Considering cloth nappies? Be prepared to answer some questions from skeptical friends and family. Any outspoken cloth nappy enthusiast has faced the barrage of objections from people who disagree with their decision to go reusable.
Perhaps you have an unpleasant image of cloth nappies yourself, based on common assumptions and stories from your grandmother. We don’t blame you! The world is ripe with false myths about cloth nappies. In reality, cloth nappying has come a long way and is far from the labour-intensive process that it once was. Hopefully, we can dispel some common myths for you or your critics.
CLOTH NAPPIES INVOLVE PRICKLY PINS AND DIFFICULT FOLDING CLOTHS
Flat cloth nappies that require folding and pinning are the oldest style of cloth nappies and are still available today. You can choose to use these if you wish. However, modern cloth nappies are designed similar to disposable ones and are just as easy to put on and take off. Many come with Velcro and snap closures which make it easy to fit them on your baby. If you do choose the more affordable pre-fold nappies, you can still make it easier on yourself by getting a snappi instead of using pins.
CLOTH NAPPIES ARE JUST AS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AS DISPOSABLES
Many critics of cloth nappies argue that the non-disposables are just as bad for the environment as disposable nappies. Of course, non-disposable nappies do need to be washed and dried, using water and energy. But, people using cloth nappies have more control over their environmental impact than those using disposable nappies.
For example, the environmental impact of using cloth nappies will depend on how you choose to launder them and whether you make eco-friendly fabric choices. This fun bamboo nappy is a great choice for the environmentally conscious.
On the other hand, the manufacturing process behind disposable nappies has a much greater impact on the environment than that of reusable ones. Disposable nappies are made from wood pulp which requires heavy water use to produce and creates its own contaminated waste. After their use, disposable nappies end up in landfills and take 500 years to decompose. Now you tell me which is worse the environment.
CLOTH NAPPIES CREATE A LOT OF EXTRA LAUNDRY
When people think of cloth nappies, they imagine themselves trapped in a laundry room washing nasty, soiled rags morning to night. However, mothers report that adding cloth nappies to their regular washing routine doesn’t seem like that much extra work since babies already require a surprising amount of laundry as it is.
Plus, the modern cloth nappies available today don’t have to be hand washed or even hung to dry. Many manufacturers recommend line-drying to preserve the quality of the nappies, but most fabrics will be able to handle the dryer instead. All-in-two cloth nappies, like this adorable one, create even less laundry since you’ll only need to wash the removable inserts most of the time.
To wash, cloth nappies just need to be rinsed and run through two cycles in your laundry machine. Then they are simply hung to dry or thrown in the dryer. You don’t even have to wash cloth nappies every day! Most mothers wash their cloth nappies every 2-3 days.
USING CLOTH NAPPIES IS MESSIER WORK
First of all, babies are messy. That’s just how it is and there’s no way around it. Changing and washing cloth nappies won’t expose you to any more poop than you would come into contact by using disposables.
When your baby’s nappy becomes wet or soiled, you just change it like you would any disposable nappy. Instead of plunking it into a garbage bag, you empty them and put them in a wet bag. Poop nappies just need to be dumped out into the toilet and rinsed first, while wet nappies are thrown directly into the nappy bag. Nappy liners are a popular choice and make disposing of solids very mess-free. You can even get nappy sprayers that hook up to your toilet for easy rinsing.
CLOTH NAPPIES ARE UNSANITARY
The claim that cloth nappies are unsanitary is one of their most common criticisms. Instead, we could argue that disposable nappies are more unsanitary. Dumping human waste into the trash can cause it to leach into the land and infest groundwater with bacteria. On the other hand, waste from cloth nappies is disposed into the toilet like all other human waste and therefore treated properly.
But how do you get cloth nappies rid of bacteria and germs? When washed properly, cloth nappies are safe and sanitary for your family. A proper washing routine involves an initial warm-water rinse cycle followed by a hot water normal/long cycle with a nappy-safe detergent. This is enough to ensure that the nappies are cleaned safely. Further, hanging your nappies in the sun to dry will allow the UV rays to provide additional sanitization.
CLOTH NAPPIES ARE MORE EXPENSIVE
This is true if you’re comparing the cost of one cloth nappy to the cost of one disposable nappy. However, if you’re comparing the cost of an entire 2.5 years of nappying your child, then cloth nappies are a much more cost-effective. In fact, disposable nappies can cost families $2000 to $3000. A good set of cloth nappies will cost you between $150 to $700 depending on the types you go with while the additional laundering costs no more than $200 over 2.5 years.
CLOTH NAPPIES LEAK
Actually, cloth nappies can handle poop blowouts better than disposable ones thanks to the sealing leg and waist elastics. The most common reason that cloth nappies leak is when they are not fit correctly or if the nappy needs more absorbent layers added. Nappies with adjustable sizes and absorbent liners can be purchased to ensure your life is leak-free.
CLOTH NAPPIES ARE MORE LIKELY TO CAUSE NAPPY RASH
Nappy rash can occur if your baby’s bottom is in contact with wet nappies for too long. This can happen with both disposable nappies and cloth nappies. In fact, babies are often sensitive to chemicals in disposable nappies which is a common cause of nappy rash.
Cloth nappies can be less absorbent than disposables, so they may need to be changed more often. Stay-dry liners can be added to cloth nappies to wick moisture away from baby’s skin and prevent nappy rash.
CLOTH NAPPIES CAUSE BOWED LEGS
Some claim that cloth nappies can cause babies legs to appear bowed. However, bowed legs are fairly common for toddlers and have nothing to do with the type of nappies they wear. By age three, the bowed leg condition is generally resolved without intervention. Additionally, doctors have even recommended that parents use cloth nappies to support hip development in their children.
DIRTY CLOTH NAPPIES WILL STINK UP YOUR HOUSE
Dirty cloth nappies are stored in a wet bag or nappy bin which is sealed tightly and doesn’t allow odours to be released. Plus, any poop is flushed down the toilet before the nappies are thrown in the bin so it’s not hanging around in your house. This is arguably much better than having a bin of dirty disposable nappies sitting in your home.
Wet bags and nappy buckets are emptied and washed every few days, which prevents strong odours from developing. You can even sprinkle wet bags with odour absorbing materials to cut down on smells.
Don’t let these common cloth nappy myths deter you from trying them out. They’re great for your wallet, your baby’s bottom, and the environment. Check out Close Parent selection of cloth nappies and find the ones that are right for you!