I am often asked for advice on using cloth nappies at night. For some babies using cloth nappies at night can be challenging for parents. What qualifies a "Night Nappy" you might ask. Generally a cloth nappy being used for night time will require additional "boosting" to make it more absorbent. During the day a nappy can be changed as needed, at night you want your nappies to hold everything your baby or toddler can put out for up to 12-13 hours.
While every situation is different there are some key things to consider when you are choosing a cloth nappy system for night use.
A good cover is the key to successful cloth nappying, not just at night! At night it does become even more important. PUL is perfectly fine to use at night if it works for you. Many people choose to use fleece or wool as they are more breathable.
One of the best PUL covers I have come across for night use is the BerryPlush from Jamtots. They feature side snaps which means more adjustability for different shaped legs - two rows of snaps means you can have the waist and the legs at different settings. There is also gentle elastication at the front waist, great for tummy sleepers to help keep everything where it should be.
If you decide you would prefer fleece then always look for a good quality fleece such as Malden Mills. If you have a heavy wetter that has a butt the size of a beach ball at night, then I probably wouldn't suggest using fleece. This is only my personal opinion, however I find that they don't have the reliable containment of PUL or the amazing quality of wool to absorb. Which leads me to....
Wool. Love it! Definately the preferred option for night use around here and the first thing I suggest to anyone having night nappy challenges. Wool is an amazing natural fibre, it has insulating and absorbing properties that make it perfect for covers over cloth nappies. It insulates against heat or cold through absorbing moisture vapour, pockets of air are trapped in the fibres which act as an insulator, keeping your baby's body at an even temperature. Wool can also absorb up to 30% of its own weight before feeling damp. As moisture is absorbed, heat is generated and keeps baby warm rather than cold and clammy from a wet nappy.
Wool is also naturally elastic, again another perfect quality for cloth nappy use! It will return to its natural shape even after stretching or twisting. Now that sounds great for stretching over some bulky nappies! The lanolin in wool neutralises urine which means you don't need to wash as often as you would wash other covers. If you have a heavy wetter you may find regular washing and lanolising keeps your covers working more effectively.
As with any other cover, the quality of the wool will also affect the performance. Coming soon at Baby Soft Landings we have a range of wool soakers and longies to meet the needs of cloth nappy users. In particular for night use will be our night soaker. The wool is ideal for night use and we hope will help you with your cloth nappy journey.
I'll post some more soon about some other night nappy challenges and some suggestions for fixing.