1. What are the benefits of using Real Nappies?
- On average a baby will use around 5,000 nappies (based on an average use of 50 nappies per week for a newborn and 35 per week for an older baby – this calculation is based on a 2 ½ year period many take longer to potty train, therefore this is a conservative estimate)
- For a 2 ½ year period disposable nappies will cost around £800 *
*These prices are based on Mothercare offers 2007 Spring Catalogue pages 268-269
Whatever type of nappy you use it will have an environmental impact. However, disposable nappies do cause a significant problem to our crowded landfill sites, where they take around 300 years to biodegrade and during the process of decomposition release methane gas, a more potent greenhouse gas than C02. If you wish to use Real Nappies and reduce the environmental impact you can do the following:
- Choose more environmentally friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp and bamboo.
- Use ‘A’ rated appliances
- Wash at 40, or 60c. Do not boil wash
- Do not use fabric conditioner – it is unnecessary and reduces absorbency
- Use eco-friendly washing powders
- Minimise tumble drying – line dry, or use an airer
- Do not iron nappies
- Try and encourage potty training from around 18 months of age
Real nappies keep babies hips apart at the right angle, they do not contain chemical gels so do not over dry babies skin, modern nappies are also more breathable as are often made of more natural materials. Babies in real nappies should potty train much earlier due to the association between being wet and emptying their bladder.
2. How many nappies will I need?
If using Real Nappies exclusively then it is recommended that you have between 18-24 nappies and 4 – 6 waterproof covers (if required). This will ensure that you have enough nappies for a full wash load twice, or (for a newborn) three times per week.
3. Where can I buy my nappies from?
There are many independent stockists, agents and high street retailers now stocking Real Nappies. For further details go to In your Area.
4. What else will I need?
Once the baby has been weaned then it is recommended that you use washable, or flushable liners. If there is any regularity to your babies bowel motions then you will only need to use liners for this nappy. Quite often for a newborn baby liners are not required as the motions are not formed and will simply soak through.
If using liners there is no need to soak nappies as any solid waste is being flushed down the toilet and the nappy is just wet.
For newborn nappies then soaking may be required to avoid staining. If soaking you could use one of the soaking solutions below (per 5 ltrs of water), please note that if using domestic borax or sanitising powder then you may only be required to rinse thoroughly rather than washing:
- White distilled vinegar (2-3 tbs)
- Sodium Bicarbonate (1 tbs)*
- Domestic Borax ( 1 tbs)*
- Tea Tree oil (5 drops)
- Sanitising Powder (1 tbs)
- *Not to be used on nappies or waterproof covers (wraps) that have velcro.
It is possible to wash your nappies along with your babies clothes, however if you decide to soak, or wash separately you may wish to store in a lidded bucket. A nappy mesh is also useful to transfer the nappies into the washing machine.
5. What are my Real Nappy options?
Real Nappies are inconvenient
Disposables are very convenient, especially for daytrips and holidays – which is what they were originally designed for. However, real nappies are becoming easier to use and only amount to 2 extra 60c wash loads per week. For some Real Nappies no additional time is needed to change the baby. If using real nappies you also do not have to go to the shops every time you run out, and carry them home.
Real Nappies leak
There is no reason why real nappies should leak. If they did leak then there is a problem that can easily be rectified. Most common reason for leaking is that the nappy is the incorrect size for the baby. If however the baby is being changed regularly and is just a heavy wetter then we would recommend alternative materials such as bamboo, or the use of booster pads.
Real Nappies cause nappy rash
The type of nappy you use does not influence frequency of nappy rash. Urine is sterile so does not cause nappy rash, faeces however is not. To prevent nappy rash a baby should be changed frequently (around 5-8 changes per day) and if your baby has had a bowel motion change immediately.
Although Real Nappies do not cause nappy rash, if a baby does develop a rash then the best advice would be to leave the babies nappy off and allow the skin to breathe. This is not always possible, so if you do need to use a nappy then we would recommend a barrier cream to prevent the wetness from irritating the skin further. You could also use a fleece liner, or pocket nappy that will lock wetness away from the babies skin.
Real Nappies are too bulky
Some Real Nappies are more bulky than disposables, however this is not a negative thing as it keeps the babies hips apart at the right angle. For babies who are toddling the extra padding can help protect their coccyx
You cannot use Real Nappies at night
There is no reason why Real Nappies cannot be used at night. Fabrics such as bamboo are 60% more absorbent than cotton. If you find that your nappy leaks because it is over wet then you can simply add more padding with the aid of booster pads.
Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to Contact Us