All the Cloth Nappy Jargon You Need to Know - Explained!

Do you struggle to tell an insert from a booster? An all-in-one from an all-in-two? Have you always wondered what OSFM stands for? You’re not alone! If you are new to the world of cloth nappies, it’s normal to find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of jargon. With so many different terms and abbreviations, it can be hard to know where to start.

Today we’re bringing you a list of all the terms you need to know to navigate this exciting new world. Get ready to become a cloth nappy pro!

Stands for all-in-one nappy. This is a type of cloth nappy that has the absorbent layer and the waterproof layer permanently attached so that the whole nappy is one piece.

Stands for all-in-two nappy. This is a type of cloth nappy system that has a separate waterproof cover and an absorbent insert that snaps or lays inside the cover. This kind of nappy is also sometimes known as a duo.

Pocket nappy
A cloth nappy system where the absorbent insert is placed inside a pocket in the waterproof cover. Some all-in-one nappies also have pockets, but the difference is that in a pocket nappy the absorbent insert can be completely detached from the outer cover.

Fitted or shaped nappy
This is a type of cloth nappy that is shaped and looks like a nappy but requires a separate waterproof wrap over the top. They are also sometimes known as shaped nappies.

Prefold or trifold
A flat cloth nappy that has been folded down and sewn round the edges to provide multiple layers of absorbency. Usually they are folded into two or three before placing into a nappy, or they can be folded and fastened around a baby using a nappy fastener.

Flat nappy
A large piece of cloth that needs to be folded and fastened onto the baby. The most common types are terries, muslins and birdseye cotton flats.

Preflat nappy
A flat nappy that has pieces cut out to make it easier to fit to baby.

Inserts or boosters
Both of these terms refer to absorbent pieces of fabric that are stuffed, laid or fastened into a nappy. Some people use the terms interchangeably, but it is more common to use the term insert to refer to the absorbency that comes with a nappy when you buy it, and the term booster for an additional layer of absorbency that you might add if you need to help a nappy last longer. This means that inserts are usually thicker or larger than boosters, but it isn’t always the case, and in practice they pretty much do the same job!

A thin layer of fabric or paper that is placed between the baby's skin and the nappy. People often confuse liners with inserts or boosters, but the important difference is that liners do not provide any absorbency. The main functions of a liner are to catch solids to make clean up easier, or, in the case of fleece liners, to help keep baby’s bottom feeling dry.

Stands for one size fits most. This is a type of cloth nappy that can be adjusted to fit babies of different sizes, ranging from newborns to toddlers. These nappies are also often called ‘birth-to-potty’ or BTP for short.

Aplix, velcro or hook & loop (H&L)
These terms are used interchangeably to refer to a nappy that is fastened at the waist with velcro.

Stands for polyurethane laminate. This is a type of waterproof fabric that is commonly used in cloth nappy covers. There is another very similar fabric called TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane.

Nappy fastener, snappi or nappy nippa
A T-shaped fastener used to secure flat and prefold nappies. They have small grippers on each end and are slightly elastic, so they can grip on to the outside of the folded nappy and hold the nappy in place without needing to be near baby’s skin. This makes them much more popular than the traditional choice of pins.

Rise snaps
Two or three columns of snaps down the front of a nappy which can be used to adjust the size.

Dry pailing
The process of storing dirty nappies ‘dry’ in a waterproof bag or bucket. In the past, dirty nappies were soaked in a solution whilst waiting to be washed, but modern nappies should not be soaked as it can damage elastics and waterproofing.

Cover or wrap
A waterproof outer covering that prevents moisture from leaking out of the nappy. These are most commonly made of polyurethane laminate (PUL) or lanolised wool.

Double gusset
Two rows of elastic on the leg rather than one, to provide two lines of defence against leaks.

This term can either be used for an absorbent insert or for a wool nappy cover.

Wet bag

A waterproof bag used for storing dirty nappies at home or on the go.

Now that you know all your cloth nappy lingo, shop our full range of nappies here!

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