Reusable baby nappies are washable and can be used over and over again. Sometimes they are also referred to as real nappies or cloth nappies. The options that are available have increased dramatically over the past few years with some very stylish and practical designs.
Using reusable baby nappies is not difficult, it is just different from using disposables. A cloth nappy will usually comprise of a number of parts; the nappy itself which provides the absorbency and the outer wrap or pant which provides the waterproof layer. This may be a single combined “all in one” nappy or a “all in two”. To this you can then add liners if required.
Traditionally reusable baby nappies were made from terry cloth and had to be folded in a triangular shape before being pinned to your baby. A waterproof cover was then put over. Modern designs have poppers or velcro fasteners so you don’t have to fear that you will either prick yourself or your baby with a nappy pin. Organic cotton and bamboo are also now available, which makes it very soft on your baby’s skin.
Environmental Impact Of Nappies
More and more studies and research are showing that the chemicals and toxins used in manufacturing disposable nappies are harmful to our babies. Adult skin is thicker and have more elastic fibers than those of babies. This means that baby skin is far more sensitive. Harmful substances are more easily absorbed by baby skin.
Several chemicals are used in the manufacturing of disposable nappies, ranging from chemicals to increase the absorbency, to dyes, to bleaches, to plastic softeners and more. Some of these chemicals can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, hormone and immune systems can be affected and some are carcinogenic.
Would you want to use a product that is harmful to yourself? So why let your baby’s sensitive bottom be exposed to it!
Related post: Cloth Diaper Review – the better choice for your baby’s skin.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Reusable Baby Nappies?
The positive aspects of using reusable baby nappies outweigh the negative side: Some of the pros are:
- Reusable baby nappies can save you a considerable amount of money over the approximately 2 and a half years that you baby will be using nappies. Cloth baby nappies can also be used for more than one baby, saving you even more money on your subsequent babies.
- Reusable baby nappies are better for the environment. Millions of disposable nappies are going into landfill sites on a daily basis. Thus, by using cloth nappies, you can reduce your carbon footprint by about 50%. Environmental cost of reusable baby nappies can be drastically reduced by choosing how you wash and dry them.
- Organic cotton and bamboo reusable baby nappies are kinder and softer on your baby’s skin.
- Reusable baby nappies are better for your and your baby’s health. Disposable nappies are full of harmful chemicals and toxins.
On the negative side it could be more time consuming as you need to do the washing. You then also need to allow time for the drying of the nappies.
Design Choices Of Reusable Baby Nappies
There are different designs available and what works well for one might not be the style that is best for your baby.
- Shaped nappies come in different sizes, so you can start with smaller sizes. It would mean though that you would need more nappies to allows for the different ages. Using a smaller size means that you always have a snug fit with better containment.
- Pocket nappies have a waterproof outer and a fleece inner insert. There is an opening in the back of the nappy where the inner is inserted. Thus, you can insert several to increase the absorbency.
- Birth to Potty are very cleverly designed nappies that can be folded down to make it smaller. These reusable baby nappies are the most economical as the size can be adjusted to fit the baby all the way from birth to toddler.
- All in one nappies have the absorbent inner attached to the waterproof outer, so there is no need for a separate wrap. These nappies are very easy to use. But, drying time is longer because of the thickness of the combined inner and outer.
- All in Two nappies have an absorbent inner liner that is attached to the waterproof outer with poppers. Once the liner has been attached it becomes an all in one nappy. But with these the inner and outer can be washed separately for faster drying.
How Many Reusable Nappies Do I Need?
How many reusable baby nappies would you need?
A newborn baby uses around 10 nappies per day, but as they get bigger they use 6 to 7 nappies per day. If you are going to be using them full-time, you need to allow for enough to be in the washing and drying stage so ideally need to have 20 nappies. If you opt for a design that comes in different sizes, you might need more in total.
Bamboo is very absorbent and has a luxurious feel to the skin, so by using an additional insert you can increase the time that your baby can wear a nappy.
Taking Care Of Your Reusable Baby Nappies
Washing and drying your reusable baby nappies are very easy. When you take the nappy off, flush any poo down the toilet and put the nappy, waterproof outer and washable liner into a bucket. If the outer is not soiled you could use it again, depending on the type of nappy that you have chosen.
Traditionally nappies would have been soaked in a bucket before washing them, but this is not recommended now. The nappies can be added to the washing machine which will do the hard work. Some manufacturers recommend that you wash at 60°C, but if you don’t use shared facilities then 40°C would be adequate.
The best way to dry your reusable baby nappies is outside in the sun or dry air. Alternatively it can be dried over an airer in the bathroom or warm room in the house. It can also be put in an airing cupboard or dried over a radiator. If the nappies feel a bit stiff and hard, just shake them. Drying them in a tumble drier will leave them soft, but is not as cost effective and has a bigger impact on the environment.
What Can I Do To Help?
Reusable baby nappies are made from a natural fiber which is free from cancer-causing, skin irritating, immune and hormone affecting chemicals. By using reusable baby nappies as often as possible, you are reducing the chances that your baby will be harmed by toxins.
Washing the reusable baby nappies before you start using them will also make sure that no residual chemicals remain. By pre-washing the nappies the absorbency will also be increased and with each subsequent wash it improves.
Choose Reusable baby nappies for a designer bottom.
Please look at this related post about What is Reusable Swim Diapers?
