When I was pregnant I was certain I would use real nappies. I loved the idea of them – they’re different (I like to steer away from the norm), environmentally friendly, kind of cute. I spent a lot of money on a stash to last me through to potty training (got a small refund from the local council which was nice!) and stashed them all away, nice and neat, in a drawer in the nursery.
This is what I love about cloth nappies:
1. Environmetal friendliness. It used to get touted a lot that using cloth nappies consumed the same amount of energy as using disposables, so there was no environmental saving. This is NOT the case. The above was aparently calculated based on daily boil washes which, frankly, no-one does. Even with a rather intense washing routine (every other day, 60°C, tumble drier) you save energy over disposables. Plus nothing is going to landfill!
2. They are SO DAMN CUTE. Seriously. Whatever you want on a cloth nappy, you can probably find it. Pirates? Sure. Dinosaurs? Yep. Fairies? Certainly. Rainbow stripes with unicorns and ruffles? More than likely. And if you can’t find it you can always pay someone to make it for you, thus also supporting a locally-made small business enterprise (though it will cost you more than the high-street brands, of course).
3. They are efficient. Nothing contains massive poop-splosions like a shaped nappy and separate nappy wrap. Even an all-in-one nappy will contain better than a disposable which are notorious for up-the-back poop incidents. Poop is messy, and containing it in a nappy is infinitely preferable to cleaning it from a babygrow, blanket and car seat.
4. They save you money. Yes, there is an initial spend, but once that’s done there’s NOTHING more to pay other than washing machine costs. You can even get washable baby wipes which make sense if you’re using washable nappies. I calculated by the time my daughter was 1 year I was even on my spending. From there on I was saving money. Using your nappies on subsequent children saves you even more! Of course your savings are lessened if you keep on buying extra cloth nappies due to their downright CUTENESS (see point 2), which is a real risk.
5. Easier potty training. Apparently. This is often written but to be honest I have only one child who has potty trained so I can’t really comment. But it makes sense – in cloth a baby will feel as soon as they wee. Whether they mind this or not will depend on the kid, but the fact is they will be more aware of their bodily functions at an earlier age. It follows that this would help potty training! But it’s just a theory…
They do, of course, have their downside. You change them more often, they take up more space in your nappy bag, you have to be careful with what nappy ointments you use as some will damage the cloth, and dealing with a pooey nappy that’s been wrapped in a nappy bag, squished about by less-than careful nursery staff, and brought home in your toddler’s nursery bag is not exactly the highlight of my day*. But I’d still use cloth any day over disposables!
*I’d also advise against washing a pooey nappy still wrapped in its nappy bag. Do you know what cooked poo smells like? Be very glad of that ignorance.