Types of reusable nappy

It can be overwhelming when you start researching cloth nappies. There are so many different types.

Which reusable nappy is right for my baby? I hear you cry.

You can find basic information re the most common types of cloth nappy below:


What is a Pocket Nappy?

As it suggests in the name, a pocket nappy has a "pocket" in the inside of the nappy shell that you can stuff your absorbent inserts in to. 

There are two basic parts: the waterproof nappy shell and your insert.

They are popular due to how they can be customised (you can add another insert to boost absorbency).

They are also popular because the shells are usually quick-drying, insert drying time can vary due to the material (microfibre, cotton = quick dry. bamboo, hemp = slow dry).


What is an All in One Nappy (abbreviated to AIO) ?

An All in One nappy is as close to a disposable nappy as you can get because the absorbent part is already attached to the nappy shell.

The outside will be a waterproof fabric with the absorbent part already sewn in. It may be a long insert which means you may have to do some stuffing.

These can be slow to dry depending on the absorbent material. They can be hard to customise to your baby's needs if everything is already sewn in and there is no pocket to add extra boosters. As long as your booster is a natural fibre though (cotton, bamboo, hemp) you could place it on top of the sewn in insert (only have natural fibres touching your baby's skin.)


What is an All in Two Nappy (Abbreviated to AI2)?

An all in two nappy refers to a nappy of 2 parts where there is the outside waterproof shell and an absorbent insert which most of the time would snap in with poppers to secure it to the shell.

The benefit of an AI2 is that at changing time, if the nappy isn't soiled, you can simply wipe down the shell and snap in a fresh insert. This means that there is potentially less washing for you. Another benefit is the nappy shell is usually quick drying but insert drying times can vary.

The con would be that you would have to use the same brand of inserts to the nappy shell if you wanted them to snap in securely, so that might limit your choice of inserts. You could always simply lay other inserts/prefolds into the shell.


What is a Fitted Nappy?

A fitted nappy is where the whole nappy is made of absorbent material. These nappies require a seperate waterproof wrap/cover.

This is the most popular night nappy choice as a bamboo/cotton/hemp or mix nappy is very thirsty.

The downside of natural fibre fitted nappies is that they are usually very slow drying.


What is a Nappy Wrap/Nappy Cover?

A nappy wrap/cover is a seperate waterproof cover which you place around fitted/folded nappies.

Wraps are quick to dry and cost effective, as you can reuse the wrap if it's not soiled.


What is a Flat Nappy?

A flat nappy is a large square piece of thin fabric (usually cotton or a bamboo/cotton mix) which you can wrap around your baby like a traditional nappy and secure with a fastening such as a nappi nippa then use with a waterproof cover, or alternatively you can fold them up into a simple pad fold and use inside a cover.

These nappies are cost effective and are quick drying.


What is a Prefold nappy?

A prefold nappy is a smaller version of a flat nappy as if it has been "prefolded", making the layers already there and making it thicker.

You can wrap a prefold nappy around baby and secure with a fastening or you can padfold and cover with a waterproof wrap.

Prefolds can take longer to dry especially if the fabric contains bamboo or hemp.


What is a Terry Nappy?

A terry nappy is a large square piece of cotton terry towelling fabric. A very traditional nappy which you can wrap around your baby using various folds and secure with a fastening such as a nappi nippa then cover with a waterproof wrap.

These nappies are very cost effective and are very quick drying. 

Terry nappies can be quite bulky.