Types of Cloth Nappies
What's an All In One? Whats a Fitted Nappy? There's so many materials what's the difference? Do I need sized or one size?
OKay, so you may have decided that cloth nappies are for you & your baby! Great. But now you're not sure which type, which material or what size to go for? We've outlined below everything you need to know about cloth nappies
- Nappy Types
- Nappy Materials
- Nappy Features
- Sized vs Birth To Potty Nappies
1) Nappy Types
We've compared the most common nappy types so you can easily find which one is right for you & your baby.
ALL IN ONES
All in ones are the simplest of all reusable nappy types, but they also tend to be the most expensive too. They are available in a range of materials, and some come with a stay dry liner built in.
ALL IN TWOS
There are a few types of AI2...
Standard AI2 - insert poppers off and onto shell &fully stay dry lined - whole thing would need changing.
Hybrid AI2 - as anove but also features a pocket.
True AI2 - similar to standard AI2 but has no stay dry lining. Allowing you to reuse the wrap at changing time 3-4x unless soiled.
Most pocket nappies are lined with fleece, but they are also available with suede cloth lining and athletic wicking jersey. Fleece & suede cloth are quite similar, but fleece tends to be less bobbly. Athletic wicking jersey is not as common but is a similar material to sports cloths and provides a 'cooler' texture. Pockets are the most popular type of cloth nappy.
Quite commonly a sized option but also one size options available.
There are a few types of flat nappies to consider.
Terry squares - the most traditional form of cloth nappies. Usually cotton, bamboo or a mix. This style of cotton can be quite bulky, where as the bamboo is much slimmer.
Cotton flats - possibly my favourite thing in the cloth nappy world. Yep, I said it! They can be folded and fastened with nippas for both newborns and older babys, or folded into a rectangle then lay in a wrap or stuffed into a pocket. They are slim yet absorbent, and they are AMAZING for stopping 'flooding' (when baby does a big wee sometimes other materials can't soak it up fast enough).
Prefolds - often cotton. They are several layers on top of each other with even more in the middle panel. Can be fastened with a nippa on smaller babies or folded in three then stuffed into pockets or lay on a wrap for older babies. Again, amazing for flooding!
Muslin squares - generally 70cm, cotton muslin material which are again folded and fastened with a nippa, or in a rectangle for on a wrap/in a pocket. These are PERFECT for newborns because they are inexpensive, very quick to dry, and slim. Plus when you are done with them as nappies they have so many other uses!
2) Nappy Materials
Note - this is a like for like comparison. Flat nappies generally would dry quicker no matter what the material than an AI1 for example. Also, all 'hemp' nappies and boosters are blended with cotton, so although pure hemp would be a slow drying material, when blended with cotton it is not.
3) Parts/features of the nappy system
Hearing this like 'gusset', 'stay dry' and unsure what they mean... below is the parts of the nappy system so you know what you're looking for.
The outer, waterproof layer. This is either part of the nappy e.g. AI1, AI2, Pocket or separate if using flat or fitted nappies.
Nappies either have a single or double gusset.
Single is where there is only the outer leg elastic to provide containment.
Double gusset is where there is 2! Either internally or externally. Internal double gusset come in the form of a secondary row of elastic under the stay dry layer OR the insert being elasticated along the edge (plus then the elastic of the shell). External double gussets are an extra piece of PUL with elastic that sits closer to baby. Both are excellent - it just depends on your preference. I find for chunkier babies a single or internal double gusset is better.
POPPERS vs HOOK & LOOP (velcro)
Hook and Loop is a common option for childcare or reluctant changers as it is more similar to disposables. The downsides are that over time the hook and loop can become less sticky and babies can learn to undo them! Poppers initially may feel more daunting to fit, but once you know which ones suit baby, they are super simple and they you just gradually move up to bigger settings.
HIP STABILITY POPPER
This is the popper that is further along on the wing of the nappy (so you have 3 poppers per wing not 2). These are often there to prevent wing droop when baby is younger, although aren't always essential. It can also mean that when baby has grown the extra popper will not be able to be used as it will make the nappy too tight and will rest against baby's skin. It's personal preference what you prefer and what works for baby. Most nappies come with this popper and most people get on well with them!
Many nappies (for example pockets, all in ones, all in twos) come with some sort of stay drying lining. This is often fleece or suede cloth, or sometimes Athletic Wicking Jersey. If your nappies don't come already lined you can buy liners separately, or if you prefer you can use them without! All they do is provide a stay dry feel. Alternatively, you can use disposable liners. These are great for making poo disposal easier however they do not provide a stay dry feel (note all poo needs to go down the loo, and disposable liners need to be binned not flushed)
4) Sized vs One Size
What do you need?
If you want to cloth from birth, often "birth to potty" nappies will still be on the larger side as they tend to fit best from 10lb. This isn't to say it isn't possible to use them, but many will be too big. Therefore, it is a good idea to get newborn specific sized nappies for those first couple of months. Complete our advice form here to find what we advice for you.
Some nappies (most commonly fitted nappies) are available in sized options e.g. 1, 2, 3. Size 1 nappies typically fit from around 7-18lb, size 2 around 18-35lb then size size 3 are 35lb+ (this varies from brand to brand, but as an example). The benefit of these are a really nice fit at each size. When younger they aren't too big and when older not too tight. Howver, this does mean buying more nappies at each point
BIRTH TO POTTY
Typically fit from around 10lb up to 35lb. There is a newborn hack you can do on some birth to potty nappies to make them fit smaller. And some brands do fit nicely at 7lb for example.