A beginner’s guide to using reusable nappies
If you are new to cloth / reusable / washable nappies then you may be a little unsure where to start. And you probably have a few questions. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick beginners guide to help you on your way
The first thing to say is that using reusable nappies is not hard. Modern cloth nappies are amazing, and for the majority of people who use them they’re not only saving money and doing their bit for the environment, but they genuinely prefer the experience. It’s different to using disposables but it isn’t hard.
Getting to know nappies
Gone are the days of folding up a towel and securing it with a giant safety pin. Washable nappies today are mostly shaped more like disposable nappies, and the process of changing the nappy is actually very similar.
There are a huge number of brands and styles of nappies available and as different styles suit different babies it’s worth trying a few before you buy your whole stash. Reusable nappy libraries also exist around the country which offers a great way to try out a few styles.
In order to work as a nappy you need a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent inner layer. Most people will also use either a washable or disposable liner to catch any poo.
All-in-one | One-piece nappies are probably the closest to disposables in terms of how they look and how you use them, you change the whole thing. The waterproof layer and absorbent layer are sewn together making these a popular choice for nursey and childcare, however, they can take longer to dry.
A two-part nappy system has a separate waterproof outer ‘wrap’ and absorbent inner ‘nappy’. Having a separate outer layer means you can use this more than once before washing. The nappy part may be shaped or folded. Two-part systems tend to be a little more reliable in terms of leaks.
A pocket nappy is basically a cross between the two where the outer wrap has a pocket that you pre-stuff after washing and then use in the same way as an all in one.
Additional boosters can be added to any of the styles to increase absorbency.
Getting started with cloth
Don’t be intimidated, you can get started with just one nappy, and every time you use it you are using one less disposable.
Step 1: Pre-wash your nappies. They will be less absorbent if you don’t.
Step 2: Gather your nappy, outer (or all in one), liner, a wipe or two and cream if you use it. Plus a dry wipe or muslin to dry the baby’s bottom.
Step 3: Remove the dirty nappy and clean babies bottom. If you are using a two-part system and the wrap is clean keep it to one side to use again.
Reusable wipes are great, even if you’re not using washable nappies, and dirty ones can simply be folded up into the dirty nappy until you’re ready to wash.
Step 4: Put on a fresh nappy, dress baby and put them somewhere safe.
Step 5: If you are using a disposable liner this can be disposed of in the bin and you may wish to use a nappy sack. For reusable liners scrape any poo down the toilet and rinse if required. Store dirty nappies in a nappy bucket or wet bag until you are ready to wash them.
Step 6: Wash your nappies. How many you have will determine how often you need to do this. But even if it’s not every day you still don’t need to soak. Do not use fabric softener. And bio powder is generally best. Following wash guidelines is the best way to prolong the life of your nappies.