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Overnight Cloth Diapering: Seven Tips for Success
July 19, 2012 5:53 am | by
Cloth 201 - How to cloth diaper at night

Sometimes, cloth diapering a baby during the night-time hours can be a little tricky. There are a few things that experienced parents keep up our cloth diapering sleeves to make overnight cloth diapering easy. Here are seven  of our favorite tips to make overnight cloth diapering easy at your house too!

  1. 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 bumGenius 5.0, 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.
  2. If you have a heavy wetter and are working on trouble-shooting the process of overnight cloth diapering, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, she will stay dry until morning. These diapers also make our bedtime routine just a little bit smoother.
  5. For midnight dirty diapers, try to make things as easy as possible for yourself. As a baby gets older, they eventually stop having bowel movements at night. When that happens, you may find that it possible to delay a diaper change until a more reasonable hour of the morning. The goal is to get a new diaper on while reducing the possibility of keeping your little stinkmonster awake for a long time!
  6. Make sure you have a few diapers ready to go for a quick night-time change. I have been known to occasionally leave my clean pocket diapers in a laundry basket and stuff them as needed. This can make an overnight cloth diaper change tough. It is much easier to have a wipe and a diaper ready to go. Struggling in the dark with a crying baby is a bummer for everyone.
  7. It is important to dress your baby for easy overnight cloth diaper changes. Here are some suggestions about overnight clothing.
    1. 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.
    2. Once my daughter was a little older, we started using footie pajamas. A zipper is nice because there is very little opportunity for user error in the dark. The noise of that zipper going up and down definitely makes a difference though, especially if your baby has a hard time falling back to sleep. Snaps can be a little tricky to line up in the middle of the night in the dark with bleary, sleep-deprived eyes, but, for sure, they are a quieter option once you learn the technique of opening and closing snaps quietly.
    3. I recommend against using sleep sets that have a separate shirt / pants. When using cloth diapers, these sleep sets can increase the likelihood of a leaky diaper or wet pajamas at night because the clothing can inadvertently get stuck inside the diaper against a wet area.

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?

Overnight Cloth Diapering: Cloth 201

Pin This: How to Cloth Diaper at Night

About the Author

Jessica von Wallenstein is a stay at home mom who chronicles her parenting adventures at She has three children and is buried in cloth diapers.



  • Joan said...
    March 26, 2012 at 12:07 am

    We’ve been using the same “bedtime diaper” on my 2.5-yr-old for over a year: a Flip organic insert on bottom, hemp Little Weed in the middle, and a Flip stay-dry on top, all packed into a Flip shell. It’s a thick diaper, but it took much trial-and-error to figure out what worked for our heavy wetter, and it’s still working!

  • Holly said...
    March 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    We found that a thirsties fitted diaper stuffed with a bumgenius doubler, and a cover worked the best! I have a boy who likes to sleep on his tummy or side, and I would always have leaks by the tummy. I am surprised cottonbabies doesn’t offer thirsties fitted diapers…they work so well!!!

  • The Compromising Mother said...
    March 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    We used hemp inserts that fold like a traditional prefold (so three layers of VERY absorbent material) with a microfiber doubler added. Until recently, we still had a middle of the night change using the same stuffing, which was not a good thing for my active sleeper. Now that I moved his last milk to a little earlier in the evening (he is now 21 months old), it finally works for my son. The added bonus is that this stuffing routine is less bulky than other options. 🙂

  • Andrea said...
    March 23, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I have been doing a lot of trial and error with this over the last month, and by far our BEST solution is a Flip organic insert in a 4.0. We use Flips for daytime, but my daughter likes to sleep on her side so she tends to leak out the side/front where there is no fabric, so we use 4.0s for night, naps, and sometimes errands. We tried layering up a bunch of microfiber inserts but when they are wet they feel wet and the stay-dry layer wasn’t enough to keep the diaper from feeling wet. Also the extra layers made it hard for her to sleep on her back or side (she doesn’t roll over much yet). We also tried the joey-bunz premium hemp/cotton inserts but those don’t seem to hold as much as a flip organic (though they are MUCH thinner, so those are nice for other times like errands, naps).

