Cloth Nappy Information
Nappy Types Explained
If you are fed up with the amount of cash that goes via your baby’s bottom to the dustbin, and have thought about trying cloth nappies, looked online, but you’ve been completely put off by the amount of cloth nappy information out there, then our guide will give you all the information you need in one fail swoop!
There is one simple rule to remember – if you like the sound of a particular nappy system and your baby fits within the recommended weight range, then for over 95% of babies it should work just fine. It’s worth asking your nappy retailer which systems they think will suit your baby best, and if in doubt just try one or two first until you invest in a whole set.
There are two basic types of cloth nappies:
- Nappies that are ONE PART to put on, comprising an absorbent interior with waterproof exterior:
- Nappy systems that have TWO PARTS – an absorbent NAPPY and a waterproof WRAP
You can divide these two types down further into sub-categories:
ONE PART SYSTEMS-
The advantage of a one part system is simply convenience! These are usually seen to be the easiest systems to use for childcare providers and especially on a wriggly baby once they start becoming mobile and crawl or run away during nappy change!
This nappy type is a waterproof outer lined with a layer of polyester or polyester fleece to form a pocket into which inserts are stuffed for absorbency. The inner lining acts as a stay dry layer for your babys bum, whilst the outer layer is generally made from PUL (poly urethane laminate) which means that this nappy does not require a separate waterproof cover. Fastened by poppers or Velcro, pocket nappies go on in one piece and are very slim fitting . The outer and insert comes apart for a very quick drying system.
√ Quick to dry
√ Stay dry feel for baby
X Can be fiddly to stuff pocket nappies with the insert
All in Ones:
All in one nappies have an inner absorbent layer attached to an outer waterproof layer (usually made from PUL) no removable parts. These nappies go on in one piece, like disposables and are easy to care for as no stuffing required as with pockets, although they can be boosted to increase absorbency as needed. Depending on the absorbent material used internally they can take a bit longer to dry than nappies with separate outers and inserts. They are one of the more slim fitting type of nappy and very easy to use. As with pockets they can be fastened with poppers or Velcro.
√ Convenient and easy to use, not fiddly
X Can be slower to dry but some have flap out inners to speed up drying
X Can be more expensive if sized (for best fit and containment)
X Can be a bit bulkier if one size, and need adjusting to fit
All in Twos/Hybrids:
All in Twos have a Waterproof outer cover, with a separate absorbent inner that attaches to the outer usually with poppers, some versions work on a system whereby you can reuse the outer for multiple changes during that day just by replacing the absorbent snap in inner as long as the outer cover doesn’t become soiled.
√ Convenient and easy to use, but can be fiddly to attach popper inners
√ Additional absorbent inner pads can be changed, keeping costs down and speed drying
√ Can be economical particularly if one sized
X One size can be bulky on babies the lower end of the weight guides.
TWO PART SYSTEMS
Comprising an absorbent NAPPY and a waterproof WRAP
The advantage of these over one part nappies is simply one of containment
if a one part nappy leaks it leaks as there is only one barrier at the leg and
waist, whereas if a nappy with a separate wrap leaks, then the wrap will contain what the nappy can’t.
A two piece system is usually best for containment for a newborn particularly if breastfeeding as breast fed baby poo can be spectacularly explosive and runny.
Flat nappies - Terry Squares/ Prefolds:
These are the traditional nappy type, and are still widely used by many parents. Still cheap and economical they now come in many different sizes, material types and colours! Prefolds are rectangular in shape and often have rows of stitching to guide with folding and extra layers sewn into the centre panel.
Terry squares and prefolds alike can be folded in a variety of ways to suit your baby.
This type of nappy will require folding and attaching to baby and will require a separate waterproof cover or WRAP.
Traditionally these were fastened with pins but now they can be fastened with a Nappi Nippa—a stretchy plastic T shaped gadget with little prongs under the ends that hook into and hold the nappy together in three places.
√ Very quick to dry
√ Very economical
X Can be fiddly
Shaped/ Fitted nappies:
A fitted nappy like a modern day terry nappy, in that in requires a separate waterproof cover, but unlike terries, it is already shaped, and ready to use so requires no folding or pinning.
These can be made from a variety of different materials each with their own pros and cons. Shaped or fitted nappies can be fastened by either velcro, snaps/ poppers or nappy nippas (the modern day nappy pin).
