Why Use Cloth Nappies?

So, cloth nappies, are they stinky, disgusting and hard to use?  Nope.  Don’t get me wrong, cloth is more hassle for you.  Disposables are just that, put them on, your kid uses them, then throw them away.  Wipes, the same.  The problem then..?  Well, disposables cost you a s*it load of money, literally, and a s*it load of waste to landfill.

The average baby gets through 4,000 disposable nappies by the time they’re potty-trained, costing families £400 a year plus and creating the equivalent of half a tonne of carbon dioxide.  If you use disposables your carbon footprint sucks.

One way we are both eco and frugal is by using reusable, washable cloth nappies.  I invested in a range of cloth when Chaos was born.  He used them until he was two years old and then of course Mayhem took over and used them until he was two and a half.

Most toddlers are out of nappies (during the day) by the time they’re two-and-a-half, by which point parents will have spent £1,000-plus on disposable nappies and upwards of £250 on the associated paraphernalia such as baby wipes, nappy bags and nappy bins.  Switching to reusable cloth nappies aims to save you at least £150 per year, per child (more if you go for the eBay cheapo nappies or buy second hand).  This saving also includes the estimated cost of washing.  If you use reusable wipes, you can save even more.   In the UK some councils offer incentives in the form of money or vouchers if you are using cloth.  I got £30 for each child after sending off a form signed by my health visitor.

One incentive for me was that the layout costs are all upfront;  I bought the cloth when I was on a full-time wage and had money saved to pay for all the stuff in a lump sum.  Since then my wage massively reduced with statutory maternity pay and now, we’re taking time out and don’t have a wage.  The fact that we don’t have a regular monthly outlay for nappies and wipes really, really helps us out.

It’s not all about cost though.  Although experts don’t really know, they estimate that disposables, like plastic bags, take up to 500 years to breakdown.  Disposables go to land fill, which we have too much of.  Disposable wipes end up in landfill, down the toilet and littering our beaches.  Bad.  There is also quite a bit of evidence about how it’s uncool to put all of the chemicals in disposables next to your babies skin.  I’m not an expert on this so feel free to google it.  Scary reading.

Choosing which cloth nappies can be a bit of a minefield as there is loads of different types, shapes and sizes.  You can buy sized nappies, newborn, size 1 then size 2 and 3 should do most.  Like disposables they are sized by weight.  Just like disposables babies have different shaped bottoms so some brands fit better than others, so using a loan kit is a great idea to see what brand suits your babes bum.  You need to do a bit of research before you buy anything but the great news is that you can try before you buy, as most councils/nappy libraries have loan kits.   Cloth nappy companies also have discounted trail kits to purchase and if you don’t like them you can send them back and only pay a small fee.  If you really don’t know what you want and can’t be bothered researching you can always get someone to do it for you, The Nappy Lady has been providing independent cloth nappy advice since 1999 . Fill in the advice quesitonnaire on the website for a personal recommendation.

We have BTP, birth to potty nappies, annoyingly , unlike their descriptive name, they don’t fit all babies from birth, as they’re only suitable from 10lbs.  With Chaos we used disposables for a little while, with Mayhem we hired a newborn sized nappy kit from the local nappy library for £5 for a month.  He was a nearly 9lb so he was only in newborn sizes for his first month, it saved having to buy disposables for a month and gave me a chance to try out loads of new fluff (cute term for cloth nappies).  Our btp nappies are pocket nappies and come with booster that you stuff them with.  Microfibre boosters are a great start but when they get older you need more absorbent boosters made from either bamboo or hemp.

The biggest, major hassle of cloth is of course, the washing and the poo.  Pre-weaning, not a problem, it just comes off in the wash, post weaning, you need nappy liners, either reusable cloth ones (easy to make yourself) or paper disposable ones.  Cloth does take you time and you have to make sure that you are up for it.  I have 20 cloth nappies, do two washes a week, then take about an hour, hanging out, sorting and re-stuffing the pads and liners.  The dirty nappies go dry, into a wet bag (specifically designed waterproof nappy bag, usually a way to spend money choosing a cool designs) and are left 2-3 days before washing.  If you leave them longer it’s no biggie, everything washes out.  If there are stains then hang your nappies stain side to the sun, it’s crazy how many stains just disappear and sun-out.

