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Cloth or disposable nappies - am I made even to consider it?

47 replies

deegward · 18/01/2003 22:32

I have just finished reading an article in today's Times, regarding the pros and cons of using cloth nappies. I briefly flirted with this idea when I was expecting my ds, (now nearly 3) but dismissed it as I was going back to work.

This time I will at home full time, and the environmental argument does sway me, and how hard can it be, our Mums did it! What do Mumsnetters think, has anyone tried and failed, or tired and succeeded, I would really like to know. #2 isn't due until end of March so still have time to consider.

OP posts:
Tissy · 20/01/2003 09:37

I'm another Totsbots fan, they are thick and absorbent, never leak, and look so cute!I use fleece liners for home, disposable for nursery, and Bumpy wraps over the top. If you get the unbleached terry nappies, then you don't have to worry about your whites not being right!

Tissy · 20/01/2003 09:42

Like Susan, I would like to put in a good word for Miranda, at Twinkle Twinkle , she has a huge range, gives spot-on advice and her service is superb. BTW I have nothing against the nappy lady

forest · 20/01/2003 12:26

I'm another one that loves cloth nappies. I used Plush Pants and Vicki was very helpful - I bought a selection of different nappies to begin with as I never realised there was so many different kinds. I found to my surprise I liked the unbleached terry square the best of that selection (also tried a prefold, totsbot, motherease and Imse Organic shaped one). I use a nappy gripper instead of nappy pins as it is much easier. I splashed out on the wraps and use the bumpy day wraps which were £11 each (only use 3) but they are the best ones I tried.
It took me a while to work out which was the best way to fold the terries (they came with instructions on loads of different ways to fold them). I had a bit of leakage problems to begin with but I didn't follow the advice to wash them 3 times before using - the more they are washed the more absorbent they become. I have 16 and wash them every 4 days (only use 4 a day) and as I have an automatic washing machine I find it isn't too much of a strain to wash them - just open the door, add a bit of powder and switch it on - very simple
I think there are many environmental issues that people don't think about when comparing disposables and reusables. To make a disposable requires a load of energy - to fell trees; produce paper; make plastic; transporting raw materials; bleaching the materials; producing the nappy; transporting the finished product; the consumer probably driving to collect the nappies and finally the rubbish men collecting them to take to the tip . All this requires a lot of water and fuel. And remember all this effort is for a nappy that is used just once. To compare that to using your washing machine twice a week just seems silly.

cerys · 20/01/2003 13:49

I've got 2 in cloth as well and I also go out to work (was fulltime, now part-time.) It just means remembering to put the washing machine on when they've both gone to bed, and to put nappies on the airer before I go to bed!

Both my DDs are in TotsBots and Rikki or Air Rikka/Air Flow wraps, with fleece wraps for night. I did use terry squares on the baby when she was tiny, but they are both in size 2 TotsBots now (there's exactly 2 years between my girls).

Nursery have been brilliant about the nappies and only twice has DD1 come home with the vest between her nappy and the wrap!! I like the fact we're not contributing to landfill, plus they have saved us shedloads of money, and most of all the girls look so cute with their cloth bottoms!

I have bought from Morag the Nappy Lady, Vicki at Plushpants and Miranda at Twinkle Twinkle and they've all been very helpful.

susanmt · 20/01/2003 14:22

You can even buy kits/patterns/materials to make your own nappies!! )I have a kit, but the sewing maching broken so its still a kit. You can get them from

deegward · 20/01/2003 14:27

God, I didn't realise there were so many people using cloth nappy out there, I thought I was going to be viewed as a weirdo. It seems that most of you waited until the baby was of a certian size before goign down this route, which is great. SPoke to dh and he was bemused, but as long as cloth was goign to be easy to put on, willing to be convinced.

Have sent a questionnaire to nappy lady, so look forward to see what that tells me. Thank you everyone who has given brilliant advice. Noone seems to have taken this opportunity to poo poo (excuse the pun) the idea

OP posts:
KeepingMum · 20/01/2003 14:47

We've been using cloth nappies since ds came home from hospital. The first ones were Mothercare shaped terries which I eventually found to be rubbish, not very absorbent at all, but didn't realise that you didn't have to change your baby every hour and a half! Then on the advice of Miranda at Twinkle on the Web we changed to Tots Bots and Proraps. These have been brilliant. I don't think you can compare the environmental costs, I soak the wet nappies in eco friendly soaker and then just do a cold rinse and dry outside or on our radiators. The poohy ones go in our normal wash (after rinsing the lumps off).
Expecting number two in July and hoping to get ds out of his Tots Bots so new one can go straight into them.

susanmt · 20/01/2003 16:12

I didn't wait, mine went straight into cloth at birth, (well, when we got home) and had no probs. But thhen my dd was 9lb12 and my ds 9lb3, so there wasn't a smallness problem!!

bloss · 20/01/2003 22:12

Message withdrawn

anais · 20/01/2003 22:19

I bought my first lot of nappies from Green Baby, and my second lot from Twinkle Twinkle. TWinkle Twinkle are great, but I never got replies to my emails - if you want a repsonse, you have to phone

I contacted the Nappy Lady for advice and she was wonderful - even sending emails back and forth while she was on holiday! I never actually bought anything from her, but only because she didn't sell the nappies I wanted. The advice service is excellent, I would recommend it.

