Cloth nappies 101
Before I dive into all the nitty gritties, I want to share something I was just told by my mother which is that I actually used cloth nappies too when I was a baby. Very different kinds from the ones you find these days. I had primitive and basic looking ones but I’m so proud of my mum for being far sighted and eco-conscious during the time when no one else was! Go mum!
Ok, so now let's dive into it.
- Reusable or cloth nappies are made from a plastic outer layer and an inner absorbent layer (synthetic microfibres or natural fibres like cotton, hemp or bamboo).
- They are all machine washable
- The natural fibre ones are most environmentally friendly (obviously) because synthetic microfibres are essentially little plastics that do not decompose and stay around for years and harm marine life eventually
- Inserts are sold separately and also machine washable
- Snaps or velcro closures are used for fastening
- They come in sizes as small as newborn and are often adjustable around the waist/hips
- There are essentially two kinds of cloth nappies- ones with pockets for inserts and ones without
- You typically need between 24-36 reusable nappies if you plan to wash them twice a week (recommended)
Why cloth nappies over disposables?
- A baby is normally in nappies for 2-3 years of their lives. If they use an average of 8 nappies a day during this time, they use 7300 nappies in total over 2.5 years.
- Whereas, that many (7300) would nappies 243 families on average over 2.5 years!!
- They can be used over and over again, passed on to other children and even donated to families needing support. When they’re no longer reusable, they can be used as cleaning cloths around the house.
- There is no super gel (Sodium polyacrylate) present (unlike disposable nappies) which has been linked to toxic shock syndrome and skin irritation.
- Although cloth nappies do use a lot of water to wash them, they are still far less damaging to the environment as disposable nappies stick around in landfills for over 500 years.
- Presents fewer health risks than disposable nappies as waste is disposed off in the toilet
The only few cons-
- Less absorbent than disposable nappies so they will need to be changed more frequently
- If you’re out and about with your bub, you’ll need to carry the soiled nappies back home with you. Which only means more changing nappies to carry with you.
- Nappy laundry becomes a thing! You’ll need to wash them in the machine, then dry outside in the sun (preferably but not mandatory), then fold and put away
How to look after them/ wash care-
- Cloth nappies soaked in pee can go straight in the wash
- Cloth nappies soiled in poop have a step before you throw them in the machine: Rinse off poop in the toilet (invest in a washer- they’re really cheap anyway but trust us, you’ll love it) and then put them in the nappy laundry basket (yes, you’ll need a special one for these).
- We recommend washing them at least 2-3 times a week.
- If you ONLY breast feed, your babies poop will be water soluble and good to go in the machine without any prior rinsing. Don’t try this if you’re feeding them formula or anything else.
- After they’ve been washed, it’s recommended to air dry them preferably in the sun where any of the discolouration can be bleached naturally by the sun.
Now, where to actually buy cloth nappies from in Australia-
$15-$30 range of cloth nappies
- Peas in a pod- One size nappy - $24.95
2. Hippybottomus - Stay dry bamboo cloth nappies - $16.95
Bambino Mio - Mioduo nappy cover - $19.99
Baby Bare - Bare cub aio - $28.95
Mint and Blossom - Reusable nappy - $18.95
Fluff bums and mums - a multibrand online store for eco nappies
They stock a wide variety so be sure to check them out -
We would love to hear your experiences with reusable nappies so be sure to leave us a comment!