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Re-useable nappies

 Reuseable nappies have come a long way since the old-style "terry square". In fact there is a quiet nappy revolution going on today with more and more parents going down the eco-friendly route. If you are interested in using washable nappies for your child then take a look at this guide which should cover everything you need to know:

Why should we use washable nappies?

  • Skin-friendly Disposable nappies contain chemicals whereas reuseable nappies are made from natural materials (you can even buy organic nappies). However, as with anything else you should look for the most suitable nappy for your baby's skintype.
  • Bin wars Disposable nappies make up a huge percentage of domestic waste. With refuse collections becoming fewer - free up space in your bin.
  • The Environment Millions of disposable nappies are binned every day. They clog up the already bulging landfill sites and some say they will take hundreds of years to decompose. Yuk!
  • Cost Even though the initial outlay is high - washable nappies do work out considerably cheaper in the long run.
  • Style No really. Reuseable nappies today come in a range of funky colours and designs.

Are there any downsides to reuseable nappies?

As with anything else - there are pros and cons associated with using washable nappies:

  • They might take a while to get used to so nappy changing could take longer than with a disposable nappy. However, you should soon get the hang of it.
  • You need to wash and dry them. If this doesn't appeal - you could use a nappy laundry service where someone collects the dirty nappies and then delivers a batch of freshly laundered ones to your door.
  • Reuseable nappies are expensive. The key is to choose the ones that work best for your baby. Many companies now offer trial packs or will even send someone to talk to you. Once you have made the initial purchase you will eventually save money as washable nappies do work out cheaper over time.

Ok I'm interested but what options do I have?

The choice of nappies out there can be bewildering. Definately a case of too much information. Here is a breakdown of what's available:

Flat Nappies - these are the traditional squares of cloth that we all remember from "back in the day". Things have changed slightly though as fiddly nappy pins have been replaced by Nappy Nippas (a plastic grip that holds the nappy in place without tearing the cloth - or stabbing you or your baby). Flat nappies require you to fold them which could prove to be tricky until you get the hang of it. However, they are quick-drying and cheap!

Pre-fold Nappies - Pre-fold nappies come somewhere inbetween a flat nappy and a shaped nappy. Closer in style to a flat nappy they are easier to use as they just need to be folded into position and then placed inside a waterproof cover. Some pre-folds can be affixed using velcro tabs. You will need to buy liners as well which can be flushed down the toilet after use. Pre-folds are often used in laundry services where soiled nappies are collected from your home and a fresh batch of clean nappies left.

Shaped Nappies - these are hugely popular and easy to use. The cloth nappies don't need to be manhandled into shape as they are already designed to fit. They can be fastened by velcro or poppers and some use the Nappy Nippa system. The key is to find the style that suits your needs and that of your baby. As with most reuseable nappies you will need to use liners and an outer wrap.

All-in-One Nappy - these are closest thing to a disposible nappy in terms of ease-of-use as you don't need a liner or outer wrap. However, they take longer to dry and you might still need to buy boosters to minimize the chances of leakage.

What will I need to buy?

Nappies - most companies recommend buying around 20

Outer wraps - these come in a variety of designs and you will probably need around 6 of them

Inner liners - allow liquid to pass away from baby's body. They retain solids so that they are easier to flush down the toilet. You can buy these as and when you need them as they come in packs. Most are biodegradable.

Boosters - you might need to use these, especially at night as they give extra protection if your baby is a heavy wetter

Nappy Bucket - you'll need somewhere to put the soiled nappies (a few drops of tea tree oil in the bucket should help to neutralize the smell - make sure your baby isn't sensitive to it first!)

Where can I buy all of this stuff?

 The Baby Maze has put together a list of local suppliers including those who also provide a laundry service. All offer useful advice and support and some will even arrange a home visit to answer any questions you might have. Click here for details