The TRUTH about cloth nappies.

This week is ‘Real Nappy Week’ (23rd to 29th April) so I have decided to dedicate a post to my experience using reusable nappies and maybe expel some myths.

“Cloth is too expensive!”
Yes, it is true that the initial cost of reusable nappies is expensive and not everyone will be able to throw £200 on a bunch of nappies, liners, and boosters. Thankfully, some councils offer incentives to families purchasing real nappies. You are also able to buy cloth nappies second hand at a cheaper price. Some friends and family may also put money towards your stash if you ask.

Furthermore I have done some number crunching. Obviously this is not an exact figure. I took the price of Aldi’s 84 pack size 4 Mamia ultra dry nappies of £4.49. I guessed an average of seven nappy changes per day so one pack will last 12 days. Assuming baby is in nappies for exactly two years, then you will spend £269.40 on disposable nappies. If you buy a more expensive brand of disposables then they will cost more. Smaller pack sizes also cost more per nappy and different nappy sizes have different prices so I tried to use middle ground figures. Newborns and heavy wetters also need changing more often.

So in conclusion it does depend on your baby whether cloth or disposables end up costing more. BUT if you have a second, third, fourth, etc child then you will definitely save money as you can reuse the cloth nappies! Even if you only use one cloth nappy per day or only use them on one day per week you will save money.

“Cloth is messy!”
Changing cloth nappies on a baby is just as messy as changing a disposable nappy. If baby has an explosive wet poo then it won’t be glamorous in either situation. The downside I first discovered with cloth is that you cannot roll the dirty wipes up with the soiled nappy. You need to be near a bin, which is not always available depending where you are. This problem can also be solved if using reusable wipes too because those can be thrown into the nappy bin/wet bag along with the cloth nappy.

“Poo in cloth nappies is messy!”
Newborn poops are usually small and easy to contain and chuck away. It is when baby starts having solids and the poos become less runny but also not quite solid which are less fun to deal with. When the poops come out in a solid lump then there is such a good feeling being able to just flip the cloth nappy over and dump the poop into the toilet to flush away!

“Cloth nappies stink!”
Reuseable nappies will smell if they are not washed quickly enough or well enough. First problem is solved with regular washing and second problem is solved with a strip wash. If you wash nappies correctly in the first place (not too much detergent, not too high temperature, long rinse cycle) then hopefully you can avoid having to do a strip wash.

With regards to storing dirty nappies, they smell just as bad as disposables. Cloth nappies are usually stored in a plastic tub when they are waiting for wash day and this tends to keep odours in. I do not store any soiled disposable nappies in a special pail, they go in an open bin so if they linger too long in the bathroom then there is a definite pong! In this case, cloth nappies actually stink less!

“Cloth nappies are not convenient outside of the home!”
Honestly, cloth nappies are a bit of a faff when you are out and about. Cloth nappies are much bulkier than disposables so they do take up much more space. Secondly, you need to continue carting them around after changing baby and wet nappies expand so they take up even more space afterwards. Once you get used to it though, it doesn’t matter as it is just part of having a baby.

I have read that some people use eco nappies on days out or for traveling because they have the convenience of a disposable, but the green credentials of being biodegradable. Unfortunately, eco nappies are even more expensive than cloth nappies… but planet Earth is worth it!

“Washing and tumble drying cloth nappies is worse for the environment!”
Firstly I’d like to address the tumble drying comment because most manufacturers do not recommend tumble drying nappies, and if a parent must do so, then it is done on a low setting. Tumble drying can shorten the life of a cloth nappy so it is generally avoided and therefore not a worthwhile argument about energy usage.

With regards to washing cloth nappies, Eve from Baba+Boo wrote an interesting article about the amount of water that is used during the manufacture of disposable nappies. Disposable nappies are ‘made of pulp and plastics’ and overall use ten times more water during production than during 2.5 years of washing cloth nappies. That figure is astoundingly horrific and makes me feel much better about washing my reuseables. It is also worth throwing in towels and sports wear into the nappy wash to fill out the drum and ensure you are not doing a small wash just for six nappies. Modern washing machines are also efficient at weighing out the load and using the appropriate amount of water for the wash.

