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Coth/ real nappies

A basic over veiw

Reusable nappies and wipes

Reusable nappies, also known as Cloth or real nappies are simple to use and have a wide range of benefits for both caregivers and infants in nappies. Many now have beautiful prints and so become a part of your child’s wardrobe as well as being a practical item, some prints have become so popular that they have become collectors’ items too!

Financial benefits - although there will be an initial estimated outlay of £150-£400 for 'real' nappies, they will save you thousands in the long run, even with the washing costs. With up to 5,000 nappy changes up until potty training, that's a lot of money spent on disposables. We are seeing an enormous increase of child care settings changing to cloth nappies and wipes as the reduction in expenditure is especially noted in multiple child families or childcare settings. There are many differing opinions on the amount of saving there is to be made as this can differ enormously depending on brands and the way you purchase.

Environmental benefits – Non Bio degradable disposable nappies take an estimated 500 years to degrade (they never disappear but will break down into micro plastic) in a landfill site, the producing and transport of them has a large carbon footprint. Even with the impact of using your washing machine more, reusable nappies can be 40% better for the environment (Environment Agency report 2008). Many areas in Bucks now have a restriction on how much general rubbish you can place out for collection, reducing the number of disposable nappies you use will help reduce your waste. Maybe not considered an environmental benefit, but taking the piles of dirty nappies out of your fortnightly collected bin (which heats up in summer) is much kinder on your nose.

Benefits for baby - Disposable nappies are made from plastics, paper pulp absorbent chemicals and glues and are often considered the cause of nappy rashes. Some very rudimental research has indicated the sale of nappy cream to have increased at the same rate as the sales for disposable nappies and many families choosing cloth claim to only need such creams during teething or periods of illness.

Reusable nappies can be made from a number of natural and manmade fabrics including cotton, bamboo, hemp and microfiber. Cloth nappies are fitted to the child and therefore explosive and leaky nappies become a thing of the past, fitting a cloth nappy is simple one you know how and a simple nappy fitting guide is available from

Cloth nappies, especially the chunkier older styles are also a good support for your growing child’s hips as they support a deeper ball and socket position and treatment for hip dysplasia can be supported with the use of cloth nappies for this reason. Some also find comfort in the additional support and padding when babies start to walk, falling on their bottom multiple times must feel better with some padding.

Early potty training - Another benefit is cloth bottomed babies often potty train earlier due to being able to feel when they are wet and making the connection between feeling wet and their bladder. Not all children in cloth train early equally some children in disposables do, but on average cloth children train 6 month earlier than those in disposables.

Useful sites-

Offering fitting, washing, types and acronym guides, the UK nappy network is a great one stop place to find support. There is also a comprehensive list of nappy libraries.

Local support and nappy library, Jenni Bean consultancy CIC offers long and short term hires of a wide variety of brands and styles.

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