Cloth Nappies | Why we chose cloth nappies

written by Bella Drew 25 November 2017

During pregnancy, we decided we wanted to use cloth nappies for numerous reasons;

When I spoke to Conor about cloth nappying he was all for it! Our decision to use cloth nappies was taken in different ways with different family members. Some took to it well, saying that it will be good in the long run, others said that they refuse to use them. So very mixed reviews for sure.

We heard about how much washing there will be and how gross (apparently) the nappies will be. But I am a determined person and I was determined to prove people wrong and prove to ourselves that we can do this.

We are now a month into cloth nappying and we’ve learnt a lot during this time.  So many people seem to be put off by the thought of cloth nappies for numerous reasons. The internet has so many resources and support groups out there for cloth bum mums, it’s really amazing.

We didn’t know how many nappies babies actually go through until now. She went through at least 9-10 a day, yes a day! We had a couple of leaks until we found the brand/fit that works best for her but luckily none of the dreaded poo explosions.


The chemicals

I tried to look up what was in everyday disposable nappies that you find in the supermarket but none of them had a list of their ingredients. This for me was a bit of a red flag. So I took to the internet. Still, I couldn’t find anything. Surely they wouldn’t mind telling parents whats in a nappy that will go on their babies skin. Clearly not. And not to mention the fact that a babies skin is five times thinner than adults.

The eco disposables were a lot more inclined to say whats in their nappies (maybe because they have nothing to hide). In fact, they displayed whats in their nappies at least twice on their website.

If you look on any cloth nappy website within minutes you will find the material they’re made out of. No secrets there.


Toxic shock syndrome, chemical burns and other wonderful things.

So we all know you can get toxic shock syndrome from keeping a tampon in for too long or wearing a sanitary towel for too long, well its the same for nappies.

The chemical Sodium Polyacrylate that absorbs and holds fluid in disposable nappies. This chemical has been linked to toxic shock syndrome and was banned from use in tampons in 1985. It can cause allergic reactions and it lethal to cats when inhaled. Its long-term safety to a child’s vulnerable genitals has not been assessed. In the short term, its super absorbency draws moisture away from the skin, in some instances causing severe nappy rash, and bleeding of perineal and scrotal tissue.

Which right there is another reason we chose cloth. No nappy rash, as the fabrics against baby’s skin, are natural so are kinder and gentler on the skin.

Problems additionally reported to the Consumer Protection Agency relating to disposable nappies include; plastic melting to the skin, choking on linings and paper tabs, the discovery of wooden splinters, ink staining the skin and chemical burns. Not nice huh?


Environmental impact

It is believed that each disposable nappy will take up to 500 years to decompose (whilst producing methane gas and releasing all those nasty chemicals to our atmosphere).

The average baby gets a nappy change every 6-10 times a day, that means a single baby will use between 6,500-10,000 nappies before potty training at around 2 and a half years old, more if potty training takes longer. Approximately 90-95% of British babies use disposable nappies, equalling a total of 3 billion nappies being thrown away each year, filling up our landfills and wreaking havoc on our environment. Even though it may seem like a baby doesn’t contribute much to those numbers, each baby wearing disposables creates about half a ton of waste a year. Making disposable nappies the 3rd largest consumer item, in landfills and represent 30% of all nonbiodegradable waste.

Not being funny but I want a better, safe, clean world of my child and grandchildren to grow up in. We as humans are destroying the planet, we need to take care of it as it takes care of us and is our sole lifeline.


The cost of disposables vs cloth.

On average a family spends up to £1600 on nappies for one child throughout 2 and a half years. So birth to potty training. If your child isn’t potty trained by then, well the price goes up for however long they’re still in nappies or pullups

 For a full cloth nappy kit that will last your baby from birth until they’re potty trained, and last for their siblings to come will only cost up to £300. If you bought preloved then this could be as cheap as you make it. Some people decide to get newborn cloth nappies and then birth to potty nappies like we’ve done, but others make use of the birth to potty nappies from birth. 

Families who cloth nappy save up to 60% compared to disposables, and that’s including the extra washload, electric and washing powder

Cloth nappies can be resold preloved as long as you take good care of them (which im sure you will). You can expect at least 70-80% of market value in return if you buy new and at least 60% of what you paid if you bought preloved. This means that although your full kit may have cost you £300 brand new, you could probably resell them for around £230-240. 

The only debatable factor is that cloth nappies are so addictive. You end up wanting all the cute prints and buying new nappies if they have a sale or bring out a new design. but at least you know it won’t be in the bin on a landfill site ever. 


Easier and earlier potty training

Cloth nappies aren’t designed to leave your baby dry. They will feel a little wet on their skin which is completely fine and won’t lead to nappy rash. Babies who wear cloth nappies are more likely to potty train 6 months earlier than a baby in disposables. This for us was a winner.



cloth nappies

If you’re still not convinced about cloth nappies, what are your concerns? Id love to help! 

Drop me a comment below and ill answer any questions to the best of my knowledge for you.

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Louise 25 November 2017 - 2:51 pm

Wow useful reading!… im currently trying cloth nappies for theo…but we have had a leakage, wee not poo.after only a short was a bit disheartened, would love to know who u recommened.. and yes def agree cute patterns are so addictive.
Lou x

Bella Drew 27 November 2017 - 10:23 am

Thankyou, oh no, what brand have you been trying? Id recommend hiring a kit from a local cloth library ( or there’s one online too ( You get to try all different brands and see which work best for you. The leak could have been down to a couple of things; the fit, Primrose has tiny little legs so we struggled to get a good fit around them for a while. It could have also been a compression leak, where clothing that is too tight messes with the absorbency. Or simply just putting them on right, as they’re put on differently to disposables it can take a few practice tries to get it right, we were guilty of this. Hopefully this helps a little, nappy libraries are a great help as they’re experts! Bella x

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