How to Choose Reusable Nappies
Modern Cloth nappies are so comfortable for babies - they save money, are safer and keep chemicals away from baby. They reduce the carbon footprint of parenting and are better for the environment than disposable nappies.
The world of cloth diapers can seem complicated - there are many different brands and styles of nappy. We will help you to see how easy washable nappies are once you get to grips with them and how well they work when you have the right nappies for your family.
We will cover different things to consider in how to choose reusable nappies -
Newborns require more changes than older babies. This will influence the type of nappy you should have and how many.
For a cheap solution use muslins or a flat nappy and a waterproof wrap in the early days when you should be changing nappy every two hours. If you are happy to spend more you can buy reusable nappies which are specific newborn size.
As baby grows you can save money by opting for birth to potty nappies. You need less changes daily as babies head towards potty training. That means you can opt for cute pocket diapers in the day and two parters overnight when the nappy is on for longer and needs to absorb more.
Refer to this chart for how many nappies you might need depending on babies age and how often you wash them.
There are a few different types of nappy to choose from, and each performs best in certain circumstances. I would recommend having a few of different types of each:
Pocket nappies have a waterproof shell lined in stay dry fleece with a ruched pocket at the back for stuffing with absorbent inserts. Ideal for daytime use, they come in a variety of patterns, great adding or removing boosters to suit your baby. Might make up the main bulk of your stash.
No need to use disposable liners as these nappies have a built in fleece liner.
Fitted and wraps
These are a two part system, a shaped absorbent nappy goes under a water resistant nappy cover. Perfect for nighttime, long journeys or heavy wetters so worth having three or four in your stash and a nappy wrap or two.
All in One / All in Twos
These are the most similar to disposable nappies and everything stays attached for you to put straight onto your baby. Good for nursery days or Grandparents, slow to dry.
Prefolds / flats
Along with muslins, terry square can be the cheapest, quickest drying way to cloth nappy. You can still keep them fun by adding a colourful waterproof layer with a wrap. Can be complicated to fold and get a good fit.
Choose nappy insert fabrics depending on whether you have a light wetter and want a thin nappy that allows you to dress baby without a bulky bum or if you have a heavy wetter and want as much absorbency as you can fit in a nappy!
It is important to have enough absorbency in your inserts and boosters to make sure they absorb all urine quickly to avoid leaks. Pocket nappies can be boosted with extra layers as can fitted nappies. If baby is a big drinker, avoid all in one nappies as these tends to be less absorbent and harder to boost.
As baby grows your nappies will fit differently. What suits a newborn might not be best for a toddler. Sometimes a chunky 8 month old will seem to grow out of a nappy only for it to fit their lean 18 month old sibling.
To save money, opt for one size nappies or one size fits most, (also known as birth to potty) as they can grow with your little one and can be used for siblings of different ages at the same time.
Birth to potty and one size fits most nappies and wraps will have rise poppers on the front to help the nappy grow with baby
Your nappies should be washed in your washing machine. How often you wash will affect how many nappies you will need. You can read our washing recommendations. Nappies should not be left too long before washing and drying in order to -
- prolong the life of your nappy fabrics
- to avoid ammonia and bacteria build up
- to avoid smells and stains
- to limit the number of nappies you will need
- to avoid full nappy buckets taking up space!
You can cloth nappy cheaply. All in one sized nappies will cost the most, with fitteds and wraps costing the least.
Although you can get by with relatively few nappies, it is easy to get sucked in to new patterns in your favourite brands, or nappies that match your toddlers outfits. This was part of the fun of cloth nappying for me so I was happy to pay extra for cuteness!
The internet is a great resource for making decisions on nappies. Social media platforms have some great groups you can join to hear which nappies other parents are using and how they are getting on with them. You can ask questions or search for past conversations on different washable nappy brands.
Trustpilot will have reviews of all the main retailers for nappies.
"Dry and comfortable pocket nappy The new pocket nappies are soft and comfortable. Previously Charlie Banana was our favourite nappy brand but I think these might even beat them. Let's see how they wear after a few washes. Very pleased so far!" Trustpilot Oct '23
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About the Author: Kirstin on our customer services team loves spending her days helping customers with their reusable period product needs and advising cloth nappy using families. Kirstin lives with her three teenagers and loves walking and sea swimming year round in our beautiful bay.