Overnight Cloth Diaper Solutions: Hemp Inserts

Hemp Diaper InsertsMy son is intelligent, funny, and has the bladder capacity of a small elephant.  From his first few months on this planet we’ve been unable to layer enough cloth diapers on him to keep him from leaking at night.   We tried doubling, using wool and fleece liners, and using pocket diapers with an extra liner.

The results were mixed—but all bad.  He ended up with wet sheets, yeast infections, and lots less sleep.  Finally, after several dozen attempts, we just surrendered to using disposable diapers at night.

Now with our second child, I was determined to try again with cloth at night.  She doesn’t have the huge bladder of her brother, but even if she did, I think the new hemp liners we’ve been using might be able to handle it.  They wick away the moisture, absorb quite a lot, and are a natural fabric that breathes nicely.  We’ve never had any yeast issues while using the hemp liners and being wet hasn’t woken her up.  (Oh, she’s up regularly!  But it doesn’t seem to correlate to the dampness of her diaper.)

A friend actually made us our  liners using a serger sewing machine and some thick hemp fabric–which seems to be the cheapest solution for talented seamstresses.  If you’d like to order a few, check out hemp inserts from Thirsties, Willow Sprouts, or Green Acre Designs.

So, in review, our fabulous nighttime solution is a diaper cover, a prefold, and a hemp liner closest to baby’s bottom. We hope that yeast doesn’t become a problem once again but we’ll keep you posted if it reappears.  Have you had issues with yeast or leakage at night?


  1. thanks to you girls I am starting cloth diapering with my baby when she arrives in march and went to cloth trainers for my 2 year old!! thanks for all the tips!

    have you thought about doing thrifty green Thursday again?

  2. We actually just switched our two year old to disposables at night. He’s always been a heavy wetter, but the pocket diapers seemed to be working fine until a few months ago. Then, he started waking up all the time, and fighting yeast infections. During our move, we went to all disposables to make things easier, and discovered he slept fine and his problems cleared up. When going back to cloth at night, all the problems returned. I finally gave up fighting and just bought disposables. He recently became potty trained during the day, so I know it’s just a matter of time before we ditch the diapers all together. It’s a bummer, though! I’d like to say the hemp would have worked, but I used hemp liners in the pocket diapers, and they didn’t work any better.

  3. I loved my hemp inserts. And they loved me — for about 6 months. They kept my baby girl dry overnight, they never stunk, they’re trim. Loved them.

    But after about 6 months, maybe a little more, they stopped working. I can’t put her in just hemp overnight anymore, and even a hemp-microfiber pairing leaks about half the time.

    I’ve stripped my inserts, and stripped them again. They’ll work for a week or two, but then they go back to leaking.

    If anyone knows how to bring my beloved hemp inserts back, please, let me know. Or do these things just have about a 6-8 month lifespan?

  4. Kate- your hemp inserts should last much longer than that. If you are using a detergent prone to build-up, it may be causing issues with absorbency. Make sure your detergent doesn’t have any optical whiteners, brighteners, fabric softeners, or natural soaps. It may be the cover or pocket you are using too rather than the inserts- usually there are very few issues with hemp. If covers or pockets aren’t dried initially and then periodically on high heat, you may have leaking. They will also be affected by any additives in the detergent. You might also want to try doubling up and see if that works!

    For overnight in a pocket diaper, I would use 2 good hemp inserts- at least 6 layers of hemp jersey or 4-6 layers of hemp fleece in each insert. Some pockets are too narrow through the crotch to do a good job overnight- I always had good luck with Happy Heinys or Fuzzi Bunz overnight with 2 Babykicks Joey Bunz. But those inserts would be totally, totally soaked in the morning! It’s amazing how much toddlers pee overnight 🙂

  5. Courtney:
    We have thought about reviving Thrifty Green Thursday but have been too swamped lately to take it on. It’s good to know that someone misses it– Maybe your comment will kick us into action!

    I know EXACTLY what you mean! My three year old is potty trained but still uses diapers at night. I tried switching him back to cloth after using disposables but he still gets yeast infections! I have no idea why my daughter hasn’t had the same problem except that she does use the hemp liners. I do think that Bummis wraps breathe better overall than pocket diapers but that doesn’t really help if your son almost out of diapers!

    Great question! I’m only about four months into using my hemp inserts and they’ve been fine, but I haven’t reached the magical six month mark. Have you recently switched detergents? Those pesky fragrances and oils could be the culprit if you’ve just started using a new brand. Good luck!

  6. I have unfortunately not been able to find a good reusable solution for overnight once my kids sleep through the night. I have been able to stave off leaking with good inserts (love hemp!), but my son ended up with a bad infection and my daughter gets bad yeast rashes. I’ve just committed to using reusable during the day so I don’t feel too bad about the disposable at night.

  7. I love my Thirsties inserts! One hemp insert & one regular insert in a Fuzzibunz diaper keeps her dry overnight better than anything else we’ve tried.

  8. Has anyone tried talking to their grandmothers? People must have known what to do before there were disposables…

  9. I think I figured it out! And I had it all wrong. My overstuffed pocket diapers were leaking because they no longer fit correctly around my daughter’s legs.

    The hemp inserts did have a small hand in this. I started line-drying my diapers and inserts, and the hemp ones dried extra stiff. A pocket stuffed with a board-stiff hemp insert fit even worse.

    But overall, I no longer think the problem was my hemp inserts.

    I should also say, my daughter’s 2 now and until recently, still nursed at night. So we give any nighttime diaper a real workout, and we’re starting to get leaks with disposables at night too.

    (Rebekka, I wish I could talk to either of my grandmothers. One passed away right after I graduated from college and the other two years before my daughter was born.)

  10. Bit late to the party, but we have been using Fuzzi Bunz diapers coming up on the end of 7 months. Leaking became a problem around 4 to 5 months and a stripping and reducing soap used on the diapers stopped the problem.

    Yeast infections also were an issue around 4 months. An Indian friend recommended an herb called Neem which you can find in health stores and health food places like Whole Foods. The Neem would remove the infection, be we needed to keep using it every few nights to avoid it returning. Once she reached around 6 months and began eating yogurt, the yeast issue has disappeared.

    We have started using hemp and a micro fiber insert all the time now due to how much they can hold. All in all, the FB’s have been easier then dealing with disposables and obviously cheaper.

    FYI: Our child has been sleeping 12+ hours a night since a bit before 3 months. No issues with anything leaking with a Hemp insert. Also note Neem should be kept away from the baby eating it since large enough dosages can be poisonous to children.

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