Cloth nappies - what are they and why should you use them?
This week is Real Nappy Week (18th - 24th April) designed to raise awareness about the benefits of using cloth / reusable nappies over disposable ones and spread the word to encourage families to consider making the change.
So what are cloth nappies, and why should you use them over the convenience - and ease - of disposable nappies?
Here's five reasons why you should use cloth nappies:
They are much easier to use than you think: Although there are many different brands and types of reusable nappy which can take a while to get your head around, at a simple level you can get one-piece nappies that are, essentially the same design as disposable nappy - you just need to lie a liner over the top. Once used, they can be stored in a sealed bucket until washing day or thrown in with the usual wash. And as a parent you have a lot of washing any way, so often it's not like this will add up to much more.
Environmental factors: It's obvious that using reusable nappies is better for the environment, but by how much? Using cloth nappies on your baby you will divert around 4000 disposable nappies from landfill (these nappies take over 500 years to degrade) according to TotsBots, makers of award-winning reusable nappies. It means your weekly rubbish will halve and your carbon footprint could be up to 40% smaller.
There are further potential benefits too, including helping with nappy rashes or skin complaints from the chemicals in disposable nappies. Lots of mums swear using cloth nappies can also help with easy potty training, as the child is more aware of when they're wet.
You can save money: Although you do have the initial outlay of buying cloth nappies, once this is balanced over the nappy-wearing years the cost-per-wear can be much less than disposables. TotsBots estimate you can save over £500 by using them (and of course, if you use them on more than one child it's a further saving). Some parents also sell on nappies once they've finished them, and you can also buy them more cheaply second-hand. Find out if your councils offers discounts or free starter packs.
They look very pretty: OK, so a very superficial reason, but cloth nappies come in a rainbow of patterns and bright colours that you can really have fun with. Let's face it, nappy changes aren't the nicest thing about parenting - and anything that can brighten them up helps.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing: Lots of parents use a mix of nappies (for example using cloth nappies in the day but a disposable at night or when travelling). It's whatever suits you best, really. You don't have to buy an entire set and can pick up one or two individual cloth nappies fairly cheaply and just throw these in to your nappy mix. Each time you use it it's one less nappy going to landfill.
But don't take it from us, here's posts from other bloggers:
- Why cloth nappy? By Fritha, Tigerlilly Quinn
- Cloth napy FAQ from Polly, This Enchanted Pixie
- Review of the TotsBots Peanut nappy by Gill, A Baby on Board