Cloth Nappy FAQ’s

Image credit Paige Harrall

When you start something new, no matter what it is, there will always be a lot of questions, a bit of trial and error and sometimes a little perseverance is needed. Well we are here to help!  If you have a question that we don’t have the answer for, please post it in the comments, email us or give us a call and we will endeavour to find the answer for you!

How many nappies do I need?

A rough guide to having a baby in full time cloth is around 15-20 day time nappies and an additional five for night. This will vary slightly depending on how frequently you want to wash. Newborns will require more frequent changing and washing. But don’t worry, if your budget only allows you to buy a few at a time, thats great, just start slowly and add to your stash over time. Every disposable you switch to reusable makes a difference so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

How many night nappies do I need?

If you decide to invest in ‘Night’ nappies, you will need fewer of them but enough to see you through for nights between washes also allowing for dying time as they do tend to be bulkier and may take longer to dry. Specific made for purpose ‘night’ nappies aren’t always necessary. In most cases you can ‘boost’ a normal day nappy to enable it to be used a bit longer (see below for info on ‘boosting’). If your baby is a heavy wetter and more so at night then do try extra boosting before investing in specific types. A little trial and error might be required.

What type of nappies should I buy?

There are lots of different systems and brands of cloth nappies, and sometimes it might be a bit of trial and error to find what suits you and your baby. Some of it is down to personal preference and some of it is down to fit and style. You can try various nappies that ‘take your fancy’ before making a serious investment. If the nappy you choose doesn’t work out for you then try another, don’t be discouraged as each baby is a different size, shape etc so are the nappies. Buying preloved is a great way of trying out nappies as well as trial packs of individual nappies. Your local nappy library is also a great resource and you can usually hire kits to see what takes your fancy before investing too much cash. Of course, Team Babipur are alway on hand to support you with anything nappy related to get in touch and we will do out very best to help!

Do I need wraps for all my nappies?

Some nappies are ‘all in one’ which means that the inner absorbent layer is attached to the waterproof outer. Others are purely absorbent material such as a Tots Bots Bamboozle and will therefore need a protective waterproof layer to prevent wee from leaking out. For lots of  info please read our Guide to Cloth Nappy Jargon.

What ratio of nappies to wraps is best?

You don’t need to change the waterproof wrap each time unless it’s soiled with poop. Therefore we would recommended a ratio of one wrap to three inserts. This makes it a very economical nappy system and also can be useful if you need quicker drying times.

Can my baby use cloth nappies at nursery / daycare?

Modern cloth nappies are designed to be easy to use and can be used by anyone with very little instruction. Most of them are shape similar to disposable nappies. Once people have been shown how to fit them it shouldn’t be a problem. Here is a handy fit guide you can print off and give to your care provider.

Are cloth nappies easy to use?

Yes, definitely! Modern cloth nappies are easy to use, very few nappies types require any additional folding or prepping before putting on. A lot of it is down to personal preference and that can take a little while to work out, but you will definitely find your own way very soon. Sometimes when you are new to the world of cloth nappies it can seem a little overwhelming, but don’t fear, help is always on hand! The cloth nappy community is a wonderful place full of very willing parents always ready to give advice and support. One minute you will be seeking advice and before you know it, it will be you who is giving advice and spreading the cloth nappy love!

Do cloth nappies smell?

This is a common misconception and the answer is no! In fact, people often comment that they smell less than disposables. If your nappies do acquire a smell, it may be down to your wash routine so they may require a little more attention in that department. See our nappy washing guide here.

Do cloth nappies delay a baby’s development?

Babies are generally adaptable to their environment. Some cloth nappy users may find it the opposite, and their baby can sit easier in cloth for instance. The nicely padded bottom helps provide a cushion when they’re up and about, and there has been no evidence to suggest that cloth nappies delay walking either or affect gait. Consider the fact that most of our parents were probably raised in cloth and they have developed well. However it is understandable to be cautious and we all want the best start in life for our children. Remember all babies develop at their own pace. Of course, if you are worried speak to your health visitor or GP but be mindful they may not be personally experienced with cloth nappies. It is good practice to allow your baby /toddler ‘nappy free time’, whatever type of nappy you are using.

