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. Finding the most suitable brand can also be quite frustrating.
That's where Lizzie's Real Nappies come in.
If you're looking for an alternaitve to disposable nappies we can offer you free, completely independent advice on reusable cloth nappies and guide you through the decision process:
- 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.
How to find the best reusable nappies for you and your baby
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
Luxury nappies (fancy designs, super-soft fabrics)
|Blueberry, Itti Bitti D’lish, Bitti Tutto, Wonderoo Minki|
Night time nappies
If you’d like to discuss in more detail give us a call on 0808 120 1004 (free from landlines) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
- 18 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 around £250. (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 £50, so why not spread the cost, buying, say, £50 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 naturally.
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 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 place a ’liner’. This is a soft thin paper-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. You simply pick it off the nappy and throw it down the toilet leaving a relatively clean nappy, ready to be stored in a nappy bucket before washing. These come on rolls of 100.
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 0808 120 1004 (free from landlines) or email email@example.com
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, Wonderoo, Itti Bitti 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
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.
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