I love cloth nappies. A lot. No, seriously.
And I reckon the fact that you’re reading this article means that you love them too.
Five years ago, I got my daughter from birth to potty trained using cloth nappies (diapers) and now I’m going through it all again with my new baby.
I’ve been trying to savor this baby stage because I know it won’t last long. The wakeful nights, the endless nappy changes, the slobber (like a Saint Bernard, seriously) will all be over in the blink of a sleep-deprived eye.
My favorite things about cloth nappies or diapers
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it is that makes this stage so enjoyable, and one of those things is the nappies.
Probably not many parents would have that on their list of best bits, but cloth nappies make the baby stage all the more beautiful, and here are ten reasons why:
Cloth Nappies Likes #1: The giant bum
Is there anything more adorable than the sight of a baby with a massive cloth diapered bum? No. No, there isn’t.
A teeny baby with a massive bum is better than all the sunsets, puppies and stylish flatlays Instagram has to throw at me. Cloth nappies are adorable because they give your baby a sizable behind.
The giant bum, of course, provides you with ample opportunity to rap along to Sir Mix-A-Lot, should you wish to do so. You don’t have to, but I would strongly recommend it.
Cloth Nappies Likes #2: The solidarity
I hate the divisive nature of motherhood. The media puts mums against each other and turns everything into a heated debate. I’ve never seen anyone judged at a baby group for how they feed their baby, but the media cannot stop talking about it as though this is all new mamas are thinking about.
That said, it doesn’t hurt to find your tribe. Your tribe is made up of the mamas who get you. They know what you’re going through because they’re going through it too. So look out for babies with mahoosive butts at baby group; they have eco-warrior mamas just like you. Find them, befriend them, and never let go.
When I see a baby in a washable nappy, I know I will click with the mama. There are lots of online groups offering support and advice to cloth bum parents. If you’re looking to meet local like-minded friends, cloth nappy groups and libraries are a great place to start.
Even without these resources nearby, you’ll be able to find your fellow crunchy mamas by sizing up their babies’ behinds. Simply look out for the babies with giant bums and ask their mamas if that’s a cloth diaper hiding under there. Instant chat starter.
Cloth Nappies Likes #3: I can be an eco-mama
Motherhood has the potential to strip you of the things that make you you. Suddenly, you are thrust into motherhood, and you don’t have time to read books, follow politics, or see your favorite bands. Your head is full of baby information and not much else. It’s easy to lose yourself in the early years of motherhood.
Using cloth nappies helps me keep alive that bit of me that cares about the planet. It would be easy to silence that part of me and go with the status quo, but I don’t. It’s much easier to strive for convenience and plead ignorance of the state of the world, but I don’t want to do that.
I have always cared about the planet, and I’m not going to use motherhood as an excuse to stop. If anything, having children should make us more invested in the future of the planet.
I care about how much waste I put into landfill. I might not have the time to read all about it or the energy to go to protests, but I can keep doing these little things that I know make a difference. Cloth nappies help me to keep my inner eco-warrior alive.
Cloth Nappies Likes #4: The colors
Cloth nappies come in every color under the sun, and I love that. My nappy stash is brightly colored, just like the rest of my baby’s things. I have bright pinks, dark greens, yellows, and blues. You name it and I have it. Even orange, and I hate orange.
Babies in cloth nappies look adorable because they’re adorned in colorful nappies. Disposable nappies don’t look as good. On the other hand, cloth diapers look more like clothes than toilets, which is a definite plus.
One of my favorite things is to stick my baby in a brightly-colored washable nappy and take photos of her; I know I will treasure those photos forever. Even if I have hundreds of them – which I do.
Cloth Nappies Likes #5: The prints
I bought a 20-pack of colorful washable nappies when my first daughter was born. Before baby number two came along, I replaced the velcro on the nappies to make them good as new. I wasn’t going to buy any more; it was unnecessary when I already had plenty.
Oh, wait, look at that one with the bikes on. Oh, and that zebra print is cute. Wait, there’s a fox!
