5 Reasons we love cloth nappies

When I first heard about cloth nappies, I just thought that it was used by people who couldn’t afford disposables or people just stuck in the past. But when I found out more about it, I realised just how amazing they are, how much money you could save, how much less waste you could produce and you could choose the cutest prints (way more fun than boring disposal nappy prints!).

A generation ago, cloth nappies were used by everyone, so most adults today were brought up in them. We would often hear stories about our parents washing them in various ways and how they often wished for a more convenient alternative. Hence the reason disposables were created, for convenience. But convenience comes with a price, in more ways than one.

But there are still those that use cloth nappies, and they have become so much easier to use than before. It’s still not very common in South Africa, but the community is growing very rapidly and there are more and more small businesses popping up making them.

I was first introduced to modern day cloth nappies by a cousin of mine who used them for her son, and then my sister got into it for her son. I was intrigued, and asked a few questions, and I remember making a mental note to look into it when I have a baby as it was something I wanted to do. It wasn’t hard to choose, I was sold from the moment I heard about it! And so was my husband.

I have compiled just 5 reasons why we love using cloth, so here they are :

  1. Environmentally friendly

Unfortunately, like many things created a generation ago, single use items have caused huge problems for our environment leading to pollution, plastics in our oceans and a huge build up of plastic that isn’t biodegradable. Even the nappies that are labelled biodegradable need specific conditions to do so, they won’t biodegrade in a landfill.

Instead of buying just 25 nappies you can re-use, you end up buying hundreds of nappies that just get thrown away. Most of the landfills in South Africa are full or close to over-filling, those of us who are able to,should try to make a difference.

It also takes a lot of water to produce a disposable, so even though it seems like you’re using a lot of water to wash your nappies, you’re actually using less by not buying disposables. There are nappy companies with factories in Cape Town, using so much of our water to produce enough nappies to meet demands. We are currently living in a major drought and are restricted to 50 liters of water per person per day, it can be done, and many families who use cloth part-time and even full-time manage it quite easily. It just requires a bit of thought. A bit of extra effort can go a long way.

And because most cloth nappies are made from natural fibers like cotton, hemp or bamboo, it is a lot more sustainable than the chemical products used to produce disposables.

2. A huge money saver

When you consider how many nappies you might use in one child’s life, you might be quite surprised. Now add another child or two into the family and you’re dealing with huge numbers. Nappies cost money, and we just felt like it’s such a waste to buy endless amounts of nappies, only to throw them away after 2 or 3 hours of usage. We would rather use that money for something else. Initially, buying cloth seems expensive because you buy them all upfront, but when you realise you won’t need to buy any more for the whole time your baby is in nappies, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. If you work out how much money you could save for just one baby, the savings exponentially increase if you have a second or third child because you can reuse the nappies for each child. We just felt that if we could save money, we would, and we could use that money for so many other things like towards education or special family holidays.

Now obviously, cloth nappies can be expensive and you could end up spending nearly the same amount than if you used disposables. For some people, money isn’t an issue, and splurge on some amazing nappies. The great thing is that there are nappy solutions for every budget and many DIY options out there. It only takes a little research to figure out what will work best for your family.

We were looking to save money, so buying new nappies in bulk and buying some Pre-Loved nappies is what we decided to do. We bought a whole lot of flats, which are like the old school toweling nappies just with different fabrics, and nappy covers. It takes a few minutes to learn how to fold, and we love them! We also invested in some pocket nappies, which are very similar to how disposables work, you just stuff the nappy with an insert or two and put it on as you would a disposable. I also purchased a few second hand nappies made by some WAHMs (work at home mom’s) as these are generally a bit more pricey, so I could have a few special prints like Star Wars!

3. Kinder to your baby’s skin

Due to the fact that you’re using natural fibers on your baby’s skin, it makes it so much more breathable than disposables. This means no or very little bum cream (another money saver)!

I have heard so many stories from moms using cloth, never having to deal with nappy rash, except for the occasional redness during teething. We have been using cloth for about 4 months we and we haven’t had any skin issues yet. If you do decide to use bum cream, it needs to be cloth friendly, so many moms just use coconut oil. Personally, we use Ou Lief olive oil balm, it’s amazing!

4. So customisable

Because every baby has their own shape and size, you can play around with different brands and styles to find out what works best for you and your baby. Some brands are better for long skinny babies and others cater for those chubby thighs.

We use lots of flats, meaning those square pieces of fabric you fold and you use a waterproof cover over. And one of the reasons I love flats is because there are so many different ways you can fold them depending on whether you have a girl or boy, long or short, thick or thin. There is a fold out there that will fit every baby well.

The great thing is there are so many different brands and types of nappies, so you can really find what works best for you and your budget.

5. The cute prints!

Of course you could buy nappies in plain white if you’d like, but you could also buy nappies that come in any shade or colour, and even get custom nappies made from your favourite movie. Think rainbows, Harry Potter, superheroes, beautiful florals and animals. There is so much option out there.

I can’t wait until summer, so I can show off some of the cute prints I have!

Do you use cloth nappies? I’d love to hear from you, why do you use them and what do you like about them?

Or are you interested in using cloth, if you have any questions please ask away and I’ll try answer you as best as I can!

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