written by Kayleigh Dunning, Carry in Cloth

Using reusable nappies will reduce your waste and reduces the amount of energy and non-renewable resources used to produce disposable nappies.    

How practical are reusable nappies?

Modern reusable nappies are really practical and are available in hundreds of different types and patterns. Reusable nappies wash and dry easily because they are made of lightweight, fluffy materials such as:

  • cotton 
  • wool 
  • bamboo 
  • microfibre

They also fit snugly. For quick and easy fastening, nappy pins have been replaced with: 

  • velcro fastenings 
  • poppers 
  • plastic grips 

The types of reusable nappy that are available

There are several different types of reusable nappies: 

  • flat nappies 
  • fitted nappies
  • all-in-one nappies
  • pocket nappies
  • hybrid nappies (these can be used with a disposable insert)

Flat nappies, such as the traditional terry square, need to be folded to make a pad, then secured with a plastic fastening and covered with a wrap. There are also pre-folds which are flat squares of cotton. Fitted nappies are designed to fit your baby snugly. They are made from a super absorbent material and are a favourite for night time. They require an outer wrap. All-in-one nappies have an inner absorbent material and an outer waterproof material joined togther so you don’t need to worry about two separate items. Pocket nappies have a soft absorbent layer and a waterproof shell so you can fill the nappies with whichever absorbent material works best for you. Hybrid nappies have a waterpoof shell or wrap which can be used over fitted nappies and prefolds with a special reusable or disposable insert. Reusable nappies come in a few different sizes. The most popular is birth to potty (8lbs – 35lbs). You can also buy newborn reusable nappies and reusable nappies for toddlers. 

What you need to get started

All you need to get started is: 

  • nappies 
  • liners 
  • wraps 

The nappy itself is the absorbent part. You will need around 20-30 of these. The inner liner catches solids and helps to keep moisture away from your baby’s skin. Reusable, washable liner pads are available. The outer wrap or cover is the fun part with a range of styles and bright colours. 

These are made in a range of materials like:

  • wool 
  • fleece 
  • waterproof PUL

If you are using fitted nappies and wraps or hybrid nappies, you will need 5 absorbent liners for every 1 wrap. Generally this means 20-25 absorbent nappies and 4-5 wraps. 

How much will it cost?

You will need to spend an initial outlay to get the required amount of nappies, but you will only need to pay this once. With disposables you will be spending money on them on a weekly basis. From birth to potty each baby typically gets through between 4,000 and 6,000 nappies. This number of disposable nappies will cost roughly £1,000. The approximate cost for a birth to potty set of reusable nappies is £250 new or as little as £50 second hand.  You can also use reusable nappies for many children so the savings increase over the years. 

How to wash and dry reusable nappies

Washable nappies don’t need to be: 

  • sluiced 
  • boiled 
  • scrubbed 
  • soaked 
  • machine washed at 95°C. 

They can simply be placed in a separate laundry container and washed at 60°C. Modern washing machines wash so well that washable nappies do not have to be sterilised. Once they are washed, most reusable nappies can be line or tumble dried or simply placed on an airer in a warm room to dry. 

If you’re not sure which to buy then you can hire a kit of nappies, there are newborn and birth to potty kits available to hire, kits contain everything you need to get started on your cloth journey!

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