Lucy started waking up earlier than normal a couple weeks ago, by about 30-60 minutes. She had been waking between 6:30-7:00 for months, at which point she was content to play in her crib for another half an hour; but with this earlier wake time, she wanted to get up right away, and her usual half-hearted whine became a more persistent, unhappy cry. At first I thought it was because the sun was rising earlier, but Casey quickly pointed out that the nursery faces west and does not receive any of the morning sunlight. My next thought was that Lu's bedtime was too late (8:00 pm), and that she was overtired by the time we put her down. So we moved her bedtime to 7:45, then 7:30, and finally 7:15...none of which delayed her morning wake time.
Coincidentally, I noticed that Lu's diaper had leaked every morning that she woke up too early. I immediately assumed Casey put her diaper on incorrectly and felt a little peeved. (Until I put her nighttime diaper on, and she still had a leak the next morning...) It finally occurred to me that we had an absorbency issue. I tested our pocket diapers, and they were not repelling; the problem was with our inserts. We have been using a BumGenius 4.0 pocket diaper with one microfiber insert and one hemp insert since Lu was 4 months old (the last time we thought to increase absorbency). Unfortunately, a toddler's output is substantially higher than an infants - the two simply cannot be compared - and the same diaper cannot be expected to meet the needs of both.
My focus suddenly shifted from Lucy's early waking to Lucy's leaky diaper problem. We began using the disposables we had on hand at nighttime, while I researched various cloth solutions. The first result in my Google search was this blog post, and that's when I learned the two problems were related. Lu was waking up early because her diaper was so full and leaking onto her jams! I continued scrolling through the results and found the following nighttime solutions to be the most commonly used:
1) Increased number of inserts, natural fibers only - like bamboo and hemp (no microfiber).
3) Knickernappies Superdo insert in a standard pocket diaper.
And the fourth (most surprising and most popular) option...
The majority of participants in the cloth diaper forums used disposable diapers on their toddlers at nighttime. And not the regular, daytime disposables... (I had no idea any other kind of disposable existed.) They were using Overnights or Extra Protection diapers. It seemed many of the parents had tried to find a cloth solution first, none of which were able to stand up to the ridiculous volume of toddler pee, and ultimately opted to use disposables at nighttime.
After weighing our options, we decided to forgo the spendy cloth solutions and went straight for Huggies Overnight disposable diapers (since the cheap-o generic disposables we had on hand were leaking too). We did try the first option, adding a second hemp insert and replacing the microfiber insert with a prefold, but the result looked very bulky and uncomfortable for Lucy. And since Lucy's comfort is my primary concern, I am more than happy to go whatever route necessary with our diapering. Lucy has been in Huggies Overnights for the last week, she hasn't leaked once, and she's gone back to waking up at a decent hour!