Why cloth nappies?

The big question is – Why cloth nappies? What makes them so special?

For those who know me, they know how much I love cloth nappies, and how much 10414526_10154122141960104_6704683454548215322_n-1time I dedicate to promote them to families. I can talk for literally hours and hours about cloth nappies. I host local nappy meets, and run a non profit nappy library offering free cloth nappy trials to families. Click Peterborough Nappy Library to learn more.

We are lucky to be in a position to choose which  nappy system we think is best for our children. Everyone will have their differing opinions but I want to give you an informed choice. Disposables certainly have their benefits, but so do cloth nappies.

Here are my Pro Cloth-Anti Disposable reasons!

Disposable nappies were first patented in 1948, (67 years ago) and they take an average of 500 years to degrade in our landfills.

Each child uses on average 4000 nappies from birth to potty training (around 2.5 years)
But will use an average of 25 cloth nappies (big difference!)

We all know disposables contain chemicals, but do you know what chemicals?

Here are 2 chemicals found in disposable nappies-

Sodium Polyacrylate – Sodium polyacrylate is also known as Super absorbent polymer (SAP). It can hold up to 300 times it’s weight of tap water and up to 800times of distilled water.
In disposables nappies it is added in its Granular powder form, and it turns into the Gel substance we recognise in nappies.
Sodium Polyacrylate is also a known skin irritant and a known drying agent. It absorbs moisture and oils from the babies skin, and can cause abrasion irritations and drying of the skin.

TriButylTin – Greenpeace and The Women’s Environmental Network (WEN for short) found this chemical (A.K.A TBT) in the disposable nappies. The WEN found levels of more than 3.5 times the recommended value in the nappies. The chemical TBT is a toxic chemical and is also a known endocrine disruptor (can interfere with the body’s hormones), these disruptors can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. TBT can be absorbed by your babies skin, and it is known to change the sex in shell fish.
TBT is found in the plastic of the nappy. TBT was found in Pampers Ultra Dry nappies in May 2000.

Pampers® Ultra Dry nappies in May 2000
Pampers® Ultra Dry nappies in May 2000

Pampers® Ultra Dry nappies in May 2000

Pampers® Ultra Dry nappies in May 2000

Money Saving

I think it is well advertised that using cloth nappies saves you money. But, how can it save you money when Disposable nappies are always on some sort of offer, and the start up costs of cloth nappies are so expensive.

Children are in nappies for an average 2.5 years (30 months), many children do not potty train until 3+

Taking into account that nappies on average cost around £4.50 per pack, per week the average spend is around £19.50 a month. (Link to Aldi nappies at £4.49 per pack)
£19.50×30= £585 the cost of disposable nappies for one child for 30 months (not taking into the account newborns go through around 10 changes a day for the first 6-8weeks)

Cloth nappies can be brought in ready to go kits, for as little as £100-£375
Let’s work with the
The Ultimate £375 – For use from 7lbs:
15 Bumgenius FreeTime All In One ( Mix of both fastenings)
5 Bamboozle Stretchies size 1 for Night time natural
5 Bamboozle Stretchies size 2 for Night time natural
2 Motherease rikki small wraps  (Motherease fit the best under 10lbs)
1 Motherease rikki med wrap  10-20lbs
1 Totsbots med size 1 wrap  10-25lbs
1 Motherease Airflow Large wrap  20-35lbs
1 Totsbots Large Size 2 wrap  20-35lbs
6 Basic boosters for night time
300 Bambinex paper liners
(There are lots of different nappy brands and kits available to buy, the above is an example.)

I think it is important to note that you can also buy nappies pre-loved, making the savings even greater. There are several Facebook groups for buying and selling cloth nappies.

Which? Report says that it costs an average £1 a week to wash cloth nappies, over 30 months it is £130

£375+£130=£505 in total.
When your child has potty trained, these nappies can be used for any other children saving you on average £585 per child. Or, you can sell them and make some money back, making the end savings even bigger!

Fancy saving even more money? How about reusable wipes? You can make these yourself for as little as nothing or you can buy a ready to go kit for around £40.
CheekyWipes All in one wipes kit.

Disposable wipes can cost on average 59p per pack Aldi Wipes, and on average you can go through 2 packs a week.
£1.18 per week for 30 months = £153.40 over 30 months. so you can save yourself over £100 on one child.


So I have saved this reason till last, as although we all try to be environmentally conscience, I think money and knowing what is in disposable nappies means more to others (but that is of course my opinion)
The environmental reasons are just as important though, so I feel this needs a mention.

As mentioned above each child takes on average 30 months to potty train, this is an average figure so we need to give or take a few months. Every child is different.

But do you know numbers! how many nappies our children are going through? how many changes of nappies they are having?
These figures are not exact, I do not see how they can be, but we can get a pretty accurate guesstimate by searching online, but it can be an average of 4000 changes.

Disposable nappies contribute over 1.21 million tonnes of waste in our landfill, with a staggering 3 billion nappies thrown away each year.

Nappy waste is accountable for up to 4% of all household waste and is one of the most single identifiable category of household waste

If you wanted to read the latest study please see the link-
Lifecycle assessment study or reusable and disposable nappies 2008



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