Which nappy to choose?
It is helpful to consider the following details when selecting the right nappy for your baby and your family
- Baby’s age and build
- Baby’s habits e.g. heavy wetter or long sleeper
- Whether you will use the nappies for your second and third child
- How often do you want to wash your nappies
- How do you plan to dry your nappies
- Overall cost
- Attractiveness of the nappy
Essentially all cloth nappies are made up of two components – an absorbent inner and a waterproof outer layer. However there are a number of different styles of nappy which can make things confusing at times! Here is a quick summary of the main types to get you started:
- Pocket – A PUL outer with a stay dry inner made into a pocket which you can stuff the absorbent inserts in to (PUL being a type of fabric that keeps the moisture in). A popular choice and easy to use.
- Fitted – A shaped one piece nappy which has the absorbency already sewn in. Usually fastened with snaps or velcro. The Nappy is not waterproof and requires a cover. This style is often used for nighttime as it is easy to customise the absorbency with boosters as needed.
- Prefold – piece of cloth (generally rectangular in shape) that consists of 3 panels which can be folded in different ways to suit your baby’s needs. They can be folded to fit a cover, or fastened with a snappi. Prefolds are basically an easier version of the old style flat nappy as they are already partly ‘pre-folded’! Prefolds also require a cover. Prefolds are a great economical option. They are especially useful for the newborn stage, but the larger sizes can be used through to toilet training also.
- Cover/wrap – waterproof outer to fit over a prefold or fitted nappy.
- AIO – “All in One”, this nappy has a waterproof PUL outer and the absorbency sewn in. The whole nappy needs to be washed after each use. These are often more expensive to purchase but are the most simple to use.
- AI2 – “Snap in” or “All in Two” – a nappy which resembles an All In One, except the absorbency can be detatched for easier and faster drying. You can also usually swap out the soaker/insert for a clean one without needing to wash the cover each time. This makes them a more cost effective option.
In addition to that you take into account what they are made off, drying time and how much they cost:
- Cotton: most affordable option (if using prefolds or flat nappies), reasonably absorbent, reasonably quick drying
- Bamboo: usually a bit more expensive, very absorbent, slow to dry
- Hemp: very absorbent, but recommended to combine with cotton or microfibre to absorb quickly, slow to dry
- Microfibre:, affordable, quick to dry.
For night time the main thing you need to do is add more absorbency. Sometimes you can add extra boosters or a second soaker to your daytime nappy for use overnight. Often a fitted nappy or a dedicated night nappy can be a good idea though, especially for heavier wetters.