Useful information and advice on using real, reusable, terry and cloth nappies on your baby.
Despite the fact that between 80 and 90% of parents still use disposable nappies on their children, due to government incentives and increased awareness of the environmental impact of disposable nappies, more and more parents are reverting back to cloth.
Things have come a long way in the world of reusable nappies and contrary to popular opinion they aren't as complicated or time consuming as you may think. Due to the availability of shaped cloth nappies fitted with popper, Velcro or gripper fastenings, there is no need to fiddle about folding or pinning your baby's nappy. Additionally, your midwife is likely to be more than willing to demonstrate how to fit a cloth nappy properly and to give you advice on using a cloth nappy system.
Because of the absorbent nature of cloth nappies you will need some form of additional waterproof protection. If you decide to use regular towelling nappies you will need to invest in several nappy wraps (these come in every colour and pattern imaginable) - these don't need to be washed every time you change your baby's nappy, only when soiled. Initially you will probably need at least five nappy wraps. Alternatively, nappies with built in wraps are also available.
Many people choose to use nappy liners (these tend to be biodegradable and so can be flushed down the toilet) which help to draw excess moisture away from baby's skin and to contain solids. This makes washing and storing nappies easier and often means that nappies are sufficiently cleaned on a cooler wash.
There are a huge range of reusable nappies available and they vary greatly in shape and size so it is important to take advantage of the trial packs offered by cloth nappy providers to ensure that you get the style and fit just right. This will help to minimise leakages and make sure your baby as comfortable as possible.
Another popular myth relating to reusable nappies is that as moisture is not drawn away from baby's skin they exacerbate nappy rash. Research has shown that this is not the case; it is only when a nappy is left on too long that baby's skin becomes irritated and this applies to both disposable and reusable nappies.
Aside from the environmental benefits of using cloth nappies (especially if they are cleaned using a 40 degree wash and left to dry naturally), they avoid the use of synthetic materials and absorbent chemicals and allow your baby's skin to breath. They also enable you to monitor whether your baby is taking on enough liquid. Additionally, many believe that the use of reusable nappies facilitates toilet training as from a very young age a baby learns to associate sensations with having a wet nappy.
As newborns need to be changed approximately twelve times a day, you will need to purchase enough nappies for at least two days continual use. However, more would be beneficial especially if you're not planning to wash everyday. Although this does mean that the initial cost is greater than that associated with using disposables; reusable nappies should last beyond your baby's nappy wearing life and can then be used for siblings or sold and so represent a much more economical choice.
The washing and drying of reusable nappies is a factor that puts many people off, especially with all the extra work that already comes with having a new baby! However, nappy laundering services are widely available and provide an incredibly simple way of keeping your baby in clean, cloth nappies. A nappy laundering service will deliver clean nappies weekly and at the same time pick up your dirty nappies for laundering, taking all of the work out of using reusable nappies.
Whether you choose to use reusable nappies for the environmental benefit they provide or because they can be kinder on your babies skin; by trying several different cloth nappies to find the one you and your baby are happy with, reusable nappies provide you with an economical and ecological way of keeping your baby clean and dry.
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