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The Different Types of Reusable Nappies

There are so many decisions to make when having a baby and whether to go for reusable nappies, disposable nappies, or a combination of both can fill parents with confusion.

We all know that disposables are bad for the environment, leave chemicals next to babies skin, run out, and don't look too comfortable! Mostly new parents opt for them assuming they are easier, more convenient and less messy than cloth!

This is just not the case! Washable nappies have moved on a lot from the days of boiling terry squares on the stove, safety pins and draping rubber pants everywhere, as have our washing machines and detergents.

In the last few years there has been a huge shift towards people using reusable nappies on their babies.

Cloth nappies have a clear health advantage to your child. They are a good choice for the environment and are more reliable than disposable nappies - no poonamis and nappy leaks in cloth! They can be used from your first child right through to your second, third, fourth and STILL be sold when you are done. I'd recommend buying a few different types rather than bulk buying one kind.

Cloth is gentler on sensitive skin and reducing the chemicals that are around your baby is vital. But what to buy? There are so many types!  In this article we'll explain what each type of nappy is and look at the pros and cons.

The main types of cloth nappies are - 

  1. Pockets
  2. Fitted and wraps
  3. All in One / All in Twos
  4. Prefolds / flats


Definitely worth making up the bulk of your stash with pocket nappy as these are the most popular type of washable diaper and consist of a waterproof shell lined in stay dry fleece with a ruched pocket at the back for stuffing with absorbent inserts.


Pros - Easy to source, come in every colour and pattern under the sun, can adapt absorbency, compact, easy to use, often one size fits most, replacing the inserts is easy

Cons - Limited stuffing capability, not always absorbent enough for overnight

2. Fitted and wraps

These are known as two part system, a slim fitting shaped absorbent nappy that goes under a water resistant nappy cover. Ideal for nighttime, long journeys or heavy wetters / big drinkers so worth having three or four in your stash and a nappy wrap or two.

As the fitted nappies have no delicate PUL waterproof layer it can be tumble dried. They have a quick wash and dry turn around meaning you need less nappies.

As long as there is no poop on it the reusable nappy wrap can be wiped over and reused for multiple nappy changes so you don't need many. Wraps tend to be designed to fit from birth to potty keeping cost down. This makes two parters a money saving option.

Shop fitted nappies

Pros - bombproof, easily adjust absorbency, perfect overnight, wraps and nappy can be used separately, wraps double up as swim nappies, easy to dry, leak free

Cons - fiddly at first to reassemble, needs an added stay dry layer, you need to strap two parts to baby, can be bulky if you opt for cotton, but bamboo stays slim 

"Value for money, absorbent, easy to use nappies.....after making the wonderful transition from disposable wipes to cheeky wipes I was keen to transition to cloth nappies. I was so ashamed of how much waste we were creating with disposable nappies.

I researched for months and after having such a great experience with your cheeky wipes I knew I could trust your cloth nappies. I ordered your cloth nappies to use as a night time nappy for my daughter and we have been using them for 7 months.

My daughter is petite and we have been using the size 2 nappies since she was approx 7kg and they have been perfect for her. She is a bit of a heavy wetter and so we just experimented with different boosters until we found a suitable combination (it currently is hemp, bamboo and then microfibre). thank you :)" Amy Feb '23 trustpilot

3. All in ones / twos

These are the most similar to disposable diapers and have everything permanently attached for you to put straight onto your baby. Good for nursery days or Grandparents

Pros - Easy to fit, normally compact, good for starting out

Cons - they can't be boosted, not very absorbent leading to leaks, longer to dry as all attached, normally sized so will be outgrown

4. Prefolds / Flats

The 'old school' terry squares or flat nappies your granny would have used, folded to fit round a baby with a nappy fastening or nappy nippa to secure. Great for newborns. Can come 'prefolded' into shapes to fit onto your baby and they then need a waterproof nappy cover like our wraps.

Pros - Cheap, space saving, easy to wash and dry 

Cons - Plain but can use with pretty wraps, fiddly to get a good fit, bulky, can be complicated, longest time to put on


If you found this useful have a read of our wash and care guide and we think you would like these blog -

Guide to the best nighttime nappies for heavy wetters

What to do with old reusable nappies

When to start using reusable nappies

Can you use reusable nappies as swim nappies?


As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch to our easy reusable nappies, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...

About the Author:  Kirstin is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!

Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about bodily functions and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.