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Which is the BEST cloth nappy?

We hear this question all the time at Darlings Downunder. Actually it’s usually phrased in one of two ways: as a challenge ("If you had to choose one nappy out of the millions you stock…?") or with a kind of desperation ("Why are there so many choices? Please, just tell me which one I should get!”).

We are the first to admit that the choices available in cloth nappies can be overwhelming – especially if you don’t want to try every nappy on the market in order to find the ones that work for you. As every baby and parent is individual there will always have to be some research on your part, but there are a couple of quick and dirty strategies you can use to reduce the pool of cloth nappy brands down to those which you think might be for you.

It involves being ruthless and it may include cutting out nappies that you’ve heard good reviews about, or that your best friend raves about. At this early stage, that doesn’t matter – you can explore those options later. This is not a lifetime decision. It’s about coming up with those first few nappies that you will ever try. What you want to do is narrow down the number of nappy styles/types you have to trial, focusing on what you know about you and your circumstances.

Here are the steps:
1. Decide what style of cloth nappy you prefer.
Pick a type (or two): Fitted, Pocket, All-in-One or All-in-2. You can see a demonstrations of these different types of nappies here. Go with your gut. Pick one that you think will work best for your lifestyle and circumstances.

2. Take into account any fabric preferences or sensitivities<
Cloth nappies can be made of several different fabrics - some people prefer natural fibres against the skin, others stay-dry fabrics. Some fabrics are really absorbent, but can take longer to dry, other might be faster drying but not so suitable for a heavier wetter - so keep your requirements in mind when looking at brands. You can find detailed information about the fabrics used in cloth nappies here.

3. Choose between Snap or Hook & Loop (velcro) fastening.
This seems like a petty thing, but most parents will find they prefer one type of fastening over another, though plenty end up with both sorts in their stash. It’s an easy way of restricting your options.
The pros and cons of fastenings are as follows:
- Snaps are more durable and Velcro is more adjustable.
- It’s usually fairly easy to replace Velcro in nappies (depending on how good you are at sewing!) whereas snaps are a different matter altogether.
- Some people don’t like having Velcro on nappies they change on sleepy babies, because of the noise it makes when undoing.
- Snaps don’t get caught on other items in the wash (though if you use the laundry tabs on the nappy you shouldn’t end up with the Velcro sticking to your wash!).
- As a gross generalisation, men prefer Velcro and women lean towards snaps.

Surprisingly, these three steps will usually restrict your choices to only a few brands/types of cloth nappies from which you can choose those that appeal to you based on budget, aesthetics, and recommendations.

After this process you should end up with two, three or four different cloth nappies that have a good chance of meeting your individual requirements. That’s not a guarantee they’ll end up being the nappies that make up the majority of your stash – our preferences can change over time - but it’s a more logical way of choosing the first nappies to try than taking a random stab in the dark.

If you're still not sure, perhaps an already assembled starter pack is for you. These contain a variety of nappies to try and may be an option if you're not sure about your choice.

And, of course, if you would like any advice before taking the plunge, you can always email us with your questions. We’re more than happy to help you out.