On Census Night last month (remember that?) we decided to ask a few questions of our own via our Facebook page.
One question was about favourite styles of cloth nappies.
While 35% of the 138 respondents like to mix it up with a variety of nappy styles in their stash, the most popular style (with 28% of respondents choosing it as their favourite) was the All-in-2/Snap-In style nappy.
The growth in the popularity of All-in-2/Snap-In nappies is something we've noticed over the last year, as too the decline in demand for Pocket nappies. Pocket nappies are still very popular with 21% selecting them as their favourite. The remaining 17% was taken up by All-in-Ones, Fitteds, Prefolds & Flats. Rather surprisingly, prefolds were the least popular (maybe all the prefold lovers were more gainfully occupied?) especially considering that All-in-2 nappies are really just a more sophisticated version of a pad folded prefold and cover system.
So why have All-in-2 nappies overtaken Pockets as the most popular style of cloth nappies (at least in our very small sample of 138 cloth users)?
In some ways they're very similar with the waterproof shell and the absorbent fabric being separate. It's just where the absorbent fabric is placed that's different - either inside a pocket, or laid/snapped on the inner part of the nappy.
We'd argue (oh, and at Darlings Downunder we do argue, since Fiona is a Pocket lover and Catherine prefers All-in-2s!) that a pocket nappy is more customisable than an All-in-2, as you can stuff anything absorbent inside a pocket and have it stay there securely, and you don't have to worry about a stay dry booster as most pocket nappies have a stay dry inner. Pockets also provide a nice smooth inner surface as there are no flaps or inserts showing. Once it's assembled, a pocket nappy is very easy and straightforward for people unfamiliar with modern cloth nappies to change.
You can tuck extra boosters under the absorbent layers that come with an All-in-2, but it won't be necessarily secure. Some people (*cough* Fiona!) also don't like that poo can get stuck along the edges and between the inserts and can be harder to remove.
The one massive advantage that All-in-2s have over Pockets is that the shell can be reused if it's not wet or soiled (much like a cover over a fitted nappy or prefold/flat can be reused on the next nappy). The pocket can't as the inner layer has been in contact with urine or faeces. This means that an All-in-2 system can be a more economical way to cloth nappy as you can get away with less nappies, so long as you purchase additional insert sets.
The great thing about modern cloth nappies, though, is that you don't necessarily have to choose one style over another. As our little census showed, many people have cloth nappy stashes made up of many styles and brands, and they actually prefer it that way!