A guide to using cloth nappies

Cloth nappy two size

Cloth nappy two sizeMany parents are now choosing to use cloth nappies rather than disposables, and here are some of the reasons many think they are great!

Disposables are considered convenient, but many parents decide to use cloth nappies for one or more of the following reasons:

• Saving the environment
• Saving money
• Often less leaks than disposables
• They look great!

Saving the environment

In the UK, about 8 million disposable nappies are thrown away every day. A years supply would fill 70,000 double decker buses and they would stretch from London to Edinburgh!  It costs the taxpayer approximately £30 over baby’s nappy time to dispose of ‘disposable’nappies.

It is not known how long a disposable nappy takes to break down, but estimates range from between 200 and 500 years, having an impact on our children’s great, great grandchildren.

It has been proven that disposables do have a greater impact on the environment than cloth nappies.  Even allowing for washing, disposables use 3.5 times more energy, 8 times more non-regenerable raw materials and between 4 and 30 times as much land for growing natural materials as cloth nappies.

Saving Money

The actual amount saved can be from a couple of hundred up to about a thousand pounds, and will be even more on subsequent children where the same nappies can be used again. How much you will save depends on many factors such as how many nappies your baby will need, washing and drying costs (line drying is free, a tumble drier will cost more), nappy system purchased and whether the nappies are reused.

Less leaks

Most cloth nappies come in two parts – the nappy and a waterproof outer wrap.  If (unusually) the nappy does not contain everything, the wrap will.

They look great!

Even terries come in a range of pastel and bright colours now! Choose from wraps in rainbow prints, animal patterns or white made from breathable fabrics including fleece and wool. There is a growing army of work-at-home mums making nappies in different patterns to their own designs.

WHICH NAPPIES?

The range of cloth nappies is huge, and the best advice is to ask a cloth-using friend or nappy seller to show you the different types. The cloth nappy forum on Parents Lounge is a fantastic source of help.  However, your choice will be influenced by your budget, ease of use (for whomever is likely to be changing nappies) and your drying facilities.

They are available in either different sizes (ensuring a snug fit on a newborn, but still able to fit a toddler) or a one-size-fits-all option (more economical). Some nappies come with quicker drying features. These also require a wrap.

All-in-ones are often the most expensive option, but the easiest to use.  New all-in-ones have an inner absorbent section, removed for washing, ensuring they are very quick drying. The cheapest and quickest drying option is still flat terries.  They can be fastened with a plastic gripper, or pins and will need a wrap over the top.

WASHING

Once you establish a routine, washing is easy.  Some people wash every day, others every two or three days. The flushable liner will contain any solids and this can be flushed down the toilet.  Alternatively many people use fleece liners – the solids are tipped into the toilet and the liner washed with the nappy. You don’t need to soak if you don’t want to, although this can extend the life of the nappies.  If washing still seems too much, a laundry service can deliver clean nappies to you each week.

Real Nappy Helpline – 0845 850 0606
Provides details of cloth nappy retail and laundry service contacts throughout the UK.

Feature written by Caroline of Easy Peasy Nappies.

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