The Nighttime Disposable Diaper Dilemma

This entry is from GBG’s first month of blogging, back in December of 2007.  Now that I’m in the middle of raising our second baby, it’s amazing how true those memories of sleep deprivation have become once again.  We’re still managing with just cloth this time but I’ll keep you posted on whether we face the disposable diaper dilemma with our second as well!

Sleep. Ahh sleep! I remember those nights when I snuggled into bed and enjoyed an unfettered slumber of more than eight hours without a second thought. If I had six hours of sleep or less, my day was spent barely coping with my shocking state of sleep deprivation. My how things have changed!

When our son Roscoe was first born, our biggest struggle was colic. There were hours of crying, often scheduled by our purple, screaming son to continue between the hours of 3:27 and 5:46am. We noticed that the whites of our eyes were permanently pink and we often found ourselves breaking into hysterical laughter for no reason whatsoever.  When Roscoe was asleep, we almost forgot how bad the constant crying was.  Here he is dreaming of plans to interrupt our sleep in the middle of the night.

Then, just as we overcame the colic, we moved into nighttime wetting. As dedicated cloth diaper users, we tried a variety of strategies including double diapering, fleece and wool liners, 10 p.m. diaper changes, and a variety of covers. Roscoe managed to pee through whatever obstacle we placed in front of him. If peeing were an Olympic event, that would be great—but it isn’t, and we were tired.

When we talked to our cloth diapering friends, they all told us their dirty little nighttime secret—disposables. Oh the horror! At first we continued with diaper and clothing changes in the wee hours of the night, but eventually our fatigue-addled wills gave in. That was months ago, and now Roscoe sleeps for most of the night wearing disposables.

We use seven disposables a week (which is seven more than we’d like) but we’re still concerned about some of the health factors related to disposable diapers. Click here to read about links between disposables and male infertility as well as an increased risk of developing asthma.The best tips seem to come from moms who are up to their elbows in diapers. What do you do to keep baby dry at night? Do you use G-diapers, double diaper, or use a cloth diaper product that seems to do the trick?  What works for you?


  1. Thanks for sharing all this helpful information regarding cloth diapering. For more information about cloth diapers visit

  2. fuzzibunz and a thirstie insert, even a microfiber towel folded behind the insert!!!……double the inserts—–it works for our heavy wetter and she wets through SPOSIES!

  3. I heartily second the Fuzzibunz with a microterry insert – double if need be. My son was wetting through whatever we tried – until the Fuzzibunz solution. Best of luck!

  4. Hmm…I think this comment may be a little late, and perhaps you’ve already found a solution. But I third the Fuzzi Bunz recommendation. I use one microterry insert (the one that comes with the Fuzzi Bunz), plus two hemp inserts (nice and thin, but super absorbent!). Or if all the hemp ones are dirty, I’ll fold a washcloth in half and put it in with the microterry. No more wet jammies. 🙂

    I just discovered your blog and I love it so far – I’ll have to bookmark it and come back for more when I have time.

  5. I read this post when it was new and now again. My DS is 21 months not yet PT. I also have a 2 month old–who I am blessed that sleeps the night. But my toddler is a heavy heavy heavy wetter. I do a Happy Hempy with two inserts-hemp and microfiber with a dancing bears fleece cover. I know a lot of people do wool cover. When he was smaller Bum genius one size worked great too!!!

  6. VeggieMomma says

    I have this exact same problem. My 6 year old still wets the bed EVERYNIGHT and usually, more than once. Disposables are no good for me–I want to avoid those chemicals on my little boy’s…area…SOOO…I tried bamboo/hemp with wool covers and still faced leaks. Every day I was washing multiple sheets and blankets and even with a protective cover on the mattress, we went through TWO mattresses (second hand). Now I’ve been using Bummis trainers, which are definitely large enough, and I stuff them with microfiber and hemp doublers. So far, so good! I would like to try the X-Large Fuzzi-Bunz, but I was looking for something he could pull on/off himself so we do not have to lie him down and snap it all up–like a baby…The Bummis have been good so far.

  7. VeggieMomma says

    Oh yeah–and to limit the wetness–we get him to pee before bed, wake him to pee when we go to bed at midnight and then he usually only pees once in the diaper…

  8. Ok, so I’m late to the CD party, because I’ve only been cloth diapering my 8 month old for a week, but I’m doing it! I’ve been putting cloth (Bum genius 3.0) on her at night with no problem. Am I just lucky??

