Parts of a Nappy System
There is a huge diversity of cloth nappy styles, this can make then seem more complex than they really are. Before getting too overwhelmed by each different type of nappy and what it does, it can be really helpful to understand each part of what makes up a nappy.
What is a nappy?
All nappies, whether they are cloth or disposable are made up of three layers: a stay dry layer, absorbent material, and a waterproof layer. With a disposable these are all built into one. With cloth nappies there are several options.
The 4 Basic Parts Of A Cloth Nappy
Once you understand the basic parts, you will find it much easier to understand the different nappy systems you see described. Working from the outside in there is:
Cloth Nappy Component Parts - Starting From The Outside
The waterproof outer, often called a wrap, is simply the barrier between the nappy and the clothes, to ensure that wetness stays within the nappy. Some form of barrier between nappy and clothes is essential.
The nappy itself provides the absorbency for wee and containment for poo. It is the nappy which should bear the brunt of your child’s bowel function, not the wrap. Nappies can come in different sizes, or designed so that one size fits from birth to toddler. Nappy quantities vary depending on factors including budget and laundering facilities available, but we would normally recommend around 20 nappies from birth or 15 nappies from around 6+ months old.
Inside the nappy, you can also place a night time booster. A booster is simply an additional piece of absorbency to give an increase to the nappy’s capacity. Boosters can be made out of anything absorbent but the most common materials are bamboo, cotton or hemp. Boosters are not generally needed in daytime nappies unless the nappy in question isn't absorbent enough for the child’s level of output. We would normally suggest around 6 boosters for a reasonable laundry turnaround.
Against the child’s bottom, and on top of the nappy (and any booster), is the liner. The function of the liner is to catch poo, making it easier to separate it from the nappy. Wee goes through it to the nappy underneath, where it is absorbed. Liners may be either disposable or washable. Some nappies have a built-in layer of fleece and so no separate liner is required.
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