night time diapering basics

This week we are starting our nighttime discussion. This week we are going to cover some of the “basics” for nighttime diapering. I will start this with the caveat that if what you are doing is working then don’t bother reading this, but if you are troubleshooting nighttime leaks this is a good place to start 🙂

1) be ready for the fact that your child’s output can change overnight, literally. If your baby is a very light wetter and then starts soaking through diapers, it is very likely that they really did become a heavy wetter overnight. We talk with many customers who spend many nights on wet sheets thinking they have a buildup problem when it is absorbency that needs to be fixed. Remember that the vast majority of buildup issues will be accompanied by odor, it is very rare when detergent buildup is so bad it causes leaking without you smelling the trapped feces and urine being left behind. Another clue to this is if the diapers are soaked. Buildup will leave you leaking with very little absorbency, the inserts will be bare;y wet or wet only in spots, if your diaper is soaked, you need more absorbency.

2) For most babies, pockets will not cut it for heavy wetters. There is only so much pockets can do for a heavy wetter at nighttime, remember pockets are great for daytime use because they are trim and easy to change. At nighttime you don’t need either of those features, and your absorbency is held really in the middle of the diaper. When you have a wiggly baby who is rolling around in their sleep, their urine can be hitting the sides of their diapers, meaning you will leak out of the sides quickly. The trim cut you love for daytime pockets will work against you for nighttime, stuffing them too much will cause gaps, and then urine will roll out the side of the diaper. This is the reason fitteds and covers work well at nighttime, because they wrap absorbency all around the child’s waist and legs, protecting better.

3)Some babies may experience diaper rash from nighttime diapers if they are really soaked, be open minded about natural fibers if your baby is sensitive to wetness. The overnight heat rash/urine chafing rash usually starts as a mild sunburned look where the diaper touches, this may or may not be accompanied by pinprick red dots all over the diaper area. If you are using prefolds at night be aware of this, if your baby is rashy in the morning you may need to change up your system you are using.


November 10, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, night time diapering, Night time solutions, Q & A. Leave a comment.

Cloth 101: absorbency

This week I wanted to chat a little about absorbency, we had lots of emails this week about leaks and I wanted to do a brief 101 on insert and fabric density, next week we will get into more specifics. In cloth diapers, there are 3 basic “groups” that I put fabrics into.

1)microfiber/microterry, 2) cotton/bamboo (other organic velours and cotton blends fall here) 3) hemp

You can have variations of these groups, but for discussing density these three will do 🙂

These three groups will behave differently in wetting situations. If I laid out a microfiber insert, a cotton prefold and a hemp insert (all prewashed),
and tossed a cup of water on them, the microfiber is going to slurp it up wherever it hits, but hold the least amount overall. The cotton prefold will soak up most of it, some will roll off before it has a chance to absorb, but will hold more overall. The hemp insert will likely “catch” the least amount, but if it has time to absorb will hold the most overall. This is why layering is important in fitteds and pockets. Now, many times fitteds will have the hemp blended with another fabric to “catch” faster, so this isn’t so much of a deal as just putting plain hemp inserts inside a pocket by themselves. If you have pocket diapers, putting microfiber on top of a hemp or cotton insert will help catch fast wetters. If your baby or toddler is a slow wetter or light wetter (meaning they pee a tiny amount every few minutes rather than flooding the diaper once or twice an hour), denser fabrics will work more effectively by themselves. For quick wetters or flooders you may find you need the microfiber to catch it initially and give the hemp a chance to absorb it all. Next week we will get into some specific layering advice, what is “too much” for a pocket diaper, and why pockets don’t usually work for super heavy wetters at nighttime and naptime, even if layered correctly~

October 14, 2011. cloth diapers, FAQ, night time diapering, Night time solutions. Leave a comment.

Nighttime diapering

Many of our pocket parents are at wits end trying to find the balance between appropriate stuffing/leg gaps with their heavy wetters. And honestly, even without labeling the baby as a heavy wetter, 8+ hours is a long time in a diaper, so even the light wetters can easily flood a light nighttime solution.
Pockets can be tricky with nighttime, the trim fit welove during the day does not accomodate nighttime stuffing for most babies, and when we stuff it enough, the rise sinks down, the legs stand an inch away from their thighs, and you can count on at least one wet sheet change in the middle of the night.
If your pockets have been exhausted with options, consider the following solution of a pocket fitted and a cover. Now, don’t tune me out just yet, this isn’t a wool cover we are talking about, so if you are not on Team Wool yet, you can still do this.

