The Pros and Cons of All In One Cloth Nappies

All in one cloth nappies are generally speaking the easiest to use and, conversely, the most expensive of the modern cloth nappy(or diaper) family. I love my all in ones, but – they’re not the only thing I use.

An all in one (AIO) nappy is a fitted nappy which incorporates the cover along with the absorbent part. All other cloth diapers require a separate cover to the absorbent material. Basically, using an AIO is like using a disposable – except it doesn’t contribute to landfill.

In the face of it, having a separate cover may not seem like any burden. And neither it is really. But, if you are used to using disposables, having to put on two or even three (including a liner) layers can be daunting.

Picture this: your newborn baby is on the way. You used disposables with your first child, but this time around you have decided to take the plunge and save the planet (and your hip pocket) but going the cloth route. You’ve bought the cutest little cloth nappies, and even cuter covers to go over them. You’re actually looking forward to having a baby in nappies again!

Then the day arrives, your darling little baby is born. Look at those tiny fingers, tiny toes. You’d forgotten just how small and truly helpless a newborn baby is. But oh dear, you’d also forgotten just how a newborn baby can scream while you change her nappy. It makes the wax vibrate in your ears! (Speaking from experience here!)

The first time you try to get a cloth nappy on her, you are pleased you chose the kind with Velcro instead of snaps, because it’s just that much faster to do up (down the track when she keeps pulling her diaper off you might not be so sure this was the right choice, but for a helpless newborn it’s excellent).

But keeping her on that table for a second longer than necessary – that is for the extra time it takes to put a cover over the top – is just not going to happen.

GroVita Organic AIO diaper, light blue

GroVita Organic AIO diaper

So you pick up your beautiful little baby, in her cute bamboo nappy, and bring her out to show your boss, who’s just dropped in with a meal and a stuffed animal.

But oh dear, that cute little baby needs another change already. And your boss’s new suit is headed to the dry cleaners. Oops, maybe a cover would have been a good idea after all.

Okay, I may be exaggerating the case slightly – though twelve months later when your wriggling crawler is refusing to lie down for the time it takes to change her nappy you may again be tempted to go without the cover for a while.

So it’s nice that with an all-in-one nappy you just don’t need to worry about this step. Putting it on really is just like using a disposable.

So where’s the downside? Well, as I said, they tend to be the most expensive cloth nappies, simply because if the cover isn’t included in the nappy, you don’t need a cover for each one you own.You might buy six in each size, or even limit it to three or four if you’re strapped for cash.

The pocket nappy is the exception to this, where the cover and absorbent layer are separated, but you do need a new pocket (cover) for almost every change. And some pocket nappies can also be quite pricey.

The other main downside of the AIO is that it will tend to take longer to dry than other nappies. This is again, because the various layers are all present in the one item. And finally, the cover being included with the diaper can limit its life if you wash in hot water or use a dryer, as neither of these practices particularly agrees with the PUL lining. However, if you make it a practice to wash in cold or warm water and to line dry your nappies, this isn’t an issue.

So, the pros:

  • Much the easiest and quickest nappies to get onto your baby. Enough said!
  • Also, the nappy is not going to peek out from under the cover and cause the urine to wick into the clothes, as can happen with poorly fitted covers.

The cons:

  • More expensive
  • Longer drying time
  • Can have a shorter life span.

Most experienced cloth nappy users would probably tell you that having a few all in ones in your mix can be a great boon, especially if you just want to grab one to take out with you as a spare, but that mixing them with a few other cloth diapers can save you money and ensure a quick drying time even in winter. That’s what I have.

  1 comment for “The Pros and Cons of All In One Cloth Nappies

  1. April 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    With modern pocket nappies, like sell, you have the best of both worlds. You fit the liner in the pocket and have them ready to go and you have two liners so drying time is quicker. This comes at a much more affordable price than AIO’s and the convience of a single unit to fit to baby.

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