These nappies generally come with a booster, sometimes sewn in, sometimes removable to reduce the bulk on smaller babies.
This nappy will need a wrap. They may be bulkier than other nappy types to begin with, but are one of the most reliable systems on the market.
Drying times will depend upon the materials used. Bamboo, cotton and hemp have a longer drying time than microfibre. These are the most popular choice for night time nappies for babies of any age. These nappies, like the others are available as a sized version or a one size fits most versions.
Shaped/ fitteds Sized Version:
√ Best fit, not bulky on a newborn, will fit larger toddler
√ Good value if intending to have more than one in nappies as they’ll usually last for 2
X Can be more expensive as buying more sizes
Shaped and fitted nappies that are one size:
√Best economy as only buying one size
X Can be a compromise on fit for newborn/toddler
X Can be bulky for a newborn
X May not last for more than one baby
Wraps are waterproof covers that are work over the nappy to prevent leaks.
The waterproof wrap can be a traditional-style pull on pant or open out flat and fasten up with Velcro/Aplix or a similar hook and loop fastening or fasten with poppers.
Wraps can be sized, or adjust usually with poppers on the front to be one size. It’s critical that the wrap is the correct size and fits over the entire nappy to prevent leaks.
Wraps are usually made of polyester which has a waterproofing material laminated on eg PUL or polyurethane laminate, or of more breathable fabric such as polyester fleece or wool, where the wrap acts as a breathable barrier.
Wool needs to be lanolised in order to work successfully. These can come in the form of wraps, shorties or longies. Once lanolised, they can be used over and over before they need treating again.
Fleece works similar to wool, but is easier to care for, and also cheaper to buy. It doesn’t require any treatment to work, but is generally recommended for use on babies that move a fair amount at night. Again, these come in the form of wraps, longies and shorties.
For all Nappies and Wraps you will find choices -
There’s a choice of fabrics –
- Bamboo – (viscose) is a sustainable product making it an eco choice. Being a popular nappy choice it is slim and very absorbent. It can hold up to 30% more liquid than manmade microfibre thus takes a while longer to dry! Viscose fabrics remain soft in hard water but dries slowly.
- Hemp —slim, very absorbent slow to dry, goes stiffer in hard water areas,
- Cotton – cotton terry is the cheapest, but organic cotton is better for the environment. Cotton is very hardwearing so a great option if you plan to reuse with subsequent children.
- Microfibre is quickest to dry and acts like a sponge, very popular insert material in pockets & all in one nappies. Great if combined with one of the above fabrics as a double act! Many people prefer a more natural fabric.
There’s a choice of fastenings –
Velcro or Aplix (brand names) hook and loop fastenings – Very easy to use making it perfect for childcare providers & Grandparents! It wears quicker than a poppered option sometimes greying or curling at the edges. however if you follow the care instructions and remember to fasten back before washing you should be able to prolong its life and avoid them all being stuck together in the wash, or gathering fluff.
Poppers/Snaps—harder to fasten together on a wriggly baby but less easy for a toddler to undo, longer lasting than hook or loop fastenings.
No fastenings, to be secured with a Nappi Nippa (or safety pins) —easiest to get a good, trim fit with these, but can be fiddly to get right. Also useful if you’re reducing the height of a large nappy to fit a small baby as it’ll pull the nappy together snugly.
Choices on Size -
All of the nappy types listed above often come in sized options or in one size/birth to potty (OS or BTP). Each offers their own pros & cons.
- One Size Fits Most/ Birth to Potty -
OS/OSFM/BTP means you can cloth your baby from newborn to toddler. You may find them slightly too big for smaller newborns, Many generally start to fit from around 10lb+, so it is worth considering buying sized nappies such as a size one two part system.
This can often be the cheaper option and the least hassle as you don’t need to buy new nappies for each stage.
They can be bulkier on newborn and smaller babies compared with sized nappies.
These work using poppers on the front of the nappy to adjust the size.
- Sized -
Sized options are very popular as they often offer the most reliability as they are fitted better to each weight category.
However, this can be more costly and time consuming when you need to buy the next size up. Nappies do sell well on the pre-loved market, so this does help towards the cost of buying the next size.
Please have a look at our other nappy information pages below for further infomation.....
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