Updated: Aug 31, 2018
Cloth nappies are gaining popularity these days thanks to their environmental and financial benefits. I have to admit I am not a full convert to cloth nappies and my partner is not yet converted at all. I use cloth nappies alongside disposables and I enjoy the benefits of them. They are a useful addition to our family life!
There are several reasons for choosing to use cloth nappies alongside disposables. Here are just some of the positives and negatives to using cloth nappies:
The upfront cost of cloth nappies can be quite high, but in the long run it’s potentially cheaper than disposables as the expense of cloth nappies will decrease in cost with every child as cloth nappies can be passed down. Many types of cloth nappies these days can also be used from newborn to toddler – that’s more money saved! For me personally the main benefit that I saw by using cloth nappies was the cost. I have two children in nappies right now, so it means twice the poos and pees, not to mention twice the cost when buying disposables, even when the disposables are bought in bulk or special offer. The average baby will have their nappy changed about 6000 times in the first 2.5 years of their life. That’s alot of bottom wiping not to mention the rubbish being created. I have had some of my cloth nappies since child number two and I am now on child number four. Initial expense is high however you can sell on your cloth nappies once you have finished with them, or give them to a friend or a relative to try. How much you save will depend on the brand you buy, the style and how long your child is in nappies.
Neither cloth nappies nor disposables come with a leak proof guarantee – at some point you will be caught out in your baby’s nappy-wearing life, we have had some leaks with certain styles and certain brands. You may need to change a cloth nappy more than a disposable but there is no exact science to how many changes. How often can depend on the age of child, the style, how often the child soils and the brand.
What about poo
No, you don’t need to touch the poo! I use flushable liners as it makes it easy to flush the poo down the toilet. Whereas soiled disposables make your outside bin stink, especially if your local refuse collection is every three weeks like ours.
Convenience or Inconvenience
Modern cloth nappies look just like a disposable in shape, and have either velcro fasteners or snap fasteners to keep them in place. There is no folding or pinning needed like old cloth nappies, you just grab the nappy and go. However, cloth nappies can be a pain when you’re out and about, especially when you have had an explosive baby poo, investing in a wet bag for cloth nappies is a must when out and about. I find using disposables are a lot more convenient on outings.
You never run out
Cloth nappies never run out unless you forget to wash and dry them. You will never need to worry about making a last-minute dash to the shop when you realise you have run out of nappies. We live on an island so we don’t have the luxury of a 24 hour supermarket, sometimes it can even be difficult to get ahold of the right disposable size nappy for the baby and toddler, especially if the ferry doesn’t come in.
Easy to wash
Because modern cloth nappies are pre-shaped, it is just like washing your child’s underwear. Obviously cloth nappies do mean more washing, but if you are like me when you have such a large family you are washing everyday anyway, if not several times a day.
Cloth nappies are stylish
Cloth nappies are available in gorgeous fabrics, colours and prints which makes them look so much more attractive and stylish than disposables, there is no denying it who can resist the cute prints. Instead of being handbag and shoe obsessed, I have become cloth nappy obsessed!
Cloth nappies may help with toilet training
They say on average, a child who has been in cloth nappies toilet trains earlier than one who has worn disposables, as cloth nappies allow a child to understand what it feels like to be wet. Disposables are designed so the child does not feel the dampness therefore cloth nappies may speed up the process of learning to use the toilet as the child will feel the dampness. I have to admit we didn’t try this with our second child when I discovered cloth nappies, so I am going to try this theory out with our third child whom we are currently toilet training.
Each disposable nappy can take up to 500 years to naturally degrade causing a serious problem to the environment and each child can go through around 6000 nappies by the time they are two and half. That’s a lot of environmental waste. Disposables have a big environmental impact through the manufacturing, transport and chemicals they require. Cloth nappies mean less rubbish and a reduction on your carbon footprint, even using just one cloth nappy a day will make a huge impact.
However, there is a bit of debate about whether or not cloth nappies are actually better for the environment than disposable nappies. Some people say they are actually worse for the environment than disposables, this is in terms of associated carbon emissions, because of the energy used to wash and dry. But, other people say disposables can be harmful to your baby because of the chemicals they can contain.
Which cloth nappy is best?
Which one will depend on your lifestyle and what you can afford. There are pre-folds, snap-ins, pocket, all-in-ones and fitted nappies, and all have their advantages. Fitted nappies, pocket nappies, and all-in-one nappies are the most popular options. From microfibre to bamboo to organic cotton, you can choose whichever material works best for you and your little one. Buy a couple of different ones and see how you go. Buy a single nappy of each type first or a trial pack. Most brands offer trial packs of different styles of cloth nappies and have clearance or seconds sections. Always buy a small variety pack first to see what might suit you and your baby. Buy secondhand or hire a trial pack from a nappy library which is a service offered by some community groups. Borrow some from friends or relatives who use cloth nappies, so you can try before you buy. Pick up a free sample pack from your local council, some councils in the UK offer free cloth nappy sample packs as part of the real nappy scheme, which contains a variety of cloth nappies styles from different brands. This was how I first discovered cloth nappies. I then went on and bought trial packs and special offers from brands particular when it was the Real Nappy event, which happens once a year, for a week, every year. The cloth nappy style we have finally settled on for now which works best for our family needs is the Little Lamb Nappies one size fits all pocket nappy. However, with a wide range of cloth nappy styles and brand options available these days, you are sure to find a cloth nappy out there, perfect for you and your baby.
Have you used cloth nappies before? Do you love or hate cloth nappies? Do you use cloth nappies or stick to disposables?
(This post is not sponsored/affiliated with Little Lamb Nappies).