Choosing a reusable nappy
It can be overwhelming when you realise that there are many different types of cloth nappy. Click here for a brief description of each one and their pros, cons and drying times.
You should ask yourself a few questions: What is my budget? How much drying space do I have? How much washing do I want to do?
What is my budget?
Now if you are anything like me, you will see all of the cute patterns and go crazy buying all the nappies and then realise that woah, I should've tried one of those nappies first instead of buying a full set because I can't get a good fit and the drying time is too slow for the space I have and now my house is covered in nappies and inserts.
Cloth works out cheaper than disposables if you're starting from a relatively young age and/or intend to use for multiple children but it's an investment upfront so it's good to sit down and work out how much you'd like to spend on your stash and then you can work out your budget for each nappy & the accessories you need to buy (nappy bucket, mesh bags, wet bags, disposable or paper liners, maybe cloth wipes). We've compiled a checklist here.
How much drying space do I have?
This one is important to consider, even if you have a garden and can hang the nappies in the summer. If you are using all in ones or fitteds, do you have the space for them to dry inside the house on an airer or a tumble dryer if it's a rainy or cold day? It is damaging to leave nappies on direct heat so drapsing them over your radiators is out. If you are pushed for inside space you need to think about which nappies wouldn't take up a lot of space and time to dry.
How much washing do I want to do?
Any cloth bum parent would tell you they love washing. It's beautiful. It's so satisfying. We are a strange breed. Still, as therapeutic as it is, you need to consider how often you want to do your nappy wash cycle. Its widely recommended leaving it no more that 3 days in between washes, so once you've picked your style(s) of nappy, sit down and brainstorm how many you need to make it through.
For example, you plan on washing every other day. You need at least a 3 day supply (2 days worth in the wash whilst 1 day is being worn) but if you are using fitteds exclusively, you might need even more if they arent dry the day after washing.
I suggest trying out a few styles initially to see:
- If the fit works for your child
- If the washing/drying regime is practical for you
- If using cloth suits your lifestyle
Most of us want to be more eco concious, I believe it's the main reason people seek out cloth nappies. But it's important to stress that it's fine if you only manage to substitute one disposable a day for cloth, it's fine if you still use disposables at night and it's fine if you try a couple of cloth nappies, realise that using cloth doesn't suit your lifestyle and then sell them or give them away.
It is very tempting to go all in with cloth and with one style but believe me, I've been there, and you'll be selling most of your stash on eBay if you dont try a few first.
Our babies are all different shapes and sizes so what worked for a friend might not work for you.