I hope you enjoyed reading about reusable cloth diapers, but if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave it below and I will get back to you.
18 thoughts on “What are Reusable Baby Nappies?”
Nappies has to be the new generation. My wife didn’t know of them. I am new at this just raising my God daughter, of 10 years old. We didn’t have any of these or didn’t know of them. They would have come in handy. I think the baby would have love these better than just the pampers etc.
The parts that it is made of including the extra work put into them … just the idea of absorbency and waterproof layer says it all. Even though we didn’t have to deal with pins, poppers and Velcro is a good idea. For the people that had to use pins this would be a no brainier.
Comfort for the baby is great, Organic cotton and bamboo means quite baby that says a lot for how the parent feel, may be a little pricey, but it you can afford it it on the list. Your never want toxins chemicals on our baby, that is a plus with the reusable nappies, kinder and softer on your baby’s skin that is why we read the labels when we shop. Our baby’s Health … that is probably why we were so high on diapers in the past, we washed them and reused them.
On the negative side washing waiting on the drying of nappies, other than that I think the positive out weight the negative. The napper in this article is just what it name is napper. When we are comfortable we do all thing better, I believe that goes double for the baby. As I said earlier If I would have know of these when my little girl was a baby we would have definitely had these in our house. This website is definitely on point, well written, it sells the product If I have a new born I would have hurried out and gotten some of these with my baby in mine.
Reusable baby nappies are definitely the way to go if you don’t want to expose your baby to harmful chemicals and be kind to the environment . The positive aspects far outweigh the negative ones.
I remembered when I was growing up and taking care of my younger siblings, nieces and nephews, using a diaper was only for when we go out to eat or for running errands around town. Diapers were expensive back then (I am from Thailand). I have to say that these reusable nappies are way much better!, no more surprises lol. The water proof outer layer is a nice touch and I am sure that the baby will be less allergic to them and also more breathable. I love all these products that are better for us and our planet. I will make sure to share this post to all my friends.
Reusable baby nappies are indeed a great way to go to help the environment, but also makes sure that you are not putting harmful chemicals on your baby’s skin.
This is fantastic! Most Babies have been exposed to dangerous chemicals in the disposable Diapers, I carried out a research and I found out that some kids exposed to this chemical suffers from Fungi infection and this can lead to Mycosis infection. I really love your post and am going to definitely share your link to various groups so parents and awaiting mum can see it .
Thank you Labulo, you are welcome to share my link
Thank You very much for sharing such an informative article with all the necessary information about “WHAT ARE REUSABLE BABY NAPPIES?”
Really this is an amazing article.I like this article very much.I haven’t familiar with this kind of nappies that can be reusable.I was surprised to learn that reusable baby nappies can be used over and over.It is also washable.It has so many benefits.This kind of nappies are very helpful for my sister because Recently she gave birth a baby.I think she would become very happy to find this reusable baby nappies.This article is very helpful for those people who are looking for a perfect baby nappies as you highlighted the article so nicely.I am going share this with my sister as well as with my friends and relatives so that they can be familiar with this great reusable baby nappies.
Thank you for your comments, I hope your family and friends will like it
Growing up,diapers weren’t so common and when I babysit my little cousins,we used the cloth nappies and they were messy and injured me a few times, so I wasn’t a very huge fan of those. Now,fast forward to when I had my own kids,I could never think of using those cloth nappies. I went for the ready made ones. But if I had known what I know now about the impact of those diapers, I would have made a better more informed choice. Thank you for teaching and informing everyone about the pros of the cloth diapers. We really need to treat our planet better.
Thank you, informed choices are what we are hoping for
Thanks for writing this article on reusable baby nappies.i must commend you for a job well done for taking your time to write this article.i know many mothers will find it useful in taking care of there babies.before the invention of disposable diaper,mother make use of reusable baby nappies and it is even what it is use to me when I was little according to my mom and I can remember how healthy she always explain it to her son wife to encourage her to make use of it instead of disposable diapers. In my own point of view reusable baby nappies is the best compare to disposable diapers
Thank you, with the choices of reusable baby nappies that are available now, it is easier to use them than many years ago
I watched my mom and aunts use reusable baby nappies, especially the traditional ones.
I have never been a fan of disposable baby nappies, it seems like too much waste of money to me.
I am happy that reusable baby nappies have evolved from the traditional ones that are quite difficult to use and maintain to the modern ones that offer better quality.
You are right Peace, reusable baby nappies are far more cost effective
Hi, thanks for your write up on reusable baby nappies. I love reading articles that is related to healthy living. When it comes to reusable baby nappies there are so many benefits just like you right listed. Not only does it save money, it also gives you the assurance that no foreign chemical is being absorbed by the baby as can be witnessed in disposables nappies.
The only snag is the process of washing and sun drying reusable, however, who wouldn’t want the best for her kid? I remember using reusable baby nappies for my first son, until when he gets to like 8 months, I then switched to disposables.
Beautiful piece you have here, I must say.
Thank you Grace, if you live in an area where sun drying is not always possible, then drying reusable baby nappies inside could be an option
I had to advise my sister who is a nursing mother to stay aayyfrim disposable nappies when I discovered that the chemicals and toxins used in manufacturing disposable nappies are harmful to our babies. I’m happy she heed my advice and started getting rid of disposable nappies. The effects of those toxins are not felt in short term but at a long run, the effects will be visible
Great that you could advise your sister on the harmful effect of chemicals in disposable nappies