Confused about real nappies? We can help!
Here at Lizzie's Real Nappies we understand that the decision to opt for reusable cloth nappies can be a big one. Real nappies are not the mainstream option and it can be a difficult deciding whether reusable nappies are the right route for you, and finding the most suitable brand can be frustrating.
That's where Lizzie's Real Nappies come in.
If you're looking for an alternative to single-use disposable nappies we can offer you free, completely independent advice on reusable nappies and guide you through the decision process.
3 Steps to finding your perfect reusable nappies
STEP 1: Get in touch
We are a relatively small business which still prides itself on friendly, one-to-one, independent advice. When you call you won't be speaking to a nameless telelphone operator, you'll be speaking to me, Lizzie.
You can get in touch with Lizzie by:
We'll discuss: age and weight of baby, your priorities in terms of fabrics, slimness, ease of use, whether you have a tumble dryer, whether you plan to have more children, your budget etc. I'll then identify a shortlist of 2-3 nappies which are most suited to you.
STEP 2: Buy some trial nappies
I recommend that parents buy a few 'trial nappies' before making any decisions.
We have a selection of trial nappy kits available on our website but we can also customise a kit for you based on your shortlist. All trial kits have a 5% discount and include some nappy liners and instructions to get you started.
Once your kit arrives, the nappies can be prewashed according to instructions and dried ready for use. (Unworn, unwashed nappies can be returned at this point for a full refund).
Using the nappies on baby will give you a real sense of how the brands compare in terms of fit, absorbency, containment, drying times etc. Helping you determine your favorites.
You may like a mixture of brands (maybe some for general daytime use, some easy options for out and about, and some more absorbent nappies for night times). You are not restricted to just one brand - a mixture tends to make much more sense.
NB. If you're open to using second-hand / pre-used nappies you could contact your local Real Nappy Library and use one of their trial packs. In my experience nappy libraries are very helpful and give some great advice.
Some local councils also offer incentive schemes to encourage you to try cloth (some giving up to £75 worth of nappy vouchers). The availability of these schemes changes all the time but we try to keep an up-to-date list of them here.
STEP 3: Get kitted out with everything you need
Based on your experiences of using the trial nappies we can discuss how to go forward.
If you got on well with the nappies we can put a kit together for you. We have a range of full nappy kits available on the site but if you would like a tailor-made kit (maybe with a mix of different brands) we can customise a kit for you. These kits include nappies as well as accessories such as bucket, mesh bag, nappy liners, wet bag, washable wipes etc.
As long as you have a minimum of 15 nappies in your kit (along with accessories) you'll be entitled to a 10% discount.
If you'd prefer to buy your nappies bit by bit that's fine too. It's a great way of spreading the cost. Postage is free on orders over £40 so you can just buy a few at a time and won't need to pay anything extra for postage.
And don't forget......
I'm still on the end of the phone if you have any questions once you start using the nappies!
Quick guide to finding the best reusable nappies
Our reusable nappy page has all been categorised according to whether nappies are quick drying, slim fitting, easy to use, made of natural / organic fabrics, budget nappies etc. This will allow you to filter the nappies according to your priorities. The table below also gives a quick guide to which nappies are likely to suit you best. For further advice feel free to contact us or complete our 5 minute questionnaire form.
Some councils offer incentives schemes which can allow you to trial nappies for free or buy them at a reduced price.
Quick drying nappies
Slim fitting nappies
Night time nappies
If you’d like to discuss in more detail give us a call on 07540 221 992 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHY USE REUSABLE NAPPIES?
Benefits of reusable nappies
Soft comfortable fabrics. Modern washable nappies can be made from a variety of different fabrics including the traditional terry cotton, super-soft bamboo, and soft, quick-drying man-made fabrics such as micro-terry and micro-fleece. They also come in a great range of colours and are designed to make a far more comfortable and natural alternative to disposable nappies.
No more pins! Reusable nappies can be fastened with either poppers, velcro or ’Nappi Nippas’, making them nice and easy to put on. Gone are the days of the old nappy pin!
