Written by Tory on the 18 May 2007
For shaped nappies, terrys or prefolds you will need a wrap, pilcher, or cover depending what you know it as! For ease I will use the word wrap. The wrap is what protects the outside world (baby clothes, carpet and you!) from the contents of the babies nappy! There are 3 main types of wraps, PUL, wool and fleece, many people use a combination of 2 or 3 of the types or you may find you really like one type and stick with that.
These are probably the most popular of wraps. PUL (polyurethane laminate) is a waterproof but breathable material that is ideal for the job as it doesn't make your babies bottom all hot and sweaty like the old fashioned plastic pants did. PUL wraps can be made from laminated polyester material which is generally plain coloured although there are some on the market that have prints but are poly PUL. These are probably the most reliable of wraps as they are least likely to cause wicking. However there are some lovely cotton PUL laminate things available too but if you have a heavy wetter they may wick. Then there are other brands of PUL wraps that have a PUL liner and then another material over the top (as opposed to being laminated to the PUL). There are also similar materials on the market such as Comtex. Please be aware that unfortunately there are still plastic/PVC wraps on the market, yes they are probably cheaper than a PUL wrap but please for the sake of your little ones bottom don't buy them! There are also fleece/PUL combo wraps, these work as any other PUL wrap, not as a solid fleece wrap does! (see below for fleece description).
Mother-ease wraps (Rikki and Airflow) are generally considered to be the most reliable PUL wrap on the market. They are available worldwide and come in a number of pastel colours as well as a range of 'eco-theme' prints suitable for boys or girls. The only complaint I've ever heard about them is that there should be some more patterns available! Other brands include Tots Bots, Nature Babies, BabyBeehinds, Bummi, Imse Vimse.
These wraps are made from thick layers of polyester fleece and they are water resistant as opposed to water-proof. This means that a small amount of moisture will come through the wrap where it will then evaporate. For this reason they are not recommended for long periods where the baby will be very still and have pressure on the nappy, ie on a car journey, as you may experience compression wicking. Fleece wraps are generally used for night time as they help keep baby drier by allowing some of the wetness to evaporate. These wraps basically work in the same way as wool wraps. Where they differ from wool is that they are not quite as breathable (being a man-made fibre) and will require washing after each use, however they require no maintenance which wool does! Fleece doesn't work for everyone, so don't be discouraged if you try it and it is not for you!
Tots Bots make popular fleece wraps in funky patterns and there are other fleece wraps on the market too.
These are also known as wool soakers, wool longies and wool shorties (the last 2 obviously depending on the length of them!). Wool is a bit magical when being used as a nappy wrap, it requires lanolising before use (see the maintenance section for full details), but then it allows the nappy to breathe and some of the wetness to evaporate and the truly magical bit is that the wool neutralizes the urine in effect self cleaning the wrap! Most people use wool at night although there are a fair few that love it so much they use it full time. If you are using the wrap just at night, you would remove it in the morning and hang it to air and dry off, when you first take it off it will feel slightly damp (NOT wet) and may have a very faint smell· By the time the nappy airs and dries off it will smell as fresh as new and if it doesn't you may need to wash it. Amazingly this will only be every few weeks unless soiled! Wool wraps can be Velcro or popper fastening and look like any other wrap or they can be in the form of cute pull up shorts or long trousers (longies and shorties!).
Many people choose to make their own wool wraps and there are plenty of patterns on the internet, you can even make them out of an old wool jumper if you can't knit! These are known as bum sweaters or botty jumpers.
Brands include BabyBeehinds, Imse Vimse, Disana and there really are loads of WAHM's that make wool soakers such as Pixie Knits, Puddlepants and many, many others.
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