We believe that there is a reusable nappy solution for every family. But there is a LOT of information out there which can be confusing.
An excellent resource for cloth nappy information is the UK Nappy Network, they have a detailed Glossary of Terms and an excellent Fitting Guide. As an affiliated nappy library we adhere to the Washing Guide, and require that all clients wash our hired nappies in accordance with the guidelines.
Nappies – The Basics
Most nappies have the same layers in the same order:
Stay Dry Layer – closest to babies skin: this can be built-in, reusable fleece or disposable. NB This is optional if not built in to the nappy.
Absorbency – the bit that catches the wee: this can be built-in, removable or disposable.
Absorbent layers and boosters are usually either:
- Microfiber (mf) – quickly absorbent but can leak if compressed
- Cotton – quickly absorbent and holds better than mf
- Bamboo – slower to absorb, holds better than mf
- Hemp- can be slow to absorb, but is very retentive. Will contain a % of cotton
Waterproof Outer – the wrap or shell that keeps it all in: this can be built-in or removable.
If the nappy feels plasticky or crinkly, that will be the waterproof layer.
Nappy wraps/shells/outers are usually made from:
- PUL: polyurethane laminated fabric -this is the most common material: it’s very waterproof, but if nappy is soaked, may wick through stitching
- TPU: thermoplastic polyurethane, similar to PUL but more breathable
- fleece: this repels moisture but allows evaporation
- wool: this works like fleece
Fastenings – Most reusable nappies are fastened in one of 4 ways:
- poppers or snaps
- hook and loop (such as Velcro or Aplix)
- using a nappy nippa (such as Snappi)
- lengths of fabric which tie the nappy on
Fitting Reusable Nappies
- As a general rule, cloth nappies go on slightly lower on baby’s back than disposables, so the back of the nappy usually lines up with the top of the pelvis.
- As you bring the nappy up between baby’s legs, you will need to tuck the sides in so that the elastic is high up baby’s leg, close to their crotch. We call this the ‘knicker line’.
- When you bring the outside wings over baby’s tummy to close the nappy, you should pull them up towards baby’s shoulder/upper arm then across. This fixes gaps where the knicker line goes around baby’s bum.
- All the absorbent insides of the nappy should be covered by the waterproof outer.
- Nappy should fit tightly, but not too tight. Marks like ‘sock marks’ are fine. Baby will tell you if its too tight. Until you feel expert, please always double check the elastic fit; you should be able to run a finger between the nappy and the baby, but there should not be any gaps.
- All liners/nappies/boosters/wraps are interchangable but some do fit better than others. If the waterproof is built-in you do not need a wrap over the top.
- If the nappy or wrap has two rows of closure poppers, you may find it easier to close the lower ones first to ensure a good fit round the legs, before closing the waist poppers.
- If the nappy or wrap has ‘riser’ poppers to change its size, start with it on the smallest setting.
- Our recommended fitting guide is available on the UK Nappy Network website.
- A great place for more information and videos is the Nappy Lady website
- Detailed folding instructions for terries and prefolds are here
- Avoiding colic while changing baby video
- Information about baby-led-pottying is here.