Cloth nappies. Long gone are the days of Terry Towels and safety pins!

So many of you ask me about cloth nappies. How do they work? Why are there so many types? Which ones should I buy? Are they expensive?

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I did make a video, however I’m terribly shit at technology so I’ve taken photos and step by step instructions and I’m hoping this’ll be a one-stop guide for you!


Pocket nappies are nappies with “pockets” in the back so you can add an absorbent pad (also known as an insert or booster). They are made up from either Minky (super soft plush fabric) with a waterproof hidden layer (PUL) and micro fleece (to go against baby’s skin) or they’re PUL on the outside, making them waterproof but not as soft. I’m not going to be using all of my own products as promotion, I’ll use a variety (you’ll find you like different types, like we do!).

First up I have a Tots Bots nappy:

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These are both the same style just different colours. They have a Velcro closing known as “applix” (also known as dad and in-law friendly amongst the cloth community!). Ignore the poppers on the front I’ll talk about those later.

Here is the inside and the pocket section:


Tots Bots have a “sewn in” insert so you don’t need to add one, and you can’t lose it in the wash. They fold out like this for quick drying:


And then fold back into themselves. Easy peasy! Tots Bots start from around £7 through to £17 depending on what you’re buying. I find the V2s and V3s are the most popular as they are a birth-to-potty design (self-explanatory name but I’ll go into that later!).
Another example of a pocket, one you “stuff yourself”.

And here is the insert:

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Made from a micro fibre it feels like towelling. It’s good for absorbing and they’re super cheap to buy if you know about eBay. I just had a quick look now and they’re £1.99 for two with free postage.

Please bear in mind you usually get an insert when you purchase a new nappy. However if you’re buying second hand (or pre-loved as it’s known) you don’t always get an insert. Sometimes it is useful to have a few extras in if you have a “heavy wetter”.

You take your insert and stuff it into the pocket…


And then just put it on the baby! Ready to go!

That’s pocket nappies. A hole in which to put absorbent layers. You can buy charcoal inserts or hemp; micro fibre is cheapest and it works fine and it’s not worth you paying out extra money until you think they’re not working for you!


These nappies do not have pocket holes. They are called all-in-twos because they come in two parts: the nappy and the insert. The insert either poppers to the nappy or “lays in”, like so:


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The insert looks like this, this particular one is long and folds in on itself to provide the absorbency without it being bulky. This nappy is from Tubby Bumz in Australia;

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Again you just pop baby on top of this and away you go! There isn’t huge amount of difference other than they fit a bit neater/trimmer to the body; you don’t have to stuff them yourself; the inserts are usually more absorbent because they’re made of layers of organic hemp cotton, bamboo cotton, and the like (varies from maker to maker).


The other type of insert for an Ai2 is called a tri-fold. This folds into 3 (clever eh?!) this is an Itti Bitti (it’s called Itti Bitti D’Lish snap in one):


Itti Bittis have an additional booster to fold over the two. Both inserts popper out; which are helpfully colour coded so you know how they go back in!


Here is another example of a tri fold this one is from Tuppence & Tails:


All-in-ones have the insert SEWN into the nappy. No inserts, no stuffing, no popping. They come in one piece. Very handy. They also take ages to dry; not so handy! I only own one AiO and it’s another Itti Bitti AiO:


Itti Bitti sew in an additional booster on their AiOs, similar to their Ai2s but this doesn’t popper off.



Last but not least are “nappies” that require “wraps”. These are similar to what you have seen in design but do not have a waterproof lining. They therefore need a waterproof wrap to go over these. Tots Bots’ version is called Bamboozle and Little Lamb also do them. They seem to be the choice for newborns.


You’ll see this jargon if you’ve looked through cloth websites. BTP are just that, they fit most children from birth through the potty. This works by having rise poppers on the front to shorten the nappy. I’ll show you with the two Tots Bots examples as they’re the same nappy:


You can clearly see the size difference. The poppers on the front pop down allowing you to make the nappy smaller!

As the baby grows you merely adjust the poppers! Simple! Some BTPs are a tad big for newborns and in my experience fit best from about 8-12 weeks.


People ask about poo. Newborn poo washes really easily just put it in the washing machine, breast-fed poo is even easier. As they get older and their poo becomes solid you merely flick it in the toilet and put the nappy to wash. Modern cloth nappies need only dry pailing. No bucket of water and definitely no chemicals. I wash mine twice a week (I have a lot) and wash with a scoop of Ariel. Don’t use conditioner as it can ruin the elastic! If poo happens to stain the inside you can pop it in the sun for a few hours and it bleaches them clean. If your baby has been poorly I recommend a good 90 degree wash to ensure all bacteria are killed. I also use a capful of Milton’s on the drum.

When you’ve done all of that, you can buy pretties!




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You’re welcome 🙂

Any questions, please just comment and I shall assist!


3 thoughts on “Cloth nappies. Long gone are the days of Terry Towels and safety pins!

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