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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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Sleepless, Leaky Nights

It’s early, too early. I throw back the covers and stumble over to my babbling 4 month old. Even in the dark, I can see the huge grin spread across her face when she sees someone has finally acknowledged her at this hour. No matter how exhausted I am, I can’t help but smile back. Then I reach down, and that sweet moment is erased by frustration at realizing her, her pajamas, sheets and blanket are all soaked.

I’ve loved cloth diapering both my daughters. They’re cute. They save money. But I can’t lie. When it comes to bedtime, I hate cloth diapering. Some nights I just heave a tired sigh, and grab a disposable. But I hate that, too.

I don’t want to change sheets in the middle of the night. I want a bullet proof cloth diaper that will last for 12 hours. I know. Does that exist?

I have two hurdles. The first is that my daughter still wakes up once, okay occasionally twice a night to nurse. The second (and biggest) is she still lies on her back all night. I realized with both my girls, many times they’d leak out the back of the diaper, when the front stayed completely dry. Insert frustrated mommy scream here!

I never found THE solution with my older daughter. I wrapped her in so many prefolds, I could hardly stretch her pj’s over them. I used wool covers my mom made. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t. But she always woke up in the morning reeking of pee. It was gross, and eventually I just succumbed to the call of disposables.

When my younger daughter was born, I vowed this time I was going to find something that worked. I didn’t worry about it in the beginning. We were changing diapers night and day. Bumping up one size in prefolds held her for 3 hours. Around 4-6 weeks old though, I was forced to start looking for other options.

First, I used one-size Blueberry pockets stuffed with 2 regular inserts or 1 regular insert and a Hemp insert. For middle of the night changes, I’d use another Blueberry, or if they were clean, one of my GroVia shells with a Soaker pad. This worked OK. Unfortunately, DD’s thighs weren’t chunky enough (even as a 13 pound 2 month old) and the Blueberrys gapped in the legs. Leaks. When I would stuff them with more than just the 1 regular liner, they got too bulky and gapped in the back. More leaks. The GroVia’s were a good option for the last 4-5 hours of the night, but definitely wouldn’t hold up for 8-12 hours.

Here I was, reaching for the disposables again. Enough. I hadn’t spent a lot of money on cloth this time around, using stuff I already had plus a few things I got as baby gifts. I was going to find some solutions. I pulled up Kelly’s Closet and looked at their Nighttime Solutions. The first thing that caught my eye was the KaWaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter One Size Diaper. If it says “heavy wetter” in the product name, it’s got to be worth looking at, right? The reviews were good. The price was definitely right. I decided to order 2. They were so soft! The next night after getting them washed, I put one on DD for bedtime. The fit was perfect! No gaps in the legs or back. Even with two inserts, it wasn’t super bulky. But would it keep her dry? First wake up at 2am…all good. I wanted to test it, so I kept the diaper on her. When she woke up in the morning at 6am, she was happy and still DRY! If there’s a cloth diaper happy dance, I was doing it!

Of course, just one night time solution wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to test other options, too. Next I bought 1 Sustainablebabyish Bamboo Terry flat. Amazing reviews, but a little pricey for a flat diaper. I paired it with a homemade wool cover. Like the KaWaii, first wake up was good. But then DD woke up again around 4am. Wet. So no luck on the first try, but maybe it just needs a few more washes to gain more absorbency.

As long as I have a baby in cloth, I’ll probably always be looking for nighttime solutions. It’s one of the hardest things to figure out, but worth it for me and my wallet!

Kelly is a married, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, full-time working mom. She has a 7-year-old son, a 4-year- old daughter and just welcomed her new daughter to the craziness in March!


Rachel said...

My 11 mo old has the same diaper on to sleep in tonight as your little one in the picture. We had a terrible time with him being wet every am in disposables. I was skeptical when I switched to cloth at night but we have had no leaks since switching to the Kawaii's at night. We love them. I put one insert in there with a baby kicks hemp deluxe doubler. I highly recommend both.

Mr. G said...

I have a champion wetter the gnhw kawaii doesn't work neither does a fitted with a cover!my solution...we have a smart snugs diaper with a hemp insert,2 thin bamboo inserts, and then either 2mf or whatever other ones I have! That holds him 12+hours even with breastfeeding multiple times and sleeping on his side or back. That's worth a try if you need another idea!

Alysa Gregory said...

my experience on cloth diapering is that it really fits on your budget! Most babies go through an average of 8 to 10 diaper changes every day, depending on their size and age. Parents on a tight budget look for the most affordable diapers they can find to keep up with the changes.To find more about baby diapering visit for good deals.

Lara + Chris said...

Argh, I just wrote a super lnog comment that got eaten!!! GRRR.

Anyway. The solution is something you started with, but didn't have the right materials. A *good* fitted and a *good* wool cover. Yes, this is pricey, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Handknit wool is too loosely knitted for overnight. The spaces between the knit is too high. If you stretch it and can see through it at all, it's too loose. Upcycled wool is often too thin or doesn't have a high enough wool content to work well. You want interlock wool (like Rainbow Baby or Sustainable Babyish) or a thick machine knit wool (like Sustainable Babyish). All of these brands also have a nice high waistband. (Note: there are some machine knit wool covers, like Kissaluvs, that I think are too thin for overnight. You want THICK). And obviously you want it lanolized well.

You also need to pair it with a high quality, thick fitted, like Twinkie Tush Night Night or GoodMama GoodNight. There are a lot of fitteds out there; they are not all created equal. The brands listed above we don't have to add anything to; other brands I trifold a prefold and use it with the fitted or add an additional hemp insert (so that's a definite possible option too - you'd want the additional absorbency towards the back of the diaper).

If you're only using this combo overnight you can get by with 2-3 diapers and 1-2 wool covers. And yes, that can add up - BUT the important thing to note is that it's worth your sanity (I promise!) AND that wool in particular loses virtually none of the value when it comes to reselling, as long as you take care of it. You can buy a pair of Sustainable Babyish longies new for $70, and they sell for $60-65 used on the swap boards. And they last a very long time - my daughter, who is quite tall for her age, was in the same pair of S size longies from about 4 months to a year old (granted they got a bit short at the end there, but they were still totally functional). Good fitteds are much the same - you can buy them new for $30-40, and sell them for $20-30, and they are good for babies from about 12-15lbs to potty training.

It definitely is a pricey solution, but it's pricey for a reason: it works! My daughter is a very heavy wetter and was still waking up to nurse 1-2 times a night until she was 8 or 9 months old. No leaks. Ever!

If you absolutely cannot do that (and I urge you to give it a shot!!!) GreenLine Diapers makes a cover that has an extremely high rise in the back. Using that with a trifolded prefold wrapped around a hemp insert (or their bamboo insert) may work for you, with the insert being placed toward the back of the diaper.

Lara + Chris said...

The Greenline diapers I linked above also have a high-backed fleece cover that could work as well - I haven't tried it, though. Fleece isn't quite as bullet proof but the high back could be the key!

You could also look at hybrid fitteds paired with a good cover - hybrid fitteds have a layer of fleece built in that repels that wetness back into the diaper to be absorbed.

Heather said...

We use Bumboo Bamboo diapers, and they are WONDERFUL. They totally last through the night for my heavy-wetting 6mo old, and that's even without the extra insert they give you. I found them on BabySteals, for $28 for 2, I think. They are wonderful, I couldn't recommend them more. We just use them with the GroVia shells, works like a charm!

& don't worry - they occasionally come back up on sale on BabySteals!