Fleece Pants As Cloth Diaper Covers

Fleece PantsI started cloth diapering my children to save money – plain and simple.  Sure, we reaped health benefits and we kept a lot of waste out of landfills, but primarily, we saved money.  Logically, we started with some of the lowest cost cloth diapering plans that we could.  For us, that meant that I sewed my own diapers using the Rita’s Rump Diaper pattern and homemade fleece covers and pants.

I was pleasantly surprised that I could use almost any pair of fleece pants and have it work well as a diaper cover.   As long as the fleece was 100% polyester and fairly thick it worked well.  Of course, fleece can be more prone to compression leaks, e.g. car seat leaks, but as long as my children were changed before they were heavily wet, this didn’t happen for us.  In fact, even after we graduated to using mostly PUL diapers, fleece was and still is our go-to solution for night-time diapering.  Fleece pants may feel cool to the touch when your little one’s diaper is wet and ready to be changed, but this is simply because fleece is breathable and the evaporation from the moisture below causes the cool feeling.  It’s easy to mistake the cool feeling for wetness in the beginning, but more often than not, it’s just evaporation and not a leak.

Brands of fleece pants that worked well for us.
As I mentioned before, most fleece pants that we already had in our closet worked well as cloth diaper covers.  These were our ‘top performers’.

  1. Garanimals.  Hands down, the thick Garanimals were my FAVORITE fleece pants to use as a diaper cover.  They were super affordable (less than $5 a pair) and they were really thick which meant my children stayed warm AND they had a lot of wetness protection.  Because they are readily available almost anywhere and in multiple colors and styles, we could use them for day-to-day wear or at night.  Garanimals also makes some fleece pants which aren’t super thick and those do work well, just not as great as they thick pants for extended wear like nap or night use.
  2. Carter’s.  Who doesn’t love Carter’s?  I think most babies have a closet full of it.  While the Carter’s fleece pants generally are not as thick as the Garanimals, they still gave us great daytime wetness protection paired with our Rita’s Rump Diapers.  They also last so well and for so long.  I also found that many of the Carter’s fleece sleep and plays would work well as cloth diaper covers.  Since they aren’t as fitted to baby’s bottom as a pair of pants, you may get some leaks, but generally they worked well.
  3. Old Navy.  Old Navy fleece, gotta love it.  It’s affordable and cute.  I found the thickness generally similar to Carter’s and it performed just as well.  Still not topping out my Garanimals for night, but for daytime wear, it was always great.

There were a few other various brands that we tried and honestly, as long as the fleece was 100% polyester and not super think, it did well for us.

Have you ever tried regular fleece pants or sleepers to cover your fitted cloth diapers?  Which brands worked well for you?

Night Diapers

Night DiaperingMany parents who cloth diaper choose to use disposables at night.  Night diapering in cloth can seem scary at first, but once you find the right diaper for your child, you’ll much prefer using cloth full-time.

One of the biggest reasons that parents forgo cloth at night is absorbency.  Some children are heavy wetters, especially at night when they may be in a diaper for up to 12 hours.  I’m a mom to two heavy wetters.  Even during the day when they are being changed every two hours, we can never get by with just one insert.  I have also never been able to use any AIO without a doubler.  Yet I have managed to successfully use cloth at night, even after my babies turned into toddlers, and a preschooler who isn’t night potty trained.

I have two words that will make night diapering easier – hemp and bamboo.  These two fabrics are like super absorbers in my opinion.  Microfiber AIO leaking?  Add a hemp or bamboo doubler.  Microfiber night diaper leaking?  Switch to hemp or bamboo!  Sloomb makes some of the most popular night-time options out there.  Their overnight bamboo fleece fitteds offer super soft organic bamboo fleece and all natural cotton fleece for maximum leak protection.  There are several other natural options on the market that offer hemp or bamboo as well.  Or, you could do what I did and make your own hemp fleece fitteds WITH a stay dry liner.

Fleece & Wool
Since many of the best night options(most absorbent) are fitted diapers, they require a cover.  While PUL covers can work for many, some babies and toddlers need something a little more breathable at night.  This is where fleece and wool diaper covers come to the rescue.  We solely used fleece diaper covers for well over a year into our cloth diapering journey.  We used fitteds full-time then so that’s saying a lot.  You can see some of the patterns I’ve used to make our fleece covers, shorties, and longies in this post.  I promise they are really easy to make.

If you prefer to buy fleece and wool covers instead of sewing them, I have to mention Sloomb again.  These guys really have their night diapering down.  Sloomb offers covers, shorties, and longies all designed to keep your baby’s bottom covered and dry.

Fleece and wool offer water-repellent properties  and work by wicking moisture away from your baby’s bottom/diaper.  You may notice a cool feeling around the diaper area where the moisture has evaporated in the morning.  Fleece and wool are more prone to compression leaks than PUL or TPU, but this usually isn’t as big of a concern at night as it would be during the day.

In 2.5 years of night cloth diapering, I have only woken up to find one of my children soaked through a handful of times.  More than one of those occasions was because a sleepy parent didn’t have the diaper fully covered or properly fastened.

Ammonia Odor
Ahhh, probably the second biggest deterrent to night cloth diapering.  The dreaded ammonia smell.  It happens to many of us.  It’s happened to me.  Pee stinks.  Pee that sits in a diaper overnight really stinks.  The bigger your baby gets, the more it stinks.  It is NORMAL for your night diapers to stink when you take them off your baby.  What isn’t normal is an ammonia odor so strong it burns your nose or even permeates the whole room.  How do you keep your night diapers from getting ammonia buildup?

First, no matter what type of diaper or material you use at night, rinse those babies THOROUGHLY in the morning.  Maybe even fill the sink or a bucket and let them soak in plain water for a couple of hours before you throw them into your diaper pail.  Rinsing them out and getting as much of the pee out of the diaper as possible can go a long way in preventing ammonia buildup.  Another helpful factor is to have several night diapers.  The more you have, the more in rotation they are.  If you are using the same two night diapers over and over and over, they’re taking a lot of abuse.  If you rotate several, they’re not exposed to as much urine so they’re not as likely to get ammonia buildup.

I’ve found that microfiber gets far stinkier and is much more prone to ammonia buildup than natural fibers.  Switching to natural fiber inserts can play a big part in keeping ammonia woes at bay.  Hemp, bamboo, and cotton can be big night diaper savior’s in this area too.

While we’re talking about materials and their stink factor, I find that hemp can get a little stinkier than bamboo and cotton.

If you’re using fitteds for night-time use, those with petal style inserts do better than those with all the absorbency sewn in when it comes to getting clean and keeping ammonia at bay.

Sweet SleeperFitteds get stinky faster than flat diapers.  If you can get by with using flat diapers at night, I would highly recommend it.  Because flats are one layer that is folded, they are easily unfolded and cleaned in the washer.  There are no layers for ammonia to get trapped in.  Plain birdseye cotton flats are my favorite.  They’re just so easy to wash.  While one flat likely won’t get your child through the night, I have successfully used two flats with a thin hemp or bamboo doubler inside a flip with NO LEAKS.  That’s right, not even wool or fleece, just plain ol’ PUL.  Was it a bit bulky, yes, but most night diapers are.

One of the best parts about using cloth at night is watching my babies run around with their big fluffy butts before bed.  Night diapers can sometimes be bulky, but it really makes for adorable little cloth bottoms.

Have you made the switch to night-time cloth yet?  Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Have a friend or family member who could use some night diapering help?  Share this article with them.

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