The trickiest part of diapering a baby is getting through the night without leaks or an uncomfortable diaper waking the baby up. As if we need to get up more times in the night anyway. Fortunately, there are a few tricks up our cloth diapering sleeves to help keep your baby happy and their sheets dry until morning.
Double stuffing, or putting multiple inserts into one diaper, is a simple technique to get more absorbency out of your cloth diapers. For pocket diapers like the Bum Genius 4.0, simply add another insert in the pocket. I like to use a newborn microfiber insert along with the one-size insert and that is sufficient to keep my daughter dry overnight. Some all in one diapers also have a pocket where you can add your doubler. If you’re using prefolds, you can lay the doubler between the prefold and the baby to add extra absorbency.
If you have a heavy wetter, try out hemp doublers. Hemp is a super absorbent natural fiber that many people use successfully in their overnight diapers. My daughter isn’t a heavy wetter, so two microfiber inserts is sufficient for us and I haven’t tried them personally.
Whatever type of doubler you choose, make sure to include a stay dry layer in between the insert and your baby’s bottom. A stay dry layer wicks away the moisture so the skin remains dry throughout the night. This helps to prevent irritation and diaper rashes. The pocket in most pocket diapers acts as a stay dry layer.
One other trick we use at my house is to designate some diapers as overnighters. The overnighters are double stuffed every time we do laundry and placed in a separate drawer. When bedtime rolls around, we just grab one of those and go. That way no matter who is putting my daughter to bed – me, my husband, grandma, or the babysitter – she will stay dry until morning. It also makes our bedtime routine just a little bit smoother.
What if you have to change a diaper in the middle of the night? First, don’t change it unless you absolutely have to. If you use the above techniques, your baby should stay dry and cozy for 10-12 hours, even if they wake up. For newborns who poop all the time and other midnight dirty diapers, try to make things as easy as possible for yourself. The goal here is to get a new diaper on – STAT – and with minimal annoyance to your cute little stinkmonster.
Make sure you have a few diapers ready to go for a quick change. I have been known to occasionally leave my clean diapers in a laundry basket and stuff them as needed. This is a bad idea in the event of an overnight diaper change. I’m much better off having a few stuffed and at the ready rather than have to search for the wipe, insert, and diaper in the dark with a crying baby.
Dress your baby for easy diaper changes. When they’re tiny, I loved using sleep gowns. Just pull up the gown, change the diaper, and pull it back down! Easy peasy lemon squeasy. We also used sleep sacks during the colder months. Once my daughter was a little older, we started using footie pajamas. I found the zipper pjs to be much simpler to use than snaps. It can be a little tricky to line up all the snaps in the middle of the night in the dark with bleary, sleep-deprived eyes. Take it from me and go for the no-fail zipper.
If you can change a messy diaper without turning on the light, you deserve a high five. As for me, I’m not that brave. I kept a night light in the nursery and would switch it on to see what I was doing, but it wasn’t so bright that it woke up my baby any more. Then, once she was freshly diapered, I’d turn the night light back off and work on getting her back to sleep.
What do you use for your overnight diapers? How do you facilitate easy midnight diaper changes? Are you brave enough to change dirty diapers in the dark?
_____________Jessica von Wallenstein is a stay at home mom who chronicles her parenting adventures at MomEinstein.com. She has a daughter born in September 2010 and a baby boy on the way and will be buried in cloth diapers for the foreseeable future.