Frequently asked questions
How many nappies will we need?
How many reusable nappies you need depends on a number of things
To use reusable nappies full time the general consensus is you will need anywhere from 15 to 25 nappies.
Obviously, how often you plan on washing your nappies, how quickly you are able to dry them and how many your child gets through in a day all make a difference. But if you did a load every other day this should be fine.
For you newborn baby you will need more nappies and 25 is a better starting point.
For older children, 12-15 day nappies and 3 night nappies should be adequate for washing every 2 days.
Within this number you will need some nappies that are super absorbent and suitable for night-times. These often take longer to dry so you might want 4 or 5 of these to be on the safe side although 3 should do if you have good drying facilities.
As you may or may not know there are different styles of reusable nappy that basically fall into two categories. Nappies where you change the whole thing at each change (all-in-one nappies) and nappies that have a separate inner absorbent layer and out waterproof wrap where you only need to change the inner nappy (two-piece-nappies).
If you use a two-piece system you will probably only need 1 wrap to every 2-4 nappies as they can be reused a few times and they dry quickly.
Don't buy reusable nappies all at once
If you are new to cloth it's worth trying a few different nappies to see what works for you. This is where our kits come in ;)
Even having 8-10 nappies will be enough to use cloth on a part-time basis and will give you a great idea of how many you actually need.
For night nappies where higher absorbency is often required, and day time for heavy wetters you can get super absorbent boosters that can be added to your usual nappy.
For days when you're sending your child to grandparents or childcare you may find that an all-in-one nappy is preferable at least to being with unless you have carers that are used to using cloth nappies.
However if you prefer a two-piece system you can always set these up ready to go so they can be changed in one piece like an all-in-one.
Information source: https://www.babame.com/how-many-reusable-nappies-do-i-need.html
How much do we really save?
What most people tend to focus on is cost. So here we go:
Using the figure of 6p a nappy (based on a brief look at
supermarket average across brands) and the 6 used a day
the totals are: 36p a day, £131.40 a year and £328.50 over
the 2.5 years.
But what about wipes I hear you say? Well the average price
of a packet of wet wipes is 80p, I'm told they last most people
about a week. Totalling £41.60 a year. We all know that if you
have wet wipes around they get used for way more than just
wiping bottoms so this is probably a conservative estimate.
And to be thorough let's include nappy bags (at 1p each) which
adds on another £21.90 to your total.
Let's say an average spend on nappies for one child is £194.90.
All of which are thrown away producing 73 bin liners weighing
Now, in Suffolk our waste is incinerated in the Energy from Waste
plant. This is preferable to waste but still nowhere near as
preferable as reduction and reuse.
We can't promise to reduce the amount of nappies you have to
change but we can minimise the amount of nappy waste produced.
You can see from these figures that even
by using 1 reusable nappy a day straight away removes 12 of those
bin liners from the pile.
It's very common to read comparisons looking at the financial cost of
Reuseables vs disposables. And here I think it's possible to be honest.
You can spend £20 each on a reuseable nappy. And if you used them
full time and washed every other day you would probably need 15-20.
If you used them to 2.5 years old from birth then it's still
less than the £427 we worked out earlier but not significantly
enough to get excited about. If I told you that you could
set yourself up to use cloth nappies full time for less
than £100 that would change things right? So you would
save yourself over £300. And yes...of course you can use
reuseable wipes too. Maybe spending £20 on those?
That's half the cost of using disposable ones for a year.
You thought I forgot about washing!! Members of the UK Nappy Network worked out that factoring in water, electricity, detergent and wear and tear the average cost per wash of nappies is 45p. And every other day washing which probably is more often than you need to wash makes a yearly total of £82. 13.
Adding together the £100, the £20 and the £82 and getting £202 for a yearly cost of reuseables.
Adding together £131.40, £41.60 and £21.90 and getting £194.90 for a yearly cost of disposables.
Similar figures. However in year 2 or 3 or 4 YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY ANY MORE REUSEABLE NAPPIES OR WIPES. So your total costs are just the washing costs. And then say you used those nappies on a second child!!
Which ever way you spin it reuseables are a significantly cheaper option if you want them to be.
How many disposables do we save from landfill by switching to cloth full time?
For the purposes of this breakdown we will use the average of 6
nappies a day. This is an average take from using more on a newborn
and less on a toddler and across those with heavier and lighter wetters.
