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What Cloth Diaper for the Night? - All About Nighttime Diapering

Welche Stoffwindel nachts? - Alles rund ums nächtliche Wickeln

Photo by @anni.und.die.bande


The suitable diaper for daytime use may not always meet the requirements for an overnight diaper. Your baby's nighttime diaper has to withstand a lot more since you certainly don't want to unnecessarily disturb your baby's nighttime sleep because the diaper leaks or fits uncomfortably. That's why we have gathered the most important information about overnight diapers for you.

What qualities should cloth diapers have at night? The overnight diaper should seal particularly well - even for side or stomach sleepers - plus, it should comfortably adjust to your baby and be especially absorbent.

In this article, you will learn what requirements a cloth diaper needs to meet overnight, which cloth diapers won't leak at night, and valuable tips for nighttime diapering. 

Which Cloth Diaper for the Night?

To ensure that you and your baby get through the night without unnecessary diaper incidents, the nighttime diaper should meet these requirements: 

The Cloth Diaper Should Remain Leak-proof All Night

  • The cloth diaper should not leak at the top waistband or around the legs.
  • The cloth diaper should also quickly absorb the entire volume of urine for "heavy wetters" (babies who urinate less frequently but in larger amounts at once).
  • The overnight diaper must not leak, even when the baby is sleeping on their side or stomach.
  • The outer cover should be made of PUL or wool to prevent leaks.

The Cloth Diaper Should Be Comfortable

It's important that the cloth diaper fits your baby properly. Ensure that it's the right size – not too tight, but also not loose enough to shift around.

The Overnight Diaper Should Be as Absorbent as Possible

For your baby to wear the cloth diaper all night, it's important to choose a highly absorbent material. Also, make sure that you can adjust the absorbency of the diaper, for example, with boosters.

Hassle-Free Nighttime Diapering

If your baby needs a fresh diaper during the night, the diaper change should be as hassle-free as possible.

Judes baby sleeping in crib overnight diaper cloth diaper

Photo by @madame.vio

Suitable Cloth Diaper Systems for Overnight Use

There are several suitable cloth diaper systems for nighttime use. Here is a list of appropriate systems.

Fitted Diapers with a Cover

Fitted diapers are made entirely of absorbent material. For the fitted diaper, you also need a separate cover.

Diapering effort: Diapering here is very straightforward → put on the diaper and pull the cover over it

All-In-Two Diapers

With All-In-Two diapers, the cover and inserts are not sewn together. The absorbent insert is either snapped into the diaper or placed into the provided flaps.

Diapering effort: Diapering here is very straightforward → lay the child on the diaper and close it, tucking the elastics into the leg crease

Insert with Wool Cover

Here, you choose the appropriate insert (see below) for your baby. The cover acts as a moisture barrier (when regularly lanolized). The covers are available as pull-up pants or with closures such as velcro or snaps.

Diapering effort: The inserts must be prepared before diapering. The effort depends on the choice of insert and cover. 

Judes Cloth Diapers

A Judes diaper consists of two combinable parts, the absorbent material (inner diaper) and a waterproof cover (outer cover). Thanks to a special weaving technique, the cotton is particularly absorbent while the diaper remains very slim.

Diapering effort: Diapering here is very simple → Place the inner diaper and possibly Poo Paper (if your baby still has bowel movements at night) into the outer cover. Lay the diaper under the baby's bottom and secure it with the velcro closure.


Appropriate Inserts

When choosing a cloth diaper insert, make sure it is right for your child. For example, if your child urinates a lot at once, the insert should be able to quickly absorb the urine. 

  • Cotton
    • absorbs quickly, medium absorption volume
    • Cotton Terry
      • absorbs quickly, very absorbent
      • Judes Booster Insert made of organic cotton
        • absorbs quickly, very absorbent → For increased absorbency, two inserts can be combined 
        • Polyester / Microfiber
          • absorbs quickly, very low absorption volume
          • Hemp / Linen
            • absorbs slowly, very absorbent
            • Bamboo
              • absorbs quickly, very absorbent
            • Exception: Stay-Dry Fleece / Diaper Fleece
              • absorbs slowly, but wicks urine to the inside of the diaper, creating a dry feeling on the child's bottom. → Suitable for babies sensitive to a wet diaper

            Judes cloth diapers on changing table, cloth diapers for the night, nighttime diapersPhoto by @ammenmaerchen

            Judes Cloth Diapers

            I would like to discuss our Judes Cloth Diaper in more detail here:

            Judes Cloth Diaper is the ideal overnight diaper. While the highly absorbent inner diaper quickly and securely absorbs all liquids, the waterproof outer cover provides optimal protection. The material is breathable and thus ensures a healthy diaper climate.

