The world of modern cloth nappies comes with its own unique language which can be very confusing to 'outsiders' and new parents. We thought we'd make life easier for you by providing an online dictionary into this world. So, here is the Lavenderia MCN Glossary for your convenience and ease of understanding!
· Adjustability – The term refers to the options available for fitting the nappy. You can find both sized and one-size nappies that offer different levels of adjustability. This adjustability is usually availed through snaps or pins on the nappies.
· AI2 or All-in-Two – This is a nappy that is made of two pieces: an inner absorbent layer and an outer water-resistant shell. Usually, the shell can be used for a long time without being changed while the inner material should be changed regularly to ensure proper hygiene and dryness.
· Anti-Wicking Fabric - A fabric that is usually used in manufacture of sportswear, this material is completely breathable, and is often used as the coloured outer layer or outside nappies to repel moisture. It helps to hold moisture and push it back into the absorbent fabric core, and is often used in wraps or covers at the leg and waist fastenings to keep these areas (most prone to irritation ) free of wetness.
· Aplix – These are fasteners in the shape of hooks and loops attached to cloth nappies to make them stick together. A block of aplix is usually attached to the front of the nappy while the sides are held together from hooks. Other names for this is Velcro or hook and loop tape.
· Bamboo – This is a highly absorbent fabric that is used commonly in cloth nappies due to the fact that it is softer and highly comfortable. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and is regarded as an eco-friendly fabric. As bamboo fibres are short, they are fused to polyester so this fabric is more like a rayon (polyester blended with other fibres) than a cotton.
· Boosters – Also known as soakers, inserts or doublers, boosters are additional layers of fabric that are added to the nappy to increase their absorbency. They are necessary for pocket nappies and can be used as additions to AIO or fitted nappies. Boosters can be layered for night time or where more absorbency is needed giving you the option to tailor your nappy to suit your circumstances.
· Cellulose - Cellulose is the most abundant and renewable biopolymer on Earth. Unlike synthetic fibres, man-made cellulosic fibres are completely biodegradable and can be recycled, incinerated, landfilled or digested in sewage. It is made from virgin tree pulp however so it is not one of the most sustainable choices available.
· Cloth Nappy or Nappy – Also called a reusable, real or cotton nappy, MCN, modern cloth nappy etc. Cloth nappies are reusable and washable baby nappies made from various materials. They are considered to be more eco-friendly, healthier for the baby and less expensive than disposable nappies.
· Contour Nappies (or Semi Fitted) – Contour nappies are hourglass shaped nappies with no elastic in the legs or back. They must be held together with a SNAPPI Diaper Fastener, pins, or a cover. They are not waterproof.
· Cover – Covers are usually made from water-resistant fabrics and are the modern alternative to old fashioned pilcher pants. They are used over cloth nappies to avoid leaking. Usually, they are used with fitted, flat and pre-fold nappies. They can be made from wool also which is naturally water resistant.
· De-laminating – This is the process where the PUL covering inside a pocket nappy starts degrading or peeling away from the outer fabric of the nappy shell. This usually occurs as a result of excessive acidity (very acidic urine), not washing frequently enough (bacteria in fecal matter can delaminate nappies) or from excessive heat in drying.
· Fleece - A fabric that can sometimes be made entirely from recycled materials, fleece is supremely breathable and is a great fabric to draw moisture away from the skin and into the absorbent core of a nappy. It is very quick drying and also resistant to staining making it a great choice for inside nappies, next to the skin. It is a lightweight and comfortable fabric for your baby to wear. Disadvantages are that it is a man-made fabric, made from 100% polyester.
· Fitted Nappy – This is a type of cloth nappy that is designed to be shaped much like a disposable nappy, and has been fitted with elasticised waist and legs. Often used in conjunction with covers.
· Flat Nappy or Terry Nappy – This is another type of cloth nappy, which is usually a square piece of fabric that is folded a number of times and held together using snaps or pins. A cover needs to be added over it to keep them in place.
