Real Nappies More Information

Are real nappies more likely to cause nappy rash?

Nappy rash is often wrongly associated with real nappies. Make sure you change the nappy as soon as is required whether you use a disposable or reusable nappy. Disposable nappies contain a substance that swells up when wet to absorb moisture however this can sometimes mislead parents with the illusion of dryness despite the fact that the conditions inside the nappy are bacterially ideal for the growth of infection.

Do real nappies leak?

Getting the right nappy for your baby may mean that you have a couple of leakages before getting it right. Depending on the type of system you use you can keep any possible leakage to a minimum by using booster pads and liners and making sure you're using the correct size of nappy for your baby. Elasticated legs and waist bands are also beneficial to ensure a secure fit.

Will there be much more washing to do?

Babies do produce a lot more washing and you can choose to wash your nappies in with your baby's other clothes for convenience or save nappies in a nappy bucket until you have a full load.

Nappy liners should be lifted off and flushed away. Wet and soiled nappies should be washed at 40 to 60 degrees with a tablespoon of sanitizer added to the detergent. Modern machines are well equipped to give all the clothes a thorough clean. 

The frequency of washing depends upon how many nappies you have available to rotate and how many your baby actually uses but is normally every day-and-a-half at birth and every two days from one year onwards.

Will using real nappies take up more time?

At first they will until you get the knack of using them. It also depends on what system you use - an all-in-one is much quicker than a terry or pre-fold and you may choose to keep a couple of these for trips out, even if you use a different system at home. Pocket nappies can also be prepared with the booster pad in advance to make them as convenient as an all-in-one.

I use a childminder - will they use real nappies, too?

Check before you sign on with a childminder or nursery and enquire whether they will be willing to use them - give them the link to this guide!  If they do accept real nappies, make sure you provide them with enough spare nappies, liners and biodegradable nappy bags or a reusable cotton bag to keep soiled nappies in.

Some nurseries are even part of the Eco-Schools programme which takes into account all aspects of sustainability and the environment.

Can I use real nappies on my new-born baby?

Yes. Some reusable nappies are designed especially for tiny babies and birth-to-potty nappies can be used on babies that weigh as little as 5 lbs. Check with the manufacturer before purchasing as restrictions in the structure or material of the nappy may limit its use for very small babies.

Can I use real nappies at night?

Yes. Use a booster pad or extra insert in a pocket-nappy for increased absorbency during the night. You may also prefer to use a different type of nappy at night than during the day.

Are real nappies practical?

Modern reusable nappies are highly practical and allow parents to make an informed choice from a range of options - there are over 30 different types available.

Most real nappies are composed of a liner, a soft, absorbent nappy and a breathable, washable cover (also known as a wrap).

Nappy pins are a thing of the past, being replaced with poppers, velcro and plastic grippers.

Elasticated waists and leg grips allow for a snug, comfortable fit whilst minimising the possibility of leakage.

Real nappies are soft and comfortable and can be made from cotton, wool, bamboo, mirofibre, fleece or hemp.

Washing and drying is easy and there is normally no need for soaking.

Laundry services are available that will collect your soiled nappies from you in a specially designed nappy bin and provide you with a pile of clean nappies.

If you're not comfortable with using real nappies all the time, you can always mix and match with disposables for holidays and days out.

If you do use disposables at any point, try to use biodegradable ones as they contain far fewer chemicals than normal disposable nappies and, under the right conditions, should break down within 8 weeks.

How much money can I save?

Disposable nappies cost on average £1200 from birth to potty, based on the nappy used being up to 2.5 years. Taking into account laundry costs, a cloth nappy system will cost you approximately £400 from birth to potty - a potential saving of £800.

Reusable nappies do have an initial outlay cost but after this one-off payment you don't have to keep paying out for nappies.

Washing the nappies can cost as little as £1 per week, taking into account electricity usage, washing powder and even washing machine depreciation values.

Extra savings can also be made by:

  • Buying nappies second-hand from your local NCT (National Childbirth Trust ) nearly-new sale , EbayPreloved or other website. This is not disgusting in any way as washing and adding sanitizer will thoroughly clean nappies, even at 40 degrees.
  • Selling your nappies on once your child has grown out of them.
  • Using your nappies on a second, or even third, child (or more!).

Where can I buy real nappies?

View a list of local Real Nappy stockists