What is a Cloth Nappy?
A Cloth Nappy is a earth friendly and bottom friendly alternative to single use nappies.
Our aim at EcoBaba is to "Keep Cloth Simple"
All cloth nappies are made up of 2 parts, an absorbent inner layer and a waterproof outer.
These are the different types of nappies available.
All in One (AIO)
Nothing to insert or attach as absorbent part is sewn into the nappy, sometimes the booster will fold out to help with drying.
They come in both Hook and Loop (Velcro) and poppered versions.
An example of this type of nappy is the TotsBots Easyfit Star.
Most similar to using a single use nappy, so ideal for childcare. They are however slower drying as some of the other options as the inserts are not detachable.
AIO nappies come in various fabric versions.
The entire nappy is soft and absorbent, but it is not waterproof and will need a waterproof wrap over the top.
Containment is determined by not only the fitted nappy but also the wrap on top, a good wrap will mean the nappy system has twice the barrier.
They make for a great night nappy as the whole nappy is super absorbent and when baby is sleeping through the night can last 12+ hours with correct fitting and boosting (if necessary).
You can get these nappies in almost all fibre choices or a combination of them.
They do have the slowest drying times of all the nappies and will require a waterproof wrap to complete the nappy system.
An example of a lovely fluffy fitted nappy can be found here.
Terry towelling (terry squares) and prefolds are a traditional flat nappy.
Terrys can be folded into various shapes to suit a babys shape and size and are secured using Nappy Fasteners, they require a wrap to keep them waterproof.
Prefolds are a simpler form of a flat nappy and can be pad folded, sometimes a Joe fold can be achieved (dependant on babys shape and size) Please follow the link below to find out more.
All in Two (AI2)
An all in two nappy is a hybrid nappy, it is a cross between a 2 parter (fitted and wrap) and an all in one. The absorbent inners will attach to the waterproof outer usually with poppers. This allows for the absorbent part to be removed upon wash which allows for quicker drying.
Another huge benefit of using 2 parters is the ability to swap out and reuse. It means that inserts can be removed and swapped for clean ones on nappy change, provided the wrap isn't soiled it can be wiped down and reused for up to 4-5 consecutive changes!
A fab example of this type of Hybrid Nappy is the Close Pop-In
Its worth noting that not one single nappy will suit all. We at Ecobaba have found using different nappies gives different benefits. It is therefore best to have a selection before deciding what works best for baby.
The products that EcoBaba sell have been tried and tested on our own littles so you can be confident that the information we give is based on our actual experiences.
Fibres and Absorbency
There are a few different aspects which determines how well a nappy will work, one being what the nappy is constructed from. Cloth Nappies are made from a variety of fibres, some natural, some man made.
Microfibre: This is the most budget friendly of all the fibre options, they are quick to absorb and quick to dry due to less absorption capacity, They can be prone to compression leaks so it it is not advised to use them in slings for long periods of time as you may find they leak, same goes for them in car seats.
Microfibre cannot be put directly on the bum this is due to them being very drying and can thus cause soreness so ensure there is a barrier between baby's bottom and the booster/insert.
Cotton: Cotton is more absorbent than microfibre, it will therefore take longer to dry. And with cotton being a natural fibre you can find it in both organic and non-organic versions.
Bamboo: You will find that a vast majority of nappies are composed in some way from bamboo. Bamboo is a natural fibre and due to the nature of the plant and how it is grown is known to be more sustainable than cotton.
Bamboo fibre is also more absorbent than cotton, this is a big plus for nappies as without adding additional weight you are able to get the more absorbency than were the insert/booster cotton. Bamboo however is not as fast wicking as cotton which may prove problematic if your little one is a flooder.
To get the best results with bamboo it is often combined with cotton to allow for faster wicking but more absorbency than what cotton would offer alone.
Hemp: known to be the most absorbent of all the fibres used for nappies. Again a very sustainable option and also a natural fibre. Hemp is known to absorb 2.5 times that of Microfibre.
Hemp however is the slowest to dry,