Yep, I’m now one of those hardcore crunchy mamas with randomly chosen nappies in different prints. I don’t know how it happened. They’re just so cute. I don’t need them, but I love them. So that’s ok, right? I might have a cloth nappy addiction.
Find out if you do by reading Addicted To Cloth Nappies? 30 Signs Of Addiction.
Cloth Nappies Likes #6: The convenience
The general public seems to think cloth nappies are hard work. They couldn’t be more wrong. It’s easy to stick a diaper laundry load on when you’re getting close to the end of your stash.
I’ve never run out of nappies at 3 am and had to make a mad dash to the 24-hour garage for nappies. I always have enough nappies. I don’t have to worry about whether they’re the right size because they last from birth to potty trained (saving me a lot of money to boot).
Using cloth diapers is easy peasy. It’s no hassle to stick an extra load on every so often, and I love having a washing line of colorful cloth diapers flapping in the wind.
Cloth Nappies Likes #7: The cushion
My baby can sit up. She seemed to develop that skill early, and I’m pretty sure that’s down to the nappies. They give her a wide area to rest on and make sitting up so much easier. She’s basically weeble shaped, thanks to her giant cloth diaper.
Cloth nappies also provide a great crash pad for toppling babies. When they’re cruising but not yet masterful at sitting down again, a cloth nappy will protect that precious behind from bumps and bruises. Babies fall a lot, and the giant padding gives me peace of mind.
Cloth Nappies Likes #8: The communication
My eldest daughter was out of nappies long before she reached 18 months. Thanks to cloth nappies, she always knew when she needed to use the toilet. Disposable nappies can retain so much pee that babies seem unaware when they need to go. The cloth nappies I use can hold a maximum of two pees, though I always change after one.
This helps babies learn when they need to pee and made for an easier transition to knickers. My baby can already communicate with me when she wants changing, by being cranky. I’m hoping she will develop better communication skills as she ages. Meanwhile, I love this extra opportunity to respond to her needs.
Cloth Nappies Likes #9: The lack of nappy rash
The nappies I use are made of cotton. They are breathable and seem to suit my daughter’s skin nicely. On the few occasions we have used disposables, her bum looked a little red after. I find that modern cloth nappies are better for her skin.
I also use washable wipes, which can go in the wash with the nappies. They’re made from cotton, and I use water with them, so there are no chemicals involved, unlike commercial baby wipes.
I love the washable wipes; they’re so easy to use and do a much better job cleaning up poo than thin disposable baby wipes. If you’re thinking of cloth diapering, definitely get yourself some reusable wipes. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and fabrics and are gentle on baby’s skin.
Cloth Nappies Likes #10: The smug
Fine, I’ll admit it; using cloth nappies makes me feel a little smug. I’m not filling landfill sites with thousands of nappies that will take generations to biodegrade. Instead, I’m actively trying to minimize my daughter’s impact on the planet. I want my kids to grow up conscious of the world around them, and I think this needs to start at birth. It’s an easy thing to do, yet it does make a big difference to the planet.
What are your favorite things about cloth nappies? My daughter will be starting on solid foods next month; then I probably won’t love nappy changes quite so much. I’m already dreading those nappies.
Benefits of cloth diapers
There are so many things to rave about when it comes to cloth diapers, and it’s no wonder so many parents are proud members of the cloth nappy club (not a real club, though it should be). While the above might be tongue-in-cheek, there are plenty of serious reasons why cloth diapering is a positive choice for your baby.
Cloth diapers are cheaper than disposables
Disposable diapers might seem cheap in the supermarket, but it soon adds up if you consider how many diapers your baby will get through in the first few years.
Although cloth diapers have a higher initial outlay, they will cost you less in the long term. And they have an added benefit: you can use them for your second baby, which makes them even more of a bargain.
Cloth diapers encourage potty training
Anecdotally, many cloth diaper parents credit washable nappies with their potty training success. A cloth diaper can’t hold as much urine as a disposable diaper, so babies will know when they’ve peed.
This helps infants to understand their bodily functions and might help them towards potty training early.
