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Using reusable nappies overnight

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

Modern cloth nappy system for overnight use

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Cloth during the day is pretty straight forward and not significantly different to disposables, you just wash them instead of throwing them away. Overnight can be a slightly different matter depending on how often your baby wakes/feeds and how heavy a wetter they are, but there is a system out there for everyone.

Before I start, I will clarify that our baby rarely slept through the night, we stopped night feeds around 10 months, and I would class her as a heavy wetter.

When we started with cloth nappies when our eldest was 6 weeks old so we were still changing regularly through the night, meaning we could use the Motherease Wizard Unos we had bought throughout the night. Part of the reason we had chosen Wizard Unos because they were the only All in One we found which were noted as suitable for night when boosted correctly, meaning we could work with just one nappy type, making things easier for her Dad to get on board.

Once she was at an age that we could start leaving the nappy longer overnight, we added a Motherease Sandys booster in Large to the nappy, and had great success. However, around 6 months we found this system was no longer keeping up.

Initially we switched to a more absorbent hemp booster This did the trick for a while, although as weaning continued and she started to drink more water these started failing us too so we needed to consider some other options.

Stacks of reusable nappy boosters and liners for nighttime use

Two Part System

After some research, I found the general consensus was two-parters were the safest bet for night time, so off I went and purchased two pre-loved TotsBots Bamboozles and Motherease Airflows. At last, success, they lasted through the night, so slowly I bought some other fitted nappies to try including: Ellas House Bumhugger, Little Lambs Bamboo and Bambinex Bamboo.

The two-part system was working perfectly for us. As my baby grew and started to sleep better overnight, I found the confidence to trial some other brands and styles which I'd been recommended.

Baby playing with toys wearing Close Pop-in real cloth nappy

Close Pop-Ins

Many of my fellow Cloth Bum Mums had experienced success with Close Pop-In and their night booster, so these were first on my list to try. Rather than buying a new booster we stuck with our trusty hemp boosters. We did have success in the beginning. However, we did experience the odd leak if she’s had a particularly heavy night, so they weren’t the first we reached for but would still use them when needed.

Baby in a traditional terry towel cloth nappy

Terry Towels

Next, I followed in the footsteps of one of my Insta Mummy friends and we gave terry towels a go. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to use, there are a lot of different folds to choose from depending on the age and sex of your baby and absorbency requirements. A fitted nappy is essentially a modern terry towel, they are exactly the same in absorbency, you just don't have to fold them. So unsurprisingly we had the same success.

Pre-fold reusable nappy in a Thirsties nappy wrap


Finally, now we had tried the terry towel it meant we only had one nappy style left to try - pre-folds. These are more simple than a terry towel, usually made up of a number of layers of fabric and stitches along the lines you fold. We used Bambino Mioduo which I folded in thirds as directed and half again and placed in the bottom of the wrap. Absorbency wise they worked perfectly, and I liked that it's easy to cover the whole pad with a fleece liner meaning no dampness against my baby's skin.

Two different cloth nappy wraps for covering fitted or flat nappies

Nappy Wraps

On the subject of wraps, we trialed a few different styles. Everyone raves about Motherease Airflows but they were hard to get hold of at the time. I was impressed with the airflows for coverage because of their bloomer style, however come morning we were getting red marks on her legs so something was wrong. Thinking it may be due to size or the fact they were pre-loved and perhaps not as well cared for, I tried sizing up and some different brands in the same style, including Nature Babies Multiwrap and Popolini Vento Wrap, but we continued to get the same.

Giving up on the bloomer style, we tried a few more brands, our favourite is the Tots Bots Peenut wrap, specifically designed to go over the Bamboozle, we don’t have any trouble with covering any of the nappies I’ve mentioned above.

A very close second is the Thirsties Duo wrap. I really like that it is ruched the whole way around the waist, not just at the back, which meant that as we moved into pyjamas I have fewer issues with the waistband slipping under the wrap.

We have also tried the Bambino Mio Duo and Close Parent Wrap. The Bambino Mio only really works with the pre-fold, there isn’t as much wrap at the hips as others so we can struggle to get the coverage required to prevent leaks. The Close Parent Wraps have much better coverage but we do struggle with the slightly wider Bumhugger around the hips.

Motherease Airflow wrap over the top of a shaped nappy for nighttime

Overall, my favourite nighttime nappy is the Ellas House Bumhugger, because it is hemp it's super absorbent so I don't need to boost it any further, although I often do just in case. I also love that it is entirely fleece lined so I don't need to add any additional liners to protect my baby from dampness. Over the top my wrap of choice is Tots Bots Peenut, although now we have managed to source an XL Airflow we are having better success with these. I believe the red markings were chaffing where she was moving around a lot in her sleep so needs the legs to be very loose, which sounds odd but airflows are genuinely magic and never appear to leak even with leg gaps!

If you’re thinking of making the switch to cloth and night and aren’t sure where to start consider how heavy your disposable is in the morning for an indication of how much much absorbency you may need.

If you have a cloth nappy library near you speak with them and see if you can hire a night time kit to try. If you are already using cloth during the day why not start with the nappies you currently use with different booster/insert combinations. If you're not confident or feel your baby is a heavier wetter I’d go straight in with the two-part system, as it's pretty fail safe.

It really isn’t as complex as it seems before you start.

Baby sleeping peacefully in a real cloth nappy

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