If you’re using cloth and doing all of the washing then you might as well use cloth wipes.  It saves you even more money and you just throw them in the wet-bag and wash with the dirty nappies.  Also they are fantastic at wiping up poo, much better than disposable wipes which just seem to move the poop around the bum, they actually wipe it up, usually in just one wipe.  You can buy cloth wipe kits from eBay or from Cheeky Wipes, again there’s loads of different fabrics and colours available but to be honest you can easily make your own, which I did.   By the way, Cheeky Wipes offer essential oils and clean and mucky plastic tubs.  I tried these but didn’t like the reaction on Chaos’ skin as he is a bit of a sensitive sausage.  On clean wipes I’ve used camomile tea, just a cup of hot tea poured on the pot of clean wipes, or just plain old water.  Water works fine.  There is no need to soak the dirty wipes, just chuck them in the wet bag with the dirties.

Talking about poo, we’ve all had containment issues with epic poonamis.  With disposables, this means that bubba is covered, right up the back and a full change of clothes is required.  With cloth, containment is rarely an issue.  Honestly, I can only remember one escaped poonami and that’s because the nappies wasn’t a great fit, some brands will fit your bubba better than others, that’s why a test kit from a nappy library is a great idea.  Cloth is great at containment.

Another thing to consider about cloth is that they are bulkier than disposables, but not massively.  Using pocket btp nappies might mean you need to go up a size in vests.  I haven’t really found it a problem, brands like frugi do trousers that are cut for cloth, or H&M seem to have generous bottom-sized clothes.  Cloth nappies don’t restrict movement and provide extra padding for those inevitable falls.  Oh and did I mention that they just look so much better on than disposables!

Oh, one thing you do have to consider, one really bad thing about the cost aspect of cloth nappies is that, unfortunately, they’re pretty addictive.  I could spend soooo much more but my frugality and common sense holds me back…once you see a gorgeous print, design or colour on your little ones bum you want more!  Look how gorgeous our washing line looks (sad I know)!

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Range of nappies; Bum Genius, Little Lambs, Baba and Boo, boosters & Planetwise Wet Bag

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Why Use Cloth Nappies? A Guide to Reusable Nappies

38 Comments Add yours

  1. charlotte says:

    I love colour nappies but my little ones seemed to sweat in them so stopped using them #dreamteam

    1. Oh no,what a shame!Cloth nappies are supposed to be 5° cooler than disposables and ones made from bamboo even cooler. It may be that brand or type didn’t agree your little ones? We are in 40° heat in Spain and my 22mo only sweats and gets rashes from sposies!

  2. Annette says:

    Cloth nappies look much more fun than the normal ones. I wish I hadn’t let Mr Button convince me to go with disposables when Little Button was a baby. A great post for anyone sitting on the fence on which to choose. Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Annette. Cloth nappies have got to be worth the investment for the cute factor alone!

  3. empains says:

    We love our Pop Ins <3

    1. We have a few Pop Ins, love the robot and lion prints!!

  4. I salute you for using cloth nappies! I love the look of them and often considered it but I just didn’t quite have the bottle to do it. *slaps own wrist*. Great tip on using the sun to get out stains! #ablogginggoodtime x

    1. Thanks for your comment. It dies take a commitment to user cloth,but once you’ve started you just get used to it!

  5. I love my cloth nappies!! Arthur wears them as shorts in our hot climate and they look great. The sun is awesome as a destainer!!! We mainly have milovia’s as I liked the pattern and find that they’re not as bulky as some. Can’t use Velcro ones as he is too adept at removal! #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Weer use press as shorts too. Although it’s really hot here and Mayhem is having nappy free time and has pretty much toilet trained himself. Love the Milova prints too and we can only use velcro with shorts on for the same reason!

  6. Love cloth nappies – I’ve used them for both my girls and they’re fab. We have a mixture of sized nappies and birth to potty ones – I find the sized ones slightly better but the birth to potty ones were very useful when I had both girls in nappies – it meant I only had to take one type out and about which was much easier. #sharingthebloglove

    1. Thank you for stopping by to comment. Two in cloth is hard work isn’t it, I didn’t want to invest in more nappies or do more washing so I made my eldest immediately toilet train and he was out of nappies by the time my youngest was 3 months old (when we were out) 🙂

  7. Cloth nappies are so much nicer to look at, especially under pretty dresses. I was on the fence when I was pregnant the first time, but I decided to start with disposables and see how I got on with being a mummy and if I thought I could fit it in. Big mistake once I started I just couldn’t see how I could switch to cloth nappies and get it all done. I take my hat of to you. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    1. It is hard to switch once you’ve started with disposals and so have to get into a routine with cloth…maybe if you have another baby!

