Making The Switch To Cloth Nappies
If we lay a strong enough foundation
We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you
And you’ll blow us all away
– Dear Theodosia, Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda)
This blog post contains PR samples
I’ve previously written about some of the eco-friendly parenting choices I’ve made with Evie, and for me, the biggest change I’ve made is that we’re using cloth nappies with her.
Did you know: Disposable nappies can take 200-500 years to break down, and according to the Environment Agency Lifecycle Assessment for Disposable and Reusable Nappies in the UK, around eight million nappies are thrown away every single day.
Nappies also end up costing a considerable amount, especially if you think how many nappies you’ll go through between birth and potty training.
A lot of people have been surprised and curious about it when I’ve said we use cloth nappies, mainly asking if it’s a) really gross when they poo and b) how much washing I end up doing, and so I thought I’d write a guide on our experience so far…
Where to start?
There are a lot of cloth nappy brands out there, and it can feel like a bit of a minefield at first. I was lucky enough to have a friend who had used a range of cloth nappies so she gave me a bag of different ones to try out, and I had seen a few brands and recommendations on blogs and on Instagram. There are also cloth nappy libraries and some councils offer incentive schemes.
Making the switch
After a lot of research and trying out a few different brands, the main one I fell in love with was Bambino Mio all-in-one nappies. It also had absolutely nothing to do with the adorable prints on the nappies… As an incredibly generous “thank you for giving us another grandchild” gift, my parents bought us the Birth to Potty pack. This comes with 15 nappies, 3 booster inserts, a nappy bucket, 2 nappy bags, liners and laundry cleanser. Initially I thought I’d do a mix of disposable and reusable nappies, but one good thing about lockdown was that I had plenty of time to get to grips with cloth nappies, and so now I only use them. Since making the switch to cloth nappies, I’ve been lucky enough to be sent a couple of nappies from Bambino Mio as they’ve launched their gorgeous new range – Pet Party. Most brands do a one-size-fits-all nappy which is really adjustable, either with velcro or poppers. Some do newborn sized ones but if I’m honest I just waited until she was a bit bigger – Evie was about four months old when we started using them as they just didn’t fit her properly before then.
The upfront cost of cloth nappies can be quite high so I totally appreciate this could make it harder to make the switch (also it can be way too easy to start a bit of a collection of adorable prints…) Depending on the style and brand, they’re usually around £12 – £18 for a nappy, which does sound a lot when you can get 24 disposable nappies for £5, but if you think about how many nappy changes you’ll do before your baby is potty trained, the figure very quickly mounts up. I’ve bought two additional nappies from Baba+Boo and as I mentioned, I’ve been kindly sent two cloth nappies and inserts from Bambino Mio, so that’s 19 nappies in total. When I think about how many nappy changes I’ve done since starting cloth nappies, I already feel like I’ve saved money!
I thought it would be really complicated, or that I’d spend all my time washing, but it’s so straightforward, and I wash a bag of them every couple of days, so nowhere near as much as I expected.
I find cloth nappies are generally more absorbent than disposable ones. We have fewer leaks, and the more you wash them, the more absorbent they become. I change Evie’s nappy usually four times a day, and use an extra booster insert at night – sometimes I find I have to give her a change during the night but not very often. I do a wash every two days, though I rinse poo nappies as soon as I can, and then wash them properly with the others. Poo nappies are honestly no more gross in reusable nappies than disposable – you can use biodegradable liners inside the nappy that will retain anything solid so you can basically just lift them out and this will stop staining your cloth nappy too.
I’m so glad I decided to use cloth nappies with Evie, and I would really recommend them. It can seem daunting at first, and I’d definitely suggest trying a few different styles to see what you prefer. Each brand varies, for example Bambino Mio nappies use velcro which Evie sometimes manages to undo, Baba+Boo use poppers, which are harder for her to pull off, but can be a bit more fiddly when you have a wriggly baby!