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Nappies - the dilemma

Posted by ecosrights, 1205 days ago

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Reading article "Nappies - the dilemma" - Reply to this / 22 comment(s)
OK, so you've a baby on the way, or you've a young baby. You've going through the major dilemma of what to do about nappies - disposables are so convenient, but even the "green" ones go to landfill and the normal ones, well they have so many gels and chemicals in they aren't just bad for the environment (imagine the manufacturing process and then they're around for 200+ years) but some say they are bad for a boy's fertility and can cause irritations on their skin.

Then there's the real nappy option - ugh.... how many different types, how do I decide, the smell, the washing.... no thanks! But....

Well 3 years ago when I found I was pregnant I was pretty determined from the word go that I didn't want to be using disposable nappies - our parents coped fine with real ones, so why shouldn't we? They can't be that bad. I did a bit of looking on line.... not much info out there then and what was I felt was very biased towards "you MUST use real nappies". In terms of speaking to someone- well even now I don't know anyone who has their kids in real nappies (and our son is now out of them). So in the end we went for something we could buy easily that would dry quickly. We started out with Cotton Bottoms wraps, inners and liners - all could be purchased in Boots and John Lewis, so no waiting around for deliveries, which was a plus. Well, the wraps just didn't work.... they have no cuffs so we had lots of leaks (yuck). So I tried some others and ended up with Bambino Mio (go for the plain white wraps as they can be washed @ 60 rather than just 40, so can go in with the nappies ... we discovered this after nursery melted some wraps!). I actually found that the cheapest place to get the wraps was Kiddicare as they have multiple buy deals.

In terms of how many - well make sure you've enough to last 3 days plus one for drying time (wraps don't have to be clean every time) so about 8 wraps and up to 20 nappies was about right for us.

You also need a bucket with a lid to keep out those nasty smells.... add a few drops of lavender to it, or tea tree oil, both of which have natural disinfectant properties, so smell better and help with the bugs. Plus of course rubber gloves for fishing them out and into the machine (when our son was tiny it was 3-4 washes a week, but as he got older, 2-3). You don't always have to wash at 60+ degrees - only do that if there are some real nasties in there - but make sure you've got a decent load and don't use fabric softeners.

The other thing that we didn't think of, but learnt in time, was wipes... yes, those innocent wipes. Most aren't flushable and it is REALLY difficult to find flushable ones... try the Bambino Mio ones (again, Kiddicare are cheapest) or Perfectly Happy People who do their own.

As our son got older, we did find that the real nappies weren't absorbent enough over night, even with booster pads. So, I have to admit that we went to "green" disposables and we use Nature Baby nappies as they are easy to buy from supermarkets or Boots. No, I don't like using them, but he's more comfortable and doesn't end up leaking every night.

That leads me to a major benefit of real nappies (or at least I think it is).... earlier potty training! Yes, it's true, or at least for us it has been - I don't think that 2 years and 2 months is bad to be out of nappies during the day (he's the first in his group at nursery). We're convinced that a lot of this is because we let him have nappy free time from quite a young age, which meant he learnt the benefit of it in terms of freedom, so wanted to be out of nappies (he was the one that made the decision, not us). If you were a young toddler in disposables that we really comfortable and flexible and you couldn't tell when you were wet other than the weight, would you make the effort to have to use the potty? I can understand why kids are getting older before they are potty trained as more are in more comfortable disposables.

All in all, would I use real nappies again - YES! It's easy to get used to the routine, some nurseries will wash them for you or you can go for a washing service if you want to, they're cheaper and you wont need them for as long. Lots of good reasons as far as I'm concerned... plus, it's better for the environment.

Are there any other real nappy users out there - I'm interested to know what made you make the decision and how it's gone for you. If you're considering them, feel free to ask any questions. Reply to this


  1. Re: Nappies - the dilemma by duncan, 1045 days ago

    I keep hearing good things about gdiapers:


    The website looks good and there's even a video tutorial :)

    Reply to this comment

    1. Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by EviesEarth, 983 days ago

      I went through the same thought process. With my first we used disposables. Now with our second we use cloth. They are actually simple to use and not a big deal to wash. It just took a bit of getting used to and seeing what worked best for us.
      We use all in one type diapers, and add a flushable paper liner.
      Plan on using cloth for our third, (due in May).
      We do use disposables on occasion, such as on vacation or when we are out of the house all day.

      Reply to this comment

  2. Re: Nappies - the dilemma by jane, 982 days ago

    Good luck with the third.