“It’s too much effort to use cloth nappies!”

There is no difference between using cloth and disposable. You put them on at the same time and in the same way. Yes there is the extra step of washing and hanging out the nappies to dry but surprisingly it’s a step I do not mind. I do not feel like I am doing lots of extra washing.

Furthermore, you know when you have to change baby’s nappy but it’s about one hour before bedtime and you know you will want to put a fresh nappy on overnight? Well with cloth you need not feel like you are wasting a nappy as it’s simply washed and reused. When using a disposable for a small amount of wee and then chucking it in the bin, you are adding to the thousands of nappies at the landfill. Think about how many nappies you use in a week and imagine that pile sitting around for hundreds of years before they finally decompose.

Hopefully I have swayed you into agreeing that cloth nappies are not so bad to use. It’s totally worth giving them a try! Have you had any good/bad experiences with resuables?


Review of Close Pop-in reusable nappy.

You may have heard of Close as they make baby carriers as well as cloth nappies. In fact we used the Close Caboo carrier with Emery for eight months until he got a bit too heavy for my poor shoulders. Emery enjoyed being close and snug in that sling but that’s a review for another day!

The Pop-in nappy is on its second version “gen V2” and comes with super absorbent bamboo or quick drying minkee fabric, so you trade longer wear for slower drying times. The prints on the Close nappies may not appeal to all. I don’t want to say “abstract” or “macabre” as those words are too extreme but I quite like the darker prints they do.

The Pop-in is an “all in two” style of nappy so the nappy insert and booster are clipped in. The poppers are cleverly colour coordinated so you won’t put them on back to front.

The nappy is secured at the waist using Velcro tabs so the fit can be adjusted perfectly to suit all babies. Initially I didn’t think there were any fold back tabs for the Velcro to prevent the nappy sticking to things in the washing machine but on the second wear I noticed the tabs are supposed to be tucked into the nappy which is a nice touch.

Pop-in is a birth to potty nappy and the front of the nappy has rows of poppers to alter the length of the nappy as baby grows. Close also do a newborn size nappy for smaller babies.

When I first received the Pop-in nappy I didn’t think it would fit Emery as it looks quite small compared to all the other nappies I have tried but it was surprisingly roomy when I came to put it on him. This also means it is a slimmer looking nappy therefore you probably will not struggle to get clothes to fit over the nappy. In fact, after using the Pop-in I felt like other brands were too baggy. I also liked being able to tuck the liner into the flap but that is not a reason to buy the Pop-in.

Drying time on these bad boys is reasonable. You can detach the insert and booster to create a bigger drying area. The boosters are not too thick so they dry fairly quickly but they soak up adequate amounts of urine.

The Pop-in retails for £18.95 but you may be able to find deals online. You can also buy them in a starter pack which will save you some money. I do find that “all in twos” seem to cost more but I think the Pop-in may be my favourite cloth nappy so far!

Have you ever tried the Close Pop-in nappy? Do you prefer the bamboo or the minkee? What are your thoughts on their prints?

Which style of reusable nappy is right for you?

So you’ve made the great decision of choosing reusable nappies on your precious baby and you go to research brands and the colour drains from your face because there are SO MANY options and you think you might just stick with the disposables that everyone knows about.

I know the feeling. There are so many types of nappies and they seem to run into each other. All in one? All in two? Pocket nappy? Sized? Organic? Bamboo or cotton? Which is cheapest? You can get an all in one organic bamboo one size nappy or an all in one sized microfibre nappy.

Whilst I am no expert hopefully this post will shed a little light and make the world of cloth nappies a little easier to navigate. Also note the terms “reusable”, “cloth”, and “real” are often interchanged.

Real nappies have these basic parts:

1. Waterproof outer, most often made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) but other materials also found. The outer usually has fun prints.

2. Inner absorbent “nappy” part, usually made from bamboo or cotton or microfibre. Mostly plain but some, such as Totsbots Bamboozle, may have prints.

3. Liner (optional), used to catch poo and may be flushable, disposable, or washed and reused. Fleece liners also help remove the feeling of wetness.

