Everything you need to know about the styles of modern cloth nappies

Whether you’re dipping your toe in the water or taking the plunge and going all in to the world of Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN), it can be very overwhelming. There are so many different styles and systems to choose from, not to mention the acronyms that sound like you need to learn a whole new language! If this sounds like you, here’s a brief guide to make cloth nappies less daunting.

AIO cloth nappies

AIO stands for All-In-One. These types of nappies have all the absorbent material attached.  The sized All-In-Ones by Baby Beehinds are by far my favourite nappy in our stash. I have the Velcro version which is the closest you can get to a disposable nappy design and feel in the modern cloth nappy world . They’re also a favourite of my husband and mother so can really be used by anyone. The inserts of these flip out and come with a booster. They take a little longer to dry simply because of the design (with all the absorbent material is attached) but they’re still number one in my book.

AI2 cloth nappies

AI2 stands for All-In-Two and this is a nappy that comes in two parts: the insert and the shell. The benefit of an All-In-Two is that if the shell is dry you can just swap the insert and reuse the shell and alternate between two or three shells a day. I have never been this lucky but I can always hope that any future babies don’t wee as much as my little fella!The Clean Collective stocks two brands of AI2 nappies from fabulous Australian-owned small businesses, Bubblebus and Designer Bums My favourite AI2s don’t come in different sizes, they’re One-Size-Fits-Most (OSFM).

OSFM cloth nappies

Bubblebubs Candies are a One-Size-Fits-Most (OSFM) AI2 nappy with a unique design feature – they don’t have rise snaps. Most MCNs have snaps (which are like press studs) at the front that can be adjusted to the size of your baby.  Candies don’t have these and tend to fold in on themselves so you can use them for most newborns to toddlers, without fiddling around adjusting snaps. I must admit, I was skeptical at first about how this would work but I was pleasantly surprised with how easy they are. Candies also snap at the side, which I hear is great for those clever toddlers who learn how to take their nappies off! Candies come with a trifold insert, a booster, and a waterproof shell. You can either choose from the minky (soft and fluffy) or the smooth (smooth and hard) variety shells but both work the same.

Designer Bums are also a OSFM AI2 nappy (are you getting the hang of the acronyms yet?) but these have snaps at the front. Each nappy comes with a large anchor insert which can be stuffed into an inside pocket or laid on the shell, and a small snap-in booster. Designer Bums teams with artists to create unique prints for each release and these nappies really are a work of art. Designer Bums really have the most beautiful prints and when your nappy looks that amazing who needs pants?

Night nappies

Cloth nappies have come a long way so using cloth overnight is just as easy as using them during the day. For those who have average wetting babies, you can go with a Bubblebubs Bamboo Delights fitted nappy or a Baby Beehinds Bamboo Fitted Nappy.

Both nappies are made from bamboo, which is a great absorbent material. And because the whole nappy is bamboo, the whole nappy is absorbent meaning it will hold more but will need a PUL cover to make it waterproof.  Both Bubblebubs and Baby Beehinds sell a variety of PUL covers in different colours and sizes, which are very easy to use.

If you have a heavy wetter you might like to try a dedicated night nappy from Baby Beehinds. These come in different sizes and have many more layers of absorbent material. Pair this with either a PUL cover or (for even more absorbency) a wool cover and you have an almost fool-proof night nappy system.

Newborn nappies

This is all very well, but can I use cloth from day one with my newborn I hear you ask? Of course you can!

Most modern cloth nappies are One-Size-Fits-Most and say they will usually fit from around 4kg. My son was born at 3.2kg and I wanted to start cloth nappies as soon as possible so I used the Bubblebubs Bam Bams as soon as we were home from the hospital. These are a very easy nappy to put on and fit, suitable for all body types, including the tiniest baby. They are an all-absorbent nappy and close at the front with a snappi (which is a plastic hook that you buy separately). You will need a PUL cover to make them waterproof. Even once my little fella reached that 4kg mark we kept using the Bam Bams as he had the skinniest legs and it was tricky to get a good fit with an OSFM so there was no leaks. Bam Bams were just as easy as a disposable and changing at 2am when you are half asleep was so simple!

What have you got to lose?

Modern cloth nappies are not as scary as you may think. They do require some trial and error and I was prepared for leaks until we got the hang of it. I can honestly say I have never had a poo explosion in cloth but we have had a few in a disposable that the thin elastic just could not contain. Even my husband prefers cloth to disposables and the money we have saved makes it all worth it.

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Jessica Hitchens

Jess is an early childhood teacher, as passionate about childhood development as she is her veggie garden and loose-leaf tea. She’s on a mission to be as green as possible, because what’s the point in giving our kids the best opportunities and education if we’re going to leave them a sick planet? In her spare time, you’ll find her with her family and dogs, enjoying the simple life and a good glass of wine!

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