The Cloth Nappy "What Size" Guide

Cloth nappy size guide

February 25, 2020

What size cloth nappy should I get? This a pretty common question. Most cloth nappies are either a newborn nappy, or a “one size” cloth nappy. A newborn nappy would generally fit for the first 6 weeks. This of course depends on the size your baby is when he is born, or how rapidly he gains weight. 

A one size cloth nappy is some times called a birth to potty nappy (or BTP) but I find that term is a little misleading, as these nappies would rarely fit well from birth. Instead these nappies would generally fit from about 6 weeks up to 3 years of age. How is that even possible? Well hopefully these photos will help show you how! This guide would apply to both Pocket Nappies and All in One nappies.

Cloth nappy size guide 

This first photo shows the poppers on the front of a My Cotton Drawer Cloth Nappy. Most other cloth nappies will be similar. Why all the poppers? The first 2 rows of poppers (with the pink arrow) are the waist poppers. These would be similar to the Velcro part of a disposable nappy, they literally close the nappy onto the baby. These poppers you will be opening and closing each time you do a nappy change. On a cloth nappy with Velcro closure, such as a Tots Bots easyfit Star, there wouldn’t be any poppers here on this row at all.

The rest of the poppers below these (with the orange arrow) are the rise poppers. These are what allow you to adjust the sizing of the nappy. This nappy in the photo has four rows of poppers, so it has 4 different size settings. You wouldn’t need to open or close these poppers at all, until your baby grows and you need to move up a size, or up to the next row of poppers. 

Cloth nappy size guide

In this photo this is the same One Size nappy on 4 different settings. Some people prefer the look of a cloth nappy with less poppers at the front, but the reality is the more rows of poppers at the front, the better fit you are likely to get. When you need to change the “rise” settings at the front, ie move from one row of poppers to the next, the more rows of poppers there are, the more gradually incremental the sizing will be. If your nappy has only 2 settings, you will be going from small to large with nothing to cater for the in between time. You can of course use the nappy during this in between time, but getting a snug fit may be a struggle. It is wise to go for a cloth nappy with more sizing options to achieve a snug fit. 

A “one size” cloth  nappy that would be an exception to this is the Charlie Banana pocket nappy. Rather than having rise poppers on the front of the nappy, Charlie Banana have this really cool little feature where the leg elastics can be loosened and tightened with something similar to a bra strap. To have a cloth nappy fitting well and leak free, you need to have the leg elastics nice and snug. The rise poppers on a nappy help achieve this, or this cool feature on the Charlie Banana elastics also achieves this without the need for the rise poppers.

Some cloth nappy brands may have “sized” nappies. That means small, medium, large sizes would be catered for by a completely different nappy. These have the obvious downfall that the nappy won’t last as long a duration on your baby, that is, it won’t last from 6 weeks to 3 years. Some people dislike having lots of poppers on the front of the nappy so much that they are willing to accept the shorter duration of use that they will get out of the nappy. Most sizes nappies won’t have the rise poppers on the front of the nappy. I hope this little guide has been some help, and I’ll be uploading more cloth nappy guides soon.


Aoife x



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