Cloth diapers are better for the planet
Many of us worry about the planet, especially when we add a new member to the world’s population. As parents, we worry about what the future will hold for our children, and we want to protect the environment for them. Many cloth diapering parents choose reusable nappies as a positive step they can take to reduce their carbon footprint. However, are washable diapers as green as people think?
Properties of cloth diapers
Another reason parents love cloth diapers is that they are free from harmful chemicals. Did you know disposable diapers contain dangerous chemicals?
Take a look at Dangerous Chemicals Found In Disposable Nappies to find out more.
Cloth diapers come into contact with your baby’s skin, so you’ll want diapers free from chemicals and pesticides that could cause irritation.
You should choose modern cloth nappies made from natural fibers for the environment. Clothes and nappies made from plastic fibers release microplastics into the environment during the washing process, so many parents choose to avoid nappies made from manufactured materials.
Cotton, hemp, and bamboo are all fantastic options that are great for the planet and gentle on your baby’s skin. Opt for organic, where possible, to reduce the use of harmful pesticides. You should also wash diapers in mild, eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Are cloth diapers better for the environment?
Yes, kind of. Cloth diapers are still the better choice to reduce your environmental impact, but there are further steps you need to take to ensure you are as green as possible.
Improved environmental awareness and production techniques mean disposables are more environmentally friendly than ever to produce. However, disposable nappies are still filling up landfills, and even the so-called biodegradable nappies won’t fully biodegrade.
To further reduce the environmental impact of your reusable diapers, you should:
- Use washable wipes. Washable wipes are fantastic, and they’re much better for the planet than disposable baby wipes. If you’re washing modern cloth nappies, it’s no extra hassle to throw washable baby wipes in the washing machine simultaneously
- Wash your nappies in a full load. Running a wash for a handful of nappies is a waste of energy, so avoid doing this wherever possible. It’s more environmentally friendly to do full loads, and the extra weight in the wash will help the nappies wash better.
- Avoid hot washes. Hot water washes use a lot more energy because they need to heat the water. It’s better for the environment if you do a longer wash at a lower temperature. Wash your reusable nappies at 60 degrees (C) or less
- Line dry your nappies. Tumble drying cloth nappies is bad for the planet and can significantly increase the carbon footprint of your diapers. Instead, you should line dry your nappies wherever possible. This is better for the planet, but the sun will also help remove any staining, and your nappies will benefit from a longer lifespan
- Reuse the nappies with your next child. One of the benefits of cloth diapers is that they can last for years. So you should be able to use them again with your next child, which will have a powerful impact on the environment
- Choose an eco-friendly washing machine.
When it’s time to update your washing machine, be sure to invest in an environmentally friendly option. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune; there are eco-friendly washing machines out there to suit every budget. Low energy washing machines tend to use longer wash cycles at a lower temperature, which is why they’re so good for the planet.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of cloth diapering, take a look at Modern Cloth Nappies – What Are The Benefits?
Why do you love cloth nappies?
If you’re a cloth nappy convert, why do you love cloth diapers? Is it the sense of community with other crunchy mamas or the sight of your baby in an adorable print that makes you happy? Do you love having a washing line filled with gorgeous cloth diapers in different colors and patterns? Or does your joy come from knowing you’re doing your bit for the planet?
As individuals, we all have our unique reasons for loving the things we do. Maybe cloth diapers aren’t something you give much thought to; perhaps ‘love’ is a step too far. But if you do love cloth diapers, welcome to the club. The only rule is cloth diapers rule.
Be sure to share the positives
Whatever you love about washable nappies, make sure you share the benefits when people ask about it. People will often ask about cloth diapering in a negative way, telling you they couldn’t handle the extra laundry or they think poop is gross (don’t we all?). Be sure to mention the positives when you talk about cloth diapering and let people know cloth is a superior alternative to the disposable diaper.
People are so quick to share (and remember) the negatives. It’s always good to send some positivity out into the world. If you’ve found something you love, tell people. If cloth diapers have made your life easier, share the news with other parents.