- Cloth nappies cause nappy rash
This is a common misconception about cloth nappies and has some truth to it if we are talking about the old style terry flats which are made of cotton, terry toweling or flannel. These materials aren’t nearly as breathable as natural fibres like bamboo and hemp and often once the nappy was wet, because they didn’t have some sort of stay dry liner, moisture would be sitting directly against baby’s bottom. Modern cloth nappies nearly always have some sort of stay dry fabric sewn in that wicks moisture away into the absorbent layers below. Old style cloth nappies were also often accompanied by plastic pilchers/covers which retain heat. Moisture plus heat is always going to be an issue with persistent nappy rash.
Old style terry flats were also often soaked in chemicals such as bleach and napisan which can irritate delicate skin and contribute to nappy rash and allergies. Modern cloth nappies require no soaking and the use of any chemicals is not recommended.
Modern Cloth nappies these days are made to be super absorbent, breathable and are generally topped with a stay-dry fabric (suede cloth, fleece etc) against baby’s bottom. Some natural fibres used also have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Some people even end up using cloth nappies as they have found disposables to be the cause of nappy rash and allergies.
- Cloth nappies use water to wash them so they must be worse for the environment!
Cloth nappies obviously require water to wash them, this is unavoidable but did you know it takes 2.3 times MORE water to make one disposable than it does to wash an entire load of cloth nappies! Disposable nappies use huge amounts of water in their manufacture which is something a lot of people don’t realise. Modern cloth nappies don’t require soaking or bleaching like older style cloth nappies so this significantly reduces the amount of water used.
A couple of ways you can counteract the water used in washing cloth nappies is to add your regular washing after a quick rinse cycle. You can also attach a hose to your washing machine to drain all the water onto your garden!
- Cloth nappies leak more than disposables
Again, this may have been an issue with older style cloth nappies but these days you will find they are just as absorbent, if not more so, than disposable nappies. Modern cloth nappies are made with super absorbent materials and have a waterproofing outer layer (PUL, fleece etc) that is either built in or put on as a separate cover. There is also the option of adding extra boosting so you can customise a nappy to suit your individual baby’s needs. Because older styles of nappies needed to be folded, they were often ill fitting meaning there was often leakage out the legs, front and back. Most modern cloth nappies are made with elastic sitting around the legs and the waist and are constructed to have a really snug fit whether they are sized or a one-size-fits-all design.
- I don’t have time to use cloth nappies / I can’t be bothered with all the washing
This is often the first reaction when we think about using cloth nappies, especially when you speak to older generations who will give you countless experiences of endless soaking, washing and folding and sure, they are a bit of extra work when we are talking about older styles of cloth nappies.
Modern cloth nappies are extremely simple to use, you wash them just like you would wash your clothes. If you have enough, you can often get away with only an extra 2-3 load’s of washing per week. It only takes about 10 minutes, if that, to hang them out on the line to dry and you also have the option of popping them in the dryer on a low setting if need be. The work flow is similar in that instead of putting a used nappy in the bin you put it in a dry bucket and when the bucket is full it goes in the washing machine as opposed to the bin outside.
Because they are designed like a disposable nappy they are just as easy to put on and there is no folding required, you simply take them off the line and put them back on the shelf. Honestly, you do enough extra washing with a baby anyway that a few extra loads a week really don’t make much of a difference and you have the extra benefit of never having to do a late night dash to the shops because you have run out of nappies!
- Cloth nappies are big and bulky
Again, when talking about old style cloth nappies this could be true, they were extremely bulky especially on a newborn and it was often hard to get clothes to fit well over the top. These day’s modern cloth nappies can be just as trim as a disposable, especially if you use a sized nappy, and there are even extra small sizes available for newborns. They are designed to be a snug fit with the bulk of the nappy only being where it is needed and the snaps and Velcro allow you to get a nice firm fit depending on the shape and size of your baby.