When you first start your cloth nappy journey, it can be overwhelming with all the types of nappy out there, so have a read of the below for a quick summary!
What are reusable nappies made from?
Firstly, all reusable nappies consist of 2 parts... an absorbent part and a waterproof part. It's just how these 2 come together which make each nappy type different.
The absorbent part is usually made of the following materials - microfibre, cotton, bamboo or hemp. Sometimes a mix of them! Each material has its own pro's and con's...
- Microfibre: Quick drying and quick absorbing, but holds least volume. Can get compression leaks if baby wearing.
- Cotton: Fairly quick drying, and fairly quick to absorb, holds more volume
- Bamboo: Slow to dry, slow-ish to absorb, holds a lot of volume. Some babies get leaks when using purely bamboo as they 'flood' the nappy with one big wee, and the bamboo can't absorb it quickly enough.
- Hemp - Very slow to dry, slow to absorb, holds the most volume
*With everything, all babies are different, so different materials work best for different babies.
The waterproof part is most often made of PUL (you can also get wool wraps too!)
There are 2 main fastening styles available - poppers or hook and loop (velcro). The only exception is flat nappies that are fastened using a nappy nippa (don't worry - no need for pins anymore!)
Quick look overview of 4 nappy types - keep reading for the detail!
These are 'most like a disposable' as there is no prep to them at all... wash, dry, use repeat. The absorbent part of the nappy is sewn onto the outer waterproof layer - sometimes this layer is fully sewn on the entire way round, other's it is partially sewn so you can pop a booster underneath and some even feature a pocket, allowing easy customisation of absorbency. Generally, all in ones take quite a while to dry and can be one of the more pricey options, but are very convenient.
All in two reusable nappies come in a couple of forms - some have a stay dry lining on top of the PUL, other don't. Some have pockets, and other's don't. They are kind of a hybrid between an all in one and a pocket nappy.
The absorbent part poppers onto the outer shell so nappies such as the Close Pop-In (which doesn't have a stay dry lining on the PUL) you can simply pop out the insert and replace with a clean one, continuing to use the same outer wrap 3-4 times unless soiled. Even if there is a stay dry lining on the PUL, it is still advantageous to have popper out inserts because it speeds up drying time. It also allows you to have spare inserts so when the wrap is dry it can go back on the bum with one of your spare inserts while the other is still drying!
Pocket nappies consist of an outer layer of PUL with usually a stay dry material lining the inside. This lining is sewn the entire way round, except at the back to leave an opening where the absorbent part of the nappy can be stuffed in. Inserts vary in size, shape and material and therefore vary in absorbency. The advantage of pocket nappies is because the wrap part dries so quickly, you have the option to have additional inserts that can be used while others dry, so you can get the nappy back on the bum. This means you need less total nappies, saving some money. Pocket nappies vary in cost, but can be a quite affordable option. Another good thing about pocket nappies is that it is easy to customise absorbency. If the nappy comes with 1 insert but this doesn't quite cut it for your baby, you can buy a few boosters and easily pop them inside the pocket alongside the insert!
Terry squares and other flat nappies including muslins are an incredibly economical reusable nappy. They are just the absorbency, so a separate wrap is required. Terry squares are perfect for day or night, and dry quickly as when opened out they are only 1 layer thick. Muslins are great as a newborn nappy as they aren't too bulky. Both are fastened with a nappi nippa.
Flat nappies are often overlooked as parents think they are too complicated or fiddly as they require folding. I would urge you to have a thick about getting a few terry squares in your stash as once you have practised the folds a couple of times, it really becomes second nature. The terry square is a handy thing to have in your changing bag too as it can be used for multiple things such as wiping spills, or to cover changing tables.
Flat nappies such as prefolds are equally really economical and simple to use. Simply fold and lay in a wrap for a great day or night option, or alternatively use inside pocket nappies.
Fitted nappies are so versatile and varied - they can come in one size or sized variants. Fitted nappies can be worn during the day and can be a slim option, where as others are suited to night time because they are super absorbent. All fitted nappies need to be used with a wrap over the top.
Nappy wraps are generally made of PUL (you can get wool wraps too) that cover a nappy (fitted or flat) to make it waterproof. They come in a few styles included size and one size, as well as front or side poppers.
Hopefully this has outlined what the nappy types are, but as always feel free to contact us if you'd like any help!