibers, which are a bit slower to grab liquid, provide a thirstier layer which hold on to liquid for longer and are less susceptible to compression leaks than microfiber alone.

Some other tips for overnight diapering:

  • Make sure your cover is well fitting. Overstuffing a diaper can cause gaps at the legs and may lead to leaks.
  • If you have a tummy sleeper, add an extra layer of absorption at the front of the diaper to help prevent leaks.
  • For boys - point their parts down so that the very top front of the diaper doesn’t have to do all of the work.
  • Use a stay dry top layer to help prevent baby from waking due to feeling wet. Stay dry liners include microsuede (synthetic), fleece (synthetic), and raw silk (natural). Stay dry liners have the ability to wick moisture away from baby’s skin to help them feel dry.
  • If your baby sleeps in fleece pajamas, this added layer can also help to keep sheets dry.
  • Hemp and bamboo are overnight fabric favorites of Real Diaper Circle members. These fabrics are some of the more thirsty fabrics available.
  • To help prevent ammonia buildup in your overnight diapers, try rinsing your overnight diaper thoroughly in the morning prior to adding it to your dirty diapers.


So what is your favorite overnight diaper? We’d love for you to tell us in a comment here or on our Facebook page! Check out the Real Diaper Association's Cloth Diapering At Night Tip Sheet to easily share many of these tips!

:-) Janice Roodsari
Real Diaper Circle Leader
RDA Board of Directors

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