Friendly, independent advice with 20 years of real nappy experience

Using cloth at night

Here at Lizzie’s Real Nappies we get a lot of questions about using real nappies at night and how to provide enough absorbency to see baby through until morning.

Absorbency is rarely an issue on young babies, mainly because they wee less, but also because they’re generally changed in the middle of the night after night feeds.

Once baby starts sleeping through the night, however, they are likely to need extra absorbency and so standard day nappies may be insufficient.

Initially you may get away with adding a booster pad to your existing nappies, however in time, some babies will need specific night time nappies. It’s also quite easy to over-stuff pocket nappies, drawing the elastication away from the legs and leading to leakage. In our opinion, you’ll get the best performance from 2-part nappies. This is where you have an absorbent nappy with a separate waterproof cover (or ‘wrap’) on over the top.

So here’s a quick guide on how to get baby through the night in cloth:

  1. Invest in some good quality, high absorbency nappies.

We recommend nappies made of cotton or bamboo. Our favourites are:

Be aware that these fabrics are generally quite slow drying so, if you don’t have a tumble dryer, you may be best to buy an extra 1 or 2 nappies to give them time to dry

  1. Ensure you have a good quality wrap

Avoid the old, cheap, plastic-y pants which are still available in the shops. Opt for a quality wrap. They’re more expensive but perform so much better. We recommend:

  1. If you need further absorbency add a bamboo or hemp booster pad

Again, these tend to be slow drying but will add extra absorbency without adding too much to the bulk. We recommend;

Be aware that bamboo, and especially hemp, products require a good amount of pre-washing before use. They should be washed around 6-8 times before they reach their full absorbency.

If you add a few booster pads to your nappy be sure that the extra padding doesn’t draw the wrap’s elastication away from the legs. If this occurs it may be worth considering larger wraps.

  1. Good quality mattress protector

Whether you’re using cloth nappies or disposables, the chances are that you will get the occasion leak. Mattress protectors can prove invaluable, especially once you start night time potty training.

How many will you need?

As these high absorbency nappies are generally only required at night, you won’t need many of them. Depending on how often you’re able to wash them, we recommend 3-4 nappies, 2-3 wraps and 3-4 boosters. We suggest you just start with 1-2 nappies plus a wrap initially to make sure they work for you (remembering to pre-wash them first) and then you can go on to buy more once you’re happy with them.

If you have a young baby, the issue of night time absorbency probably won’t become apparent for a while (if at all) so, we’d recommend that you don’t worry about this initially and just get in touch with us once you find that your existing day-time nappies are showing themselves to be insufficient over night.


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