So you’ve made the great decision of choosing reusable nappies on your precious baby and you go to research brands and the colour drains from your face because there are SO MANY options and you think you might just stick with the disposables that everyone knows about.
I know the feeling. There are so many types of nappies and they seem to run into each other. All in one? All in two? Pocket nappy? Sized? Organic? Bamboo or cotton? Which is cheapest? You can get an all in one organic bamboo one size nappy or an all in one sized microfibre nappy.
Whilst I am no expert hopefully this post will shed a little light and make the world of cloth nappies a little easier to navigate. Also note the terms “reusable”, “cloth”, and “real” are often interchanged.
Real nappies have these basic parts:
1. Waterproof outer, most often made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) but other materials also found. The outer usually has fun prints.
2. Inner absorbent “nappy” part, usually made from bamboo or cotton or microfibre. Mostly plain but some, such as Totsbots Bamboozle, may have prints.
3. Liner (optional), used to catch poo and may be flushable, disposable, or washed and reused. Fleece liners also help remove the feeling of wetness.
4. Booster/insert (optional). If you feel your nappy doesn’t provide enough containment you can add one or two (or more if you don’t mind a bulky bum?!) boosters for extra absorption. Can be made from bamboo, charcoal, hemp, cotton, or microfibre.
5. Velcro or poppers. Some nappies are made with Velcro tabs for an adaptable fit whilst some brands use poppers. It’s up to you which you prefer. Some “birth to potty” nappies have poppers to adjust the size from small to large but close at the waist with Velcro.
6. Wet bag (optional). You will need a wet bag if you plan to go out and about with cloth nappies. You’ll have to bring soiled nappies home so best to keep them in a special nappy bag! You could also use a wet bag at home instead of a nappy bucket to store used nappies until you wash them.
ALL IN ONE.
This is the easiest kind of nappy to use as it is just like a disposable. The inner absorbent nappy is sewn onto the waterproof outer and you put it on baby as you would a disposable. You can add a liner or booster if you wish. Since all the pieces are sewn together you may experience longer drying times.
Bambino Miosolo – prints
Tickle Tots – cute prints
Tots Bots Easyfit Star – plain or printed
Bum Genius elemental or freetime* – plain or printed
Grovia* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea all in one* – plain or printed
Pocket nappies look similar to all-in-ones but there is an opening at the back on the inside half of the nappy. You can stuff boosters into this pocket to adjust the absorption level to your own requirements. These are quite user friendly as well and dry fairly fast as the boosters can come out.
ALL IN TWO.
The absorbent part of the nappy can be attached and detached from the waterproof layer using poppers. The absorbent pads can be made from different materials to suit your absorbency needs. Once boosters are attached the nappy is as simple to put on as a disposable. Drying times are fairly fast since you can separate the two parts. These can be cost effective as sometimes you can reuse the outer and just replace the pad at changing time if the outer is not soiled.
This style is just like an all-in-two but the inserts are disposable so there is less washing to do.
Charlie Banana* – covers and reusable or disposable inserts
Flip by Bum Genius* – covers and various inserts
Grovia hybrid – covers and reuseable or disposable inserts
This is a two part nappy. You need to buy a waterproof wrap as well as the actual absorbent nappy part. The nappy can be made from bamboo, cotton, or microfibre. Bamboo is most absorbent but takes a long time to dry. Microfibre is least absorbent but dries quickest. Cotton sits in the middle but can feel crunchy in hard water areas.
These are similar to Terry squares used by your grandmother. They are squares of material that are pinned together. You will require a waterproof wrap to go over the top. They are the cheapest cloth nappy option and dry easily but from what I have heard, are also the trickiest. I have never used prefolds so cannot really comment.
SIZED VS ONE SIZE/BIRTH TO POTTY.
Just like they sound, sized nappies come in sizes for example 7-18lbs or 18-35lbs. One size or ‘birth to potty’ nappies come in one size and tend to have poppers to change the sizing. Sized nappies cost more as you will need to buy a new set of nappies when baby gets bigger but this can be useful if you have two young children close in age. One size nappies should last throughout the whole nappy period but some nappies may not fit well on younger babies and you may need to use disposables until baby is bigger. You can get sized and one size nappies as shaped, pocket, all in one, or all in two styles (ie nappy size then nappy type).
I hope this blog post has made things a bit clearer for you! Any links to brands are not sponsored or affiliated. I have tried to include mostly UK or EU based brands. Any links with an asterisk * are brands based outside UK/EU.
What is your favourite type of reusable nappy? Do you have a few different ones in your stash? If you have never used them has this post helped at all?