Basic Cloth Info
Cover | Shell: The waterproof outer part of the nappy that fits over the absorbent part(s) of the nappy to prevent leaks. The cover can be unlined or lined in suedecloth, athletic wicking jersey or similar.
Insert | Booster: The absorbent part(s) of the nappy contained within the cover | shell
Liner (* optional*): An additional liner between the absorbent part of the nappy and baby's skin
Types of Inserts
Snap In Inserts | Boosters: Inserts | boosters that have inbuilt snaps that allow it to snap into a snap on the internal side of the cover | shell. Snapping an insert in helps to keep the insert/ booster in place
Why use liners?
Liners are fantastic if you use barrier creams on bub's little bottom as they prevent a build up of barrier cream on the absorbent components of the nappies. Although barrier creams should wash out in hot water, if they don't they can coat the absorbent fabric causing it to repel rather than absorb liquid
Why disposable liners? Awesome if you have a weak stomach and don't like dealing with poo! Catches most of the solids so you can simply lift out the liner + poo and the job is done! Usually flush-able (check your septic system can handle this) and sometimes even compost-able
Why not disposable liners? Can be a cause of nappy rash or skin irritation if your bub has sensitive skin. Try going without a disposable liner if your little one is experiencing nappy rash or other skin irritations but also check your wash routine as this may be a contributing factor. And of course, seek medical advice if necessary
Why re-usable liners? Microfleece (and similar fabrics) make great reusable liners as they wick (fancy word for move) liquid away from baby's skin helping to keep your little one's bottom feeling dry. They protect the more expensive components of your nappy from staining and the build up of barrier creams, extending the lifespan of your nappy
Nappies by StylesAll in Ones (AIO): Cover + inserts combined into 1 single piece. AIO covers also often include an internal pocket to hold additional inserts as required to increase absorbency
Why an All in One nappy? The closest it gets to disposables, this nappy is all one unit. A great start for those who are not familiar with cloth (i.e. childcare, grandparents & even dads (sorry dads, no offence intended!). Most AIOs also include a pocket for stuffing additional inserts or boosters if required!
Why not an All in One nappy? Downside is that they can take longer to dry than other styles but the ease of use definitely makes them worth a try! Some have a sewn in flip out insert that allows for a quicker dry time
All in Twos (AI2): Cover is one component, inserts are separate. Inserts can often be snapped onto the cover to hold them in place. AI2 covers also often include an internal pocket to hold additional inserts as required to increase absorbency
Why an All in Two nappy? The separate components allow for quicker drying times & allows for a more customised placement of absorbent components to suit bub's needs
Why not an All in Two nappy? Maybe a little harder for grandparents and minders, especially those who are not familiar with cloth, to fit these nappies properly on your little one. Inserts can move around within the cover if bub is super wriggly (snap in inserts helps to mitigate this) but you should not have this problem if your cover fits correctly!
Pocket: Cover is one component, inserts are separate. The cover has an internal pocket to hold inserts as required to achieve desired absorbency
Why a Pocket nappy? Very similar to an AI2 in regards to quick drying and a more customised placement of absorbent components. Can make clean up easier as poo goes directly on to the cover/ shell's internal lining rather than squishing between multiple layers of inserts (that sounds yuckier than it actually is sorry!) The pocket secures inserts and boosters flat and in place so that they don't move around within the cover/ shell if bub is a wriggly one!
Why not a Pocket nappy? Maybe a little harder for grandparents and minders, especially those who are not familiar with cloth, to fit these nappies properly on your little one. Can be time consuming trying to stuff inserts into narrow pockets...especially for those large man hands! Look out for nappies with double entry pockets that make stuffing a little easier
Cover: Waterproof covers are often sold as an individual item to allow inserts to be purchased separately or so that the cover can be used in conjunction with prefolds, flats and fitteds. Covers for prefolds, flats or fitteds are generally unlined and able to be wiped down between uses.
