The Benefits of Cloth Nappies

Photography: Close Parent

By Kate Meads. This article originally appeared in Issue #3 of The Natural Parent Magazine. 

Wow where do you start? There are so many benefits surrounding using cloth nappies. Aside from being the obvious environmentally friendly choice, there are fantastic things like the cute factor, the super modern fabrics and the overall financial benefits you will feel in your wallet.

How easy are cloth nappies today?

It may surprise you to know that cloth nappies have evolved into modern day wonders. They are highly absorbent, they fit well, some are so trim you wont believe it and they are just like using a disposable nappy as well.

Gone are the days of soaking, scrubbing, folding and pins. Nowadays you flush a liner away with any nasties on it, give the nappy a quick rinse and fire it in the washing machine and let the machine do all of the work. Once it is washed, all it takes is one peg to pop it on the line when you are hanging out your household washing. Wow that was easy!

Also, in many cases the cloth nappies contain runny number threes better than a disposable, so you will have less leaks which means less washing overall. We found that whenever our son leaked out of a disposable in the early days, it meant we had to change all of his clothes and his bedding, which was not much fun in the middle of the night. Once we switched to a good quality cloth nappy we were actually doing less washing.

The cute factor!

Have you seen the nappies around today? There is a huge selection of prints and colours, brands and styles. You can get nappies with frills and lace, stripes, fluffy cuddly fabrics, cute pictures and so much more.

I love the summertime at my coffee groups when all of the kids are toddling around in their gorgeous, cute, colorful cloth nappies. It almost feels exciting. I can understand why many of us get a bit of an obsession going. There are so many different nappies out there that you just cant help yourself, “I must have more…’

I have a huge number of brands that I carry around with me to my workshops and I feel so proud to be able to represent so many local nappy companies that have such fabulous nappies available to Kiwi Mums.

So what about the environment?

Did you know that your child will be changed around 5,500 times between the age of 0-2.5 years? This is an enormous number of nappy changes. If you are having two babies – then you can double it, three babies – triple it, and so on.

Disposable nappies are responsible for around 10% of our domestic household waste that heads off to landfill every day. With over 145,000 babies in nappies in New Zealand, this means that there are around 1 million nappies going to landfill everyday in New Zealand.

Some of us are unaware of the massive impact our newborn baby has on the environment. In my household in the early days, we doubled the amount of rubbish we were throwing away each week. Sometimes you are too tired to take much notice but when you do actually take a look at it, this tiny little person is often creating more waste than two adults put together.

Another item that is often forgotten about is wipes. If you use disposable wipes for your baby you will use thousands of these too, when they can easily be replaced with a dozen old flannels. I encourage new mums to shout themselves some lovely new face cloths and use all of their old ones for wiping baby’s bottom.

See next page for more, including how much you can save by using cloth nappies…

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