Choosing real nappies for your baby

real nappies

real nappies

When it comes to reusable nappies (and pretty much every subject since you became a parent!), everyone will try to convince you that their favourite system is THE best nappy system. I don’t believe that there is One best nappy system. The best one for you is the one that suits you (and your child, obviously). Everyone has different criteria: ease of use, drying time, birth to potty or sized, fastening system, choice of fabric, baby shape, size, price, resale value and let’s not forget the all-important poo containment issue and prettiness factor.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you a series of articles to help you find your way around in the ‘real nappy’ world. We will help you decide which one will work best for your little one, how to wash your newly acquired real nappies, how to use them…

So let’s start from the beginning:

  • What is a cloth nappy? A cloth nappy is always made of two parts, an absorbent part to soak up the pee and a waterproof part to contain the poo and the humidity.  Both parts can be  shaped and sewn together (all-in-one-nappy) and used just like a disposable. Other nappies are separate, you put up the absorbent nappy first and then fit the waterproof wrap over it.  The absorbent part can look either like a big handkerchief that your fold around the baby’s bottom or be already shaped into a nappy.
  • How do I use it? Well, it’s not that different from a disposable nappy: pop the cloth nappy on your baby. When it needs to be changed, pop the poo in the toilet (you can use a liner to make it easier), rinse the nappy and pop it in a bucket until your next laundry.
  • What about leaks? A well chosen and well fitted real nappy doesn’t leak. The waterproof wraps are especially designed to keep the humidity in and you can boost the absorbency of the nappy by adding extra nappy booster. It’s especially true for breastfed newborns for whom disposable nappies really struggle to contain the very runny poo.
  • How do I wash it? when you remove the real nappy, pop the poo in the toilet (a good thing to do even if you’re using disposable!), rinse it and pop it in a nappy bucket (with or without water). Whether you wait until you have enough nappies to do a laundry of nappies or wash them along your regular laundry is up to you. When stored properly, washing nappies at 30 or 40 degrees is sufficient.
  • What about the smell? Having tried both, I can tell you that the smell of the nappy bucket is nothing compared to the smell of a disposable nappy bin. First you’ve flushed the poo, rinsed the nappy and kept with a disinfectant or a bit of laundry liquid.
  • Is it like an investment then? By the time your child is potty trained, you will have spent as much as £1,000 on disposable nappies. That’s huge! I’m not even sure that figure includes the cost for the council of disposing of the 5000 nappies your child will have gone through in 2 or 3 years. Compared to that, the initial investment of real nappies (about £400) is like a big saving. Remember there is a thriving market for second hand nappies.
  • Does my bum look big in the this? Yes it’s true, some reusable nappies are bulkier than disposable nappies. You’ll have to keep it in mind when buying baby clothes. It’s usually not a problem in the UK as most brands have realised that many babies are ‘cloth-bottomed’. You can also use specially designed clothes like the adorable Frugi range of organic cotton baby clothes.
  • How do I convince my partner? or nanny/babysitter/nursery worker. You can show them how disposable nappies affect the environment, and save them money, how it will help your child get rid of nappy rash… I found the trick was to choose a simple real nappy like an all in one nappy, it really is just as easy as a disposable nappy.

Click here for more information on real nappies.

Did this help help you decide what nappy might work best for your baby?

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