The ultimate guide to night time reusable nappies


Whenever I get a mum started on cloth nappies, I always tell her to get the day time sorted first, and work out nights after. Getting started with cloth is simple, but the hardest part is often making it work at night. Because reusable nappies can be slightly less absorbent than disposables, it can take some trial and error to find a combination that lasts the whole night without leaking. However, it is worth persevering! Once you’ve worked it out, you’re pretty much guaranteed leak-free nights.

If you’re still confused after reading this post, don’t forget that I offer free cloth nappy consultations, and can help you get to grips with using cloth in your particular circumstances. Fill out the form here, leave a comment saying you’d like me (Innes) to reply and I’ll be in touch!

Knowing your materials

One thing it’s worth knowing before we start is that different materials have different properties. The key to a successful night nappy is working out which materials will suit your baby. This graphic shows how they differ. Speed of absorption is how quickly the insert soaks up any liquid, while capacity is the total amount of liquid it can hold.

You want to balance the two - if you only have slow absorbing materials, then a big wee might not be absorbed quickly enough and could leak out; if you only have fast absorbing yet low capacity boosters, then you might not have enough absorbency to last the whole night. The balance will also depend on your child - if they’re a light yet frequent wetter, you might want to lean more towards bamboo or hemp, whereas if they’re heavy and infrequent wetter, microfibre or cotton may work better. The best place to start is usually with a combination of the two (e.g. bamboo nappy with a cotton/microfibre booster), and then adjust from there as needed.


Choosing your system

A good nighttime cloth system is usually made up of three parts:

  1. Absorbent fitted nappy

  2. Absorbent booster insert

  3. Waterproof breathable wrap

An exception to this is that some people do have success with pocket nappies at night. Generally, this is because the nappies are boosted with extra bamboo or hemp inserts. Before shelling out on special night time options, you could give your existing pocket nappies a go.

1. Absorbent fitted nappy

A fitted or shaped nappy is made up entirely of absorbent material, and requires a separate waterproof layer on top. The most popular options are:

All of these (except Motherease) are available at The Nappy Gurus, where you can get 10% off with code ‘ABODERIE’.

Fitted nappies are generally sized, meaning that you may require 2 or 3 sizes from birth to potty.

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most people find success with fitted nappies and a waterproof wrap

2. Absorbent booster insert

Depending on how heavy a wetter your baby is, you may need one or two boosters, or in some cases, none at all. The booster can act as a useful layer to wick fabric away from the skin and towards the absorbent layers below, and in these cases, microfibre, cotton or a mix can work well (although note that it is best not to place microfibre right next to baby’s bottom as it can be too drying - use a fleece or disposable liner).

My personal favourites are:

You may find that placing your boosters in different locations can also help your nappies last longer. For example, folding an insert in half at the front of the nappy can work better for little boys. If you find that you need a couple of boosters and bulk is becoming an issue, consider putting one of boosters outside the fitted nappy but inside the wrap.

3. Waterproof breathable wrap

Wraps don’t have to be completely airtight. Leaks are almost always a result of having too little absorbency, rather than failing to ‘trap’ liquid in the nappy. The wrap doesn’t need to dam liquid in, rather just hold it in long enough for the other layers to absorb it.

Our favourite wrap for night time is the Motherease Airflow, though they are extremely difficult to get hold of (they sell out within minutes!) So if you struggle, then either the Tots Bots Peenut or Petit Lulu Pull Up Wrap are great too.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, I am very happy to provide free advice on any aspect of reusable nappies. I know it can feel very overwhelming! Fill out the form here, leave a comment saying you’d like me (Innes) to reply and I’ll be in touch.

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