    It’s probably comparable to using a regular prefold in a 4.0 (I haven’t tried that) but a little flatter.

    My daughter is 4.5 months and still eats 2-4 times/night, but goes right back to sleep after she eats unless we do a diaper change, so I have been so happy to figure this out. It’s actually sort of a catch-22 — if she was uncomfortable due to the diaper she’d wake up more and think it was time to eat, then end up with an even wetter diaper.

  • Anonymous said...
    March 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    We use a hempbaby flat, with a large microfiber insert kite folded inside. I snappi it on and use a flip cover.
    It works GREAT – never a leak. BGs always leaked and were bulky with a lot of inserts, but our new system works great and I feel like the flat is really easy to get very clean after sitting all night:) Sometimes I put a stay dry liner in there – but he doesn’t seem bothered either way.

  • ashley dodd said...
    March 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    i was amazed, but the flip with stay dry and prefold made it through the night! (when i say through the night i mean 6-7 hours…that’s the high end of what i get!) i thought for sure we would have a disaster; i have 3 diapers of another brand that are supposed to be great for nighttime and they NEVER make it through the night like my bg 3.0’s do. then the other night my son fell asleep early
    (usually i would change him out of the flip) but i let him be, and it was a success! way to go flip!!

  • a2zbaby said...
    March 19, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Thanks for this post. we get great info from your this, I love it and I hope every parents attain best info and they can know the value of these kind of baby products diapers for babies

  • Andrea said...
    March 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    We use a regular insert and a hemp doubler and we have no leaks, our issue is a terrible ammonia smell in the morning which has caused blisters. Little one wakes up screaming and trying to pull off his diaper. I have stripped and sunned but so far the super strong ammonia smell returns every morning when using cloth overnight. Any suggestions?

    • Anonymous said...
      March 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      I’ve heard that ammonia happens when bacteria are left behind on the diaper. Have you tried ammonia treatment for fishtanks (I’ve heard it works, haven’t tried it) or *gasp* bleach? Once you get rid of the bacteria the ammonia should be gone.

    • Rebecca R. said...
      March 24, 2012 at 6:41 am

      Try washing diapers in Biokleen liquid laundry detergent with 1/2 cup of A&H Super Washing Soda powder and 1/8 cup of Biokleen Oxygen Bleach Powder (doesn’t actually have bleach in it). Add vinegar to the first rinse and then do a 2nd rinse. They should be clean and ammonia free. I find that my HE machines clean them better than my old washer…if you don’t have HE maybe you could ask a friend to use their’s once and see if that helps too? Also, I always do a cold soak and rinse before washing my diapers and try to wash every 2-3 days to avoid ammonia build-up.

    • Anonymous said...
      March 27, 2012 at 12:31 am

      We had the same ammonia problem until I found Charlies Soap. It is heaven sent. I can actually bury my face in my liners after I have washed them now. I ran out one time and had to wash in Gain or Tide and the problem came right back. So I don’t run out of Charlies any more. I buy two at a time. You will not be disappointed.

  • Caroline said...
    March 18, 2012 at 7:09 am

    We had the same problem as Anonymous 3/17 at 11:02. I felt like I was on the phone with Cotton Babies customer service once a week. We tried everything and finally had to switch to heavy duty disposables for overnight, and sometimes he wet through those! We already have my 6mo in a bG 4.0 with the stay dry liner and a hemp babies liner; so far that’s working for 10-12 hours. I don’t know what we’ll do when bGs no longer do the job for him. I really hated using disposables, even one per day.

  • lizabell said...
    March 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I’m currently figuring out a nighttime solution for my 8 month old. I use both bumGenius inserts and the large Joeybunz Premium hemp insert in the bg4.0 and he stays dry most nights. I hate to add more inserts because the diaper doesn’t look too comfy. I don’t know how so much liquid comes out of such a small body!