4. Booster/insert (optional). If you feel your nappy doesn’t provide enough containment you can add one or two (or more if you don’t mind a bulky bum?!) boosters for extra absorption. Can be made from bamboo, charcoal, hemp, cotton, or microfibre.

5. Velcro or poppers. Some nappies are made with Velcro tabs for an adaptable fit whilst some brands use poppers. It’s up to you which you prefer. Some “birth to potty” nappies have poppers to adjust the size from small to large but close at the waist with Velcro.

6. Wet bag (optional). You will need a wet bag if you plan to go out and about with cloth nappies. You’ll have to bring soiled nappies home so best to keep them in a special nappy bag! You could also use a wet bag at home instead of a nappy bucket to store used nappies until you wash them.

This is the easiest kind of nappy to use as it is just like a disposable. The inner absorbent nappy is sewn onto the waterproof outer and you put it on baby as you would a disposable. You can add a liner or booster if you wish. Since all the pieces are sewn together you may experience longer drying times.

Bambino Miosolo – prints
Tickle Tots – cute prints
Tots Bots Easyfit Star – plain or printed
Bum Genius elemental or freetime* – plain or printed
Grovia* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea all in one* – plain or printed

Pocket nappies look similar to all-in-ones but there is an opening at the back on the inside half of the nappy. You can stuff boosters into this pocket to adjust the absorption level to your own requirements. These are quite user friendly as well and dry fairly fast as the boosters can come out.

Baba + Boo – plain or printed
Little Lamb – one size or sized
Milovia – lots of prints
Wonderoos – plain or printed
Bum Genius original* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea pocket* – plain or printed

The absorbent part of the nappy can be attached and detached from the waterproof layer using poppers. The absorbent pads can be made from different materials to suit your absorbency needs. Once boosters are attached the nappy is as simple to put on as a disposable. Drying times are fairly fast since you can separate the two parts. These can be cost effective as sometimes you can reuse the outer and just replace the pad at changing time if the outer is not soiled.

Bambino Miosoft – prints
Close Pop In nappy – prints
Tickle Tots
– cute prints
Tots Bots Peenut system – plain or printed
Bambooty Basics* – mostly plain colours

This style is just like an all-in-two but the inserts are disposable so there is less washing to do.
Charlie Banana* – covers and reusable or disposable inserts
Flip by Bum Genius* – covers and various inserts
Grovia hybrid – covers and reuseable or disposable inserts

This is a two part nappy. You need to buy a waterproof wrap as well as the actual absorbent nappy part. The nappy can be made from bamboo, cotton, or microfibre. Bamboo is most absorbent but takes a long time to dry. Microfibre is least absorbent but dries quickest. Cotton sits in the middle but can feel crunchy in hard water areas.

Bambinex – bamboo or microfibre
Little Lamb – available in various materials
Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch – bamboo material in different prints

These are similar to Terry squares used by your grandmother. They are squares of material that are pinned together. You will require a waterproof wrap to go over the top. They are the cheapest cloth nappy option and dry easily but from what I have heard, are also the trickiest. I have never used prefolds so cannot really comment.

Just like they sound, sized nappies come in sizes for example 7-18lbs or 18-35lbs. One size or ‘birth to potty’ nappies come in one size and tend to have poppers to change the sizing. Sized nappies cost more as you will need to buy a new set of nappies when baby gets bigger but this can be useful if you have two young children close in age. One size nappies should last throughout the whole nappy period but some nappies may not fit well on younger babies and you may need to use disposables until baby is bigger. You can get sized and one size nappies as shaped, pocket, all in one, or all in two styles (ie nappy size then nappy type).

Baba + Boo – pocket nappy for 5-18lb
Close Pop-in newborn – 5-12lb
Tots Bots Teenyfit Star – all in one for 5-12lb

I hope this blog post has made things a bit clearer for you! Any links to brands are not sponsored or affiliated. I have tried to include mostly UK or EU based brands. Any links with an asterisk * are brands based outside UK/EU.

What is your favourite type of reusable nappy? Do you have a few different ones in your stash? If you have never used them has this post helped at all?