Which style of reusable nappy is right for you?

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.

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.

Baba + Boo – plain or printed
Little Lamb – one size or sized
Milovia – lots of prints
Wonderoos – plain or printed
Bum Genius original* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea pocket* – plain or printed

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.

Bambino Miosoft – prints
Close Pop In nappy – prints
Tickle Tots
– cute prints
Tots Bots Peenut system – plain or printed
Bambooty Basics* – mostly plain colours

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.

Bambinex – bamboo or microfibre
Little Lamb – available in various materials
Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch – bamboo material in different prints

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.

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).

Baba + Boo – pocket nappy for 5-18lb
Close Pop-in newborn – 5-12lb
Tots Bots Teenyfit Star – all in one for 5-12lb

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?


Review of Little Lamb cloth nappies. 

Little Lamb is a company in Scotland (I think the nappies are made in Turkey) and are one of the best value for money cloth nappies on the market. They have three different materials available; microfibre, cotton and bamboo. They also do organic versions of the cotton. I own nappies in the super soft microfibre and absorbent cotton fabrics.

Little Lamb shaped nappies are a two part nappy. This means you need to purchase a separate outer waterproof wrap. Little Lambs sell wraps but I use the Motherease brand wraps which come very highly recommended to keep in leaks. Little Lamb also makes a pocket nappy but I have read that they only last one child (but they are extremely good value for money compared to other brands).

The two part nappies also come in sizes. Size 1 fits 7-18lbs, size 2 fits 18-35lbs, and size 3 is 35lbs+ which means you do need to buy a second set of nappies when baby gets bigger. However, Little Lamb nappies are thankfully cheaper than most brands but still decent quality. RRP for the cotton nappy is £9 but you can find deals of 5 nappies for £25 online. Each nappy you buy also comes with a fleece liner and a booster in the same fabric.

Little Lamb nappies are pretty bulky even without the wrap on top. I currently only own the size 1 nappies. Emery is a small baby and I feel like these only just fit him. I’m not sure how these would fit on a chunky baby. This also means that clothing doesn’t fit very well over them. 

I have the microfibre fabric for daytime use and cotton for night time. I can leave the cotton nappy on overnight without changing so they are definitely absorbent. I’m just not sure I like that?! The whole nappy soaks up the urine so it feels very wet when you go to change baby. It just feels a bit gross when you have to take the nappy off and I’m sure it makes the wrap smell. I haven’t used any other two part nappies so it’s probably the same across all brands so more likely it’s me not being used to it.

Washing is easy as long as you remember to fold down the velcro tabs so they don’t all get stuck to each other! Microfibre dries quickest, followed by cotton and the bamboo dries the slowest (and it can be incredibly slow if you don’t have the optimal conditions). Microfibre nappies are fine to use during the day but you will need one of the other two fabrics for night time use. Microfibre needs to be changed fairly often as it isn’t as absorbent as cotton or bamboo. All the nappies come with a booster to create an extra absorbing layer.

Overall I think Little Lamb nappies are a good set to start with if your cloth nappy budget is small. Start with the size 2 as the fit is quite small and can be used in the early weeks. You need to buy separate wraps so bear that in mind when setting your budget. These are usually sized too. Luckily you can sell your first set after you purchase the next size up to win back a few pennies. I’d suggest getting fifteen nappies for daytime use and three to five for night time use. Obviously it depends on how often you plan to do a wash.