In my opinion – the Main Advantages and Disadvantages of using cloth nappies!
• Huge financial benefit, especially if used on more than one child. Disposables will cost around £1000 per child, (and that doesn’t include disposable wipes, nappy sacks and nappy bins) whereas a really good set of modern cloth nappies will cost between £200 and £500 with the accessories (nappy buckets, mesh, washable wipes, fleece liners etc) costing about £30 - £40. You can spend even less if you are happy to use terry squares with nappi nippa fasteners and a wrap over the top (gorgeous patterned one of course!).
• Better containment of nappy contents – less leaks, less complete changes of clothes, therefore less washing of baby’s clothes. (Believe me – I’ve used both!)
• Produce less household waste. About half of the waste of a household with a baby will be nappies if you use disposables. By potty training a baby will have used the same weight in disposable nappies as an average family car, and this will still be sitting in a landfill site when they are grandparents!
• No smelly disposables. Disposables smell even when they are just wet.
• Just natural materials, no plastics or chemicals next to baby’s skin. You can even get organic cotton and bamboo nappies so you know your baby’s skin is chemical-free. (But, you can now buy bleach and chemical-free eco disposables, they even biodegrade!)
• Know that you are putting contents of the nappy down the toilet where it should be, rather than in the bin!
• Nappies have to be bought up front, rather than gradually as with disposables. (But look into Council schemes to help with this. And even just one cloth nappy will save you money in disposables, and you can put this towards buying the next one!)
• One more load of washing every three days or so (more for newborns) to put from the bucket to the machine (and press the button!). One more load of washing every three days to hang up to dry – this takes longer than the putting-the-washing-machine-on bit!
• Bulkier changing bag – disposables are slimmer.
• Bulkier bum! Most baby clothes are designed for disposables. Sometimes you might have to use the next size up (esp. boys’ trousers) or buy clothes made especially for cloth bottoms. (Softer landing when they fall on their bottom though!)
• Nappy addiction – a very common affliction, similar to being addicted to buying shoes but applies to nappies, especially when new ones are brought out that you just have to try. Don’t worry, you have to go a long way before you spend as much as you would if you were using disposables! And you can sell all cloth nappies second-hand for usually about 50% or more of the new price.
Sorry if this guide is a bit biased – but I love using cloth nappies and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for our family. There is so much negativity about using cloth nappies mainly due to old-fashioned views and ignorance, that I thought I would offer another opinion! Disposables are NOT your only option!
If you are just starting out with cloth nappies and don't know your liners from your inserts, see Cloth Nappy Terminology.