WHAT ARE REUSABLE NAPPIES
Types of Reusable Nappies
Reusable nappies are washable nappies that can be used again and again. They consist of an absorbent layer, a waterproof layer and an optional biodegradable or washable liner. Modern designs make using, washing and drying easy. There are three main types of reusable nappies:
Common Reusable Nappy Materials
Reusable nappies are made up of either cotton, bamboo, hemp or microfibre. Hemp and bamboo are the most absorbent materials but take longer to dry. Cotton is very versatile for both absorbency and drying. Microfibre, being synthetic, dries the quickest but not as absorbent in comparison to hemp, bamboo and cotton.
Flat Nappies include terries, muslins and prefolds, which are usually cotton. Flat nappies will need some folding and are a two part system so the absorbent nappy needs a waterproof wrap placed over the top. No pins are needed if you use a nappy nippa or fitted waterproof wrap. Flat nappies are good for day and night-time use. They can also be used in other nappy systems to boost the nappy for absorbency – for example, placing the nappy inside a pocket nappy.
The ‘newborn fold’ is a good fold for pre-weaned, runny poo containment. When your baby gets older the prefold can simply be folded in a different way – boy fold (maximum absorbency at the front) and girl fold (maximum absorbency in the middle) – making them a versatile and economical nappy choice. See the video’s below for a demonstration on how to fold a prefold nappy.
Sizing: They come in 3 sizes but most parents just buy the small size and find it lasts until potty training. Boys are more likely to need the regular size, especially for nights.
Prem, 4 – 9lbs / 2 – 4kg. Small, 8 – 15lbs / 4 – 7kg. Regular, 15 – 35lbs / 7 – 15kg.
Cost: around £1 – £3 per nappy.
Material: 100% Cotton or 100% Certified Organic Cotton.
Fitted (Shaped) Nappies
Fitted nappies are shaped nappies with soft, elasticated legs and waist. They are a two-part system which means that all fitted nappies need a waterproof wrap to cover the nappy. Fitted nappies are made of breathable cotton, bamboo or other natural material and do not require folding. They usually come sized going by your baby’s weight and are particularly good for night-time. Depending by brand, sizes of a fitted nappy are usually:
Size 1: 6 – 18 lbs / 3 – 8 kg.
Size 2: 9 – 35 lbs / 4 – 16 kg.
Size 3: 35+ lbs / 16+ kg.
Cost: around £11 per nappy.
A waterproof wrap is worn over flat or shaped nappies. They are machine-washable and come either sized (Size 1, Size 2, Size 3) depending on your baby’s weight or One Size (Birth-to-Potty) adjusting by poppers as your baby grows. Waterproof wraps are usually made of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) and are durable, breathable and dry very quickly. There are also plastic-free wraps made of wool (Disana). Some wraps come either with poppers or hook and loop (Velcro).
Our recommendation is one waterproof wrap to every three shaped or flat nappy changes. Waterproof wraps made of PUL can be reused more than once if not heavily soiled. Simply wipe with a wet cloth and reuse.
Sizing: depends on brand, but usually approx:
Size 1: 8 – 18lbs / 4 – 9kg.
Size 2: 18 – 40lbs / 8 – 18kg.
Size 3: 40 – 60lbs / 18 – 27kg.
One Size: 8 – 35lbs / 4 – 16kg.
Cost: Size waterproof wraps start from £8. One size waterproof wraps start from £12.
All-in-One / Pocket Nappies
All-in-one and pocket nappies are just as easy to put on as a disposable nappy and are a popular daytime nappy. All-in-one’s consist of a built in waterproof layer with an absorbent insert attached on the inside. Pocket nappies allow the insert to be snapped in and out, or placed inside a sewn pocket. All-in-one and pocket nappies are usually one-size (birth-to-potty) fitting a baby from approx 8 – 35 lbs / 3.6 – 16 kg by adjusting the poppers at the front.
Cost: from around £14 each. Extra absorbent inserts around £2.
Disposable bio-degradable paper liners or washable fleece liners can be placed inside any nappy to catch solids and prevent the nappy overstaining from the poo. When changing a nappy, simply remove the liner throwing away disposable liners in the waste bin. Do not flush disposable liners. Washable liners can be placed in a bucket or wet bag with used reusable nappies. Some paper liners, if only wet and not soiled, can even be washed and used again.
Cost: Biodegradable liners cost around £3 for 100 sheets, and washable liners from around £3 for a pack of 5.
Boosters are great for increasing the absorbency of a reusable nappy. They are made of natural materials such as bamboo and hemp, which are the most absorbent material. Boosters are particularly good for a night-time nappy system, or if you have a heavy wetter.
Cost: around £8 for a pack of five boosters.
Bucket / Wet Bag
Used nappies can either be stored in a bucket (any bucket with a lid will do) or a wet bag. These items are sold by most reusable nappy suppliers and manufacturers. Wet bags are also essential if you are using reusable nappies out and about or on holiday.
Cost: around £12 for a branded nappy bucket. Wet bags on around £8.
Reusable Wet Wipes
Reusable wet wipes are a great plastic-free alternative to single-use wet wipes. A pack of wipes could be made of bamboo or cotton, making them very absorbent. How to use: simply wet the wipe with water, use it and then put in the wash with used reusable nappies. Click here for our blog on how to make your own reusable wipes and reduce the cost even further!
FREE REUSABLE NAPPY VOUCHER
APPLY FOR A FREE VOUCHER WORTH UP TO £70
If you are an expectant parent, a parent or a foster carer living in one of our voucher-participating London Boroughs with a baby under 18 months or under the age of 5 with a disability requiring nappies, you are eligible to apply for a £70 nappy voucher. Your voucher can assist with the upfront cost of buying reusable nappies or contribute to a paid-for washable nappy laundry service.
Ready to Get Started?
Reusable nappies will save you waste, save you money, and are very easy to use. On our Get Started page, we offer tips for what you need to get started, how to wash and dry reusable nappies, and where to you can buy.