a guide about nappies
Disposable vs reusable nappies
when it came to choosing a nappy. But some parents do want to consider reusable nappies, if for nothing else because of the cost - reusables are a lot cheaper than disposables.
There are arguments for both types, and it's not as simple as 'easy but costly' disposable nappies or 'environmentally friendly but inconvenient' reusable ones, so take a look at our guide to choosing disposable vs reusable nappies.
Babies need to be changed between six and 12 times a day when they're first born and can be in nappies until they are at least 24 months, sometimes longer. Some disposable nappies cost as little 7p each, while others can be as much as 15p. Over a year this could add up to as much as £438 with a pricier brand, based on using an average of eight a day.
Reusable nappies are a lot cheaper in comparison - Go Real nappy information services estimates that it costs around £80 for the cheapest brand plus around £1 a week to wash them - so only around £130 in your first year.
Nappy fit and comfort
Fit was also an important factor to parents when rating overall, for both reusable and disposable nappies. As the fit of a nappy and how well it suits your baby varies with each, it's advisable to try a few brands and types before you commit.
Disposable nappies should fit your baby snuggly around the waistband and leg holes but not be too tight. You may need to try a few of the best brands to find one that fits right.
Every brand is a different size; it takes time to discover the right brand for your child. Free samples are very useful to all parents.'
Another said: 'I noticed that sometimes the tab would rip off with some types and they weren't as stretchy as others. But after swapping and changing, I finally found which worked for me.'
Baby and parenting clubs often have nappy freebies for babies and money-off vouchers available, which is a great way to buy just a small amount of a few types to try out. Just remember, babies can go through between six and 12 nappies a day, so you'll need to have a few days' supply before your baby arrives home.
There are several types of reusable nappy to choose from:
The cheapest option is to use flat cotton terry toweling squares that you fold yourself and fasten using safety pins or plastic nappy grips. You'll need a separate waterproof cover to put over the top, but this won't need changing each time. You can also get prefolds, which are rectangular nappies that slot into a waterproof cover - these are a little more expensive.
Shaped fabric nappies require no folding and stay fastened with poppers or Velcro. These come in a variety of fabrics and colours. You'll need a separate waterproof cover to put over the top, but this won't need changing each time.
All-in-one nappies are shaped to fit your baby and have a waterproof outer layer. They stay fastened with poppers or Velcro or are pull-on. The whole nappy needs to be washed each time and they can take longer to dry than other reusable nappies.
Pocket nappies are similar to all-in-ones but you can easily separate the nappy lining and waterproof cover when washing and drying. They're convenient but can work out more expensive than other types of washable nappy.
Some reusable nappy brands offer free trials and some local councils offer free samples, so you can find out whether they might suit you.
Nappies come in different sizes, from newborn to pull-ups, based on the child's weight. For example, size one is for a 4-11lb (2-5kg) baby.
When your baby is first born they will need newborn nappies - premature-sizes are available for very small babies. Once your baby is on the move, active fit nappies are ideal, as they're designed to work effectively while your child moves around.
Pull-ups are intended for when your child is potty training, as they look more like pants than nappies. There are also extra-absorbent nappies for night time.
Nappy packs come in different sizes that contain anything from around 10 nappies to over 80. Buying bigger packs will save you money, but it's best to do this once you've chosen a brand that suits your baby and you know they will be in that size for a while.
It's worth keeping in mind that babies may have to use different nappy brands as they grow. One parent commented: 'Nappies vary between stages - one brand that is great initially may change as they get older.'
Reusable nappies vary in how they are sized:
Size one to three - these are based on the weight of your baby, similar to disposable nappies, and are also known as small (7-20lb), medium (20-30lb) or large (35lb+).
One size/birth to potty - these are adjustable, designed to fit all babies at any stage from around 7-35lbs (3-15 kg).
You can buy package kits, which include nappies of different sizes as well.