Posted by: Amy Fong
We just returned from a 4-day family camping trip where we used cloth diapers exclusively. It was Elise's first camping trip and I wanted to ensure that she continued to be in cloth diapers while camping since I didn't want to set off a rash on one of the only few eczema-free, rash-free areas on her body - i.e. her bum. Using cloth while camping wasn't as inconvenient as we thought it would be--think of it as cloth diapering on the go, but for 4 days instead of 4 hours. We brought with us a 4-day supply of cloth diapers (i.e. approximately 36 changes), so that we wouldn't have to deal with the logistics of washing and drying cloth diapers while we were camping. In some ways using cloth diapers while camping was more convenient than using disposable diapers, because rather than having to go to the nearest campground garbage disposal unit to dispose of the used diaper after a diaper change (garbage should not generally be stored at the campsite to avoid attracting bears), we simply had to toss the used diaper into our zippered wetbag, which sealed in all the odors, and stored the wetbag in the trunk of our car. To make it easier to dispose of solid waste into the campground toilet, I lined her diapers with flushable liners.
I set aside a separate wet bag for poopy diapers, and stored that wet bag in a second clean wet bag. Once we returned home, I used the diaper sprayer to spray out any remaining solid waste from the diapers into the toilet, and then gave everything a pre-wash rinse in cold water, followed by a 1 hour pre-wash soak in hot water in 1/4 cup Oxiclean, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup vinegar along with our usual detergent (2 tbsp of Nellie's Laundry Soda). After running a regular hot wash cycle and rinsing twice, the diapers came out smelling fresh and good as new.
Initially, I suspected that the reason our cloth diapers were not absorbing as well as we'd liked during night time (even despite double stuffing) was because of repelling issues with respect to the microfleece lining (i.e. I suspected that there was a residue layer of something on the microfleece that was slowing the passage of water through the lining). However, we were using the same types of diapers during the daytime, and we had no leaks. I also tried stripping the pocket diapers, and that did not improve the situation at night. So I experimented with other ways of using the pocket diapers. Instead of placing the bamboo inserts inside the pocket, I placed them both on top of the pocket diaper's microfleece lining. This drastically improved the functionality of the diaper, and we went from occasional leaks to almost no leaks at all. I concluded that the microfleece lining was probably not wicking as quickly as was needed for night time use (although it worked fine during the daytime). Thus, for night time for our youngest, I switched to using pocket diapers with an absorbent lining - such as a cotton or bamboo lining. I stuffed the pocket with 2 bamboo inserts, or 1 bamboo insert and 1 microfiber insert. These worked like a charm -- for 11 - 12 hours straight.
Other options for night-time diapering include: using a fitted diaper (optionally with additional booster inserts) in connection with a PUL cover or wool cover; doubling up the prefolds (putting a first prefold folded inside a second prefold) and then covering with a PUL cover or wool cover; and using an all-in-one diaper with additional booster insert.
If your baby is sensitive to wetness, but she also tends to produce a "fast and furious" deluge, then to make her more comfortable you might consider using a pocket diaper lined with an athletic wicking material. Based on experiments that I've conducted using a measuring cup of water poured into various types of cloth diapers, I've observed that the athletic wicking material wicks away moisture much faster than microfleece.
Thus, night time diapering may require a little experimentation to find the solution that works for your baby. Once you've found that solution, then you can sleep soundly knowing that you are not only reducing solid waste but ensuring your baby is sleeping in a chemical-free cloth diaper.
What's your night time diapering solution?