            For additional protection at night, simply add one of our Booster Inserts to the inner diaper. The booster takes up very little space and increases the absorption volume, so your baby can wear the diaper for up to twelve hours. And the cotton fleece surface is especially soft against the baby's bottom.

            If your baby pees a lot extra, you can even combine two boosters to further increase the absorbency.

            Judes Cloth Diapers are particularly conforming. We have designed our diapers to fit very well to any body shape. Thanks to the good fit, they keep particularly tight, and since the insert is already sewn in, nothing shifts and the diaper sits super comfortably.

            And there's an additional sustainable aspect as a bonus: The longer you use your Judes and the more often you wash them, the more absorbent the material becomes.

            Is Moisture in Cloth Diapers over an Extended Period Bad?

            Moisture in the diaper is not bad for your baby. Since the temperature inside the diaper matches your baby's body temperature, a wet diaper does not feel uncomfortable (similar to a wetsuit).

            What's important is that the overnight diaper absorbs enough to keep clothing and bedding dry. That's quite simple. Just adjust the required absorbency to the amount of urine your child produces.

            Besides that, feeling the wetness of the diaper can actually have a positive effect on your baby's potty training. When you diaper your baby with cloth diapers, it feels straight away when it wets the diaper. This gives a very natural bio-feedback: through this immediate sequence of action and result, even a baby can recognize this "if-then" relationship and gain a (subconscious) understanding of it. This understanding is beneficial for your child when it comes to becoming dry, since it is already familiar with the signals from its body.

            That's why we at Judes have intentionally designed our cloth diapers so your baby feels when it gets wet after peeing in the diaper. This way, your baby can learn this important connection. Also, our very own study shows: Children who were diapered with cloth diapers became diaper-free about 8 months earlier than those who were diapered with disposable diapers.

            How Many Overnight Diapers?

            If your cloth diapers are not suitable as overnight diapers, you will need additional overnight diapers. Adjust the quantity according to your washing routine. If you use one diaper per night and have a washing routine of every 4 days, you will need 4 overnight diapers and 2 - 4 covers.

            If you use Judes cloth diapers, you do not need extra overnight diapers; you only need 2 - 4 Boosters (depending on your washing routine).

            Inappropriate Cloth Diaper Systems for Nighttime

            • All-In Diapers
            • Pocket Diapers
            • All-In-Three Diapers

            Diapering at Night

            Should You Change Diapers at Night?

            An appropriate cloth diaper can stay leakproof throughout the night. However, especially newborns still need to be changed regularly during the night. A general rule is: If there is a bowel movement in the diaper, you must change it.

            How often you should change your baby's diaper at night depends on various factors. For instance, the digestive systems of newborns are not fully developed, and they usually have a bowel movement after every feeding. Therefore, you need to change your newborn more frequently at night to avoid irritating their skin unnecessarily. Between the third and sixth month of life, the digestive system usually matures and nighttime bowel movements become a thing of the past.

            For urine, it depends on the absorbency of the diaper and your child's sensitivity. If your baby becomes restless in wet diapers and has difficulty falling back asleep, you should change them.

            Adiuretin - the Antidiuretic Hormone

            During the night, babies excrete as much urine in 11 to 13 hours as they do during the day in 3 to 4 hours. The reason for this is a special hormone: the Antidiuretic Hormone, also known as ADH. This hormone has a significant impact on the body's water balance and ensures that we need to go to the bathroom much less often at night, as the body produces less urine.

            Tips for Nighttime Diaper Changes

            When changing diapers at night, it's important to maintain a relaxed atmosphere and change your child gently to avoid waking them unnecessarily. For peaceful nights, consider these tips:

            Good Preparation

            Have everything you need for changing ready. To ensure minimal effort, change your child directly in their bed.

            You will need:

            • Fresh cloth diapers + cloth diaper inserts/Boosters
            • Change of clothes - In case of any accidents
            • Washcloths and warm water (e.g., from a thermos)
            • Possibly a changing pad or a towel

            Relaxed Environment

            Ensure a relaxed environment during nighttime changes. If you can keep the sleepy mood, you and your baby can quickly fall back asleep.

            Therefore, pay attention to:

            • Muted lighting → e.g., yellow light from a night light or salt lamp
            • Quiet surroundings → speak as little as possible; what's more important is skin contact and minimal movement
            • Warm environment → Make sure your hands are warm; you may have a portable heat lamp; you can also place the diapers on the radiator to warm them up slightly

            Suitable Clothing

            As part of your good preparation for nighttime diaper changes, it's also important not to disturb your baby unnecessarily when undressing. Ensure that the sleep sack and pajamas can easily be opened from below.

