To celebrate Real Nappy Week, I wanted to post 5 questions for anyone considering ditching disposables and opting for cloth instead. Using cloth nappies is not hard, it’s just different to using disposables and requires a slightly changed mindset. Plus, given the average baby goes through 5500 nappies from birth to potty, it’s a pretty big deal and worth some real probing. So here goes, are you a good candidate for cloth nappy-ing?*
1. Are you OK with ‘icky’ things?
Cloth nappying can be a little, well, mucky. At times it will smell bad. You’ll come close to your kids’ poop. You might even get it on you. If you’re going to cloth nappy, you need to be ok with getting your hands dirty. Literally. If you’re more worried about newly painted nail, then it might not be for you.
2. Do you like dislike a big financial outlay?
The financial pain of cloth nappies is probably what most puts people off. I think it’s because you’re making a large upfront payment whereas with disposables, you just keep paying monthly, or however often you need to replenish your stock. The thing to know is that you don’t have to buy a complete system in one go. In fact, I really recommend that you don’t and that you experiment a little and gradually build up, like anything baby product related. The Nappy Lady has the following advice: “You could start with one night time nappy and 5 daytime nappies. You’d wash daily and top up with a few disposables each day. I’d wash each night and wouldn’t buy a bucket or storage bag until later on instead I’d just put each soiled nappy in the washing machine and wash at the end of day making up a load with sicky bibs and muslins.” I started off using a nappy bin but recently realise we really don’t need one as I tend to just pop nappies straight into the washing machine. Finally, don’t forget to check if your eligible for a Nappy Voucher from your borough.
3. Are you OK with going against the grain?
Using cloth nappies is ‘different’, there’s no doubt about it. Of all of my close mama friends, there’s only 1 or 2 of us that use them (wahoo for Instagram and access to like-minded mamas all over the world!). I’ve had multiple mums question my choices and I’ve even had a mum snigger at me when I’ve pulled out cloth wipes. It’s always the mums who have least idea who the most critical. If you’re not afraid to mother a little differently, then keep reading…
4. Are you OK with things taking a little longer?
There’s no doubt about it, cloth nappies require more effort. As I mentioned above, it’s not hard; it’s just different. It’s rinsing and squeezing and washing; it’s not slinging in a dustbin. It’s hanging out to dry and stuffing; it’s not grabbing from a packet. Day to day, it is slightly more time consuming, and you need to be OK with that.
5. Are you keen to reduce your contribution to landfill
Of course you are! Especially when I tell you that it takes ONE nappy 500 years to decompose and that 8 million disposable nappies go to landfill EVERY SINGLE DAY in the UK. If you don’t want to be a part of that number, then cloth nappies could well be for you.
Do you use cloth nappies? I’d love to know the number one reason you love them, or if you don’t, what it is that’s stopping you? Oh and do check out my 10 min all you need to know cloth nappy guide.
P.S 5 Zero Waste Parenting Switches and Ultimate Zero Plans Day Playlist
*so not a word
Hmmmm a little question, are there more eco friendly disposable nappies? Ones that don’t take a long time to decompose… 😊
Yes ! I’m a big cloth nappy fan. I have three kids and used cloth nappies with them all. This has saved me LOADS of money – on top of being able to reuse the nappies on each child, I get a voucher from my local council towards cloth nappies AND you can resell the nappies once you’ve used them! Win win!
I honestly think if you commit to having kids then it’s your responsibility to make sure their environmental footprint is as small as possible. Sure, I get it – mothering is hard, exhausting work. But I promise: once you get into the routine of using cloth nappies it’s easy !
I use Bumgenius stuffed with cheap prefolds for extra absorbency, plus Tots Bota cotton and bamboo nappies boosted heavily the extra layers at night. I’m also a big fan of Motherease Sandy’s and their Airflow wraps for a bomb proof combination – these never leak like a disposable fan.
TOTALLY agree with this sentiment of doing ones best to tread lightly once we have kids. also thanks for sharing nappy tips xxx
We love our cloth nappies! We do a mix of both!
We waited till my son was a few month old to start, as he was too small to fill out the nappies, and we also had a lot of feeding/reflux issues that didnt settle till 4 months or more, so the extra time was being used there instead.
We have always used disposables over night.
But really we love them.
Its not that much effort really, and just part of the routine now.
I hate having to use disposables!
yes yes YES! love everything about this x
I’m about to have my third (just before my husband deploys so time and effort were definitely something I considered, but the benefits seem to really outweigh the negatives) and have bought the bambino mio kit, but are there any you would recommend more for newborn size? Even with the poppers on the smallest setting they look pretty big! Xx
we used gnappies when ours were teeny… do BM do a newborn pack? xx
Hi Emma we use little lamb pocket nappies for my 1 year old, we have got on really well with them(we get the occasional leak) for our 6 week old I have been looking at miosolo bambino I think I remember reading that’s what you use? If so would you recomend? Thanks kay xx
hey kay! yes we use bambino mio during the day and really love! x x
Hi Emma, I’ve got a 5 week old and seriously considered cloth nappies but was put off by the wide range of brands. Like you say it’s quite a cost so I don’t want to spend money on something that doesn’t work for us. There is no cloth nappy where I live so it just feels a bit inaccessible! Still convincable if you have any tips to get round that…! Also our county council (Essex) does a voucher (£30) and I think some others do too.
Hey lauren – sounds like you are nearly there..when you say there is no cloth nappy where you live, what do you mean? great to know re essex – definitely nag that voucher! x
Sorry I meant cloth nappy library! Will teach me to try and write/think before 6am…
There are a couple websites out there that sell cloth diapers that have programs where you can try diapers and send them back if you are not a fan of the brand, fit, ect. Kellyscloset.com does a 30 day exchange on most diapers and they have all sorts of brands to choose from.
Thirsties brand has a lot of good information on getting started on their website as well. I started off with their all in ones (they are closest to a disposable diaper since its all one piece) and then worked my way into getting covers and inserts.
I know it can all seem a little overwhelming at the start!
that’s a GREAT tip about Kellyscloset – will share that one! thanks for reading and commenting shannon x
Thanks Shannon that sounds just what I need!