reasons to choose cloth nappies
Baby basics

4005 reasons to choose cloth nappies

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.

1. Comfort

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.

reasons to choose 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.

5. Price

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.

reasons to choose cloth nappies

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.

All-in-one nappies

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
Nappy fact

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

Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.



Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….