Leak Proof Night Nappies

7 CommentsMonday, 20 July 2015

It is not generally wise to leave a newborn/younger child in one nappy all night (of whatever variety) while they are still having night feeds. Apart from the fact that they are still presumably fairly young, babies tend to poo around feed times, and these are ideal conditions for nappy rash to develop. Also, a child still being fed at night will wee a lot more than a child who is sleeping through. Even the best real nappies cannot cope with this volume of liquid without a change.

In my experience, it is rare for a baby to poo during their sleep - if they have full bowels, they will empty them on waking (eg for a feed), or being filled up by the feed will cause a peristaltic impulse to empty their bowels before going back to sleep. Either way, it is very common for a young baby to poo either before or after a night feed, and so nappies should always be changed at this time.

A successful (ie. leak free) night nappy depends on two things:

  1. Adequate absorbency
  2. A good cover

Unless your child is a light wetter, you will need to boost a night nappy up more than its daytime equivalent, as it is designed to be on for a much longer period without a change. A real nappy for night use is much bigger than a disposable, which can initially be a bit of a shock to the new user (for the parent - the child doesn't care!), but despite this it is not as heavy as a disposable the next morning (that weight is not only caused by urine, but by the chemical reaction of urine on the sodium polymer crystals, producing a gel).

A child no longer having night feeds can easily sleep through 12 -14 hours in the same nappy, as long as it is sufficiently boosted. Personally, I use either a purpose-designed cotton, bamboo or hemp booster pad however, you can use a half terry square, a disposable pad, a muslin (less absorbent, but very large, so about the same efficiency),  anything else absorbent that you can lay your hands on.

Place night padding at the front for a boy or between the legs for a girl. Alternatively, to make the nappy less bulky at any particular point, you can lay the boosting along the length of the nappy.

When you try your first night nappy, you can reduce your own anxiety by putting in two boosters instead of one and - when you are happy that this is reliable against leaks - you can try with just the one. With this option, you need to ensure that the wraps you use can cope with the quantity of boosters you have used, and that none of it sticks out. You will probably want to put the boosters along the length of the nappy so as to keep the nappy as slim as possible, rather than folding them. Also, if you have one booster on the inside of the nappy and one on the outside (between nappy and wrap), this won't make the nappy too tight for your baby to be comfortable or compromise the fit on the legs.


High absorbency night time nappies are:


Excellent Night Time Boosters are:


Excellent Reliable Covers for Night Time
Motherease Airflow
Motherease Rikki
Wool Covers - Excellent for babies with sensitive skin

As for the cover, remember this nappy is going to be on for at least 12 hours, and so it makes sense to use one of the fabulously non-sweaty modern breathable PUL wraps that are now available rather than plastic or nasty PVC ones you can still unfortunately buy in high street stores.    It is the nappy that will trap the urine, and - if this is sufficiently boosted - there is no need to put on pants that are so tight that they cause red marks. You are not attempting to hold the urine in by damming it - if this is what is happening, you do not have enough absorbency in your nappy.


Rebecca Stringwell
Thursday, 7 March 2019  |  13:46

I would also recommend Petit lulu maxi night time nappies!! Although a bit pricey I find they fair better over time. I have loved this nappy. Down side is it can only be used from 7kg.

Friday, 10 May 2019  |  12:35

I have Flip covers, could I use them instead of the Airflow?

River Drayke
Sunday, 22 November 2020  |  20:57

Any advice for older children i.e. 4+?

We did elimination communication, he was dry at 18 months dry and night and has regressed since (suspected ASD).

Thursday, 26 November 2020  |  15:47

Hi River, if you can email us on advice@thenappylady.co.uk we can go through your situation in more detail with you.

Thursday, 7 January 2021  |  22:51

What would you advise for a side-sleeping boy (7months), who leaks at the back at the top of the waistband on the side he is sleeping on? Even with the bamboo night nappy boosted, and with a slim hemp insert placed between nappy and wrap near the waistband, it still leaks between 4 and 5 hours. My recent night nappy investment has made no difference. SOS!

Sunday, 10 January 2021  |  9:12

Hi Amber, we would need a lot more details. I would recommend contacting our advice team on advice@thenappylady.co.uk and we can go through it with you to find a solution.

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