Fitted Nappies: Shaped like a cover | shell but these nappies are the absorbent component of a nappy...think of them as a different style of insert. Fitted nappies are the absorbent components of a nappy so they must be paired with a waterproof cover | shell. They usually have inbuilt fastening mechanisms such as snaps or velcro and therefore do not require a separate fastener
Why a Fitted nappy? Great for newborn nappies or night nappies as the entire nappy is absorbent so it contains newborn liquids and caters for those tummy or side sleepers! Easy to put on while still providing the same wrap around absorption of a prefold.
Why not a Fitted nappy? They can be on the bulkier side for a day nappy.
Dedicated Night Nappies: Designed to last the night leak free, these night nappies are bulkier than day nappies but they need to be! They come with additional inserts/ boosters to provide added absorbency to contain night time liquids...so you can all have a peaceful sleep
Why a Dedicated Night Nappy? Because in some cases you just can't do without a dedicated night nappy
Why not a Dedicated Night nappy? If you can get away with using a day nappy or a day nappy with an extra insert then do it! Night nappies are on the expensive side because of all the extra absorbent components they entail
Prefold: A flat, multi-layered rectangular nappy, similar to traditional cloth nappy flats but different. The rectangle is generally divided into thirds with extra layers of fabric located in the central panel to increase absorbency while allowing the prefold to be less bulky along the side panelsCan be folded in multiple ways to suit your bub's shape, size and absorbency requirements and is held in place with a nappy fastener of your choice (at TCS we use Snappi fasteners, see below under fasteners for further details)
Prefolds are the absorbent components of a nappy so they must be paired with a waterproof cover | shell
Why a Prefold nappy? Completely customisable to your bub so its easy to find the perfect fit. Can also be used with a wipe down cover/ shell which means you don't have to purchase as many shells to complete your full time stash. Prefolds can be used as an extra insert too, rather than folding around bub, which makes them incredibly versatile! Plus they dry relatively quickly.
Why not a Prefold nappy? Still requires folding around bub so fitting can be hard and time consuming on a wriggly bub. Depending on the fold they can be on the bulkier side
Flats: Usually a square single layer nappy that can be folded in multiple ways to suit your bub's shape, size and absorbency requirements. Can be held in place with a nappy fastener of your choice (at TCS we use Snappi fasteners, see below under fasteners for further details).Flats are the absorbent components of a nappy so they must be paired with a waterproof cover | shell
Why a Flat nappy? Completely customisable to your bub so its easy to find the perfect fit. Can also be used with a wipe down cover | shell which means you don't have to purchase as many shells to complete your full time stash. Flats can be used as an extra insert too, rather than folding around bub, which makes them incredibly versatile! Plus they are fast drying. An economical night nappy solution where bulk isn't an issue
Why not a Flat nappy? Can be hard and time consuming to fit onto a wriggly bub. Depending on the fabric and fold, they can be on the bulkier side
Fold Types for Prefolds | Flats: Padded or trifold fold, angel wing fold, newspaper fold, jelly roll fold or the bikini twist fold. Some of our suppliers have wonderful videos or images to demonstrate specific folds so be sure to check out the brand specific website of the prefold or flat you are looking at....or a quick google will bring up some great videos for step by step instructions on each fold
Nappies by Sizes
Newborn: Typically birth - 3kgs.
Newborn nappies are fantastic if you want an easy newborn fit....no mucking around trying to fit a larger one size fits most (OSFM) nappy onto a newborn just so you can save yourself some cash, after all, newborn parenting is hard enough so the simpler the better! They are still cheaper than disposables and if you plan on having more bubs in the future, they are worth the investment.
On the other hand, if you think investing in newborn nappies, that will last you only a short period, is a little steep, consider hiring for the newborn stage, buying second hand or trawling you-tube for some newborn hacks that will show you how to fit an OSFM onto your new little bub!
One Size Fits Most (OSFM): Typically from 3kgs - 16kgs give or take a kilo or two on the upper end.