  9. I’ve only been CDing for 2 weeks (and I don’t have a full stash yet–so there are some sposies in the mix).

    For nighttime, I’ve had the best success with a semi-fitted pocket diaper from Green Acres Designs + a Dappi cover or a Bear Bottoms fleece cover. The Bear Bottoms is nice because it goes down the leg just a bit to prevent leaks.

    I like the fact that my fitted is also a pocket, and I’ve been stuffing it with a microfiber towel folded in thirds plus a hemp/cotton doubler.

    I wish it weren’t so bulky! But it’s better than being wet, I guess

  10. we’ve thankfully never had nighttime leaks except with the occassional disposable, (and my little one is 20 months.)

    we use mother-ease diapers/covers. they have their own liners, but for overnights we fold a cotton infant prefold inside, and it’s not even soaked by morning. (but she’s isn’t breastfeeding in the middle of the night anymore…)

  11. I like the BG 3.0 one size with both the regular and infant inserts in there. This usually cuts it for my 12 mo now that he doesn’t nurse more than once per night. We generally don’t have leaks. If we are traveling or have a sitter we sometimes use Huggies overnights one size bigger than he wears.

    I’d also love suggestions for 4-5 yo night wetters. Older son is in Pull-ups that sometimes leak.

  12. I use a BG one size also and had some leak problems once my little one started sleeping on her tummy. I use a hemp liner inside next to her skin and problem solved!

  13. ugh…i’m with you on this! we’re a disposable-at-night family, too, unfortunately. our little guy has such sensitive skin that keeping him in a cloth all night brings a sunburn-like bottom by the morning from all the wetness 🙁 we’re thinking of trying the new gcloths, though…maybe now that he’s a little older, he can handle it?

    so, even though i don’t have any solutions for you…i can at least provide some company!

  14. Our son actually pees through disposables and never leaks with cloth. We use either a Very Baby Simply Nights fitted, Baby Beehinds fitted, Green Acre Designs fleece pocket, Bagshot Row Bamboo Tucked in All Night, or a BamBooty Baby nighttime AIO. We use one of these coupled with a Dancing Bear nighttime fleece cover. NEVER a leak. Ever.

  15. We had this same issue when we switched to cloth. Here is what works for us:
    One-size 3.0 Bum Genius with the BG microfiber insert along with a hemp insert (underneath the microfiber insert because the microfiber absorbs liquid much more quickly). You can also just use 2 microfiber inserts (the full ones, not the infant ones), but I think hemp is supposed to be even more absorbent.

    My son used to be a very heavy night nurser (before we night-weaned him) and this method worked at least 95% of the time. We had previously had regular leaks with disposables, but it got even worse when we first switched to cloth. I have also heard that fleece covers (like the Sugar Peas Windpro Fleece Cover) or wool covers work great to stop leaks.

    For those with sensitive bums (like one of the commenters mentioned above), I would really recommend a microfleece diaper like BumGenius. My son is very rash prone and gets a red bottom during the day wearing cotton if we do not change him fairly often, so the microfleece works really well for him at night — his bottom even feels dry in the morning! Another cheaper option for a dry bottom plus greater absorbency is a doubler/liner made of microfleece that goes against the baby’s skin in combo with cotton or whatever you usually use. BG makes one (
    I haven’t used it yet myself, but plan to try it with the newborn we are expecting when he/she is too small for a good BG fit.

  16. We use a Bum Genius with either a thick prefold and a micro fleece doubler or the fleece insert and doubler and this usually works for our 7 month-old.

  17. Funny you should mention this…I was just thinking about this and whether or not we should try a cloth diaper at night.

    We cloth diaper by day (pocket diapers), but we also use disposables at night (Huggies Overnites). Quite frankly our sleep is too valuable and my kids are heavy night time wetters. I don’t want any of us waking up if we don’t have to.

    Six cloth and one disposable per day. I don’t feel one bit guilty.

  18. Thanks of your post .That is very helpful information.Thanks you.


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  2. […] I love cloth diapers, and have used them since my four year old’s infancy.  Unfortunately, we had problems early on with nighttime leaking and yeast infections with cloth diapers. Finally, we reluctantly switched from cloth to disposables diapers for bedtime. […]

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