Cloth nappy jargon

Written by Tory on the 12 February 2008

Cloth nappy jargon

If you are new to cloth nappies you'll probably find all the new jargon a bit confusing, I know I did. Here I've tried to give you an easy run down on what it all means!

Fitted/shaped/modern nappy

This is the basic modern sytle of cloth nappy, it looks like a disposable in shape, and can be made from a variety of materials such as terry cotton, hemp or bamboo. They are closed using either poppers, Aplix/Velcro (or other hook and loop fastener), or with a Snappi Nappi/Nappi Nippa, the new alternative to a nappy pin. This type of nappy will have numerous layers of cloth, usually with an integrated booster sewn in. It may be lined with fleece or suedecloth to keep baby's bottom dry, if not you can add a liner. Liners also help make disposal of solids a bit easier. Drying times vary depending on the material the nappy is made from. This type of nappy requires a wrap (see definition).

Pocket nappy

This nappy has the same shape as a fitted/shaped nappy but at the back there is an opening 'pocket' between the inner and outer layers of the nappy for you to add your own inserts as required. They generally have fleece or suedecloth on the inside and a water proof material (usually PUL) on the outside. This is a very quick drying system as all the components are separated to dry. There are pocket nappies that are only made from material and therefore require a wrap but generally the term 'pocket nappy' refers to the original description.

AIO (All in One)

This is a nappy that again is shaped similarly to a disposable and has the absorbent part of the nappy covered by a waterproof layer all sewn together so all you need to do is put the nappy on as it is. They are fastened by poppers or aplix. As they are all one part this is the slowest drying option.

Terry square

This is the traditional type of nappy, just a simple square that you fold into shape before putting on your baby· They now come in a variety of sizes, materials and even colours. This is a very quick drying nappy as it is only one layer. Wrap required.


This nappy is rectangular in shape and have extra layers sewn into the centre third of the nappy. They can be folded in different ways and are also great to stuff pocket nappies with. Prefolds are available in various different materials. They dry quickly as they are flat. Wrap required.


This is a thin cotton square that many people use on newborns. They are not massively absorbent but fine when you are changing all the time. Can be folded in the same ways as terry squares. Muslins are useful for a million different things once they are no longer used as nappies, mopping up baby goop as the prime example! They dry incredibly quickly. Wrap required.

Wrap (pilcher)

This is what you put over your cloth nappy to protect your baby's clothes from getting wet. They can be made from PUL or other waterproof fabric, fleece or wool. Traditionally they were made from plastic, these are not really recommended as they don't breathe so are not nice for your baby to wear. Wraps are fastened with hook and loop (eg  Velcro or Aplix) or poppers or they can be pull-on pants. Wool wraps are usually pull up.


This is what you put in a pocket nappy, it’s the absorbent bit! Can be made from terry, hemp or bamboo, can be used as a booster.


This is used to add absorbency to a nappy if you have a heavy wetter or overnight. They are rectangular or hourglass shaped.


You may like to use a fleece liner to keep baby’s bottom dry, as fleece lets moisture through to the nappy, but doesn’t let it back. You change fleece liners at each nappy change and wash them along with your nappies.  Paper liners can also be used, which are flushable or biodegradable (check the packaging before flushing!)

Two-part system

This is what a nappy and wrap is commonly referred to, it will generally mean a modern shaped nappy but could also refer to traditional terry squares.

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