This was an article written by us, published in the ABC Sussex Parenting magazine Summer 2023 issue.
Reusable cloth nappies are an environmentally conscious choice that can also save you money and protect your little one’s bottom. Reusable cloth nappies come in a variety of styles and designs and the majority of them are one size which means they fit right up until potty training! You can get both newborn and one size nappies but you don’t have to use both! Newborn size nappies fit from around 4/5lbs and some fit up to 18lbs depending on the brand. Onesize nappies generally fit from around 8lbs and will fit up to 35+ lbs so will take you up to potty training. Some will remember hearing stories of smelly nappy buckets, closing nappies with large pins and other stories from their parents or grandparents. However, reusable nappies have come a long way since then and you can now buy a variety of different styles, usually with a velcro or popper fixing.
Which style you prefer comes down to you and what works best for your family and little one and if you are just starting out I would recommend a range of styles until you find what works best for you. Equally, which style or fit you prefer in the early days may change as your little one grows or your needs change.
The environmental choice
A baby uses an average of 3,000 - 4,000 nappies before they are potty trained and it can take up to 500 years for a disposable nappy to break down. This is an incredible amount of waste we are creating, which will be there for many generations to come. Not only do we need to consider where the nappies end up but also the resources used to create each single use nappy. The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of Nappies published in 2023 has proven that reusable nappies produce 25% less CO2 than single-use disposable nappies and that the environmental impact of making one nappy is over 90% lower for a reusable nappy than for single-use.
More money in your pocket
Whilst the initial outlay can seem high, over the life cycle of reusable nappies you will save a great deal of money compared to using disposable nappies. I spread this cost by buying a few each month whilst I was pregnant and then topped up with a few here and there as we worked which style we preferred (and as I discovered prints I just loved!) Once you have built your collection, you will find that you are saving money by not needing to buy additional packets of nappies each week. Savings will increase dramatically with each child using reusable nappies and this could be as high as £600 - £1000!
Looking after delicate skin
Disposable nappies contain chemicals in order to make them absorbent. These chemicals can cause irritation and nappy rash on your little one's bum. Reusable nappies do not use chemicals in this way and instead utilise a material’s natural absorbency. Babies who wear reusable nappies have a lower chance of developing nappy rash. This is further supported by the breathability of the reusable nappy materials preventing moisture from being trapped against your little one's skin.
Using reusable nappies doesn’t need to be an all or nothing situation. Every nappy that you swap from disposable to reusable is another nappy prevented from going to landfill so it is important that you do what works best for you and your family. There is lots of support out there