Thursday, January 29, 2009

Night Diapering-The Final Frontier

In order to keep cloth diapering simple, many parents start diapering gradually. I know some moms who only diaper part-time, or only when they are home. As they become more comfortable with the diapers, they branch out. Even experienced cloth diapering parents, however, can have qualms and worries about diapering overnight. Many try to cloth diaper at night, only to try 10 different diapers and go back to disposables for nighttime.

Why? Why do diapers that work so well in the daytime fail at night? What happens to diapers after 8pm that makes them leak?

Nothing, really. Night diapering can be trickier because of the length of time the child must wear the diaper. A child who is a heavy wetter may just let out too much urine for one diaper to last the night. Some children sleep on their sides, which can also cause diapers to leak.

How to make it simple?
I am very invested in having a night diapering system that works since our daughter spends 95% of the night in our bed. Our mattress doesn't have the waterproof covering that hers has, so keeping her leak-free is essential.
Here are some tips based on our experience:
  • Consider doublers or hemp inserts. Both add absorbency. Hemp inserts are very absorbent without adding to much bulk. Overstuffing a pocket diaper can create gaps that cause leaks. Most doublers are narrower than inserts, which also saves on bulk.
  • Fleece is your friend, at least when it comes to covers. Fleece soakers or fleece pockets like Drybee's are great for preventing nighttime leaks. They don't lend themselves to wicking like PUL covers or pockets. We've never had a leak with any fleece.
  • Wool is also your friend. Like fleece, wool is a great night solution. Wool also doesn't wick, and can retain moisture without soaking the bed.
  • You can be successful with PUL at night. You may find good results with pockets that are well, but not overly, stuffed. Avoid using onesies, as the close contact in the crotch area may promote wicking. Using a fleece sleeper or fleece pajama pants gives you the ease of using your PUL diapers while combining the wetness protection of fleece.

These solutions won't work for everyone, but they are a place to start from. There is always the heavy wetter that soaks through 3 inserts and a wool cover. If it gets too stressful, take a break from using cloth at night. As your child's body grows and changes, he or she might begin to wet less at night, or in less forceful spurts. You may be able to revisit night diapering after a while.