“Cloth nappy” or “reusable nappy”. Does ‘more hassle’ and ‘yuck’ come to mind? It may do, but the modern cloth nappy (MCN) has far surpassed those good old white square terry towelling days. Believe me. More and more parents are choosing to make the switch and there are sound reasons for their choice. One of the key reasons, other than the environmental aspect, is the money you save. Even though the initial expense can be seemingly on the costly side, the long term savings can be in the hundreds! I can also tell you that you can use cloth nappies, and not even touch the little poopy presents – just like a disposable!
I’m just so disappointed that I didn’t become a cloth nappy Mum the first time around. It wasn’t that I didn’t try, I researched for ages but no reviews I found could warrant me spending the money on any particular brand. On the birth of my son though I struck gold. I found full star ratings on a brand called Bubblebubs. They have an outstanding performance record, with several awards from The Australian Nappy Association. You can find the award winners here. Since then, the MCN’s have just improved.
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So, Why Choose Cloth?
They save you serious money.
Looking at the math, assuming infants go through 8 nappies per day on average. If a disposable nappy costs 50c per nappy, then over the course of a year, disposables will cost you around $1,450!
$0.5 x 8 nappies = $4 per day
$4 x 7 days = $28 per week
$28 x 52 weeks = $1458 per year
Depending on which cloth nappy brand you choose, and if you choose to go part time or full time cloth will depend on how much the initial cost will be. You’ll probably be looking at about $750 upfront to go full time cloth. You’ll save even more if you choose to have more children after, as the nappies can be used all over again for your next child!
They are better for the environment.
Did you know that using just one cloth nappy per day can keep 900 disposable nappies out of landfill? By adapting to cloth nappies you are helping keep excess plastic and chemicals out of landfill and our oceans.
Although the debate about the extra water and electricity used when washing cloth nappies still wages, when washed with a full load, by hand, or on low energy rating machine, you still have less carbon emissions than single use nappies.
They are safer on baby's skin
There are a bunch of long word chemicals in disposable nappies. All of these are synthetically made to make the nappy super absorbent and waterproof, but what can these do to your baby’s skin? A baby’s skin is delicate and sensitive. The harsh chemicals within disposable nappies can give many babies severe skin reactions, but there are also many other health concerns that haven’t been proven yet.
Cloth nappies have so many gorgeous patterns!
The modern cloth nappy comes in so many different styles and patterns, the nappy itself becomes a statement. Bub’s with cloth nappies are just adorable. Especially in our Aussie summer, you can ditch any nappy covering, the cloth nappy is all you need!
Which Cloth Nappy Do I Choose?
This was without doubt, the most complex part for me about going cloth. There are lots of brands and lots of different types and styles of reusable nappy. I found it kind of overwhelming, and it took me a couple of weeks to make my choice.
Essentially you need to decide what works best for you and your family.
Here’s the breakdown of types;
Flats and Prefolds
This is the most economical option and the most similar to the traditional terry towelling nappy. The flat nappies are simply folded up, held together by a pin or snappi, and covered with a waterproof nappy cover. PROS - Cheapest reusable option. - Able to be repurposed after their nappy life. CONS - They do require folding, which can be a little more time consuming, especially for another carer.
All in One (AIO)
This nappy is the most simple to use as it is the most closely related to the disposable. the outside layer is waterproof and the inside layers of the nappy absorb the moisture. PROS - Easiest nappy to use CONS - Can be the most expensive of the reusable nappies - Can take longer to dry due to the multiple layers within the nappy. -Once soiled the entire nappy needs to be washed.
This type of nappy has an opening at the front or back of it to place the absorbent insert. You can increase the night absorbency with a booster inserted instead. PROS - You can control the absorbency of the nappy by what insert you use. CONS - Once the nappy is soiled, the whole nappy need to be washed
All in Two (AI2)
AI2's are easy to use and adapt to baby's needs. They have an outer waterproof cover (shell) and a snap in insert. You can use the nappy at night time by adding a booster. PROS - Able to control absorbency of the nappy by the insert you use. - Can reuse the outer nappy shell if it hasn't been soiled. - easier to dry as the nappy components are separate. CONS To be honest, I can't think of any!
What Size Do I Need?
You can choose between fitted nappies and one-size-fits-most (OSFM).
Fitted nappies are designed to fit your baby for their age. Although this is the best option for firm fitting nappies, this is also costly as you’ll will need to buy new nappies as your infant outgrows the previous.
OSFM nappies are adjustable and are designed to be used continually as your baby grows. This is the most economical reusable nappy choice, but most OSFM nappies will be too big for newborns and won’t really fit until about 3 months. The same can be said as your infant approaches toilet training. OSFM nappies may be too small for some toddlers.
How Many Cloth Nappies Do I Need?
It depends if you want to go cloth only, or just at home or when it suits you. You don’t have to go full time cloth if you don’t want to. I know several people who just use disposables when they’re out and about.
A newborn baby will require the most nappies, as they need changing frequently. As the child grows, their output will increase, but the amount of changes required will decrease. So, assuming you’re going to use cloth nappies on a full time basis, and you’ll wash them every second day;
A newborn will require 24-30 nappies.
4 – 7 months will require 18-20 nappies.
8-18 months will require 14-16 nappies.
18 months+ will require 10-12 nappies.
If you’re only going to use cloth nappies on a part-time basis you can halve this amount.
So, I hope this clears up any cloth nappy confusion. Oh, and I mentioned that you don’t have to touch the untouchable. If you decide that cloth nappies are for you, but are still grossed out about touching poo, you needn’t have to. You can buy eco friendly flushable liners for your nappy so you just empty the nappy contents into the toilet, no hands on required! You can find eco-friendly flushable liners here.
Visit is my wash routine post to find the best way to wash your cloth nappies.
There are so many brands of reusable nappy out there. My choice was Bubblebubs. The high standard they have from the reviews a researched is pretty unparallelled. That being said, there are probably a lot of other cloth nappy brands out there that weren’t even considered.
I have no affiliation with Bubblebubs, I’ve just personally found their nappies to be without fault. You can view their nappy range here.
For another range of cloth nappies from a eco friendly site I’ve purchased through before, you can visit Hello Charlie’s selection here.
Let’s break some of the myths surrounding cloth nappies shall we?
Cloth nappies are just as bad for the environment.
Well, they require laundering, yes. But the amount of energy and water required to make disposables far and away surpasses the laundering of cloths. Not to mention they are only used once, and then left in landfil where they can take 400 years+ to break down.
2. Cloth nappies leak
This only happens if the nappy isn’t fitted properly, or isn’t changed regularly. Due to the adjustability of cloth nappies, they are less prone to leaking as long as they are fitted correctly and have appropriate absorbent layers within.
3. Cloth nappies increase the amount of laundry.
Kids are going to get dirty. it’s just a fact. Young children in particular. Regardless, the amount of laundry will increase. A few extra nappies in the load isn’t going to make that much difference.
4. Cloth nappies are too expensive.
Initially, it may seem so. However, consider that infants are in nappies until about 2 1/2 years old, and you only have purchased nappies ONCE. Long term the savings can reach thousands. Especially if you have subsquent children.
5. Cloth nappies are unsanitary.
As long as they are washed properly, there shouldn’t be an issue with hygiene. Being allowed to dry in the sun will allow the UV rays to boost sanitation also.