Updated: Sep 18, 2020
You might not have considered it when making the transition to reusable nappies, or starting using them from birth, but typically babies in reusable nappies have a different type of nappy for night time than for the day. Disposable nappies are usually all so absorbent they can last the whole night* without leaks. As your baby grows, however, you may find that your reusable nappies are not lasting as long as you need them to overnight, but don't resign yourself to a lifetime of night time changes!
It all comes down to the absorbency of the material. While disposables all have the same amount of absorbency, the different types of reusable nappy do not. The ones that last fine for shorter periods between changes in the day, may not quite cut it when it comes to absorbing up to 12 hours of liquid at night!
People can be intimidated by night nappies for the above reasons, but all it comes down to is finding the right combination for you and your little one. And, because there are fewer options than for day time nappies, it's actually pretty simple to get started.
So where to start with night nappies?
Using a more absorbent material is first. A microfibre nappy is not going to last all night, no matter how hard you wish it! Bamboo and hemp are the most absorbent materials on the nappy market, so using these at night time is more likely to get your baby through the night [see our previous blog post on different materials].
Secondly, using as much of that material as you can possibly manage is definitely going to help! Two parter, shaped or flat/prefold nappies are the best options here as they have more material all round than the pocket or all in one nappies [blogpost on different nappy types here]
Generally, though, people use a shaped or prefold nappy. TotsBots have produced a range of nappies exclusively for the night time - their Bamboozle range is highly absorbent and is designed to get babies through the night dry. Little Lamb also have a high performing range of shaped nappies that are a popular choice.
These nappies will need to be covered by a waterproof wrap, and there are a lot of options for these: TotsBots PeeNut wraps, Little Lamb, Blueberry Capris... One option that is very popular are the Petit Lulu Pull Ups which cover the whole nappy down the leg, leaving very little room for leaks! (You will need to make sure all of the nappy is covered by your waterproof wrap or you may find yourself having some leaks). If you are having leaks, you may need a bigger sized wrap (if it is a one size wrap, you may need to adjust the fit).
Can't I just use the same nappy during the day?
Night time nappies are, naturally, a lot bulkier and more absorbent than day time nappies. This means they are take significantly longer to dry - which would mean you would need a lot more in your collection to be able to use them full time (and this would drive up the cost).
You may find that two, or even three, inserts does do the trick in a pocket or all-in-one, in which case you can obviously use the same nappies with fewer inserts during the day. Be careful that all these boosters don't make the nappy too bulky as this may affect the fit and lead to leaks.
What if the night time nappy leaks?
If you find this happening, despite the fit being correct, you may need to add extra boosters to the nappy. Some nappies come with boosters included, but your baby might produce more liquid than even they can handle! The only caveat here is that night time nappies are already quite bulky, so be careful that the boosters don't cause your nappy to be too big for the wrap. If this happens, it could be worth investing in some slimmer boosters. Baba+Boo have recently brought out a slimmer option. Or, if you are using bamboo, consider moving to hemp, as this is even more absorbent!
If you are trying to swap to night nappies and want to try some out before you get started, please get in touch. We have a variety of options you can try out to find the perfect combination for you, and can give personalised advice along the way.
*By "the whole night" we mean around 12 hours without a change, from getting into their pyjamas in the evening, to waking up in the morning. (Newborn babies usually have nappy changes during the night anyway, so don't worry too much when they're small.)