Can I resell nappies if I buy a brand that doesn’t suit me?

The preloved cloth nappy market has become very popular. There are lots of dedicated facebook groups now, some even specific to brands where you will find quite a focussed audience of buyers. Ebay has a strict policy on reselling used nappies so this is a bit tricky but not impossible. The better the condition of the nappy the higher the resale value. It’s a great place to buy nappies if you are starting out and want to try a few brands / styles, oh and of course find that gorgeous retired print you are after! Babipur has it’s it own buy, sell, trade page where you can find lots of bargains.

Where do I get nappies from?

Babipur Has a huge range of cloth nappies! If there is something you are after but we don’t stock, get in touch and we will try to help where possible. A lot of thought goes into the ethics, sustainability and safe working practices of the brands we stock, so that may be a reason behind why we don’t have them. Either way we are here to help.

Do normal clothes fit over the nappies?

Normal clothes do fit over cloth nappies, however you can buy vest extenders which will increase the amount of cloth at the gusset area – prolonging the usable life of the clothes. Some nappies are also bulkier than others. All of our clothing ranges at not only suitable for wearing with cloth nappies but also organic and GOTs certified. You can find out more about the reasons why organic clothing is important here.

I Can’t afford enough nappies straight away, do I have to buy loads before I can start using them?

As previously mentioned, every cloth nappy you use is one less in landfill and one less manufactured. You can increase your ‘stash’ inline with your budget. You don’t have to go ‘all out’ and buy in bulk. It is very common to cloth ‘part time’, its definitely not an all or nothing thing.

Can I just use cloth nappies some or the time or will my baby get confused if I swap and change?

You can use cloth on a part time basis, your baby won’t get confused at all, though as they get older, you may find they have ‘preferences’ to the nappies they’re wearing. Your baby will soon want to pick out their own nappy!

How do the council incentives work?

Some councils encourage the use of cloth nappies as it reduces the number sent to landfill. Schemes can include cash back incentives or trials packs. For further information contact your local Council or cloth nappy library. Babipur are very happy to support the cloth nappy incentive scheme so please get in touch if you are in our area.

How often should I change a cloth nappy?

Aim to change cloth nappies as you normally would with disposable nappies. Something around the three hours mark is a rough guide for a wet nappy. Many nappies have an incredible amount of absorbency and may go longer, others may require changing more frequently especially if your baby is a heavy wetter. Night nappy systems will happily go 12+ hours for most.

What is ‘boosting’?

Boosting is adding extra absorbency to a normal/standard nappy by using additional padding in the form of inserts. However many ‘inserts’ may also be given other names like boosters, doublers and soakers.

What do I do with dirty nappies?

Dirty nappies need to be stored in-between washing in either a secure nappy bucket or any bin which has an airtight lid or a zipped waterproof bag / wet bag.

What should I do with the poop?

Breastfed baby poop is water soluble and can go straight into your washing machine without rinsing. All other nappy poop needs to be flushed down the toilet. There are lots of ways to do this and you will find your own system that works for you. If you use washable liners this tends to make the process easier as you can just hold it under the flush of the toilet and it gets washed away.

Find our full nappy washing guide here

Are clothed bums more likely to get nappy rash?

Every baby is different, typically there is a reduced chance of skin rash, but you should also consider the teething can cause a rash and some babies cannot tolerate man-made fibres like fleece against their skin. An excessive build-up of detergent is also thought to cause irritation. So if your baby does suffer a rash please consider the possible cause and if you are at all unsure about the nature of your rash contact a healthcare professional such as GP or health visitor.

Can I use creams with cloth nappies?

Yes, you can. Creams can affect the nappies absorbency; so it is recommended that you should use a liner between baby’s skin and the nappy. You can find some suitable creams here.

How do I store dirty nappies when I’m out for the day?

Used soiled nappies can be stored in a waterproof or ‘wet’ bag. These can be zipped or pull cord to be sealed. Wet bags can be washed with your nappies or clothes (check for manufacturer washing instructions).

Other helpful resources:

Nappy Washing Guide

My Nappies are Leaking!

Guide to Cloth Nappy Jargon

Image credit to Siobhàn Danielle Draper Etherington from Capture the Rainbow Photography

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