If you multiply 6 by 365 days in the year you have total of 2190.
Members of the UK Nappy Network found that around 30 used
nappies fit in a standard bin liner comfortably for size and weight.
So.... over a year one baby produces 73 bin liners of waste in nappies
alone. We can extrapolate that out over the 2.5 years the average
child uses nappies for (183 bin liners) and also to account for
You get the idea. It's a LOT of waste in your bin. Waste tends to be measured in weight so let's have a look at that.
A used disposable nappy weighs around 195g (nappicycle.co.uk) so again using the average of 6 we have 1.17kg of waste a day and 427kg a year. Over the 2.5 years that's 1,068kg. Over a metric ton of nappy waste per child.
What about nursery?
Don't be afraid to ask. They are usually more than happy to try and make your child feel like they're at home and to support your parenting choices
To make it easier, choose simple nappies and send them ready to put on. Provide everything they will need, wet bags and liners for example.
It might be an idea to show them how to fit your nappies effectively.
Do a demo for a few of the staff. Provide some pictures.
Advise how often the nappies should be changed and what to do with poo!
If they refuse, Find out why? It could be down to a lack of knowledge or confidence.
Work together with your provider to meet their policies. Simple things like disposable liners and double wet bagging may help.
You could also put them in contact with their local nappy library or advisory service, who will be able to support them with any help they may need.
Local Authority Childcare Departments can work with both providers and parents.
If they are still unsure then refer the staff to the EYFS, which ensures all children's "interests, needs and inclinations" are provided for and promotes inclusivity.
Ofsted make sure that this is happening.
Suffolk Country Council believes all children's needs should be able to be met with differentiation and reasonable adjustments, where appropriate.
What do all the different boosters and inserts do?
Why do my nappies keep leaking?
Leaks can be from a couple of causes:
a) Your little one might be wetting through the absorbancy of the nappy/inserts you're using.
You might need to think about either changing nappies more frequently, or adding some extra absorbancy. Bamboo and Hemp are the most absorbant materials so these would be a good option. If you're using a pocket nappy (and some all-in-one nappies) you can just add an extra booster into the pocket. With a two part nappy (inner fitted nappy and wrap) pop your booster between the fitted nappy and the wrap.
b) it might be to do with the fit of the nappy.
Check that you're pinching the nappy in between your baby's legs so that the elastics sit right in the 'knicker line' (See our fit guide in the blog for more info!). Make sure that none of the inserts/inner fabric are sticking outside the wrap.
If using a velcro wrap try putting the velcro tabs at a diagonal to allow you to get a tighter fit around legs and/or waist.
Just like a wet cloth, anything that is squeeze will leak! If you've got bodysuits that do up with poppers at the crotch, and they're too tight - this can cause compression leaks. Try using a vest extender to allow a looser fit.
If you have baby in a carrier for a long period of time, this can also cause compression leaks. Use a more reliable option for a longer period, like a two part nappy/wrap and make sure that you've got a good fit around the legs.
How do I deal with nappies/cloth wipes while I'm out?
All you'll need is a wet bag, which you can keep in your nappy bag.
Some wet bags even have two zip pockets, one for clean nappies and one for dirty.
Change your baby as normal, pop the dirty nappy into your wet bag and just tip them into your nappy bucket/washing machine when you get home.
What about cloth wipes?
Some parents choose to just take their wipes out dry, then wet them using a tap or a water bottle. You can also use a little zip lock pouch, or small plastic container. Place some wipes in, wet before you leave the house and you're sorted! You might like to keep some spare dry wipes in your nappy bag permenantly, so you've always got a few to hand in case you forget to grab wet ones before you leave the house.
Soiled wipes can go straight into your wet bag with soiled nappies.
What's the difference between a liner and an insert?
Inserts/boosters are something which goes inside your nappy to provide absorbancy. These are made of lots of different materials and will be what absorbs the moisture.
A liner is a thin layer, commonly fleece, which goes between the nappy and your little one's bottom. The purpose of a liner is to limit stains on your nappies, as poo etc. will come off the fleece much more easily than the nappy fabric. It also has the bonus of wicking away some of the moisture from your little ones bottom.
You can also get disposable liners (but please note, despite what some companies might say, these are not flushable!).