  8. I used cloth for abou the first 4 months full time, then I started using disposables a bit of the time, like when on holiday. By 7 months I got lazy and have stopped using cloth. Feeling guilty now that I have the cloth upstairs unloved, maybe I should give it a go again. He’s 14 months now so I still have a fair few months to go! #sharethebloglove

    1. It’s easy to slip into the convenience of sposies as it dies take time and a routine to stick to cloth. You could always give it another go!

  9. Fridgesays says:

    #ablogginggoodtime I love this, I was given some cloth nappies from a set of twins. #joyful and found them easy to use and then passed them on to a friend – keeping the love going

    1. Great idea. I’ve passed a few of mine on too!

  10. tammymum says:

    There are doubtless benefits to cloth nappies and I wish I had given them more thought from the start. I fear I may have missed the boat on these but if I were to have another or my time again then it would certainly be something I’d try xx #sharetheblogginglove

    1. Thanks for your comment! Well I do hope you get a chance to try cloth then!

  11. I started with just using muslin squares, then cloth nappies and Naty nappies. Your selection is so colorful. The only design that we have with out cloth nappies that I can remember are the yellow polka dots ones! It really good to use cloth nappies =) #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Thanks Merlinda. I got most of mine on a deal or second hand. If I had a choice they’d all be patterned…the more colourful the better!

  12. Lydia C. Lee says:

    Good for you!! #FortheloveofBLOG

    1. Thanks for stopping by to comment Lydia!

  13. You can’t deny they look so pretty and colourful all hung up on the washing line! I remember vaguely looking into cloth nappies, but I was put off by such a big upfront cost for something I wasn’t sure I’d get on with. I’d never heard of a nappy library – what a great idea! I’ll definitely look into whether there is something like that near us for next time – I do feel guilty about the amount of nappies that we go through (thankfully fewer these days!) Thanks so much for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Katy. Nappy libraries really are wonderful if you have another try one of their hire kits. There are also loads of Facebook groups where you can buy good quality second hand nappies so the outlay isn’t quite as daunting!

  14. The Pramshed says:

    Well done on using cloth nappies. I didn’t have the stomach to use them but I can see how environmentally friendly and budget friendly they are. The designs look really cool, and will go with so many different outfits. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    1. Thanks Claire is really not that bad using Cloth. If you use liners the waste just goes down the loo. We shake our wet bag into the washing machine and never have to touch the dirtiest! Is worth it fir the patterns!

  15. winnettes says:

    I have used disposable nappies with both of mine. I never actually did enough research into cloth ones as I simply didn’t like the idea of them. However recently (now I’m rapidly ending the nappy journey completely) I’ve realised they would have been a better option. I love the patterns. I should have looked into them more. Live and learn!
    #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Thanks for your comment…you do indeed live and learn. Our 22mo is doing really well toilet training so I think we’ll be finishing our nappy journey soon too, yeah!

  16. Oh they are some fab patterns and I salute you for doing this. The cost and the information about carbon footprint really scared me. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    1. Thanks for your comment. It is a bit scary when you think about how many disposables you can go through per child!

  17. I’ve been curious about cloth nappies for a while, mainly because I love the cute designs lol! Really informative post, something to consider should I have another baby xx #sharingthebloglove

    1. Thanks for your comment…You’ve got to love the patterns and designs so much nicer than spouses 🙂

  18. We used cloth nappies for baby one from start to finish but baby two seemed to have much huger wee’s and more explosive poos and they seemed to leak more on here. Chunkier thighs may not have helped her – though logically don’t know why this would be. She’s in disposables now and can’t wait for her to be potty trained as hate the thought of how much we’re putting into landfill.

    1. Thanks for your comment. What a shame they didn’t work with your youngest. Some cloth nappies just don’t fit different shapes. Luckily both my boys are similar shapes so we’ve got some good wear out of ours. Our youngest is nearly two and take himself to the toilet at home, just need to crack the potty training when we’re out and about now!

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