My Overnight and Travel Solution for Cloth Diapering

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

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This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.


As my son grew and began sleeping longer periods of time at night we had trouble finding the right diaper for him.  I was adding two or more boosters in my pocket diapers and still having leaks at night.  This was especially troubling when we were co-sleeping and I would wake in a puddle.  I do not mind changing a diaper in the middle of the night if we wake up.  However, when he is sleeping and I needed all the sleep I could get to function as close to normal at with the next day, I was not waking him to change a diaper.

My three homemade wool soakers

I began searching all of the cloth diapering forums and facebook pages for suggestions.  I kept running across posts about wool and prefolds being highly absorbent.  I was not quite convinced though because I had used prefolds before when he was younger with PUL covers and we had given those up because they were leaking as well.  I decided to give the wool a shot though because they claim to hold 30% of their weight in liquid.  I got some secondhand sweaters from Goodwill and sewed my own covers with my serge machine from a free pattern I found online.  I lanolized them myself from a recipe I found online and I tried them during the day.  They worked very well and I was in love.

My handmade diaper covers were not good enough for overnight.  I needed to add a second layer of wool for them to work.  I decided that since I loved the wool for day I would order some specially designed for overnight.  Coincidentally there was a sale on overnight wool soakers online and I snatched up two.[1]  When I got them I couldn’t wait to use them and with wool there is no prepping like there is with other diapers before use.  They come pre-lanolized but will need to be re-lanolized after a period of use.[2]  These new soakers keep myself and his bedding dry overnight.

I recently travelled by car from Connecticut to Florida with our son.  I used prefolds and wool covers the entire way.  This solution was good because he slept most of the way in the car and it prevented leaks into his carseat.  The added bonus is how breathable wool is.  Wool is a natural fiber and does not retain body heat and moisture the way a PUL diaper cover would.  When I got to my destination any irritation was quickly soothed with a tea bath and some diaper free time.

I recommend wool covers for every one.  I may even switch exclusively to wool for any future children.  If you can afford a cover you should definitely add one to your stash.  If you are handy with a sewing machine or serge machine make one for yourself.  The wool cover will become your favorite addition because it most closely resembles pants and I let my son sleep with a t-shirt and wool cover most nights.  These covers also can serve as training pants for potty learning or back-ups for elimination communication because of their easy pull-on style.

[1] I swap the two covers each night and handwash them if they smell of urine when dry or if they become soiled.  They hang dry in between uses and are dry and ready for the next night’s use.  I use baby shampoo mixed with water and a dab of lanolin to wash.  The water should be room temperature so as not to shock the wool.  You will know that you need to relanolize your diapers if they start to feel damp on the outside or if they sink while you are washing them.
[2]Lanolizing is easy too.  Allow diapers to sit in room temperature water and dissolve lanolin in a travel shampoo bottle with water.  The drip the solution evenly over the diaper in the sink.  Allow it to sit in the water until you see a film over the surface of the water or at least 20 minutes.  Then drain the water and roll up the diaper in a towel. Remove it from the towel to lay flat to dry.  Your diaper should feel greasy and you do not want to ring out all of the water because you will ring out the lanolin.


freedom of cloth carnivalVisit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

  • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
  • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
  • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
  • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
  • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
  • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
  • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.
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4 Responses to My Overnight and Travel Solution for Cloth Diapering

  1. Melissa says:

    I hear so much about the wonders of the wool that I’m a bit embarrassed to say I’ve never tried it. I would try to blame it on being vegan, but I have no qualms about buying second-hand wool. I think I just need to give it a shot! Wool longies would make the best pj bottoms ever, now that you mention it! Thanks for the fabulous ideas, Shannon!

  2. I love just putting Little Man in wool covers for his PJ bottoms. So much easier for changes at night and so much more comfortable for him too.

  3. Rosemary says:

    Wool is amazing stuff!! I was skeptical at first, but tested out a friend’s wool cover and loved it. I’m in the process of knitting one for our daughter (slightly intimidated), and if it turns out, I’d love to try it for overnight. We CD during the day, but the leaks and diaper changes at night pushed us to use a disposable. 🙁 I’d love it if the wool was our answer to overnight cloth! Thanks for the encouraging post!

  4. Thank you for this post. I love wool, too. I appreciate some of the techniques you share to care for it. They’re slightly different, and a bit easier, than my current methods. And I’m all about simplifying.

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