Baby Hints & Tips

Dazed and Confused? Which Modern Cloth Nappies

There’s no doubt about it, information on the internet about modern cloth nappies (MCN) can be lengthy and confusing! When I started my online shop one of my aims was to simplify cloth nappies for beginners. The 5 short descriptions below will assist you in understanding the differing types of cloth nappy systems, shares Claire Marchand-Johns (owner of Mod Bots).

Firstly, it is useful to know that the differing types of cloth nappies listed below essentially comprise the same two elements, which are:

  1. a waterproof outer shell of breathable PUL (fabric that has been laminated to make it waterproof).
  2. an insert, also called a soaker pad, made from highly absorbent material such as hemp, bamboo, cotton or microfibre.

All-in-two nappies

In this system the absorbent insert and the shell are two separate pieces. The insert is laid into the waterproof outer shell, and is kept securely inside the nappy with snap fastenings.

After use, the insert un-snaps from the shell and a clean insert can be snapped into the shell. This system has the advantage of saving you money, as you do not need to buy as many outer shells as you do inserts.

all-in-twos MCN: which modern cloth nappies

Image: Mod Bots

Pocket nappies

Pocket Nappies have an internal pocket running the length of the shell in which you slide your absorbent insert. This system gives you the flexibility of adding extra inserts (known as boosters) to increase the absorbency of the nappy, for example, for overnight use.

Baby is protected from direct contact with a wet insert as the pocket is usually made from a stay-dry wicking fabric that helps keep baby extra dry.

pockets MCNImage: Mod Bots

All-in-one nappies

All-in-Ones have the absorbent insert sewn together with the outer shell. They are very easy and convenient, as you do not have to assemble any pieces together before popping on baby.

all-in-ones MCNImage: Mod Bots

Fitted nappies

Fitted nappies consist of a shaped, absorbent nappy that you cover with a waterproof outer shell. With each change, a fresh fitted nappy can be placed into the same cover (unless the cover is soiled or very wet).

This system is very economical – it will cost you less to purchase a large number of fitted nappies with only a few covers versus purchasing a large number of whole nappies.

Fitted nappies are great for heavy wetters, overnight, or for newborns where you want the absorbent material to wrap closely around their smaller thighs to prevent leaking.

fitted MCNImage: Mod Bots

Pre-fold nappies

Pre-folds are flat absorbent inserts that are folded and placed inside a waterproof nappy cover. Pre-folds have 3 sewn sections, with the middle section being most absorbent with multiple layers of fabric.

A fresh pre-fold can be placed into the same cover for multiple changes (unless the cover is soiled or very wet). This system is the most economical – it will cost you less to purchase a large number of pre-folds with only a few covers versus purchasing a large number of whole nappies such as All-In-One nappies or Pocket nappies.

Pre-folds also have the advantage of drying quickly and are perfect for the high number of changes newborns require.

There are many ways to fold a pre-fold, for example, the angel fold, pad fold and bikini twist – don’t let this put you off. Mod Bots can assist you with learning these and once practiced pre-folds are very easy to fit on baby.

 Pre-folds MCN

Image: Mod Bots

Nappy closures

Most nappies are offered in either snap fastenings or velcro. Snaps are more durable than velcro and provide a more secure nappy (that most babies/toddlers are not able to take off themselves!). Velcro makes for a totally customisable fit and a quicker nappy change for those of us who have wriggly babies!

What next?

Some parents start using cloth nappies straight away with their first child but if you are new to cloth nappies, you may wish to initially purchase 4-5 nappies to alternate with a day of disposables and then look into purchasing a full time supply or ‘stash’.

Most parents use a mixture of different types of nappies depending on what advantages and costs are involved. One nappy system or brand usually becomes a favourite.

You will need approximately 15-25 nappies for full time use to ensure you have a clean supply on rotation.

Want to know the many benefits of modern cloth nappies? Click here for our article “Are You Crazy?!  You are thinking about using Cloth Nappies?”

*Claire is a mum of three, and shares knowledge about cloth nappies and provides only the best tried and tested quality brands you will love. 

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