One size fits most nappies are designed to fit your baby for most of the time they require nappies, from birth until toilet training. Look out for OSFM nappies that have rise snaps, these will allow for you to adjust the fit as bub grows
Sized Nappies: These nappies come in various sizes which allows you to select the perfect fit for bub at the size they are now.
Purchasing sized nappies may not seem as economical as OSFM, however some brands have sized covers with standard inserts | prefolds that suit all sizes which means you are only replacing the covers as bub grows. They are also beneficial if you are struggling to get an OSFM nappy to fit bub's body shape as they grow and change. Sized nappies can be purchased to suit bub's body shape right now for that perfect fit!
Toddler +: Typically 18kgs + give or take a couple of kilos on the lower end
Once bub grows out of their OSFM nappies, Toddler + nappies are the way to go. These nappies are also great for heavy wetters where their OSFM can no longer cater for all of the extra inserts required to keep bub dry!
**** Sizes vary from brand to brand. The sizes mentioned above are a guide only
Most of our nappies will come packaged with fit instructions which will show you how to fit your nappy....but here are some helpful links for more brand specific info:
|***Cloth nappies should be worn just like undies.....so tuck those leg elastics into the undies line to avoid red marks ***|
|Materials and Absorbancy|
|PUL||Polyurethane laminate - the waterproof layer|
Slightly stretchy, short pile fabric (soft & cuddly). Also the waterproof layer when laminated on PUL
|Microfleece, Microsuede, Suede Cloth, Jersey||
Absorbs liquid fast but doesn't hold a lot
Typically used as the stay dry layer. Quickly wicks (fancy word for moves) liquid away from baby's skin helping to keep your little one's bottom feeling dry
Holds more liquid than the stay dry fabrics however is a little slower on the uptake. Still faster at absorbing liquid than Bamboo or Hemp however has less capacity for absorbing liquid than both
Holds the most liquid besides Hemp and is a little faster than hemp at absorbing the liquid
Typically used in inserts, sometimes in conjunction with other fabrics
Holds the most liquid but a bit slow (the slowest) on the uptake
Typically used in inserts...often the most expensive option but worth it for those heavy wetters!
|Wool Covers||A natural fiber, it is the most breathable (so surprisingly cool in summer) and they have the flexibility (or stretch) to be able to fit over those boosted bums without adding too much bulk. Wool works by repelling moisture back into the nappy beneath helping to keep bub feeling nice and dry. Wool does require some extra tender loving care, most brands specify hand washing and all require periodical lanolising to waterproof the wool....but.... as wool self neutralises & deodorises wee you only need to wash the cover when it gets a bit smelly|
*** what to consider when choosing materials....pair a fast absorbing fabric with a fabric that has a high capacity to absorb. The fast absorbing fabric should be the closest to bub's skin to wick away moisture
|Snaps fasten at the front of the nappy on bub's tummy. Easy and quick fastening option, and probably the most popular! Most front snapping nappies have multiple snap placements so you can adjust the fit to suit your bub|
Snaps fasten at either side of the nappy on bub's hips. While some consider side snaps to be time consuming and sometimes impossible to fasten on a wriggly little one, here at TCS we love them as they just seem to create a perfectly snug fit. Definitely worth giving them a go!
Note that side snapping nappies don't often have rise snaps (see rise snap details under nappy features below)
Nappy fastens via velcro at the front of the nappy on bub's tummy. There seems to be either love or hate for this fixing type within the cloth community. Its the most flexible fastening style as you can fasten exactly where it works for bub, creating the perfect fit. Not to mention its quick and easy to fastening on a wriggling bub. Downside is that you have to remember to stick the tabs down for washing (so it doesn't stick to your inserts) and some say that velcro can be easily undone by a cheeky toddler who just wants to escape their nappy!
