Interested in cloth, but not sure it’s for you? Confused about how it all works? Stress no more, here are all the reasons cloth will make your life easier and prettier!
- It’s super cute (much cuter than disposables)
Cloth nappies come in all sorts of fabrics and prints, and you can do all sorts of fabulous things with them, such as adding embroideries, ruffles, 3d effects and more. The only limit is your imagination! A cloth-clad bottom is so much nicer to look at than the same three prints on white plastic all day, especially when we’re talking a sleeping bub with bottom in the air!
- It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a box of disposables every week or fortnight
I bet you thought I’d start with this one! Cloth might seem expensive at first, especially if you get addicted to the super pretty expensive ones, but in the long run you definitely save money.
There’s all sorts of complicated sums out there to calculate the thousands you can save, but I look at it very simply. Using disposables, you would spend $30-$40+ every week or so depending on brand, size, frequency of changes etc. You could buy one or two cloth nappies for that! Even at one cheaper box every 2 weeks, that’s at least 52 brand new cloth nappies over two years, which is almost double the amount you need for full time use washing every two days. Use your cloth nappies for more than one bub, and you’ll save even more.
Once your bubs are out of nappies, if you’ve bought good quality and looked after them well, you will be able to on-sell them, or gift them on to a friend or family member and help them save. You don’t need to actually do the math to see that the savings add up.
- Cloth is more convenient
What now? Aren’t disposables supposed to be the convenient option? You know what’s not convenient? Evening / late night / early morning runs to buy nappies because you’re down to the last two and your little angel is in fine pooping form today. With cloth, once you’ve built up your stash, there’s always a ready supply of nappies. Also not convenient is being two days out from pay day and having to spend your last $40 on a box of nappies that will end up in the bin. Being able to stroll past the big display of expensive nappies? Winning!
I personally also found the process of using cloth more enjoyable than the brief times I’ve used disposables. Either way you need to tip your solids in the toilet (for those who don’t know, it’s illegal to put human faeces in your regular garbage waste here in Australia) and then chuck your nappy in a bucket or bag of some sort to deal with later. Disposables involved having to traipse outside with a bagful to deposit them in the trash, whereas with cloth I just chuck them in the wash and press play before bed, then hang them up the next morning. Cloth also tends to contain certain kinds of explosions better, resulting in less washing of clothes and whatever they happen to be sitting on, which I think is pretty darn convenient.
- Cloth is easier to use than ever
Gone are the days where cloth nappies = soaking, harsh chemicals, heavy and saggy bums with plastic overpants and complicated folds with pins holding them on. Today’s cloth nappies are just stored in a dry bucket until cleaning time, and should be very rarely if ever soaked for long periods of time. Simple laundry detergents are sufficient (although some swear by specialty brands) and indeed harsh chemicals can damage nappies.
Innovations in fabric technology mean today’s cloth is light and trim but still very absorbent, and water resistant layers are breathable – no more plastic pants. Although the original styles are still around with some minor improvements, the majority of cloth these days is shaped and close fitting, similar to disposables but with elastic around legs, back and sometimes tummy.
Instead of pins to hold them in place, modern cloth nappies have snap or Velcro closures, making them safer and easier to do up and get a good fit. They are also lined with stay-dry fabrics which wick away moisture so bub doesn’t have wet fabric sitting against the skin.
Modern cloth nappies also come in both sized and adjustable one size fits most options, and you can adjust the absorbency to meet your needs by adding or removing absorbent inserts. It sometimes takes a little trial and error, but there’s a solution for everyone!
- You’re an instant eco-warrior, saving the planet one nappy at a time!
Did you know every single disposable nappy ever used is still in landfill? Yep. Every. Single. One.! That equates to roughly two tonnes of nappies for every baby nappied in only disposables from birth to toilet training. With all of the chemicals and human waste leeching out into landfill as they slowly break down over a few thousand years. Yuck! (Ladies, you might be interested to know that the same can be said for some of your disposable ‘feminine hygiene’ products… ick!)
I do sometimes hear cloth naysayers saying that it really doesn’t count because of all the water and energy used washing cloth nappies. In depth studies have shown consistently that it takes more water to make just one disposable nappy than it does to wash a load of nappies every two days for a year in a water efficient machine. Also, if you use cold water to wash, it really doesn’t take much more energy to wash an extra 3-4 loads a week, especially with an energy efficient machine. On top of that, anyone who’s already had a baby can tell you that they come with a lot of extra washing whether you use cloth nappies or not. Especially when they get to toddler stage and become obsessed with washing their own clothes everything in the house – no, this is not as good as it sounds! Honestly, when your bub chucks up on their third cute outfit of the day, it will be a relief to know you can just toss it in with the nappies that night and they will have more fresh clean clothes to wear soon.
Oh, and when your cloth nappies finally do give up the job and there can be no more elastic replacements or fabric repairs, when you toss them in the bin they will break down without leaching horrible chemicals and waste into the ground, much quicker than their plastic counterparts.
- They’re better for bub, and more comfortable too
Disposable nappies have been linked to all sorts of nasty occurrences, from severe chemical burns when the gel bursts through the fibres to lower sperm count due to the higher groin temperatures caused by the plastic outer, and all sorts of allergies and rashes. The list goes on and on. On the other side, whilst there have been cases of allergy to some fabrics used in cloth nappies, they are easily worked around, and I’ve yet to hear of cloth itself causing burns or being dangerous should a certain part of it escape and touch skin.
The breathable fabrics used in cloth allow air in and out but not liquid, helping keep bub at the right temperature, and dry. Most brands use a stay-dry inner fabric which quickly wicks moisture away from skin to the absorbent layers beneath. (Again ladies might be interested to know that disposable ‘feminine hygiene’ products contain the same materials as disposable nappies and also pose health risks*)
As for the comfort factor, modern cloth is made with soft fabric on the outside so it doesn’t irritate bub’s skin, and stay-dry inners are soft and smooth feeling – no hot plastic-y paper-y gel-filled sacks. I know which I’d prefer to wear given the choice, which is why cloth for my own little rascals was a no brainer for me. In fact, both the rascals have, at one point, quite clearly indicated their disgust with my attempt to pop a disposable on for whatever reason, sometimes quite vocally. Message received.
*If you’re interested in finding out more about how disposable products negatively impact your own health, this is a fantastic interview with a gynaecologist-oncologist discussing women’s health issues: