If you are venturing into the world of cloth nappies for the first time, the chances are you are bombarded with information. I found it very overwhelming when I first began researching what type of cloth nappy to purchase.

There are 5 main types of modern cloth nappies/diapers: Pre-folds, fitted nappies, pocket nappies, all-in-one’s, and all-in-two’s.

Prior to purchasing the modern cloth nappies/diapers you need to realistically look at how much time you are able to spend purchasing, cleaning, drying, and preparing them.

Pre-fold Nappies

What are they? Pre-folds are often known as flat nappies. They are essentially a rectangular shape of layered material stitched together. They have a waterproof nappy cover which only needs to be changed approximately every 5th nappy or if soiled.

Pros: These nappies are the cheapest option of the cloth nappy world. They can be folded many different ways to suit your baby’s individual needs. There are special folds for big babies, little babies, boys, and girls. They are quickest to dry, making laundry day quicker. Pre-folds are long lasting and can wear well through numerous children. Pre-fold nappies are versatile and the cloth can be reused for other purposes (such as cleaning) once your children are toilet trained.

Cons: These are the most complicated cloth nappies to use. They require practice and knowledge of folds, and can be fiddly to put on (particularly with a wriggly baby). These are bulkier than other cloth nappies available. They may not be particularly good at containing liquid stools.

prefold cloth nappy

Fitted Nappies

What are they? Fitted nappies are a 2 step system including the nappy and cover. They are fitted around the legs, and are often fastened using snaps.

Pros: No pinning or fasteners required. Can hold more urine than other types of cloth nappies. Better than pre-folds at containing liquid stools.

Cons: Requires essentially two nappies. Bulky. Often said to leave wet material on child, which can cause nappy rash. Labour intensive when it comes to change time. Nappy cover often deters care givers.

fitted nappies


Pocket Nappies

What are they? Pocket nappies are a fitted waterproof cover with an opening to stuff absorbent material, often called an insert.

Pros: These nappies are easy to wash and dry. The nappies can be stuffed with any insert, and even additional inserts to increase absorbency when needed. The nappies have a stay dry cover between baby and insert, keeping baby’s skin dry.

Cons: Re-stuffing the nappies may add to laundry time.

pocket nappies

All-In-One (AIO) Nappies

What are they? AIO nappies are the closest to disposable nappies. They have a waterproof outer, and absorbent cloths sewn together.

Pros: Easy change time for caregivers. Straight forward use.

Cons: More expensive option. Longer drying time.

All-in-one AIO nappies

All-In-Two (AI2) Nappies

What are they? All-in-two nappies are similar to AIO’s but have snaps to hold the inserts in place instead of being sewn in.

Pros: Easy change time for caregivers. Shorter drying time.

Cons: Inserts must be used for same brand of nappies. Extra time to assemble with snaps.