A solution for night nappies

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Cloth nappies are great in so many ways. That generally doesn’t include doing cloth overnight. Many mothers have gotten frustrated over wet sheets again! I was one of them.

You start to wonder, will we have to do disposable nappies overnight? Put a reusable cover over one of those, as my child is bound to leak through that as well?

A solution for night nappies - a baby's bassinet.
Put a towel underneath when you’re experimenting with nappies during naps.
Photo credit: free stocks.org

Here I’m going to share what we dealt with and how we overcame the challenge. You can do it too! You can do cloth overnight, but it may take a few more sheet changes trying to tweak it. Towels are great as an extra layer in that case.

Our experience

I breast fed overnight until the little leech was a year old and a baby’s innards can only hold so much. What goes in must come out after all!

Our night nappy solution was not straightforward. We had several mornings of changing sheets, or swapping out towels, or putting towels on top because changing the sheets every morning is just too hard. Several trials and errors and the following is what we came up with.

Our night nappy solution

We had two 4-layer bamboo inserts, a fitted bamboo Alva nappy (5-layers of bamboo in ‘the zone’) (this nappy from ecoable has hemp in it and may be more environmentally friendly), an Alva nappy cover and an old-school, synthetic fluffy cover. Oh! And a micro-fleece liner. Not polar fleece, not microfiber. Micro-fleece (wicks away moisture, so the bairn still feels dry). This thing was super bulky.

Tip: Bamboo and hemp are a lot trimmer than cotton and other fibres, so when you’re putting together your own night nappy for a heavy wetter you want to put as many layers in the nappy as physically possible. Of course this needs to fit under a cover.

(Also I’ve tried to find links to some of the products I’ve mentioned, but while I can find links to similar products, I don’t actually know how good those products are and so am hesitant to link them.)

All of those together cost us about $25 for one nappy. We do a full nappy wash about every third day and about 1-2 days to dry everything. The synthetic covers rarely need washing, so we only have 2 of them these days. We have 5 or 6 Alva fitted nappies and 10 Alva covers. We have 20 4-layer bamboo inserts and about 30 micro-fleece liners.

In saying all that, the only things we use exclusively for night nappies are the synthetic, fluffy covers (which you could easily use a woollen cover for by the way) and the bamboo, fitted Alva nappies. The rest get used for day time nappies too; multipurpose for the win!

I’m aware that you can buy dedicated night nappies for about $35 each, excluding the cover. There are pros and cons to both.

The pros

The benefits of the system we use are that we can use parts of it in other ways. I often will put a pre-fold with a cover if I’ve run out of the all-in-ones that I use (wow, a lot of nappy jargon there! Here’s a link to some definitions and other information). The micro-fleece liners you use with any and every nappy, regardless of whether it’s a dedicated night nappy or not.

Another plus is that it’s a lot cheaper.

Related post:

Side note on cleaning

This is related to the cost of nappies eventually, which is why I’ve added this section here.

I’ll be the first to admit we don’t wash our night nappies as is recommended. The Clean Cloth Nappies Facebook group recommend that you rinse your night nappy in the morning, first with water, then soapy water, then again just water and leave over the sink to air out.

A night nappy solution - a lady in a washing machine.
A downside to cloth is that there is a lot of washing involved.
Photo credit: Nik MacMillan

This is brilliant advice, I just don’t do it. An alternative to the above is throwing the nappy in the washing machine and giving it a 15 minute rinse cycle by itself with a bit of washing powder. I don’t do that either.

The benefits of cleaning your night nappy so well is that they will go the distance. With the way we wash our nappies by child number 2 or 3 we’ll probably be needing new night nappies (will let you know when we’re there). If you wash them as recommended they can last far more children.

Since, however, we didn’t pay a fortune for our night nappies I’m not too worried about this. Our bamboo nappy parts get poo stains on them and I’m not crying about it (like I would be if it were worth $35 for just the bamboo fitted part).

The cons

The downside of our system is it has sooo many layers! If you have a wriggly baby you just want to throw the thing on and be done. With our system you’re putting in place the liner and insert into the Alva fitted, putting that on, fitting the liner into the Alva cover, putting that on and lastly putting the fluffy over the top. Not to mention the fetching the different pieces from the different draws.

How much easier would our life be if we had just one nappy and one cover to grab? Quite when you take a grumpy, tired baby into consideration.

Another downside is that fluffy covers are no longer being produced, as far as I’m aware of. They were dirt cheap, like $3 each cheap. They were, however bulky as! Either way, a wool cover will also do the trick, although that does mean doing the whole lanolising thing and they are more expensive (about 10 times more expensive… $30ish).

And lastly with a dedicated night nappy the final result will be a trimmer fit. You’re baby will not look utterly ridiculous in such a night nappy (not that looks matter, but it’s still worth mentioning).

A night nappy solution - hung up clothes.
Night nappies will take longer to dry, as there are more layers of fabric in them.
Photo credit: Annie Spratt

Wrap it up

I hope you have found my night nappy experience insightful and it has given you some food for thought. If you’re pregnant and reading this I would only recommend investing in a dedicated night nappy if they are on some ridiculous sale. At the beginning I said lots of mums have this issue, but you may not! There’s no point investing in something if it’s not going to be a problem in the first place.