Cloth Nappy Types

Cloth Nappy Types

September 22, 2019

I keep meaning to write a blog post on cloth nappies, but it's actually quite hard to write a guide on them without going into information overload! I guess I should just start somewhere and try to not go off on too many tangents...

Tots Bots bamboozle

Cloth nappies and the various styles can be a little overwhelming to someone that hasn't used them before. So this blog post is aiming to simplify that as much as possible. 
There are 3 main styles of nappy, essentially working the same, but each with their own set of Pros and Cons.
A pocket nappy (absorbent inserts go into the pocket of a waterproof cover)
An all in one nappy - AIO (absorbent insert is attached to the waterproof cover)
An all in two nappy - AI2 (waterproof cover that is completely separate, and can go around any absorbent inner that you choose)
Pocket nappies are probably the easiest place to start. 
Pocket nappies are a waterproof cover with a "pocket" at the back where you stuff inserts in. 
This nappy would be changed completely each time. ie you can't just remove the wet inserts and reuse the cover. The pocket cover needs to be washed too. 
Most pocket nappies come with 2 absorbent inserts. I would use both inserts at the same time. 
The positive points for pocket nappies is that these are closest to disposable nappies in the way that they are put on. Another Pro is that the inserts can be upgraded to a more absorbent material  as time goes by, because the inserts are separate. 
The only real negative is that when it comes to laundry time, you need to remove the inserts, or at least partially remove them so they can agitate out on the wash (this only takes a second or two per nappy to pull the inserts out)
If you are hanging out a pocket nappy on the line, there are essentially 3 separate components that need to be hung. Then when they are dry you need to reinsert the inserts. This process actually only takes a few seconds, but if you are under time pressure, those few extra seconds for each nappy can add up. 
Most pocket nappies wouldn't be sufficient for night time use. 
The All in One nappy is very similar to a pocket nappy, except that the insert is attached, and can't be removed. The inserts usually fold open to allow for faster drying time. 
The main positive point is that because the insert is attached, it will speed up the laundry process. Unlike a pocket nappy, the inserts don't need to be removed, and when hanging out on the line, there is only one component to hang up. Then when dry, there is no reinserting to do. 
The negative is that because the insert is attached, you can't upgrade it and switch to a more absorbent fabric. You can only ADD more fabric. This is where you would use a booster (more about boosters in another blog post, I'm trying to minimise the information overload here!) 
For example, if you bought an all in one nappy with a microfibre insert attached, you can't switch that to cotton or hemp,  you can only ADD more to it (more about the different absorbent materials in another blog post too) 
All in One nappies aren't generally used as night nappies either. 
All in Two nappies are a little bit different. You can buy a cover on its own, and you can decide what type of absorbency you want to go into it. You could use inserts, prefolds or fitted nappies. One of the reasons why people love the idea of an all in two nappy, is that you can change out the inserts for fresh ones, but continue to use the same cover without washing it. You may get 2-3 changes out of the same cover before you feel like it's time to get a fresh cover. Some people would choose this option to save on laundry *but* personally I don't think it is much of a benefit as it is mainly the absorbent part of the nappy that takes up all the space in the washing machine anyway rather than the waterproof cover. The only thing about all in two nappies that I'm not totally keen on, is when you are out and about and you just have inserts in your changing bag you basically have to construct a nappy on the go. Easy if you have a calm rather still baby. When your toddler is full of life and trying to sprint off on you during nappy changes, trying to assemble a nappy during the process can be a bit of a challenge. 
Where this becomes a really handy option though, during the winter you can dry prefolds etc quicker near a heat source without worrying that you are going to damage the waterproof cover. 
The massive benefit of an all in two nappy system is at night. A fitted nappy (all absorbent fabric, no waterproof part) teamed up with a waterproof cover is a great night option. If you need to make the night nappy even more absorbent, you can add a hemp insert inbetween the fitted nappy and the waterproof cover. 
**These opinions are just from my own personal experiences with my babies. Lots of people may have very different opinions and experiences to all of the ones listed above**

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