Jimjams · 20/01/2003 22:37

I'm trying ds2 out on a fluffy fleece yummy wrap tonight-wish me luck! It looks gorgeous.

DS1 has a washable on tonight as well. I'm trying to move him into training pants by day and washables by night. We're meant to get free disposables from the NHS for him but a) they don't fit him (they fit ds2 who's 1 - ds1 is 3 and a half) and b) they're horrible- and I would prefer him to feel when he goes.

Does anyone know of any good BIG nappies?

PamT · 20/01/2003 23:18

Another site worth a try is snazzypants who do a wide range of different nappies in lots of sizes. The site is run by a very helpful lady.

clairewithtwins · 21/01/2003 03:49

I have twins and am using cloth nappies with them.
I have done it for 7 & half months now without too much trouble although my washing machine might have something to say!! I use three different types motherease/ & earthwise just to confuse people who come to help. The motherease ones are the best as they dry as quickly as a normal hand towel would which for me is a good thing given the amount that I do. I have also had no problem with nappy rash although the fact that I am only using cotton wool and warm water I think helps too. It really isn't as difficult as people make it out to be. I have also noticed on the odd occasions that I have used disposables their bottoms have come up in a slight rash which has gone again once the cloth nappies are back on!!

Good luck and take the plunge think of the money you'll save and what else you could spend it on!

SimonHoward · 21/01/2003 07:37


DW and I went down the route of using cloth nappies when DD is at home and easy to change and then using disposables for when she is out and about and at night.

We found this a good balance between the 2.

bossykate · 21/01/2003 08:15

hi deegward, i would say take the plunge with reusables right away. we toyed with the idea of reusables but thought it would be better to wait until after the first six weeks (things would have "settled down" we thought). anyway, the right opportunity to switch never came up... then ds started at nursery and it was all academic. so my advice would be if you are thinking about it, go for it immediately or you might never get around to it!

Enid · 21/01/2003 09:54

Jimjams, where do you get the fleecy nappies from?

susanmt · 21/01/2003 10:18

I have a fleecey night wrap from - yellow fleece on the inside, zebra stripe on the outside! Gorgeous!

Jimjams · 21/01/2003 14:57

The fleecey cover worked- it's one of those statinator ones or whatever- from the twinkle site posted earlier. I thought it would leak- but not all- and it's gorgeous- all blue with yellow stars- yummy.

DS1's fuzzibunz XL worked as well- but a bit on the small side. Anyone know anything larger?

Actually the great news is ds1 has started shouted (mmm un ooo) (done a poo) every time he's done something today (wee or poo) and has then rushed off to the loo (too late- but still). We're almost there.....

EmmaTMG · 21/01/2003 16:04

I recently found out that I'm expecting again and after reading all this I'm pretty much convinced that I'll do my bit for the enviroment this time around but I not sure how much of what I'll need. There are so many good points on here and links to other sites but I can't seem to find a list of what I'll need.
Could you lovely ladies enlighten me on what we will need. It will be greatly appreciated.

Tissy · 21/01/2003 16:59

I would recommend talking to one of the nappy sellers mentioned below, and getting a selection of different types to try out before you make your final decision- the choice is very personal. It is also worth finding out if there is a nappy laundering service in your area: they will supply nappies and wraps, and take them away to wash once or twice a week, all for a small fee.

FWIW I'd go for Tots Bots without velcro (nippa version-much snugger fit)we got 12 I think, 3 nippas,4 wraps (don't need to be washed every time and dry very quickly)and a couple of dozen washable wipes. Also a very big bucket with lid from Do-It-All for storage of wet/ dirty ones. How often you wash/ whether to soak is up to you. However, you may prefer an All-in -one style of nappy (take longer to dry) or a one-size birth to potty nappy (may be more fiddly to start with ). You may also need some boosters (2 or 3) for night-time use, although my dd never needed them with Tots Bots as they're so absorbent. Oh, and liners- fleece are probably best(same number as number of nappies), but if your baby will be going to nursery, then disposable/ flushable are probably kinder on the staff! If you buy some that aren't suitable you will always be able to sell them on- UKP has a selling forum and I noticed today that Twinkle Twinkle also has a sales board now- you won't be stuck with nappies you can't use. HTH

pupuce · 21/01/2003 22:23

Tissy - I have Tots Bots with and without velcro... I prefer with (same snug fit but faster to use!)
At nursery they had no problem with fleece but they didn't always empty them... so this was DH's job at night

Eve · 21/01/2003 22:37

I used cotton with DS1, but used a company called Cotton Bottoms which collects them once a week and does all the laundry.

They were good, but I got fed-up with the smell of wee in the house and with having to remember to leave out the dirties for collection. (They were collected at 3am...) We always forgot and then we had 2 weeks worth of dirties which really ponged. I was constantly getting fined for forgetting the delivery which anoyed me after a while.

If you are more organised than me, they were good and saved you having to do the washing.

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