Great containment. Used in combination with nappy liners (and in some cases) waterproof covers they provide a convenient and reliable alternative to disposables. Parents are often suprised to find that real nappes are more successful at containing solids than disposable nappies.
Early potty training. Experience also shows that babies in reusable nappies tend to potty train around 6 months earlier than those in disposables.
Cut down on waste. Even just using washable nappies part time will have a significant effect on the volume of waste you throw away each week - reducing the size of your bin and helping to relieve some of the pressure on our landills. See further discussion below.
Less impact on the environment. Washing terry nappies below 60 degrees in just a small amount of detergent and minimising the use of tumble dryers ensures that reusable nappies have less effect on the environment, in terms of carbon emissions, than disposables. See further discussion below.
Save you money. See below for financial comparisons.
Cost savings of reusable nappies.
Save money with washable nappies.
If using real nappies full time, a newborn will need around:
- 16-20 nappies
- 4 waterproof wraps (required for 2-part nappies, but not 'pocket' nappies)
- accessories such as nappi nippas, nappy liners, bucket.
A full kit, including everything you need, will cost in the region of £300. (Although opting for a cheaper brand such as terry squares will cut costs further!)
- Real Nappies £300-£450 approx depending on the brands used. This includes the nappies plus washing costs (electricity, water, washing powder) up to potty training.
- Disposable nappies £700 -£900 per child.
THIS AMOUNTS TO QUITE A SIZABLE COST SAVING OF £250-£600.
Also remember that cloth nappies can be used again on siblings, making the savings even more substantial.
Want to save more? Some local councils run reusable nappy incentive schemes offering up to £75 cashback to those using reusable nappies.
Spread the cost of real nappies
Too much to pay upfront? Financially, one of the problems with cloth nappies is that you need to buy everything upfront. Although they save you money long-term, they are expensive to buy initially. It may be worth considering buying your nappies over time. Lizzie's Real Nappies offers free postage on orders of over £40, so why not spread the cost, buying, say, £40 worth every month until you have everything you need. Please let us know if you'd like to discuss this further.
Environmental Benefits of Real Nappies
Real nappies can be up to 40% better for the environment than disposables.
This was the finding from the 2008 update to the Environment Agency’s Life Cycle Analysis Report on nappies. Unlike disposables, real nappies put parents in control of the impact they have on the environment, with the carbon savings directly related to how you choose to wash your real nappies.
For example: if you wash your nappies on a full wash at 60 degrees with a tablespoon of washing powder (that's all that's needed), then dry them on the line, an airing cupboard or airer, you'll have far less impact on the environment than if you wash a half wash at 90 degress with a heap of washing powder, and then dry them in the tumble dryer.
Thus, used responsibly; real nappies can be 40% better for the environment than disposable nappies.
Real Nappies and Waste
Real Nappies have next to no impact on landfill sites as opposed to the 3 billion disposable nappies that are thrown away each and every year in the UK, 90% of these are landfilled. A baby in disposables will need about 4,000 nappy changes in total, that’s 4,000 disposable nappies in a landfill site, or 18 Real Nappies hanging on your washing line!
How to use real nappies
This is the part which provides the absorbency. It can be made of terry towelling, organic cotton, bamboo or man-made fabrics such as micro-fleece. Some fabrics are considerably easier to dry than others so it’s definately worth taking this into account if you need to dry nappies without a tumble dryer.
They are generally shaped like disposable nappies with elastication around the legs and waist for a really good fit. They are fastened with poppers, velcro or a ’Nappi Nippa’. Most brands provide sufficient absorbency for most situations however you can increase the absorbency for older babies at night time using nappy boosters.
Choosing the right brand can often be quite confusing but our site had been designed to make this easier by categorising nappies according to your needs: quick-drying, slim fitting, organic etc. See our nappy page.
On the inside of the nappy (between the nappy and baby’s bottom) you can, if you wish, place a ’liner’. This is a soft thin cellulose-based layer which allows wee to soak through but not pass back to baby’s skin, and for the solids to be easily removed from the nappy. For wet-only nappies, just pick the liner off and place it in your bin. Soiled liners are also best placed in the bin; they are classed, and labelled, as 'flushable' but, like anything flushed down the toilet (other than toilet paper), they can cause problems with the sewerage system. Once the liner is removed you just place the nappy in your nappy bucket, ready for washing.