            When selecting the cloth diaper, also consider that diaper changes at night should be as simple as possible. Pull-Up diapers may be practical during the day, but at night it saves time if your child doesn't have to completely slip out of the legs of their pajamas or if you don't have to unbutton and rebutton everything.

            Judes Baby sleeping on stomach, cloth diapers for night, nighttime diapers

            Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

            Do Older Children Still Need to Be Diapered at Night?

            The older your child gets, the more likely it is that you can skip diaper changes at night. On one hand, the bladders of growing toddlers have a larger capacity, and on the other hand, the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) ensures that less urine is produced at night. Your child's sleep is less often disturbed by the need to urinate, and the amount of urine can be well-contained by the diaper. Often, the diaper even remains dry until morning.

            However, this is less clear-cut with disposable diapers. Our study found that more than 15 percent of children who are diapered with disposables are diapered for 4 years or longer. With cloth diapers, it's less than one percent of children.

            If your child sleeps through the night, there's no need to wake them just to change the diaper. You can check the diaper again before you go to bed. If your child still regularly wakes up at night, this is a good time to check and possibly change the diaper.

            In this article you will find everything else you need to know about nighttime diapering.

            Tips for When the Cloth Diaper Leaks at Night

            • Use a cloth diaper one size larger
            • Use a bodysuit one size larger or a bodysuit extender
            • Switch to a different brand or type of cloth diaper
            • Change the diaper again before you go to bed
            • For belly sleepers, place the absorbent insert/booster more towards the front
            • Use an additional absorbent insert/booster
            • Re-lanolize wool diapers
            • Avoid moisture bridges → Inserts or liner sheets must not hang out of the cover
            • For heavy wetters: use quick-absorbing inserts

            In this article you can find more detailed information about what to do if diapers are leaking.

            Becoming Dry at Night

            How Long Do Diapers Last at Night?

            Even if your child is diaper-free during the day, it usually takes a bit longer at night. During the day, your child can actively respond to their bodily signals, and even then, they might not notice them when distracted. At night, the bladder essentially has to learn to signal the body to wake up when it needs to be emptied.

            The majority of toddlers show first signs around their third year of life that they can/are ready to leave the night diaper behind. Up until the 5th birthday, you can stay relaxed and give your child time.

            Judes baby sweetly sleeping with teddy bear, cloth diapers at night, overnight diaper

            Photo by Minnie Zhou on Unsplash

            Practical Tips for Restful Nights

            Often, becoming dry at night is a longer process and not something that can be achieved in just a few days. Especially for the transition phase, the following tips may be helpful:

            • Have your child urinate before going to bed
            • Encourage your child to drink enough during the day so they don't try to catch up in the evening - of course, don't refuse your child a drink in the evening
            • Use a waterproof sheet on your child's bed or a waterproof pad. This allows your child to sleep without a diaper without risking the mattress.
            • For stress-free bed linen changing at night, make the child's bed with two sheets and place a towel or a waterproof pad between them - so at night, you only have to remove the sheet and the towel/pad and you instantly have a fresh sheet underneath.
            • Have a change of clothes ready so that you can quickly and easily change your child if their clothing gets wet with urine
            • Double-bedding the bed. The most valuable tip for me: Waterproof pad, bed sheet, waterproof pad, bed sheet. If your child wets the bed at night, you can remove the affected sheet and pad and your child can continue sleeping quickly without you having to make the bed again first.

            Here you can learn everything else about weaning off the night diaper.

            I hope that this article has helped you in choosing the right cloth diaper for the night! If you have any more tips for nighttime diapering, please let us know in the comments! Follow us on Instagram for more information about our cloth diapers.

            Further Questions and Interesting Facts

            How Should I Dress My Baby at Night?

            Below 16°C: Hat + gloves + socks + bodysuit + pajamas + sleeping bag 3 TOG*
            16°C - 17°C: Socks + bodysuit + pajamas + sleeping bag 2.5 TOG
            18°C - 19°C: Bodysuit + pajamas + sleeping bag 1 TOG
            20°C - 21°C: Short-sleeved bodysuit + pajamas + sleeping bag 1 TOG
            22°C - 23°C: Pajamas + sleeping bag 0.5 - 1 TOG
            24°C - 25°C: Short-sleeved bodysuit + sleeping bag 0.5 TOG
            Above 26°C: Short-sleeved bodysuit

            *TOG (Thermal Overall Grade) - A unit of measurement for the thermal resistance of textiles → The higher the TOG, the warmer the fabric


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