Given the number of cloth nappies or real nappies on the market these days, the choice can sometimes feel, at best overwhelming and at worst off-putting.
There are many factors to consider when choosing your cloth nappies. This short guide aims to give you an over-view of the main considerations and help you to narrow down the seemingly limitless choices!
Value for Money
On average a child will go through something in the region of 5000 disposable nappies. Even at 17c per nappy (and there are not many nappies on the market at that price!), this equates to a spend of 850 Euro. Added to that an average spend of 250 Euro to dispose of an estimated 1750kg of domestic waste produced by the soiled nappies and the costs really start adding up!
When you compare this to the cost of a cloth nappy system, even the most expensive cloth nappies will save you in the region of 200 Euro in the first years of your child's life. This can extend to a massive 750 Euro saving when considering cheaper options! Some sources have even estimated cost savings of up to 1,700 Euro!
There are nappy systems to suit all tastes and budgets but two part nappies (nappy and waterproof wrap) can often be the best value for money, as many budget versions exist. This cannot be said for All-In-One and Pocket Nappies.
Use on Multiple Children
To further add to your savings (up to 750 Euro per child!), cloth nappies can be used on any subsequent children you may have but it is worth noting that nappies with popper or nappi nippa fastenings are more durable. Nappies that fasten with hook and loop tape (Velcro or Aplix) wear more quickly and may not last for two or more children.
If you are expecting more than one baby, the quantity of real nappies you need to buy may not be as high as you think. Generally, buying 1/2 to 2/3 more nappies for each additional child is sufficient. This adds up to a whopping saving of 1500 Euro when using a budget nappy on two children simultaneously!
Babies that suffer from severe allergies will be best off in nappies made from natural and organic fibres. For this reason EcoBrats stock a range of nappies that are mainly, if not entirely, comprised of organic and/or natural fibres.
Potential chemical irritation can also be avoided by washing nappies with simple, biodegradable detergents that do not contain optical brighteners or artificial scents, e.g. Ecover, Bio-D, Clearspring. Wash balls, such as Eco Balls are also an excellent and amazingly cost effective alternative to conventional washing powder.
If you do not have a tumble dryer or wish to avoid using it, then a quick drying time is an important factor. There are many quick drying nappies on the market, such as those made from microfibre and Pocket Nappies. Traditional terry squares are also relatively quick to dry owing to the fact that they can be completely opened out.
It is important to select nappies that are suited to your child's size and build to ensure accidents are kept to a minimum!
When buying for a newborn baby you need to make some educated guesses. Take into account the general build of the baby's parents and other family members. If the family is particularly tall or short it is worth looking for nappies appropriate to this build. If your baby is likely to be small, premature or you have a multiple birth, choose a nappy that starts from a low birth weight.
If your baby has already been born, finding the right nappy will be much easier. You can try single nappies before you commit to buying many or you can simply go by the measurements of the child. Generally, physical measurements are a much better indicator of fit than weight.
It should be noted that many nappies (especially one size nappies) can seem very tight around 6m-1 year. This is perfectly normal, as this is generally when your child is at their maximum width. Most children slim down considerably with 3-4 months of walking.