I’m no stranger to cloth nappies, I used them full time with Eloise for a good couple of years and we have used them on and off with Lily but nowhere near as much as we could do really. I think Eloise was about 4 months old when I made the switch and fell into the cloth nappy rabbit hole and I haven’t really looked back since. I kept a large number of my collection after Eloise potty trained and used what we had when Lily was born. I remember the utter minefield that was getting my head around all the different brands and types of reusable nappies and how to use them all correctly so I thought I would write a post and share my knowledge, sharing is caring and all that jazz.
Pocket nappies are quite possibly one of the most versatile yet simple in terms of boosting and customising the absorbency to suit your child. These nappies look pretty much the same as a disposable in the sense there is no faffing with folding etc and they do up in the same way with either velcro or poppers. They are one of the quickest cloth nappies to dry (you can put most inserts in the tumble dryer if you have one, do double check though) and are great for nursery because of their simplicity and ease of use.
A pocket nappy normally consists of two parts – the outer shell and an insert. The outer shell of the nappy is normally made of PUL which is a type of plastic, this is what prevents the nappy from leaking everywhere. The lining will probably be a fleecy material. The insert will be made of absorbent material and will be separate from the nappy itself.
The inserts can be made of a range of things like bamboo, hemp, microfibre, etc (the most absorbent in my experience is hemp ;)) and these are stuffed into the opening inside the nappy which is normally located at the back. You can put more boosters are the front if you have a boy or in the middle, if you have a girl and it’s this which makes them very versatile and definitely the one to try first if you’re completely new to the cloth nappy world and not sure what to go for.
pocket nappies to try:
Milovia Pocket Nappy
All-in-ones consist of one piece, with everything attached. Like the pocket nappy, they have the PUL waterproof outer shell but the difference is that the insert is attached to the nappy itself so if you don’t like the idea of having to put bits and bobs together beforehand then perhaps these would be better for you.
The downfall of these is that they take a lot longer to dry and you can’t put them on the radiator or the tumble dryer because they PUL will get damaged so you have to dry them to old fashioned way which if it’s not sunny, then they do take that bit longer to dry than other variations of cloth nappy.
AIO’s to try:
Bumgenus Freesize Nappy
These are kind of a pocket nappy/ AIO nappy hybrid. The idea of these is that they come in two parts, hence “all-in-two”. These parts consist of a waterproof PUL outer shell, like our other nappies, and an absorbent inner that pops in and out of the nappy. This allows for a much faster dry time than an AIO as most inserts will be able to go on the radiator or the tumble dryer. These are not the same as a two-part system (which we will get to shortly).
They are also a little harder to boost, with this type of nappy you can stuff more boosters in, AIO’s do often have poppers to fit boosters in but with an AI2 you just have to hope for the best with the placement a bit, it’s not impossible by a long chalk, just a bit trickier than ones that have attachments or a specific space of them to be boosted.
AI2’s to try:
Close Pop In Nappy
These are one of the most versatile and economical of the cloth family. Fitted nappies are generally made of cotton or bamboo which eliminates the plastic pretty much completely from your nappy stash. The idea is that they fit like a regular nappy, they are sized meaning you will get a better fit for younger babies and fasten with poppers, velcro or a nappy nippa (a modern, safer alternative to the old fashioned safety pin) and then covered with a form of a wrap. These can be boosted to your heart’s content and in my opinion, these are the best kind for use overnight. They are the best at containing everything, especially newborn poops.
fitted/shaped nappies to try:
Little Lamb Bamboo Shaped Nappy
TotsBots Bamboozle Stretch
Now we are getting into the slightly more complicated nappies. These are the more modern take on the old fashioned terry square nappies. They are a heck of a lot more absorbent than terry as they are more than not made of materials like bamboo or hemp which is brilliant for nappies. There are several different folds you can use to fit these nappies onto your baby and these are perhaps one of the best for newborns because the design allows you to get one of the smallest fits around the waist.
They require a wrap of some kind along with a nappy nippa to hold the prefold in place so they do take a lot longer to change than the others and is a lot more fiddly. They do, however, dry pretty darn fast. These are best suited to newborns or very young babies.
prefolds to try:
Bambino Mio Prefold Nappies
These are basically the same as a prefold but think more like a muslin cloth or a terry square. They are much more slim line than prefolds and most people don’t realise just how much absorbing potential muslins have. These are great for the early days or if you are looking for a cheaper, reusable option. They can also be used to boost other nappies or even in a pocket nappy.
The thin material means super fast drying, definitely the fastest of the lot and definitely up there with the most eco-friendly. They can be fastened with a nappy nippa and obviously require some form of wrap over the top (which I am just about to get to).
flat nappies to try:
Little Bamboo Muslins
Terry Squares Bright Bots
This is one of the most commonly used out of the various types of wrap. It’s made of the same outer material of the other nappies we have talked about and probably the most effective. It is, however, the least eco-friendly of the cloth nappy world but it’s still obviously producing less waste than disposables, so it’s not bad by a long chalk. They fasten like the others with poppers or velcro meaning they’re pretty easy to chuck on and off. You can also wipe them down and reuse during the day, so they can end up meaning less washing which is always a good thing.
Drying wise they are super duper quick so you’d need less of them in your collection for full time use.
PUL wraps to try:
Motherease Rikki Wraps
Bambino Mio Wrap
Now we are getting into the ultimate eco-friendly combos! These are designed to fit over fitted, prefold, or flat nappies and I know people who absolutely swear by these to prevent overnight leaks. I’ve never personally used them so I can’t really comment from experience but if you can knit or crochet then these would be super cost effective!
wool wraps to try:
Petit Lulu Wool Wrap
Now, these I have used and they surprisingly do keep nappies from leaking. Like the other wraps, these are designed to fit over fitted, flat and prefold nappies, any nappy without a waterproof outer. These are, however, one of the most difficult to come by. When Eloise was little they were around quite a bit in the gentle parenting communities but lately, they seem to have disappeared. They are cracking though!
fleece wraps to try:
~post contains previously gifted items~