Starting Out With Cloth Nappies

Once you have made the decision to use cloth nappies the hard part begins. Which nappies to choose? There is a huge number of brands and styles to choose from. Here are my guidelines to help you select the right nappies for your baby and lifestyle.

1. Choose a style of cloth that you think might suit you     

Selecting one (or two) types of cloth nappies will help you narrow down the choices to try.  

Types of cloth nappies

All in One (AIO)– AIO’s have the absorbent material sewn in although they sometimes include extra boosters to attach for extra absorbency. They are very simple to use and do not require an extra cover. AIO take the longest time to dry out of all the types.

All in Two (AI2)- All in two nappies have inserts that snap into the nappy. This can help them dry faster and can save you money as you can purchase extra inserts to use with the covers instead of buying entire nappies.

Pockets– These nappies have a waterproof outer and stay dry inner and includes an opening to insert the boosters. This allows for faster drying.

Fitted nappies– The entire nappy is made out of absorbent material and so this type of nappy will require a cover to prevent leaks. Covers can usually be used multiple times before needing washing.  

Prefolds– This is a flat nappy which has been sewn into three sections. The middle section has extra layers for absorbency. These require a cover to prevent leaks.

Flat nappies– The traditional type of cloth nappy. These require folding to use and need a cover.

This table shows a number of nappies that are available in each type. Nappies by type table

2. Would you prefer sized or one sized nappies?                         

This might depend on the age of your child. Sized nappies will cost more in the long term as you have to purchase new nappies as your child grows. However, they usually will provide a better fit on new babies and as you are not using them for as long you have a better chance of them being in a good enough condition to sell them used.

Depending on the brand, one size fits most nappies might not fit at the newborn stage. They are also more likely to be bulky when your baby is smaller but you will not have to purchase nappies as your baby grows.

Generally prefolds, newborn/small nappies or fitted nappies and covers are a good choice for a newborn although everyone has their own preferences. Then you can move onto one size nappies as they get a bit bigger. If you do decide to use prefolds initially they can always be used as extra boosters later with whatever other nappies you choose.  

3. Other Factors

Answering the above two questions is enough to get you started but some of you might have other preferences too.  If you have a history of allergies in the family, material choice might be a factor in your decision. For instance some babies have reactions to suedecloth or minky so bamboo might be a better choice.

Have a specific preference for velcro or snap closure? I will be writing a post on  this topic shortly so won’t get into it here. The choice is yours and is really just personal preference although may be limited by your answers to question 1 and 2 above as some brands only use one type of closure.

4. Making a decision      

Something to remember-  It is advisable not to buy too many of the one nappy to start with as babies are all different shapes and sizes and what fits one might not fit another perfectly. Children also change shape over time so I always recommend to have a variety of nappies in your stash. There is nothing worse than buying 24 identical nappies only to find that they do not fit your child. There is no reason why you have to choose one particular style or sizing system. I have a mix in my children’s nappies. It is just an easier way to start. Once you have tried a few you will know what you like and what works for you and can expand your stash.

There are also many businesses that offer a home demonstration service. If you are in the Perth metropolitan area I can conduct a home demonstration and let you touch and see the various types of nappies I sell.  I also sell a number of bulk packs that let you test a variety of nappies. Not sure if there is a home demonstration service near you- contact me with your location (in Australia) and I may be able to point you in the direction of someone.

Hope this helps