The Different Types of Cloth Nappies Explained

It can be overwhelming figuring out all the different types of cloth nappies when you are first starting out.

Here is an outline to help you work out what type of cloth nappy will suit you and your baby:


  • Economical option
  • Different folds for newborns, boys and girls
  • A waterproof cover is needed
  • Snappi’s or pins are used to fasten
  • They dry quickly
  • Great option for newborns before OSFM nappies fit
  • Can be used to stuff pocket nappies for older babies
  • Can be used for burp cloths and spills


  • Another economical option made from cotton
  • A rectangle shape to be folded in three OR folded and fastened with a Snappi
  • A waterproof cover is needed
  • Great option for newborns before OSFM nappies fit
  • Can be used to stuff pocket nappies for older babies 

Fitted Nappies

  • Fitted nappies are shaped like disposables and are snapped on
  • The entire nappy is absorbent and they have superior breathability
  • A waterproof cover is needed
  • Available in bamboo or hemp
  • Good for those who want only natural fibres against babies skin
  • A great leak resistant option

Nappy Covers

  • Nappy covers are the waterproof outer to be used with flats, fitted nappies and prefolds
  • Available in PUL or Wool
  • Covers can be reused if they aren't soiled

Pocket Nappies

  • Absorbent inserts are stuffed into waterproof nappy cover (or shell) with a pocket
  • The lining keeps baby dry as moisture is wicked into the insert
  • Absorbent inserts can be increased as needed for night times and as baby gets older
  • Very simple and easy to use. Perfect for daycare/babysitters
  • The entire nappy needs to be washed after each use

All-in-Ones (AIO)

  • The most similar in design to disposable nappies
  • The cover and absorbent material are attached so no snapping or stuffing or matching up after washing
  • The whole nappy needs to be washed
  • Can take longer to dry
  • Very simple and easy to use. Perfect for daycare/babysitters

All-in-Twos (AI2)

  • The absorbent layer snaps into a cover
  • This means you can reuse covers
  • Less washing
  • Less bulk to carry around

Night Nappies

  • Specially designed for using overnight
  • Usually sized and for older babies and heavy wetters
  • Often needs a cover
  • Bulkier and more absorbent than day nappies

Sized Nappies vs One Sized Fits Most (OSFM)

  • Sized nappies come in 3 or 4 different sizes depending on the brand. Usually Newborn/Small, Medium, Large. You will need to buy 24 of each size to use cloth fulltime
  • Sized nappies are a trimmer fit for all ages and specifically designed for that particular stage
  • OSFM nappies will fit baby from 4-6 weeks through to toilet training so are the most cost effective way to go
  • OSFM nappies are particularly bulky for the first 6 months and may not fit newborns.

Velcro vs Snaps

  • Velco allows you to get a tailored fit each time
  • Velcro can make for a quick nappy change
  • Velco can be easier for toddlers to undo
  • Velco can wear poorly over time
  • Velcro is easier to use and perfect for daycare/babysitters
  • Snaps are vey hard wearing
  • Snaps are much harder for toddlers to undo
  • Sometimes a baby is in-between snap sizes