How cloth nappies work?
New to cloth nappies and don't speak the language?
We are going to help decode all the terms and acronyms that add to the confusion and sometimes overwhelming world of modern cloth nappies.
Let's start with the commonly used acronyms
- MCN modern cloth nappy
- OSFM one size fits most, an adjustable nappy which is adjusted by snaps in the rise, this changes the size for different weights and heights.
- OSFA one size fits all (as above)
- AIO all in one, that is the nappy is one complete part, the waterproof outer is sewn together with the insert (absorbent part)
- AI2 all in two, usually a wipeable cover and snap-in insert
- WAHM work at home mum, typically used to describe nappies made at home by working mums even though the majority of MCN retailers/manufacturers are also WAHMS
- PUL pronounced as either P-U-L or Pull, Polyurethane laminate is the waterproof fabric used on the outside of the nappy to prevent wetness from soaking through. Polyurethane is chemically bonded to a polyester or cotton fabric in either 1mil or 2mil thickness.
- TPU thermoplastic polyurethane, this is the thin polyurethane coating applied using heat to the fabric. TPU is not a fabric, PUL is still the name of the fabric created even when using TPU.
- EBF exclusively breastfed which is not specific to modern cloth nappies but it does mean you don't need to rinse as EBF baby poo is water-soluble.
- OTB on the bum, usually used in MCN groups to show off the nappy of the day on the bum.
Other words to know in the world of cloth nappies are,
- Pocket nappies with a pocket to hold the inserts
- Inserts these are the absorbent part of the nappy, usually stuffed into a pocket or clipped into the shell
- Booster a smaller size insert
- Liners reusable or disposable liners are placed between baby and the insert/lining of the nappy. Most reusable liners are made from microfleece or microsuede and help to keep baby dry if there isn't already a stay-dry layer, also make cleanup easier.
- Fitteds the entire nappy is absorbent and there is no waterproof layer so need a cover or wrap to use with them, a lot of people prefer fitted nappies overnight.
- Cover a waterproof outer layer used over a flat, pre-fold or fitted. These can be made from wool, PUL or fleece. Your nana or mum might know them as 'fluffies'
- Flats a traditional flat nappy made from cotton, bamboo, hemp or a mix but usually natural fibres. Flats need to be folded and secured with a pin or snappy.
- Prefold a modern take on the flat nappy, prefolds are already folded into 3, typically 2 layers on the outside sections and 3 layers in the middle. Folded into 3 is known as the pad fold and can be used in a cover, prefolds can also be used wrapped around the baby and secured with a pin or snappy.
- Side snapping the nappy does up at the side and sits flat over the tummy.
- Front snaps more common than side snaps, the nappy does up in the front across the tummy.
- Snaps or Poppers plastic press studs used to fasten the nappy. Snaps are harder for little hands to undo.
- Hook and Loop the generic name for Velcro, used in place of snaps. Older people or those with arthritis find h&l easy but so do the little ones!
- Wet bag an essential item for when you are out and about to store soiled nappies and wipes. Also available in a variety of sizes, minis are perfect for wipes and large laundry sized bags are a perfect alternative to the dry pail.
- Stash the word used to describe your collection of fluff or nappies
- Fluff Mail a parcel of MCN
And just when you think you know everything you realise there's a whole separate dictionary required for the laundry of MCN so let's quickly run through the basics
- Pre-wash nappies are washed on a short cycle with 1/2 scoop of detergent on day 1 or 2, loading of the machine is not important
- Main wash as the name suggests this is the main event. Loading and the correct detergent dosage is important, your main wash should be every 2-3 days.
- Dry Pail an open basket used to store dirty nappies in between washes, you can also use a Fudgey Laundry Bag
- S&S Strip and sanitise, with a solid wash routine this shouldn't be required unless passing on your nappies to another family or for instances of fungal infections and if this is the case only sanitation is required each wash.
Hopefully, this helps to decode some of the lingo you will come across in the beginning of your modern cloth nappy journey and if I have missed anything off then please leave a comment.
Or, continue back to choosing which nappy type here.