Having weighed up the pros and cons of real cloth nappies versus disposable nappies and opted to go for the real nappy option, the next question is which type of real nappy to choose? Long gone are the days of the only option being the plain, terry nappy. Now there is a choice of all-in-ones, flat, pocket, shaped nappies and many more. But what are the main features of each type of nappy?
All-in-one nappies are the simplest of nappies to use - even cloth nappy novices will find them easy, making them an ideal choice for your first baby! In terms of washing all-in-ones they have slightly longer drying times than other nappies as the pieces aren't taken apart for washing and drying.
Snap-in-one nappies are similar to All-in-One nappies however the inners can be removed to speed up drying times and to increase the amount of time that the nappy can be used - if it is wet a new inner can be snapped in rather than washing the entire nappy.
For an economical, not to mention fast drying approach to real nappies, then try the flat nappy. Fold to fit, and fasten with a nippa. Folding the nappy can take practice, but is easy when you know how. As for using flat nappies, Either use full time as a budget system, or have a couple spare for those times when you've run out of other types.
Pocket nappies have many of the best features of other cloth nappy systems without some of the drawbacks, making them a very versatile system. They are easy to put on as there is just one piece, but quick to dry as they come apart for washing. Even if you don't choose them as your main nappy system it is handy to have a few for quick changes when you're out, for childcare providers or for travelling nappies.
Shaped nappies come in either cotton, microfibre or bamboo varieties. Bamboo shaped nappies are more absorbent than cotton or microfibre nappies so may be suitable for heavy wetters or for use at night. They take longer to dry so you may want to consider having a few more in your collection, or to have some microfibre or cotton nappies as well. Microfibre shaped nappies are fast drying and super soft.
And finally night nappies - nappies for use at night! They are more absorbent than day time nappies but tend to be more bulky. They are easy to use but due to their bulkiness drying times are on the slow side.
Of course there are several features for each type of nappy and there will be differences between brands so it is worth investigating further before making your final choice.
Remember though that you don't have to restrict yourself to one type of nappy and as seen for the brief overview above, you could opt for mainly flat nappies to keep the costs down, add a couple of snap-in-ones to ensure you've got some quick drying nappies in the wardrobe and finish off with a night nappy or two to complete your collection. Whichever real nappy you choose, you'll be glad you didn't take the disposable option!