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beginners guide to nappies

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beginners guide to nappies

Reusable nappies

You'll be surprised how far things have come since the days when our mothers and grandmothers wrestled with squares of terry towelling, folded them into impossible origami shapes, secured them with a frightening pin, then rendered them waterproof with crunchy plastic pants...

Lots of parents are now deciding to switch to reusable nappies and although it requires commitment, a belief that it's worth protecting the environment, and an up-front investment in nappy paraphernalia, many parents prefer this nappy method.

There are lots of options with reusable nappies; it needn't be all or nothing - why not use real nappies at home and disposables when you're out and about? Or, real nappies during the day and disposables at night? The motivation is of course that every single reusable nappy you put on your baby is one less disposable nappy to clog up a landfill site.

How do reusable nappies work?

There are two types of reusable nappies to choose from:

  • Two-part nappies - Two-part reusable nappies come with a machine-washable or disposable lining and an outer waterproof "wrap", which is fastened by Velcro or with special pins or clips. The lining collects the poo and can then be flushed completely away before the outer layer becomes wet or soiled.
  • All-in-one nappies - These reusable nappies look like disposable nappies because the outer layer and inner layer is combined. Although they are easier to use, they can sometimes leak and are bulkier than two-part nappies.

It's worth trying reusable nappies to see how you and your baby get on with them, or, some parents prefer to start with disposables when their babies are small and move to reusable nappies once they feel they've got the hang of things! There are no rules, but by trying all the methods out, you'll eventually find a nappy method which suits you and your baby.

disposables nappies

There's no quicker, more convenient method of dealing with baby poo than disposable nappies. But be prepared to see your housekeeping bill go up because they're not cheap (from 13p to well over 20p each) and you'll get through 30-50 a week.

There are many brands available and nappy companies continually fight for your custom by introducing nappies with exciting new features to help make our lives easier.

Certainly the really expensive brands look and feel nice (softer on the outside, with fabric-like touches), and some hi-cut ones give a 'no-nappy' silhouette. The truth is your baby probably won't notice the difference between a cheaper brand nappy and an expensive one, as long as he is changed once the nappy is wet.

nappy sizes

There are also different cuts (some suit babies with long bodies, others skinny babies, or chubby babies) so it's worth experimenting to find a brand that suits your baby best. Keep an eye on size too ??a couple of growth spurts can put your baby in a different size category, and a too-small nappy is more likely to leak and be uncomfortable for your baby. Disposable nappies also cater for babies with different needs, for example, premature babies or active babies. They all clearly indicate on the packet which weight/age baby they are suitable for.

To do your bit for the environment, why not try biodegradable nappies? For their full eco-benefits, they would need to be properly composted, but at least they are usually made without damaging chemicals.