My favorite pocket fitted is the Happy Hempy. It accomodates chunky thighs, but can still wrap around slender ones. The diaper itself is absorbent, so you have the sides and front able to hold urine. Then, you stuff it with whatever you have on hand/need to meet absorbency needs. My favorite insert for these, and the most economical, is a prefold trifolded width-wise (not lengthwise, so turn it 90 degrees), with some microfiber or hemp if you have it handy.
The whole thing gets wrapped in a cover.

I use both wool and PUL covers, you can easily use your PUL covers over these. Hempys run small, they also shrink over time, so buy bigger than what you think you need. Sebastian has his extra larges getting prepped today, and he is 18.5 pounds/almost 10 months old. I need to stuff the heck out of them though, and his larges were left over from my last daughter, so he is a little early on the XLarges. I use an extra large Bummis Super Brite cover over the XL’s, for the Larges I used large Thirsties covers, or Duo Wraps in size 2 all the way unsnapped. For his mediums we used a medium cover, and size 2 Thirsties duo wraps almost unsnapped. Wool is also great over these guys for a completely breatheable system.

Next week we have the One Size Hempy in snap or aplix closure coming in, which gives you small-large in one 3 step rise fitted. Great investment for nighttime and naptime. Now, Hempys will be bulkier, it isn’t trim, so either plan on sizing up on fotted pj’s, or toss on some babylegs with a longsleeve onesie or tee shirt for pajamas. Our Hempys all have the stay dry fleece inner to wick away wetness as well.

In summary, here is how I stuff/size wise:
Small Hempys for newborns=trifolded infant prefold with small covers, or one size covers on small or medium rise settings
Medium Hempys=trifolded infant prefolds OR trifolded regular prefold for the hevier wetters, with one medium joey bunz, medium size covers or one size covers with one rise setting to go
Large Hempys=Regular prefolds trifolded with joey bunz and/or microfiber insert, large Thirsties cover, Large Super Brite, Coverall all the way open, Duo Wrap all the way open.
Extra large Hempy=premium prefold trifolded, joey bunz and microfiber, extra large Bummis Super Brite or Extra Large Bummis Super Whisper Wrap.

Disana wool soakers are great at any point, we always have our wool info up here if you want to refresh:

November 1, 2010. cloth diapers, FAQ, night time diapering, Night time solutions, Q & A, Wool. 1 comment.

even more nighttime solutions

I wanted to address the pocket-mamas this week. We have a lot of moms who email us with disappointment that their pocket diapers aren’t cutting it for nighttime, even with their young babies. We love pockets in this house, and use them for day and nighttime, but we have two very different systems for each timeframe.

Our daytime diapers are usually Bumgenius, some one size Fuzzi Bunz, and also a few trim AIOs. Nighttime is a different story! The pockets we use at night would fall off my girls during the day, they are cut bigger, fit bigger, and are stuffed to the max with cotton, hemp and the kitchen sink. Around 2 months is when my little dainty flowers turn into super soaking pit bulls who do not appreciate being changed at night. They won’t sleep through the night for another two years (sigh…) but if I try and change them, teeth start gnashing and the claws come out.

I love the bumgenius line, but it is a tricky diaper to use for nighttime. They are contoured, trim, and can be tricky with leg gaps with their slim fit. We love the Happy Heiny one size (and it comes in snaps for you snap loving mamas and daddys!), and have a nice, generous pocket, legs and waist to accomodate all the stuffing you need. If you are waking up with puddles around your child, and your roof isn’t leaking, check the inserts.

You need to upgrade absorbency, and if your present diaper can’t stand the bulk, time to change brands or upsize.

Not saturated?
Most likely a sizing issue, or overstuffed. I like to start with stuffing an overnight pocket with a trifolded prefold. Cheap, easy to wash, and absorbent. Next, if that doesn’t cut it, toss in a joey bunz, happy heiny stuffin, or another trim hemp insert behind the prefold (meaning the urine hits it after the prefold).

Shoot me an email with any questions on this, it doesn’t take an older baby to be a heavy wetter, especially the all-night nurslings, they can really be a fire hydrant at a y ung age.

October 8, 2010. Cloth wipes, night time diapering, Night time solutions. 2 comments.

Night time diapering!

I want to revisit nighttime diapering again – I know it is a Waterloo for many cloth mamas, no-one likes the 3 straight hours we usually get interrupted by a swimming pool either in our sheets, the crib or the new toddler bed we just put together. Many mamas will use disposables at night, and believe me, that is not going to get a raised eyebrow from me.

Very heavy wetters can be very challenging, and if one disposable a day helps you keep some sanity long enough to cloth diaper during the day, by all means you have my blessing. However, if you have the desire to try or re-try nighttime diapering, we would love to help you find a solution. The typical age we see most babies outwetting what they use during the day is 4-6 months. Around 9 months, we usually see a big jump in absorbeny needs, and it truly can happen over night, so don’t be surprised if the change seems very sudden.

