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Iceni Magazine | December 2, 2021

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Six Reasons Why You Should Consider Using Cloth Nappies

Using Cloth Nappies

When we bring up the term cloth or reusable nappies, what are your first thoughts? Difficult to use? Fiddly to fasten? Confusing and daunting? That isn’t surprising.

Cloth nappies come with a lot of these connotations because we remember the old-style terry towels, the safety pins, the boil wash and we have been made to believe that the disposable nappy is the easier option.

Having personally used both disposable and cloth nappies on my children I can honestly say that I prefer cloth, that cloth is easier, better for your baby’s skin and far more convenient.

Here are my six reasons why you should consider using cloth nappies…

1. Kind to Baby’s Skin

This has to be the most important part, doesn’t it? We all want what is best for our little ones and if this means preventing nappy rash, irritations or reactions then cloth nappies are the way to go. Disposable nappies work because they are filled with chemicals that draw the moisture away from baby’s bottom plus they are made from plastic to keep them waterproof. The problem with this is that these chemicals can have an adverse reaction to their skin and being wrapped in plastic isn’t breathable which leads to the common issue of nappy rash. Cloth nappies are the opposite. They are mostly made from natural materials, they are soft and gentle, and they contain zero chemicals. The perfect combination for a delicate bottom.

2. Fit from Birth to Potty

As a busy parent and a first time one, I used to find the whole shopping for disposable nappies a pain with one of the issues being knowing which size to buy as your baby/toddler grows or begins to wet more heavily. With cloth nappies, you can buy one sized nappy which will fit them from birth to potty. They have poppers down the front of the nappy which will alter the overall size and either poppers or velcro to adjust the waist. This allows you to alter your cloth nappy each time your baby grows and changes shape. On top of this, you can react to how much they urinate by adding boosters to the nappy to “boost” its absorbency level.

3. No Running Out

Once you have enough cloth nappies to see you through full time, you will never run out. No more dashing out to the shops or checking if you have any spare in the bag, as long as you stay on top of your washing, you will always have a cloth nappy to hand.

4. Save Money

This may be one of the most surprising parts of this article because when we tend to talk about cloth nappies to others, they usually reply that they are too expensive. Now, if you were to purchase every cloth nappy you’ll need upfront, yes this is a large initial cost and most cloth parents won’t build their collection in this way. Instead, they will use part cloth and part disposable until they have enough to go full time (this is usually around 25 nappies). However, when you look at the overall costs and compare what you will spend on disposables compared to reusables there is one very clear winner:

“If you buy all the reusable nappies, you’ll need upfront. They cost you £195. If you buy all the disposable nappies, you’ll need upfront. They cost you around £1,000.” Baba and Boo Website

On top of this, your cloth nappies can go on to be used on your future babies, they can be passed onto other parents or even sold on to make some of your money back.

5. Beautiful Designs

The modern cloth nappy is a far cry from the old terry towel and is now available in a wide array of colours, prints, styles and designs which makes having a baby or toddler in a nappy so much fun! Nappy prints have become a big deal in the cloth nappy community, with some being highly sought after. Brands can be recognised by their beautiful designs, they are eye-catching and are often a conversation starter, they are almost becoming a fashion statement too. You can find many nappy designs that will suit your taste which makes choosing nappies for that day apart of your baby’s wardrobe choice. Cloth is far from boring.

6. Better for the Environment

Many people are making a conscious effort to become more eco-friendly these days. Did you know that it takes around 500 years for a disposable nappy to breakdown in landfill? This means that every single disposable nappy that has ever been used is still here. In the UK alone, we throw away around 3 billion disposable nappies each year which accounts for 2-3% of our overall household waste. Other facts include:

  • Single-use nappies are made from plastic and wood pulp. Both of which are created by dirty, resource-intensive manufacturing processes. And on top of this, we cut down around 7 million trees every year in the UK just to make these disposables.
  • single-use baby nappies use 20 times more land for the production of raw materials and require three times more energy to make than cloth nappies.
  • It takes a cup of crude oil to make just one single-use nappy.
  • Washing three loads of nappies a week uses about 200 litres of water whereas manufacturing enough single-use nappies for a week uses around 1,550 litres.
  • By swapping to reusables the carbon footprint of a nappy can be reduced by 40%, which is equivalent to 200kg of CO 2 over two and a half years.
  • As disposable nappies sit in landfill, they release methane gases due to human excrement which is a contributor to climate change.

Cloth nappies, for us, have been a game-changer. They have made parenting life simpler, they have saved me money, and we are helping our planet.


Emma Reed is a Mother and Blogger who lives in Hampshire with her 2 children, Jake (7) and William (3), and her husband, Rob. She began her parenting blog back in 2016 when she self-published a book on baby teething. Her blog is inevitably what led her to begin living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, and she now uses her platforms to show others how they can also adapt their own lives to incorporate these changes. You can read her blog over at www.emmareed.net or follow her on Instagram over at @emmareed_writes


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