Washable fleece liners are also available.
Other '2-part' nappies (EasyPeasy, Tots Bots Stretch etc) will need a seperate waterproof layer. This, at first, seems to be more hassle to put on but it does tend to result in far less leakage of poo.
Unlike old waterproof pants, these wraps are soft and comfortable, and can be adjusted using poppers or velcro. The wrap is generally made of PUL (polyurethane laminate). It is very thin and doesn’t add to the bulkiness of the nappy.
Need help? If you can’t decide between different fabrics, pocket nappies, 2-part nappies etc give us a call on 07540 221 992 or email email@example.com
WHAT ACCESSORIES DO I NEED FOR REAL NAPPIES?
I want to use real nappies - but how many do I get and what accessories will I need?
If using real nappies full time you’ll need:
- 16- 20 Nappies
18 reusable nappies will allow you to wash every other day (or every third day once baby is older). If you have quickdrying nappies, or are using a tumble dryer, you can get away with less (say 16), if you’d prefer to wash less often then go for a few more.
If you’re buying for an older baby (1 year or more) you can generally get away with 12-14 nappies, as you won’t need to change the baby so often.
- 3-4 Waterproof Wraps (for use with 2-part nappies only)
If you’re using 2-part nappies ((EasyPeasy, Tots Bots Stretch etc) you'll need 3-4 wraps. Remember you don’t need to change the wrapper every time you change the nappy; you only change the it if it gets poo on it or if it becomes very wet.
NB. You will not need seperate wraps for pocket nappies and all-in-one nappies such as Tots Bots Easyfit star, Wonderoo, Pop-In and BumGenius. Here the waterproof element is sewn into the nappy itself (making them very easy to put on - practically as easy to put on as a disposable nappy).
- Flushable or washable liners
Nappy liners help removal of poo from the nappy a lot easier.
A pack of 100 flushable liners will last around 1 month (although if they’ve only been ‘wetted’ they can be rinsed, dried, and used again!)
A pack of 20 washable (fleece) liners will last right through to potty training. Don’t forget that fleece liners are also excellent, when damp, for use as baby wipes.
- Nappy Bucket - large
You’ll need something to store the dirty nappies in prior to washing. You can use either a bucket or a large waterproof bag. If you opt for a bucket a standard 9 litre bucket is generally far too small - 14-16 litre is ideal. The bucket will need a handle and a lid.
- Mesh Bag
Mesh bags are recommended for use in the nappy bucket. They are placed inside the bucket, and the nappies placed inside the bag. They allow for easier transfer of nappies from the bucket to the washing machine. Ideal if you’re ’dry pailing’.
- Waterproof bag
These waterproof bags are used when out and about for bringing home dirty nappies. They’re also ideal for use at nursery and weekends away. If you fancy something a bit smarter take a look at the Monkey Foot waterproof bags; these come in a range of beautiful designs and several sizes so are perfect for storing anything from snacks and washable baby wipes, through to nappies and swim kit.
Real Nappy Kits
Not sure what you need? How many nappies? What accessories you need? Take a look at our reusable nappy kits - these contain everything you need all in one place.
TWINS in REAL NAPPIES - what will I need?
From experience, we have found that, as long as you are prepared to wash a little more often, you can get away with around 26-30 nappies (and around 6 wraps if necesary) for twins. If you need very small nappies to suit smaller twins take a look at Easy Peasy Bimbles and Tots Bots Teenyfit.
NEED ADVICE ON BUYING REAL NAPPIES FOR TWINS? We provide special offers for twins using reusable nappies so just give us a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I ensure my real nappies don’t leak?
Leakage tends to be the result of one of two things:
Fit: It is important to ensure that the nappy fits well otherwise wetness can leak out around the waist and particularly the legs. It should be snug but should not be so tight that it leaves red marks on the tummy or legs. If you do find any redness you need to loosen the nappy off or move up to the next size.
