What is a pocket nappy?

As you start your journey down the cloth nappy rabbithole, you will come across a whole range of acronyms and bizarre names that don’t necessarily get an explanation. These descriptors can vary slightly between brands and they are not exclusive to each other. A nappy can have any number of attributes in any combination. Clear as mud?

Let’s start with the humble pocket nappy. What is it? Why use it? What makes it different from other nappies?

The pocket nappy is the most popular of the Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN). In simplified terms it is made or two layers of fabric cut and sewn to shape. 

  • The outer layer is usually PUL (polyurethane Laminate) Fabric. This is the fabric that makes your cloth nappy waterproof. 
  • The inner fabric is an absorbent or stay dry fabric. Common choices are microfleece, suede cloth or terry.

The fabric is cut and sewn together in a shape similar to a disposable nappy. Like all aspects of the nappy, there are varying types of elastic configurations. All the pocket nappies I have come across have at least leg elastics and an elastic across the back.

At what size will they fit?

The pocket does not dictate the sizing or closure of the nappy. They are available in newborn, sized and OSFM (One size fits most) size option and can be a snap or velcro closure.

Ok cool, sounds like all the other types of MCN I’ve come across. Why is this one called a pocket nappy?

The pocket name comes from gaining access to the space between the two layers of fabric. This is done through a slit in the inner fabric or a section where the two layers have not been joined (at the front, back or both). This pocket is designed to house the inserts (absorbent part of the nappy). Stuffing the pocket in advance allows for the perfect combination of drying time and convenience (similar to a disposable nappy) with no “loose parts” making it easy for parents and carers alike.

How do you wash and dry them?

I will be writing an article about my personal wash routine in the future, but highly recommend heading over the Clean Cloth Nappies who are the experts in this area with extensive knowledge and experience in all areas and situations. 

Generally speaking, you can’t adequately wash cloth nappies (your dirtiest laundry) in cold water with minimal detergent. You need a good, well rounded, hot water wash routine to ensure your nappies stay in tip top shape and continue to be healthy for your baby. 

A good quality PUL can withstand the temperatures (up to 60 degrees) called for in the Clean Cloth Nappy washing routines. PUL is not however recommended to go through the dryer or be left in the Australian sun for prolonged periods of time. Personally I dry my nappy shells inside on a clothes horse to extend their life. Inserts can go through the dryer with no problems.

You keep mentioning inserts but what are my options?

Pocket nappies are amazing in this regard. Because you stuff the insert into the nappy and it is not touching your baby's skin, you can use ANY absorbent fabric as an insert. Most pocket nappies will come with their own insert, shaped specifically for their nappies pattern and made with a range of fabrics. These can include:

  • Microfibre (cannot be placed against the skin)
  • Bamboo
  • Cotton
  • Hemp

Each of these fabrics have their own advantages and disadvantages and it depends on the individual child as to the best combination of fabrics.

In addition to the inserts that come with the nappy you can also customise the absorbency of the nappy by adding/using common household items such as cotton t-shirts, tea towels, face washers and hand towels or any other insert that fits.

To add confusion to the whole thing, you do not have to stuff the insert in the pocket. Many people lay their inserts on top, it is a personal preference. If you choose to take this route, please be conscious of the fabric that is against your baby's skin, for example. Microfibre will cause rashes and irritation if left against the skin.

Like I said earlier. Clear as mud?

This is a great option for everyone in their cloth nappy journey. They are a little more time consuming to prepare in comparison to other similar options but the inconvenience is quickly made up for in their ease and speed of use. Whether you are a sleep deprived first time parent learning how to hold a newborn let along change one or you are a seasoned mumma with a crocodile rolling toddler, these will make the changing process so much easier.

Please comment below if you have any questions at all about pocket nappies or cloth nappies in general. if you are asking it, someone else is thinking it. 




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