Easy, clean and chic: why the coolest baby bums are rocking cloth nappies

Fun fact: babies typically spend the first 30 months of their lives in nappies. That’s approximately 21,600 hours of non-stop contact between your baby’s bum and the nappies you choose to cover it with. Naturally, this makes choosing the right nappy one of the most important decisions a mum can make.

More and more mums are making the leap into the world of cloth nappies and reaping the many benefits: they’re healthier for babies, healthier for the planet and, surprisingly enough, healthier for your wallet too.

Even knowing these key benefits, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘logistics’ of cloth nappies. Lots of false perceptions come to mind like…

Aren’t they dirty?

Isn’t it a lot of work?

Are they even sanitary?

Don’t they cost more?

Many mums may think to themselves: Being a new mum is hard enough, I’m not trying to be a hero.

The thing is, many don’t realise the massive advances that have been made in the world of cloth nappies since our mothers tried them.

Gone are the days when ugly, messy squares of fabric were held together with big, sharp, unreliable nappy pins. The cloth nappies of today are clean, chic, easy to use and cost much less over the course of those 30 months than disposables (especially if you wind up using them on multiple babes).

Plus, they look adorable! Simply put: cloth nappies are easier, cleaner and way cooler than their disposable counterparts. And they’re nothing like the cloth nappies of yesteryear.


1. They’re easier to use than you might think

Though there are many different types of cloth nappies to choose from, the All-In-Two (AI2) and All-In-One (AIO) options are the easiest to use.

An all-in-two (AI2) nappy comes in two parts. There’s a waterproof nappy-shaped outer cover and an absorbent insert. Many of the inserts have moisture wicking fabric that keeps the baby bum dry and either lay inside, or snap into, the outer cover.

When it’s dirty or wet, you simply swap out the insert and reuse the outer cover until that gets dirty or wet, which is much less often. Simply launder according to the brand’s instructions (which typically include a quick, initial rinse and a run through the wash when you first buy them) and then reuse.

An AI2 nappy can also be used as a hybrid. In which case, the insert is disposable so you don’t even have to clean it. This is especially convenient for trips outside the home.

Some AI2s come in one, adjustable size that will grow with your babe and some come in multiple sizes so you can buy as you go.

The all-in-one (AIO) cloth nappy is the simplest to use. Designed just like conventional, disposables, there’s a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent layer inside next to your baby’s skin. When they are wet or dirty, you simply change the entire nappy, the same way you would a disposable. For the soiled nappy, you dump any solids in the toilet, give it a quick rinse, and then launder according to the brand’s instructions.

These nappies are available in different sizes or adjustable one-size options too.

2. They’re clean

For either option, you simply toss the dirty part of the nappy, after a quick rinse, into a nappy bucket or waterproof bag and then wash them in bulk regularly. This is actually a cleaner process than disposing of soiled disposables, as they wind up in landfills and create a breeding ground for disease and may contaminate the water supply. We don’t know the full impact this will have on future generations.

3. They’re cool!

Cloth nappies are cool in that they’re super cute, healthier for your baby and the planet, and cheaper to boot!

4. They’re better for your baby’s bum

Cloth nappies are simply the healthiest option for your baby as well. Conventional disposables expose your baby to approximately 50 different chemicals including SPA, dioxin, phthalates and heavy metals. And though the more eco-friendly, disposable options can drastically reduce this number, they can’t eliminate them all.

Conventional disposables have been linked to high incidences of diaper rash as their unnatural level of absorbency can lead to fewer nappy changes and less airflow to the area. Cloth nappies eliminate both of these issues with naturally absorbent and breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics.

5. And they’re safer for the planet

Disposable diapers represent approximately 30% of non-biodegradable waste and are the 3rd most common consumer item in our landfills! Babies generate tens of billions of kilograms of garbage each year from disposable nappies. It’s easy to see what an astonishingly destructive habit we’re in. One child alone contributes approximately one ton of garbage by the time they hit that 30 month, potty training age.Obviously, cloth nappies are a much more environmentally friendly option as they create far less waste.

6. Plus, they’re cheaper than disposables!

If the above benefits weren’t enough, it’s estimated that conventional disposables cost upwards of $3,000 for those 30 months the average baby spends in them, compared to approximately $500 in upfront costs for a good, cloth nappy system for the same lifecycle. That’s a saving of $2,500 per child by simply switching to cloth! A huge saving for any mum.

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Blair Badenhop

Blair is a wellness copywriter and the host of the Brand Yourself podcast. She’s passionate about living a healthy and conscious lifestyle - taking care of her body, mind and heart; practicing kindness and compassion; and being mindful of her impact on people’s lives and the planet.

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