Absorbency: Leakage (particularly on older babies) can be due to insufficient absorbency. Sometimes this can be sorted out simply by adding an extra insert to the nappy. All babies are different, however, some much 'wetter' than others, and what works for some babies may not work for others. Wetter babies may need a specific nappy for nightimes and for others they may need to switch to disposables at night.
NB. If your nappies suddenly stop absorbing it's worth checking that they haven't been washed in fabric conditioner - as this repels liquids and will prevent the nappies from absorbing properly.
My nappies are leaking at night. What can I do?
Older babies, particularly when they start sleeping through the night, are likely to need extra absorbency and it not unusual for your normal daytime nappy to prove inadequate. Most people are able to solve this problem by either adding extra booster pads to existing nappies or switching to a specific high absorbency night time nappy.
You can add booster pads such as bamboo or hemp pads. These fit into your existing nappies giving extra absorbency. Hemp pads are particularly absorbent but they need a lot of pre-washing before first use and they can take a long time to dry.
Bamboo nappies such as Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch and A Mama Knows are more absorbent than nappies made of terry towelling and microfibre. It may be worth having a few of these in your stash to help baby get through the night. Wetter babies may need extra booster pads in these as well. Bear in mind that bamboo nappies are generally slow drying.
Should I use real nappies on my newborn?
Real nappies are available which fit from around 5lbs up. These newborn nappies will fit a tiny baby really well (and look really cute) but it's worth bearing in mind how much use you'll get out of them. Babies grow quickly and you may find that baby has grown out of them within less than 6 months. It may be worth waiting until baby get to 10-12lbs and then opting for a 'birth to potty' nappy. These can prove much more cost effective. Saying this, if you're planning to have more than one baby, you may find the newborn nappies to be better value if you'll be using them again on baby no.2.
Another option is to borrow newborn nappies from your local nappy library. You can rent newborn nappies out for baby's first few months after which you can move on to a set of your own birth to potty nappies.
How do I use the Nappi Nippa?
Nappies are generally fastened with wither poppers, velcro or 'Nappi Nippas'. Nappi Nippas are the equivalent of the old nappy pin, but are a lot easier, and safer, to use. You’ll see on the back of the nippa that it has a series of little ’claws’; these will simply hook into the fabric of the nappy.
To put Nappi Nippas on, you simply hold the nappy in place with one hand, hook one claw into the fabric on one side, hold the tension and pull across to allow the second claw to hook into place on the other side. Then pull the lower claw and hook into place. Once in position, pull back gently on each ring to check that each of the fastenings are secure. A correctly positioned nippa will form a ’Y’ shape as seen in the photo.
How do I recycle my old nappies?
Lizzie’s Real Nappies supports Rescue Mersy Trust, a baby rescue centre in Kitale, Kenya. The centre provides care, love and support for up to 20 babies who have been abandonned or orphaned. The Trust aims to provide long term loving homes for the babies. If you have nappies which you no longer need and wish to donate to the centre please contact us - they are always very grateful! You simply send your nappies to an address in Cornwall from where they are transported to Kenya.
If you’re trying to sell your nappies try www.usednappies.co.uk
If you’re happy to give them away to another local family try Freecycle or donate them to your local nappy library.
Reusable nappy Trial packs
Trial nappy kits allow you to try out different nappy brands before paying out for a full set of nappies. Trial packs give you the opportunity to get a feel for the fit, absorbency, containment, drying times etc and to be able to compare different brands.
Cashback Schemes: Remember that many local councils offer cashback on real nappies. In some cases this means that you get to try trial nappies for free. Please contact your local council as sometimes you will need to register with the scheme before purchasing nappies from this site.
Need guidance on which nappies to trial? Give us a call or email email@example.com
- how do I use real nappies?
- what are the environmental and cost benefits of reusable nappies?
- how do I choose the right brand?
- how many nappies, and which accessories, do I need?
- can I try some trial nappies to help me decide?
- I've started using the nappies but I have some questions.