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Decoding the different types of nappies.

When you start looking at cloth nappies, the vocabulary can be quite baffling if you've never heard any of the terms before. We hope to be able to decode all the different terminology for you in due course, and to start, in today's blog post, we are going to untangle the terms used to describe the five main types of nappies - that is to say, the different shapes and styles the nappies come in.

Before leaping in, a brief run down of some of the vocabulary used here:

  • All nappies will use a waterproof cover. These are made from varying materials and stop the liquid leaking out.

  • Inside the waterproof cover, some styles of nappies have a lining. This is often made of fleece or microfibre and is not always very absorbent but creates a barrier between the absorbent material and baby's skin.

  • Inside the wrap or lining, you have the absorbent material or 'insert'. This is where the magic happens! This can come in many different forms - shape and material - and we will be doing an entire post on the pros and cons of different materials shortly.

It's also worth mentioning that some brands have different names for the nappies they produce. These are the five basic styles and after each one, we will identify different brands that call that style something different on their website.

We will start with the term 'All-in-One'. This refers to the most basic type of reusable nappy, one that is the closest to being like a disposable nappy. With this nappy, the insert, lining and waterproof cover are all attached together - they are fitted as one and washed as one. The insert can usually be untucked from the lining for a better wash, as seen in the image below.

TotsBots EasyFit All-in-One nappy

These nappies are an easy introduction to cloth nappies, and are simple to fit and wash. They can be a more expensive option, however, as you do need one nappy per change and they tend to be more expensive in themselves.

Different Brand terms: Bambino Mio - MioSolo; TotsBots - EasyFit; Little Love Bum - Everyday/Quickdry; Blueberry - Simplex; Modern Cloth Nappies - Smart Bottoms.

The next nappy type we'll look at is the All-in-Two or Two Parter. This comes in two parts (the terms aren't as crazy as they seem, you see!) - a waterproof cover and the insert. The insert can just be placed inside the waterproof cover, or it can be fastened using poppers. You can increase the absorbency of your nappy by adding more absorbent material, also known as 'boosters' (these are usually the same as inserts, just called boosters as they are boosting!).

TotsBots Peenut System All-in-Two

The two parts are usually sold together. One of the big benefits of this type of nappy is that you can often reuse the waterproof wrap multiple times before needing to wash it, so you do not need one wrap per change. This can prove very cost effective as the inserts (which you do need one of per change) are often inexpensive.

Different Brand Terms: TotsBots - Peenut System; Bambino Mio - MioDuo; Blueberry - Capri.

Pocket nappies are one of the more popular options amongst reusable nappy users. With these nappies, the waterproof cover and the lining create a pocket in which you can place inserts and boosters to achieve the level of absorbency you need.

Baba+Boo pocket nappy with a bamboo insert.

These nappies are mid range in terms of cost but there are often starter bundles that can reduce the initial outlay. Similar to all-in-two nappies, the outer shell dries quicker than the absorbent material so although you do need to wash them after every use, you can buy fewer outer shells than inserts which is more cost effective. They can be easier to put on than two-parters as the built in liner keeps things tidy and easy to fit.

Different Brand Terms: Little Love Bum - Popper&Pocket.

The most popular nappy used at nighttime is the Shaped nappy. In this case, the absorbent material is shaped into a typical nappy shape, and then the waterproof cover is put over the top. Due to the absorbent material covering the whole nappy shape, not just between the legs, these nappies are extremely absorbent and can last long periods of times. Usually these are more absorbent than needed during the day but it depends on your baby!

TotsBots Bamboozle Shaped Nappy

Different Brand Terms: TotsBots - Bamboozle.

Lastly, we have the Prefold or Flat nappy. In this case, the absorbent material is in the form of a square or rectangle of material (usually muslin or terry, but others are available) that can be folded in different ways, then placed inside a waterproof wrap. These are the cheapest options for nappies and one of the biggest advantages is that different folds can be tailored to your specific needs, so you will definitely be able to find a fold to definitely keep your baby dry. On the other hand, it is the most complicated form of reusable nappy available and can take a lot of practice to get to grips with all the folding.

Various different prefold options

And there you have it! Hopefully the different terms all seem a bit less confusing now. You can see they are all quite descriptive once you get the hang of all the different parts. However, if you are still baffled and would like some one to one advice, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. Our Antenatal Nappy Natter workshops are also a great place to come for some advice before your little one arrives - you can book on here.

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