    If we were to have another, we'd definitely go for cloth again - apart from anything else, because we don't know anyone who was prepared to "go cloth" we've still got them all so will just need to top up with a few more outer wraps and of course the flushable liners.

    Reply to this comment

  3. Re: Nappies - the dilemma by EviesEarth, 981 days ago

    Thank you!
    Yes, we don't know a lot of other people that use cloth. When I tell my friends about it they are always intrigued.
    After getting used to using the cloth, I really don't think I would do it any other way!

    Reply to this comment

  4. Re: Nappies - the dilemma by luvcamerasnic, 962 days ago

    So, as a newbie to this, just how does it work? How do you wash the diapers, especially the non-wet ones? Are you doing laundry constantly?

    Reply to this comment

    1. Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by ecosrights, 962 days ago

      we had a bucket .....

      the nappies consist of the outer and main cloth bit (some people go for a combined inner and outer, but they tend to take longer to dry) and then you have a liner - some are very good and use a washable liner which is a bit like muslin, but is only supposed to let moisture go one way. We used flushable liners. So, you "build" the nappy (yes, it can feel like construction sometimes, especially for night time nappies complete with booster pads) and then afterwards you flush away the liner and contents (if it's gone further, a quick rinse in the toilet does the trick - not pleasant, but rubber gloves are a good investment!). You then put the cloth inner (not the outer as many of those will perish if kept damp for too long) in a bucket. You can add water and detergent, or specially nappy stuff. We did in the beginning but found it was best to just put in some tea tree oil to keep the smell at bay. Babies go through a lot more nappies when they're just on milk, so you end up doing 3/4 washes a week, but once they're on solids, then 2/3 tend to be enough.

      You just wash the inner and outer as usual - we tended to just use a standard mixed cycle most of the time and once a month we'd blitz them cloth parts with a hotter wash, or if he'd had a tummy bug. It's important not to use a fabric softener as that stops them from being as absorbant. 99% of the time we let the nappies driy naturally, but there was the odd occassion where the tumble dryer was used (normally when they weren't quite dry enough to take in a big enough supply for nursery).

      If you're baby is going to be at nursery it's well worth asking if they will wash the nappies - it was never pleasant being handed a bag of dirty nappies at the end of the day (the first nursery washed them but the 2nd didn't as they don't have a machine on the premises)

      Reply to this comment

  5. Re: Nappies - the dilemma by CEIW, 691 days ago

    I've used Yummies in the past, and now Motherease. Not really happy with either. Yummies are not the most leak-proof, and as we now don't have a garden, Motherease take up to three days to dry! This is not practical. I'm thinking it defeats the object to have to use a tumbledryer.

    And if we don't wash them in the hottest cycle, they stink!

    The wraps tend to aquire an unpleasant dishcloth mustiness unless washed in 60 degrees, too.

    I'm interested in old-fashioned muslins as an alternative, as they would at least dry quicker. Drying time really is a nightmare with the Mothereases. As it would be with any other cloth nappy in a similar design. The Yummies also take a looong time to dry indoors, althought they aren't sewn into a little nappie shape (they're rectangular and have several layers of organic cotton and need to be folded in three).

    Anyone using muslins? How are they for leaks and drying time?

    Alternatively, there's a product in the US and Australia that seems interesting - gDiapers. Has anybody managed to track down a supplier in the UK?

    Reply to this comment

    1. Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by Anonymous, 634 days ago

      I've been looking at the gdiapers this morning and would love to buy them in the uk, did you manage to find a supplier?

      Reply to this comment

      1. Re: Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by Anonymous, 367 days ago

        Hi i have been looking to buy the gdiaper, but is looks like they are not shipping to the UK.

        Reply to this comment

  6. Re: Nappies - the dilemma by TicklyToes, 651 days ago

    We started out with cloth nappies when our eldest was born, and have never looked back. There have been a couple of short spells (maybe a couple of weeks in five years) where we've used disposables, and I actually find them more difficult than 'real' nappies. Once you have a routine going, everything works really well.

    Do consider drying time though - some nappies are so bulky that they make it necessary to have either a huge number of them, or a tumble drier to get them dry in time.