  • She Looks Like a Mom said...
    March 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    My toddler got to the point where she required TRIPLE-stuffed diapers at night: two microfiber inserts, and one hemp. Now that she’s potty training, we’re back down to double-stuffed. And I definitely agree on having designated night-time diapers; it just makes everything so much less confusing.

  • Anonymous said...
    March 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    My 17-mo-old is up to two full-sized inserts during the day (and a small hemp insert added for his first morning diaper, when he seems to wet more heavily). For night-time, our no-fail is a Flip organic or an Econobum prefold with a bumGenius insert, or in the Flip cover, the stay-dry Flip insert on top of the prefold (I prefer the Flip prefolds, but they do cost more).

  • Danielle said...
    March 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for this post. We could not get through the night dry without hemp doublers!

  • Marietje Pieters said...
    March 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    We use Bumgenius during the day. At night we used a bamboo diaper (Totsbots Flexitot). But even with an extra bamboo liner my girl was red in the morning. Maybe I have to use a fleece liner on top against iritation? I want to buy a ‘wool pants’ as a cover on the bamboo diapers. Maybe that will help. Now I use disposables at night. My girl (10 months old) sleeps 12/13 hours at night…

  • Kora said...
    March 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    We use a prefold and a liner with a wool cover over the top…we had terrible problems with rash until we started using the wool cover. It’s so much more breathable and slightly absorbent too. I installed a tap light onto baby’s changing table for late night changes with some velcro

  • Anonymous said...
    March 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    we use flips with a stay dry and a hemp or two stay dries. she never wakes up!

  • Anonymous said...
    March 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Could not get Bum Genuis to last through the night and if I put as many inserts as I needed it would stop the nappy closing properly and strain the elastic. Have ended up using bamboo nappies (the whole thing made out of bamboo with a wrap over it) and found that to be effective, although use a bum genius insert as a stay dry layer inside them.

  • casey said...
    March 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    we use hemp inserts and a disana wool cover. awesomeness. Only had to change 2 diapers over night once we got out of the newborn phase due to poop. I cannot do it without a light! 🙂 my lil guy is 6 months next week!

  • Anonymous said...
    March 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    i have a 1 month old who is a heavy wetter. so at night i just tri-fold a premie pre-fold into her infant one and snappie. she is good all night!

  • Megan said...
    March 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    My little leprechaun started leaking around 1 year so now we use the 4.0 regular insert with two infant inserts – rarely a leak! With No. 2 on the way, I think we’ll invest in the hemp inserts – three liners makes for an enormously bulky diaper!

  • Jessica G. said...
    March 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I’m impressed that you can get away with a BG regular and infant insert overnight. That is what I use when we are out running errands for a little extra oomph! For my toddler, I use a regular size BG liner along with a flip stay dry liner stuffed in a BG 4.0 (or 3.0…whichever I grab). And when we had issues for a while with wetness, I even added one or two large hemp babies inserts in there as well. For my 5 month old, my current favorite (I always think of nighttime as a moving target) is a tots bots easy fit stuffed with two large hemp babies doublers and that gets her through the night.

  • Carrie said...
    March 17, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I have a super soaker! We quadruple stuff our BGs at night (one regular liner and three newborn doublers). For awhile even that wasn’t working so we added a Flip disposable liner as well. Sometimes that doesn’t even work. He’s a tummy sleeper though and up until recently he was nursing 2-3 times a night. As he cut out middle of the night feedings his soaking backed off a little bit. Maybe I’ll try hemp?

    • Rebecca R. said...
      March 24, 2012 at 6:30 am

      I have a super-soaker girl still in diapers at 23 months (have been going through a difficult pregnancy and just can’t manage to train her yet). I use a hemp prefold wrapped around a Joey buns hemp insert stuffed inside a Bum Genious diaper. It works great every time! Hope this helps.

  • Anonymous said...
    March 17, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Very timely share. I have been avoiding cding at night b/c the leak issue and waking him up just to change a diaper. One step at a time I guess, next step in cding,is running errands and traveling. Then I hope overnight!

  • Anonymous said...
    March 17, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Goodmama fitted and wool 🙂 works like a charm