6 things to consider when buying and starting cloth nappies

6 things to consider when buying and starting cloth nappies

It is really nappy week! I love this week! So I will be doing various blog and Youtube posts for it!

I remember the first time I set eyes on modern cloth nappies! I had always thought they were the old fashioned Terry towelling with pins. These are still used and fantastic nappies. They have the best containment and absorbency. Many modern nappies are made of Terry towelling for this reason.


I was on a facebook parenting page and someone had shown a picture of a baby wearing the coolest nappy ever! It was green with firetrucks on it and it looks so colourful and fun!

I asked what it was and as soon as she told me it was a modern cloth nappy, my addiction started there!

I started watching lots of youtube videos about them and took advice from facebook cloth nappy pages.

I would sit for ages reading and researching. By the time a few months had gone from first finding out about them I knew pretty much all there was to know.

In this blog post, I want to share 6 things to consider when, buying and starting cloth nappies.

1. You do not have to spend a lump sum up front like it is believed.

The initial financial outlay can be off putting. But it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to buy them new, you can rent them and it is best you don’t buy all of the same brand for reasons explained in section 2.

A prefold nappy systems, which are squares of cotton, are by far the cheapest, most absorbent and least bulky system. Second hand you can pick them up for as little as 50p each.  Don’t be put off by this. It is how a lot of cloth bum parents buy their nappies. Again reasons explained why in the next section. Cloth nappy parents take care of them well. There is nothing yucky about them and second hand nappies do not need to be prepped(washed several times to optimise absorbency) and thus more absorbant. This is especially the case with prefolds that look like this.

They are not hard to put on baby once your get used to it and they can also be folded in a pad instead. There is a wrap that goes on top which you only need about 3 of, that makes it waterproof. It is rare to get any poonamies from these or leaks.  A system of 25 prefolds will last from birth to potty and can cost as little as £60.

Of course there are many other types on the market from all in ones that are most similar to disposables, to hybrids to pocket nappies with customisable absorbance. There are also budget brands and more popular, pricer brands and they all have their own variation of nappies. You can learn about them here.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wqY3tHNTno[/embedyt]


2.One size doesn’t fit all

I will say that it can be a minefield, knowing all the different nappy systems and what works for your baby. One brand of jeans may fit fine on me, and the same brand not so well on my friend, who is a different shape. I can hand on heart say that I have tried every nappy system on the market and many different brands.

I knew my eldest was going to be small so I brought a few  different types of newborn nappies for him from a second hand cloth nappy pages.

It is just as well I did this as I quickly learnt that little pocket nappies as the ones pictured might look pretty but do not hold newborn poo well! We ended up using prefold nappies and shapped nappies (like prefolds only shaped as a nappy) held together with a snappy, which is what is used instead of pins. I made sure I got funky print waterproof wraps and it was by far the best nappy for both my newborns.

After lots of trial and error, and having a very wetting son, I soon realise this 2 part system was best for him through all his nappy life.

We did try a few other branded 2 parters with him such as the TotsBots Stretchies nappy but they didn’t fit him well. However they do fit my youngest perfectly and they now make up most of our stash. Mainly because they are both totally different body shapes.

So while an entire nappy system of one brand, on nice display at a baby show might seem a good idea, I always advise against it for this reason. Plus if they don’t work out for your then it may put you off cloth entirely. By buying 1 or 2 of a few different types, you can then try out what works for your child, their shape and amount they wet. If they don’t work out, you can sell them on the many preloved cloth nappy facebook pages or websites. Again, second hand is always the best way to go. It works out at half the price.

3. You do not have to cloth 100% of the time or from the start

If you plan to cloth from birth, especially if you are a first time parent then do not feel pressured to do it at once just because they are there. Ease into it. Start at home and work out your routine with it all. Remember changing a nappy for the first time can be a challenge anyway so don’t worry if it takes time to put on a cloth nappy. If you want to know how to get the correct fit with cloth nappies, and how best to put them on to avoid leaks, watch my video below.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU_edahyYCA[/embedyt]

I know many people who only use cloth at home and  disposables when out and there are many biodegradable ones available as well as cloth nappy hybrids.

I also know people who started when their children were toddlers! So its never too late and every less disposable you use is 1 less that will take 500 years to biodegrade.

4. Look after your washing machine.

You will be using your washing machine a lot. You shouldn’t notice too much of a dent in your energy use or water either. It will be far less than the £1000 it costs to use disposables. Make sure you service it though. Clean out the filters at the bottom regularly as you want to make sure you are rinsing you nappies out well at the end of a cycle. Once every few months you can do a service wash. I do this at around 90 degrees with soda crystals.

5.Do not let the initial problems put you off

There can be a few issues when you start cloth nappies. With me, it was the initial exploding newborn poo from the pocket nappies and realising I needed to switch.

Then when he got older, I used pocket nappies as he was weaned. But I noticed leaky wet leg gussets. I also was trying to deal with leaking from compression due to baby wearing. Tried lots of different types, materials and released that again we were better with a 2 parter system. Another time I got leaks, I noticed a smell and realised I needed to adjust my washing routine. Some problems or issues can arise but they can all be solved most of the time and problem solving improves with experience. I have a cloth nappy trouble shooting video here but if there are any other issue you are experiencing please feel free to ask.


6. The washing is far easier than normal laundry

This is the thing I am sure puts people off the most. I have done a washing video here and also one of how to deal with the poo.

Most of the time, nappies are washed together and come out together. As I use a 2 part system I don’t have to do any stuffing like you would with pocket nappies. However when we did use pocket nappies, I used to love watching my favourite Netflix program while stuffing them.

You don’t have to do this though. Once dry they can just be put in a large washing basket and taken and stuffed as and when needed. I know a few people who do this. They come out of the machine, into the dryer or on a line (they look AWESOME hung on a line!) and right into the basket.

I like to prep and fold ours though as this is something I enjoy. They looks so nice and its nothing like sorting out piles of clothes, in difference sizes and them putting them away in different places.

I hope this post reassures you if you have any concerns at all when it comes to starting out. Maybe you are due a baby and planning to use them. Maybe you already do and need some advice. Or maybe you are curious. Please feel free to contact me for any advice. This is a brilliant way to help our earth.




  1. Becky
    April 24, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    Hi yammy
    My son is 10 months old and approx 25lb. If I were looking at using prefolds, what size would you recommend using?
    Really informative post by the way x

    • ymackin1
      April 25, 2018 / 2:49 pm

      Hello! I would recommend a size 2 which is usually for a baby around 15 to 30lbs at an estimate. However Bambino mid do a onesize which is worth a try though at his age I would by a size 2. You can also get size 3s. Glad it helped:)

      • Rebecca Mckinley
        April 26, 2018 / 6:34 am

        Brilliant, Thankyou. I already have a few AIO’s and want to use cloth more, but exploring a 2 part system as it seems cheaper to purchase separately. Thanks for your help 🙂

        • ymackin1
          April 28, 2018 / 1:31 pm

          It is much cheaper and seems to be the most effective and slimmest in our experience! Good luck don’t hesitate to ask more if you need too x

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