· Hemp – Is made from the marijuana plant and requires no chemicals to grow, less water to grow than cotton and is a wonderfully sustainable option for nappies. Hemp fabric has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which inhibits the growth of mould or mildew and helps to keep your baby's skin rash free, making it a great fabric for babies with sensitive skin. Your nappies will also last and last as hemp is incredibly durable, an important consideration given the constant washing, drying and wearing routine. It has good absorbancy and a quicker drying time than bamboo and is not prone to shrinking in heat unlike bamboo.
· Liners – Liners are used in nappies to help contain solids and prevent excessive staining. They can be reusable or flushable / biodegradable. They can come in a variety of fabrics such as flushable / compostable bamboo and cellulose fibre or polar fleece, suede cloth, cotton or viscose cloth.
· Microfibre (or Microterry) – This fabric is a great, absorbent and fast-drying fabric for nappies. Really lovely and soft against your baby's skin. As it wicks moisture away from its source, it will keep your baby's skin cool and dry. It is also highly absorbent and can hold up to 8 times its own weight in liquid. Man-made, however as materials are usually recycled, these can actually end up being better for the environment. Generally the bulkiest real nappy fabric.
· Minkee / Minky – This fabric is a variant of microfiber and is often used on the outside of nappies. It has a velvet like pile which creates a soft feeling for outside of nappies, a nice change from the more plastic-ey polyesters available. It is a fantastic performance fabric, keeps baby beautifully dry and is slimmer than many other microfibres. Very quick drying and resistant to staining, it is a lightweight and comfortable fabric for your baby to wear. Disadvantages are that it is a man-made fabric, made from 100% polyester.
· Pre-Fold – This is another type of cloth nappy that is quite similar to the flat nappy except that it comes with an additional layer of absorbent fabric. The added layer is usually sewn to the middle of the nappy, making three panels. These are very effective for newborn babies when used with covers.
· Pocket Nappy – This is another type of cloth nappy that has an inner and a cover however it is in two (or more) separate pieces, whereby you can remove the absorbent core completely and elect how many inserts or what type of absorbency you want to use. These nappies have a pocket, with an opening at the back or front, from where you can insert soaker pads or boosters (also called ‘inserts’) for absorbency. The pocket layer is often made of some kind of polyester as it is a quick wicking option, helping keep the baby dry. Fabrics for the pocket include suede cloth, micro fleece and polar fleece.
· PUL (or Polyurethane Laminate) – This is the most common fabric used to make outer layer of nappies and covers. More breathable than the old-style plastic pants or pilchers, it is water resistant and the most effective cover fabric for keeping moisture inside a nappy. Covers made solely of this fabric do not need to be washed with every change – you can simply wipe clean and hand up to dry (in seconds) before re-use. Wash very few changes or when soiling becomes apparent.
· Snappi - A plastic or silicone Y shaped mechanism that fastens cloth nappies. These are often used instead of old fashioned nappy pins which can be dangerous for nappy wearers (or nappy changers!)
· Terry Toweling – A cotton loop fabric originally used for old fashioned cloth nappies, and still used today in various nappy designs. Can withstand high temperature laundering and can also be bleached.
· Wet Bags – These are a fantastic invention whereby a polyester bag is lined with PUL (same type of fabric as nappy shells) and are zippered, snapped, Velcro-ed or drawstring closeable. They are used for storing wet or soiled nappies and can be used as a liner for a dry soak pail, to make it easier to transport to the laundry for washing. Machine washable and great for dirty gym shoes or when going swimming too!
· Wraps – This is another name for a nappy cover and can be made of wool, PUL, plastic or fleece. They are often shaped like a pair of pants (in a pull up style) similar to old fashioned pilchers or can be shaped like a nappy with snaps and tabs. They are used in conjunction with pre-folds, terry flats or fitted / semi-fitted nappies to ensure moisture stays inside the nappy.
· Wool In One (WIO) - This is a All-In-One (AIO) nappy as outlined above however this type of nappy is made with wool outer fabric which is naturally water resistant. These should be washed carefully and never on high heat. They should be dried flat where possible.
We hope that this little glossary helps you decipher the somewhat confusing world of modern cloth nappies! We know it can be a little hard to understand everything when you first get started and we are here to help.
Please feel free to post your questions below and we will answer them as best we can.
Happy Cloth Nappy-ing!
The Team at Lavenderia