For the fitteds/pocket using moms, I always love to bring up the Happy Hempy. It is a simple diaper, a pocket fitted with a stay dry inner, and often is overlooked as a nighttime solution. It does need a cover, and inserts/trifolded prefolds to put in it, but it holds everything in place, is easy to put on and off, helps contain a great deal of absorbency, and is easy to wash and dry because it is essentially a pocket without any PUL or encased layers. It is roomy in size, so trifolded a prefold with hemp inserts is easy to do, and it still provides the stay dry protection many babies need at night to avoid the pink tinge to their skin from overnight wetness and/or heat rash.

Let me know if you have any questions, it is easy to upsize in these, they are sized low in the rise to fit under covers, so if your child is close to the next weight range, feel safe in sizing up for the longevity of wearing that size. Let me know if you have any questions.

October 6, 2010. cloth diapers, night time diapering, Night time solutions. 4 comments.

Boost absorbency

We are going over ways to boost fitteds for absorbency. We had a few emails this week with mamas wondering how to make their fitteds more nap and nighttime friendly. The problem with making a fitted super absorbent, the more layers you sew in, the harder they are to clean and the longer to dry. That being said, one of the best fitteds for absorbency is a real underdog, the Baby Beehinds one size fitted. We don’t sell a lot of these, but they really pack a punch for their trimness.

A few ways to increase absorbency with fitteds:
-If you have nothing else on hand, cut up some old hand towels or use washcloths, fold in half and lay between the fitted and cover. When we used prefolds and covers 7 years ago with not a nickel to spare, I used lots of old rags to boost absorbency, terry cloth items can work really well!
-If you have prefolds, fold in half and lay in as well, same way between cover and fitted.
-Hemp inserts will pack the most absorbency per inch for their trimness, joey bunz are inexpensive and last forever, you can upsize easily if you don’t mind tucking them under a little in the back, a little extra bulk and you can skip a size with these.
-If you use pocket fitteds stuff them with anything absorbenct, wipes, washcloths, prefolds or hemp inserts. If you have only microfiber inserts on hand, they can be laid behind the fitted as well, you just don’t want them laying against your baby’s skin.
-Preemies and newborns do well with baby washcloths folded behind their little fitteds, if you just need a tiny boost try these first since you usually have a bunch on hand.

July 30, 2010. cloth diapers, Fitteds, Night time solutions, Q & A. 3 comments.

More nighttime diapering

Last time we went over upsizing for nighttime, and pajama choices. Today we are talking a little more about what to use inside the diaper for nighttime, to best optimize your absorbency. You can have the exact same nighttime items, but placed in different orders can give you very different results with the same child. For fitteds, AIOs, and nighttime, what the urine is hitting first can affect if your urine will distribute throughout or compress in the middle and leak out the legs. Your most dense fabrics, namely your pure hemp (not the hemp blends), and cotton you want to be hit last with the urine. Cotton is less dense then hemp, so if you have prefolds with hemp, have the urine hit the prefold first. Your least dense, but also lease absorbent, materials will be your microfiber, and micoterry blends. Fleece and suedecloth are just stay dry liners to let urine pass through, nothing gets absorbed. Keep this in mind when layering your nighttime diapers, placing hemp on top and microfiber underneath can leak well before switching the two. Microfiber shouldn’t touch baby’s skin directly, but under a fleece, flannel, silk or bamboo liner it is perfectly fine.

June 14, 2010. Tags: , . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Night time solutions, Q & A. Leave a comment.

Nighttime diapering

For newborns, the first 4-6 weeks are the same as daytime, you are changing every few hours if not sooner at night, since when they wake to eat they have usually had a bowel movement that needs attention. Around 4-8 weeks they will stop having these bowel movements at night, and most babies can continue with their daytime diapers but with slightly increased absorbency for the next month or two.

If your child is a heavy wetter (meaning your daytime diapers are pretty saturated in an hour or so, and nighttime is a few hours at best), this is the time frame where you will see the need to upsize your nighttime diaper from your daytime diapers. The amount of stuffing needed for heavy wetters will typically cause an upsize well before the daytime diapers need this to happen. Sme of our favorite daytime diapers, like bumgenius, Thirsties fitteds, AIOs, are just not equipped for nighttime. What you love about them during the day is what works against you at night. The trim contours, thin fit, and quick to wash and dry is not adequate to hold the amount of stuffing needed that causes leg gaps and leaking at night.