In lieu of the traditional nappy pins, this contraption catches onto the fabric of your prefold or flat to hold it in place...without the risk of pinning a nappy onto your child!
|Nappies that are less bulky and perfect under clothing (often low rise nappies that sit well below bub's belly button) with a single gusset. Some nappy types/ brands are trimmer than others|
While gaping at the tummy is acceptable and should not result in leaks, tummy elastic is an added bonus to help prevent this. Especially handy in low rise nappies that sit a little bit lower than others under the belly button. And potentially a leak saver at night if you have a tummy sleeper (although higher sitting nappies tend not to gape anyway)
The rise is the front part of the nappy, from belly button to crotch. Some nappies have multiple snap settings in this area which allow the rise to be reduced or extended to suit bub as they grow. Fold down the rise and snap in place for a smaller bub, then gradually go up settings as required. Typically nappies with rise snaps have 3 settings to achieve a small, medium or large rise
Internal snaps on the wings of the nappy that help secure the nappy around bub's legs preventing wing droop
Fancy term for one set of elastics along the leg line...just like undies
A double gusset has a second set of leg elastics and is designed to provide a second line of defense against leaks and explosions. Some nappies have the double gusset built internally in the cover lining while others have an additional gusset as part of the cover outer.
Is it necessary...no. If you want a nice trim day nappy then single gusset is perfectly fine! But if you want to boost (see cloth slang below) to the max then the double gusset will extend to cover the leg gaps...so perfect for night nappies where that extra boosting is required!
Really....this feature comes down to personal preference but don't discount either, both are worth a try
|Wipe down Cover||
A cover that has no internal lining. This allows you to wipe down the cover between each use. Simply place in some fresh inserts and you're good to go!
Again, this works for some and doesn't for others! Can be economical as you don't require as many covers in your full time stash, however for heavy wetters the cover often requires washing after each use. Fantastic for night nappies where you boost to the max so the liquid doesn't even reach the shell, allowing it to be re-used once or twice before going in the wash!
Double Entry Pocket
Pockets have an opening at either end to allow for easy insert placement....less time consuming than trying to slide a bulky insert down a narrow pocket and perfect for those large man hands!
*** We have tagged our nappies according to their best features.....so you can easily find the range of nappies that have the feature that is most important to you!!!
|Cheap & Cheerful||
Under $20/ nappy (including inserts)
Cloth can be done on a budget! Fantastic, everyday nappies. Perfect for sending to childcare so you don't have to worry about your expensive nappies being mistreated or lost. Depending on the brand and their insert material & thickness, these nappies may require additional inserts on top of those provided.
Between $20 - $30/ nappy (including inserts)
For this price, the nappies should come with sufficient inserts to handle your absorption requirements so that you don't have to purchase additional inserts separately.
There are some nice trim nappies in this category...perfect for fitting under those cute little outfits!
Over $30/ nappy (including inserts)
These nappies just have the added attention to detail. Again, at this price, the nappies should come with sufficient inserts to handle your absorption requirements so that you don't have to purchase additional inserts separately. There are some nice trim nappies in this category...perfect for fitting under those cute little outfits!
Usually these nappy brands have the "must have" prints and you need to be fast if you want to get your hands on your favourite print come release day!
|MCN||Modern cloth nappy|
|Folding and Stuffing||
Referring to the post wash practice of placing the inserts inside each nappy or stuffing them into the nappy pockets and then folding them up ready to go for the next use!
Add extra inserts or "boost" to increase absorption. Very technical!
Your complete set of nappies
Some like to keep their stash limited to a single brand...makes it easier to fold and stuff as you are not searching for the insert specific to each nappy!
Others like to mix it up. They have their favourite fit that suits their bub right now and then as bub changes shape, they find a new favourite....and then bub changes shape again and the old favourites are back in circulation! Or....they have succumbed to the cloth nappy obsession and just cant get enough! Don't judge it can happen to the best of us!
For a full time stash the general consensus is that you will need to have between 24-30 nappies if you pre-wash daily & mains wash every second or maybe even 3rd day if you're lucky. This number is mainly to cater for drying time....especially over winter (see our Washing Guideline for wash details).
A nappy handmade by a work at home mum. Often very hard to get a hold of due to limited stock but totally worth it!
On the Bum or OTB refers to pics or the action of getting the nappies on the bum...nappies in action!
Front part of the nappy from belly button to crotch