Disposable nappies are the most convenient option for new parents…and who can blame them? Disposable products are easier to clean up (or dispose of), and are available in most shops and supermarkets. However, disposable nappies have a number of disadvantages that outweigh their convenience. As well as an increased chance of skin rashes and allergic reactions, disposable nappies have a negative impact on the environment (single-use nappies are one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste around the world), and are also more expensive.
The good news is that there is an alternative:reusable nappies! Reusable nappies tend to be made from cloth, and sometimes bamboo, and are washed in the washing machine — like your other clothes — to allow for near unlimited use. Let’s look in more detail about why you should make the switch.
Reusable nappies are super absorbent and, due to separate boosters, also quick drying. They also tend to be hypoallergenic, with no formaldehyde or dangerous dyes. This makes them a much more comfortable and overall kinder option for your child. Say goodbye to red, sore and tender skin!
Withreports that 90% of European babies have been exposed to “very severe” chemicals in nappies in recent years, a reusable alternative will also avoid your child’s chance of coming into contact with hazardous, toxic chemicals that could lead to disease later in life.
Because of the mix of materials, and the addition of human waste, disposable nappies are very hard to recycle. This means that the vast majority end up in landfill, where they take hundreds of years to break down. Indeed, asThe Guardian highlights, more than 300,000 disposable nappies a minute are sent to landfill, incinerated or end up in the environment (including the ocean).
Reusable nappies, on the other hand, are just that: reusable! Reuse your nappies for as long as possible, and then recycle them when you’re done. This is much better for the environment, and gives your nappies a new lease of life when you’re done with them.
Pair this withreusable wipes, which are an effective alternative to harmful disposable wet wipes (as reported onITV News, wet wipes cause 93% of blockages in UK sewers, and their microplastics can contaminate water and food supplies), and your baby change routine is transformed for the better.
There is a common misconception that reusable nappies are gross and difficult to wash, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! To clean reusable nappies, prewash and rinse nappies, and remove any poop, before cleaning in a full-wash cycle.
To keep your reusable nappies separate, soak and drain them before a full-cycle wash. You can use a “strucket” or nappy pail for ultimate convenience. These allow you to soak, separate and drain your nappies with their world-first interlocking strainer and plug system, which also helps prevent your hand from touching the contents of the bucket.
Reusable nappies are also easy to fit. Depending on if you have a two-part, wrap or pull-up, most can be put on just like a disposable, but have hip to waist poppers that help you to achieve the perfect fit for as long as your baby is in nappies (one size really does fit all).
If your reusable nappies are leaking, make sure that it fits well, and that your nappy of choice has the right levels of absorbency and compression. You might need boosters to add additional protection, depending on how long you need the nappy to last.
We estimate that you willsaveat least £309 on using cloth nappies, instead of disposable, forone child. However, it would be much higher than that if you would have been buying premium brands (like Pampers). Not to mention that if you have more than one child, the savings increase if you use the same washable nappies for your other children. You’ll also save more money if you choose to air dry rather than tumble dry between cleans. In short: it’s a win-win for your bank balance when you switch.
When you no longer need your old reusable nappies, they can also besold on. Pop them on Facebook, Mumsnet, eBay or Vinted, and make a return on your investment.
Reusable nappies also get better with age. As Juicy Bumbles points out,bamboo’s properties means it becomes softer and more absorbent with time, reaching full absorbency after approximately 10 washes.
If you’re using boosters or washable inserts, these will also increase in absorbency once they’ve been in the washing machine three to four times.
Reusable nappies also get better for the environment with age. The more you use reusable nappies, and the more children that use them over time, the better. They are designed to last.
Children in cloth nappies toilet train, on average,around six months earlier than their peers in disposables. This is because, withsomecloth nappies, your child will tend to feel the wetness earlier because there are no absorbency gels, which helps a child make the connection between a full bladder and the release of muscles that help you go to the toilet.
That being said, most reusable nappies will still have an outer cover of breathable, waterproof fabric, that helps keep your baby comfortable and dry for longer. Indeed, at Cheeky Wipes, their aim was to create a reusable nappy that builds absorbency without bulk (i.e. the nappy remains as slim-fit and comfortable as possible, even while absorbing high amounts of liquid). We’re proud to say that our nappies achieve this — and are “poo-nami” proof.
Still feeling nervous to make the switch? That’s OK! Reusable nappies are a big step, but the benefits are clear. One thing is for sure - if you make the switch and commit to the change, you won’t be in a rush to go back to disposables.
Written byCheeky Wipes, suppliers of reusable nappies and wipes that have been designed, developed and tested by real parents.