Reusable Night Time Nappies: The Ultimate Guide

  • By: Gian
  • Date: June 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

The most difficult part of using cloth nappies is frequently making it work at night once you’ve gotten started and decided to go full time. Given that reusable nappies can be less absorbent than disposables, it may take some trial and error to discover a mix that will keep your baby dry throughout the night without leaking. It is, nonetheless, worthwhile to persevere! Following your discovery, you’ll almost certainly have leak-free evenings in the future.

Are there night time nappies?

Yes! There are specific nappies called night time nappies, but also some regular nappies make great night time nappies. It’s important when looking for night nappies to understand about nappy materials and the differing levels of absorbency that they offer, and also the rate of absorption, ie how fast they soak up the wee!

Hemp

The most absorbent material. Completely natural and biodegradable. However, it tends to be very slow to absorb so is best combined with another material. Hemp/Cotton mixed boosters tend to be the best combination we have found.

Bamboo

Rayon synthetic material, quite absorbent but again another slow absorber. Generally, it’s cheap and used as booster material. A lot of night nappies are made from bamboo because it is absorbent.

Cotton

There are loads of different types of cotton used in nappies from terry cotton to jersey cotton and they all have different absorption rates so its hard to specify cotton in general. It is a quick absorber and cotton jersey is very absorbent. A good all rounder. One of the best night nappies we have ever come across is the Flip Organic Night Nappy. It is super absorbent and super flexible.

Microfibre

Microfibre tends to hold wetness rather than absorb it, hence it is very prone to compression wicking. It wicks up moisture very quickly but is not very absorbent. Best used in combination with a more absorbent material. It’s really not good for use at night time, so if you are using a pocket nappy with a microfibre insert try changing it to a more absorbent insert which may help a lot.

You want to strike a balance between the two: if you just have slow-absorbing materials, a large pee may not be absorbed quickly enough and may leak out; if you only have fast-absorbing but low-capacity boosters, you may not have enough absorbency to last the entire night. If your child is a light wetter who is also frequent, you may want to lean more toward bamboo or hemp; if they are a heavy wetter who is infrequent, microfibre may be the better choice. Starting with a combination of the two (for example, a bamboo diaper with a microfibre booster) is usually the best way to go, and then you can tweak the combination as needed.

How do I stop my nappies from leaking at night?

Few things are more aggravating than checking on your infant in the middle of the night and discovering that the sheet they’re sleeping on is soaked in urine – or worse, poo. It is not a cause for concern if this is happening to you. There will be times when almost all new parents (as well as many experienced parents) will have to deal with their child’s diaper leaking overnight, but there are several things you can do to prevent this from becoming more prevalent.

When it comes to disposable nappies, there is little you can do to stop it from leaking other than changing brands.

For reusable nappy users, we have a much wider set of options at our disposal. You can firstly simply add a booster to your nappy and see if this helps.

If this doesn’t solve the leaking issue then try adding a second booster, or changing the material of the booster you put in.

Thirdly you can try a different nappy, we always find that pocket or all in ones nappies are not great for night time but a really good two-part fitted system is ideal. You can add plenty of absorbencies and cover with a really good waterproof wrap (we love the blueberry Capri covers) to keep it all in.

Is it OK to leave baby in nappy overnight?

Leaving a newborn or young infant in one nappy all night (of any sort) while they are still receiving night feeds is not recommended in most cases. With the exception of the fact that they are still presumed to be relatively young, babies tend to poop around feeding times, creating ideal conditions for the development of diaper rash. Furthermore, a youngster who is still being fed at night will wee significantly more than a child who is sleeping through the night. Even the greatest actual nappies will be unable to cope with this level of liquid without requiring replacement.

Baby pooing in their sleep is extremely uncommon in my experience, as they will either empty them upon awakening (eg. for a feed) or will be stimulated to empty their intestines after being fed, which will trigger a peristaltic impulse to cause them to empty their bowels before falling asleep again. However, it is highly typical for a small baby to poop either before or after a night feed and as a result, nappies should always be changed throughout this time period.

It is important to change the nighttime nappies frequently for young babies as they have very sensitive skin and can get a nappy rash if left in a soiled nappy at night. Even if your child is a deep sleepers it’s best not to leave a soiled nappy next to the baby’s skin.

Are reusable nappies good for night time?

Yes! They are much better than using disposables because they are so flexible. With reusable nappies, you can change the absorbency of your nappy but just adding a booster or two to get you through the night gives you a super absorbent nappy. An absorbent booster can change your ordinary nappy into nighttime nappies.

Which nappies are best for night time?

For night time you need a combination of good absorbency and an excellent outer waterproof wrap that will hold everything in. We usually recommend a two-piece nappy system as the best nappies for nighttime. That is an outer waterproof wrap, an inner fitted nappy, and then a booster as well. You can try your current nappies and add in extra boosters to see if this makes them work for the night. A good wrap will offer the best leak protection and fitted nappies are just more absorbent overall. Heavy wetters can ofter go 12 hours with the right combination of fitted nappies, super-absorbent boosters, and waterproof outer layer, with a secure fit.

Even if your child is only a light wetter, you will need to increase the amount of booster you use in a night nappy over its daytime counterpart because it is designed to be worn for a considerably longer period of time without being changed.

Can you use pocket nappies at night?

It’s not advisable but if you have no other option you can make them work. The problem with pocket nappies at night time is generally you have to overstuff them to get enough absorbency into the pocket, and once you have done this you are prone to having gaping between the nappy and the bum, which leads to leaks.

What diapers hold the most pee?

Anecdotally I’ve found that a hemp babies bigger weed, topped with a microfibre insert inside a blueberry capri cover will hold the most wee and is the best combination for nighttime nappy use.

Night Nappies for Toddlers

Older children often give us the biggest problems when it comes to night nappies as they need extra absorbency to last the night. A two-part system is vital for most parents to prevent leaks for night use.

When your child is ready to move on from nappies to pants, it can come as a surprise to find that nighttime dryness is harder to achieve.  Yet many toddlers struggle with this, and it’s something that will often only come with age.

Handling this time sensitively is a concern to many parents, and as we’ve been through this ourselves as parents, here are our top tips:

  • Try not to stress about it – night wetting is incredibly common and usually goes away by itself
  • Don’t tell your child off for wetting their night nappies, they usually can’t help it
  • Keep using your reusable nappies for night time – you’ll only need to keep 3 or 4 nappies in circulation, and as they are probably only wet, why not wash them with your normal laundry
  • Use nappies that are easy to get on and off
  • Remember that what goes in has to come out, so it’s sensible not to give your child large drinks in the last hour or so before bed
  • Encourage them to use the potty or toilet before bed, and first thing in the morning
  • If you start getting dry night nappies, invest in a bed protector sheet and consider dropping the night nappies entirely

If your current nappies no longer fit, or aren’t suitable for overnight use, Real Easy all in one nappies come in a generous range of sizes that fit most toddlers up to age 5, and the super thirsty organic cotton and hemp soaker means it will cope with the heaviest wetting toddler. There’s even space for boosters if you need them, which can be popped into the pocket style opening at the back.  Gentle fleece lining makes for a comfy fit.  And best of all, they come in great unisex prints that your child will want to wear. 

This article was written by: Gian MIller – Full-Time Writer, Baby Whisperer & Dad of 3.

Gian spends a lot of his time writing. A self-proclaimed baby whisperer, Gian has been through it all with his own children and is passionate about sharing his hard-won wisdom with other parents. When he’s not writing or changing diapers, you can find him playing the guitar or watching baseball (or preferably both at the same time).