    Reply to this comment

    1. Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by Anonymous, 628 days ago

      have been using real nappies since third child - now on number six - have tried lots of different nappies and we are currently using tots bots fluffles with a motherease wrap, never had a leak yet ! they are a manmade material lined with fleece so they dry very quickly compared to others ! i usually have a mixture of nappies which i find good as they all have different good aspects. i also have a mothercare smart nappy which is good for short periods of time - they are not very absorbant, some motherease organics and some tots bots organics - both of these take a while to dry but with the fluffles as well i get through a day no problem! the fluffles are my fav so far though, they hold a lot, not leaked so far, quick to dry (my machine has a 1400 spin so are practically dry when they come out the machine!) and look like they would be very comfy. I do use the special boosters which tuck inside the liner - very nifty and means there is no folds next to your babe's bot -check them out!!!

      Reply to this comment

      1. Re: Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by Anonymous, 620 days ago

        also in the last week been testing out bumgenius nappies - they really are genius ! my youngest is 8 mths and i am using the newborn insert insead of the wee one you get with them and it works a treat - between the fluffle and these all my nappy needs are taken care of !! they are expensive esp as the v3 has just come out but well worth the investment - dry quickly, comfy, one size, easy to wash, hold alot, dont leak - havnt tried them at night yet - will keep you posted !! x

        Reply to this comment

        1. Re: Re: Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by ecosrights, 620 days ago

          Thanks for keeping us and our readers up to date. It's great to know that there are so many more options out there now than there used to be.

          Reply to this comment

          1. Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by Anonymous, 612 days ago

            There are so many different cloth nappies out there now, there is always one that will suit your needs.

            Your best bet with them is to speak to an advisor, either in person (you can look up agents in your area on here http://www.realnappycampaign.com/nappyfinder/)w... is good because you get to feel fluff, or online where you can get tailored advice. www.bumfluffnappies.com is good for the advice - it is impartial so it isn't reliant just on what she sells.

            Reply to this comment

            1. Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by Anonymous, 612 days ago

              Oops - sorry!


              Reply to this comment

            2. Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by ecosrights, 612 days ago

              That is definitely good advice - see as many as you can but also speak to users (or feedback somewhere like this). Everyone has different needs and expectations (beyond the fundamental of course!!!)

              Reply to this comment

              1. Nappies - the dilemma by Anonymous, 578 days ago

                The one thing I really struggled with over the last few months is getting clothes that fit over the cloth nappies - i seemed to be forever struggling with poppers, especially since James is such a wriggler!! A friend recently put me on to Frugi who have a whole load of clothes in their baby section that are "cut4cloth", and I'm in popper heaven now! Can really recommend their baby bodies...

                Reply to this comment

                1. Re: Nappies - the dilemma by ecosrights, 575 days ago

                  that's a very valid point. We were always using the bodies that were a size bigger than normal to accomodate the extra bulk. We tended to find that he had to be in them all of the time as well to provide a bit more security against movement (although that may have just been me being paranoid!)

                  Reply to this comment

                  1. Re: Re: Nappies - the dilemma by Anonymous, 574 days ago

                    When I decided to go down the real nappy road I contacted www.thenappylady.com and had a free demonstration and recieved advice on what nappies would suit us and our lifestyle. I can't remember what make we use now but I am very happy and found the setvice offered bt thenappylady to be brilliant. I'm not sure how far I;d have gone with the pursuit of real nappies had it not been for them. I do use disposables at night and during times of illness (diarrhea!)because they tend to leak less.

                    Reply to this comment

  7. Disposable Nappy Recycling by ecosrights, 571 days ago

    In the UK, the first nappy recycling facility has eventually been announced. They are only going to be able to recycle 4% of nappies initially with a target of 13% of all products (no time frames). Initially they are going to target the private sector (hospitals, care homes etc) in the Midlands, but do plan to move onto domestic collections in time.

    I can only hope that this is going to be the first of 8 or so factories in the UK..... but I still believe that the best solution is not to use them.... after all, reducing usage of a product is better than having to recycle it.

    Reply to this comment

    1. Re: Disposable Nappy Recycling by Anonymous, 104 days ago

      There have been studies that show that cotton, reusable diapers are not that much of win for the environment, but Bamboo resusables are much for environmentally-friendly than cloth. Has anyone used bamboo? Do they hold up to washing as well?

      Reply to this comment

      1. Re: Re: Disposable Nappy Recycling by Anonymous, 4 days ago

        Surely 2 years old is way too old to still be in nappies, my little one didn't wear nappies during the day from 12 months and only at night for another 6 months and the night nappies were only ever wet a few times!!! potty training is best started young from around four months, they take to it much quicker especially if you sit them on the pot straight after a feed. I can't bear to see toddlers running around in nappies, I think it's just plan lazy of the parents.

        Reply to this comment

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