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Types of Nappy

There is a lot of terminology which can sound confusing but ultimately all cloth nappies are fairly similar. They all have an absorbent core and a waterproof outer like a disposable nappy, it's simply the style that varies. This page explains the components of a reusable nappy and the different types that are available.

Reusable nappy components


The waterproof bit on the outside which keeps clothes dry.


The absorbent bit inside which absorbs the wee and contains the poo. The nappy can either be shaped or a flat square (needs to be folded).


Boosters provide extra absorbency. Especially useful at night, but also handy during the day to help you tailor the nappy's absorbency to your baby.


Disposable paper liners or washable fleece liners are a nifty addition to any nappy - they catch any poo while letting wee pass through to the nappy. By no means necessary, but liners do make dealing with poo much easier.

Reusable nappy types explained

Birth to potty nappy

These are any nappy with poppers on the front. This clever design means nappies can be adjusted to a smaller size setting, allowing you to use them from birth right through to potty training. These "one size fits all' (OSFM) nappies generally fit from about 4.5kg in weight, and although they may be a little bulky to start with the fit quickly improves as baby grows.

 Two part nappy

A two part nappy consists of a separate inner nappy and waterproof cover. The inner can be a fitted nappy like the one shown, or a traditional flat nappy (see below). Fitted nappies are super absorbent which makes them the best overnight solution. More on night nappies here.

All in one nappy

As the name would suggest, an all-in-one nappy has everything built in to one piece. The absorbent core and waterproof outer are joined together and cannot be separated. These nappies are essentially just like a disposable and are very easy to use.

Pocket nappy

Pocket nappies are similar to all-in-ones, but they have to be assembled first by inserting the absorbent pad inside the pocket. The design means you can easily tailor the level of absorbency inside the pocket to suit your child.

Snap in one nappy

A snap-in-one nappy has absorbent inserts that snap into the nappy. Most snap-in-ones have a sleeve into which you can slide the inserts, which means this type of nappy shares similarities with both a pocket and an all-in-one nappy. Very convenient and easy to use, but since the inserts can be removed this speeds up drying time. Customise your absorbency by choosing how many inserts to snap into the nappy.

Flat nappy

Flat nappies consist of a folded square of super absorbent cotton, muslin, hemp or bamboo fabric, secured with a Snappi, plus a waterproof cover on top. This type of nappy system benefits from being very economical, quick drying and very trim. A great option for a newborn.

Newborn nappy

"Birth to potty" nappies generally only fit from about 4.5 kg. Newborn nappies are specifically sized to fit under 4.5 kg. These nappies are trim on newborns and work well with twins and premature babies too. More on newborn nappies here.