For specific fit issues, please email us, but before buying a boatload of new things, we can help you use what you already have and piece things around that to make nighttime work. Most of you have the absorbency needed, it is the “shell” that will change, the cover, the pocket, something on the outside to help the inside “stuff” work well for your baby. Pajamas make a difference, too. As cute as they are, most heavy wetters will not do well in two piece pajamas, unless the bottoms are really loose in the elastic and do not pull down on the diaper. One piece sleepers, tee-shirts or long sleeve shirts with leg warmers or long socks, are better choices. The pants on many pjs will pull down on the diaper, causing leg gaps at the bottom of the crotch, and letting urine seep out. Cloth at night is possible, with a few tweaks it can be easy and work for your family~

June 12, 2010. Tags: . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Night time solutions, Q & A. Leave a comment.

Night time training

Now, if you thought our advice on day training was very “sit back and see where they go”, nighttime doesn’t get better. For my own children, it is really a matter of waiting until after they are day trained and wake up dry for a good two weeks straight before we try underwear at night.

If your child has been day trained for a few months and still has nighttime wetting, try something to see where they are. Lay a natural fiber inside the diaper, so it provides a wetness cue. It can be a hemp insert, a wipe, a prefold, anything that isn’t stay dry or microfiber. See how your child does, if she wakes up due to the wetness enough to call you and finish urinating on the toilet, you may have a case for a few trainers to provide a different feel than a diaper. If she pees through and doesn’t wake, she will leak out of the trainers, so don’t bother with them yet.

I am not a fan of witholding fluids to encourage nighttime training, especially going into the warmer months, after a hot day of play kids needs to hydrate when they have a chance to settle down at night. The Happy Heiny trainers, which are very diaper-like in feel and absorbency (meaning you can stuff them as much as you need to for older toddlers) can go well into 50+ pounds, so you are covered for nighttime as long as your child needs it. It really is not unusual for us to see emails for children who are 5, 6 and older to need help at night. If you have ruled out any medical conditions that need attention, it is just a matter of those cues and when your child is ready to plug those cues into toilet readiness, and enough bladder control to last all night.

In the ironic twist of life, the reality is they may be helping us with our diapers if we are lucky enough to live so long, so patience is the name of the game here~

June 2, 2010. Night time solutions, Q & A, toilet training & learning. 2 comments.

Infant Nighttime Cloth Diapering Solutions

Having diapered now 4 babies at nighttime, here is what we personally did:

With our first, who was by far the lightest wetter of them all, prefolds and covers worked very well. When she stopped having bowel movements at night, one prefold still held her all night under a simple PUL cover (proraps at the time). Looking back I am wondering if she didn’t have enough hydration-LOL-because she really barely wet at night.

Baby #2 was a heavier wetter, we did use Kissaluvs and covers at nighttime, sometimes folding an infant prefold in half and putting it between the fitted and cover for absorbency protection, this would hold her for the night.

Baby #3 started with Thirsties fitteds and Thirsties covers, but was a big baby (11 pounds coming home from the hospital, 12-14 pounds around the two month mark). She fit into older sister’s one size pockets pretty early, so I would stuff bumgenius pockets with an infant prefold folded in half, and a small joey bunz behind it all in the pocket.

Baby #4, little Sebastian, is a very heavy wetter. Fitteds and covers worked for the first week or so, even changing every two hours at night, they would get pretty soaked. We then went into some one size pockets with a folded prefold and one hemp insert, and those were saturated, too. We then found and love our solution now. He is just under 10 pounds, and we use a medium Happy Hempy pocket fitted, stuffed with an infant prefold folded in half. A Disana wool cover goes over the whole thing. Our cover is a well-felted one from older sister, it started as a large but is now the size of a medium soaker. The hempy is barely wet in the morning, so I know it has room to spare with absorbency. Now all of this does not fit into a sleeper, so I advise mom and dad to invest in some sleep sacks (those cute little potato-sack sleepers that are just gathered elastic at the legs), to accomodate the stuffing and make for easy changes at night.

Our Hempys in the store have a stay dry fleece inner, so it is not a natural fabric against him. I prefer a stay dry inner anyway, but if you like the idea of the hempy, we can order them with the hemp inner so the natural fabric is against the baby’s skin.

One size fitteds would have been a good route, too, especially the Baby Beehinds or Swaddlebees one size Organic Velour fitteds.

From talking with our customers, I would have to guess the breakdown for babies 0-3 months would be: 20% very light wetters, 70 % average wetters, 10% heavy wetters. Meaning, chances are you aren’t going to have to pull out the big guns with a wool soaker early on, but also I would not rely on just a single prefold to last all night.

Hemp inserts are great for any system to boost absorbency, they do need to be used in combination with something (so not just hemp alone in a pocket diaper), they are a really dense fabric, and will oversaturate in the middle before the urine has a chance to distribute if used by themselves. Combined with microfiber, cotton prefolds, even hemp/fleece fabric inserts, they do an incredible job of absorbing lots in a very trim way.

May 6, 2010. Diaper Chatter, Night time solutions. 3 comments.