Gone are the days when terry nappies were your only choice of reusable nappy. Find out about the benefits of cloth nappies plus practical tips on how best to use them.
Reasons to choose cloth nappies?
Reusable nappies have become a popular choice in recent years, particularly for eco conscious parents. Using cloth nappies means that a reduced amount of waste is sent to landfill sites as disposable nappies can take hundreds of years to decompose. However, cloth nappies need to be washed – which also uses up a lot of energy. There are a number of reasons as to why parents are choosing reusable nappies over disposable nappies.
Most reusable nappies today are made from lightweight, fluffy materials that wash and dry easily. These can be more comfortable on your baby than heavier disposable nappies.
2. (and 4000) Reduce waste
One of the biggest advantages of using reusable nappies is the reduction in waste that they incur. Using washable cloth nappies even just some of the time will greatly reduce the volume of waste that you produce each week. This will create less waste for you to dispose of as well as less waste for the environment.
A study from the Environment Agency’s Life Cycle Analysis Report on nappies in 2008 discovered that real nappies are up to 40% better for the environment compared to disposable nappies. It is estimated that a baby will have their nappy changed. approximately 4000 times before they begin potty training.
When you think of every baby using 4000 nappies the level of waste is incredible. Reusable cloth nappies means that 4000 less disposable nappies will end up in a landfill site or polluting the environment some place else.
3. Easy to use
Washable cloth nappies are easy to use nowadays, with Velcro straps or poppers to keep them closed. Many parents think of fastening the nappies with pins when they think of reusable nappies but those days are long since gone. They are just as easy to put on as a disposable nappy.
Reusable cloth nappies can have better containment than many disposable nappies. The reusable nappy needs to be used in conjunction with nappy liners and, sometimes, waterproof covers in order to give the best support and containment.
4. Potty training
Some parents have noticed an accelerated development in potty training when they use reusable cloth nappies.
Children who are put into reusable nappies have been seen to begin potty training up to six months earlier than children who used disposable nappies.
Despite the many advantages to using reusable cloth nappies, there are a few downsides. Washable nappies cost more at the outset, as you have to buy all the cloth nappies as well as the accessories that are necessary with them. This can cost a considerable amount more than a week’s worth of disposable nappies but, in the long run, they will work out a lot cheaper.
Convinced or at least curious? Read on!
How to wash cloth nappies
A great way to wash the reusable cloth nappies in an environmentally friendly way is to wash them on a full wash at 60ºC with just a tablespoon of washing powder.
If you do not wish to use a tumble dryer, you can dry them instead on a washing line or in an airing cupboard.
This way of washing has a far less negative impact on the environment compared to washing them at 90ºC, followed by a tumble dryer. It is not necessary to soak modern reusable nappies unless you are using the traditional terry cloth nappies.
Different types of reusable nappies
Two part nappies
These include a nappy part and a wrap. The nappy could be a terry, or a folded nappy or a shaped nappy. A waterproof wrap will then go around the nappy which can come in the form of a pull-up or a wraparound.
These types of nappies combine the inner nappy and outer waterproof wrap. They look very similar to disposables. They are quite bulky and cannot go into the tumble dryer.
Disposable nappy accessories:
- Disposable nappy liners
- Booster pads for extra absorbency at night
- Nappy grips
- A bucket with a lid for storing dirty nappies before washing
Babies need to be changed between six and 12 times a day when they’re first born and can be in nappies until they are at least 24 months, sometimes much longer.
More like this:
Complete guide to nappy changing
How to change a nappy
Soothing nappy rash