As consumers turn to more eco-friendly and sustainable products, reusable nappies are making a comeback with ethically-minded parents. Gone are the days of worrying about accidentally jabbing baby with a pin, modern cloth nappies use well-designed systems instead to put the comfort of the baby first.
If care is taken, reusable nappies are more environmentally friendly than disposables and far easier on the pocket too. Our buying guide is here to help you learn about the different types of reusable nappies, such as all-in-one, all-in-two, and two part nappies, and the benefits of different materials. We will also include some recommended products by Petit Lulu, Bambino Mio, TotsBots and more, all available in the UK on Amazon and eBay.
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Disposable nappies were developed in the 1950s, gained popularity in the 1960s and have been considered the default option ever since. However, reusable or cloth nappies are proving a desirable choice once more for those who care about the environment.
Unlike disposables, reusable nappies don't end up in the landfill. A report by the Environment Agency found that cloth nappies can be up to 40% more eco-friendly than disposable ones, as long care is taken to wash and dry them efficiently.
Another reason consumers are turning back to this more traditional method is to save money. Reusable nappies are considerably cheaper to use, especially if also used on a second child. Not to forget their cute and funky designs too!
Figuring out which reusable nappies to choose can be daunting - there seem to be so many brands, materials, and styles, and if you're a newbie it can be hard to know where to start! But fear not, we have created this handy guide to welcome you to the world of reusable nappies, detailing the important things to look for in your purchase.
Cloth nappies have come a long way in the last few years. There are various types, depending on your requirements such as age of the baby, convenience and your own personal priorities. Read on to find out more about reusable nappy options, from all-in-one, all-in-two to the two part systems available.
All-in-one nappies do exactly what they say on the tin! The waterproof outer wrap and inner nappy are one fully attached item, which makes them easy to put on, take off, wash and dry.
They are ideal for busy days out, during childcare and in a rush but may not be able to contain as much as two-part nappy systems (but still perform better than a disposable). Due to the nappy and wrap being attached as one, they can be slow drying compared to other options.
All-in-two nappies are a cross between an all-in-one nappy and a two-part system such as a pocket nappy. They look like two shells fitting together - the inner pad pops on to the outer wrap, forming a one-piece nappy which can be separated for washing.
All-in-twos are the most popular, easy to find nappies on e-commerce sites such as Amazon. This is possibly due to their ease of use and good absorbency abilities. They are not to be confused with two-part nappy systems, which have a shaped design.
A two-parter consists of a separate shaped nappy and waterproof wrap and are usually a more 'committed' option, due to the necessary investment. Two-part nappies are the most reliable for overnight and heavy wetters and are excellent for avoiding leaks, day to day.
There are several types of two-part nappies; the pocket nappy (a two-piece nappy that acts like more like an all-in-one), the fitted or shaped nappy and the folded terry square nappy. The two-part aspect can feel a little more complex and may take more organisation for daily use, but it's perfect from birth to potty.
All-in-one nappies are considered the easiest and most convenient to use, but all-in-two and two parters generally have better absorbency and capacity especially when used overnight.
The inserts or inner layer of all-in-two and two part nappies, combined with the outer wrap create a double barrier banishing leaks and accidents. However these slightly higher capacity nappies may create a chunkier bottom than the sleeker all-in-one nappy.
Choosing the style of nappy fastener is a personal choice based on what suits you best, to make the changing process as easy and convenient as possible. Luckily, the fastener options on reusable nappies are very simple whether you choose to opt for velcro, a hook and loop system or poppers.
The most appropriate fastener may also depend on the age and development level of the child. Some find that velcro tabs can be unfastened easily so a hook and loop system works better, or that poppers are perfect for making sure the nappy stays put.
Some of the best cloth nappies are made with materials such as natural cotton terry, bamboo, charcoal or Oeko-Tex certified cotton. These options are not only safe but are delightfully kind to baby's skin.
The waterproof wrap part of most nappies is made from PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) and the more eco-friendly nappy companies are often choosing to develop their own, from plastic bottle waste. Soft polyester yarn covered with a high-quality waterproof membrane is the best to opt for in a wrap, but take care to look at product specifications to avoid potentially toxic cheaper materials.
There are many beautiful options out there boasting 100% recycled materials, organic cotton or made locally in the UK, keeping the carbon footprint low. However these details come with a price- they are often more expensive than your standard reusable nappy.
For those just trying out cloth nappies and therefore not wanting to spend too much, multipacks or cheaper deals can be a more accessible choice. However, in the long term, you can get your money's worth from a well-crafted eco nappy if you are willing to pay slightly more.
Aesthetically, there is something for everyone when it comes to cloth nappies these days. There are ample choices of cute, bright and colourful nappies and just as many cosy ones in white and natural, neutral fabrics.
Or you could have the best of both and opt for a white, fleecy shaped nappy partnered with a brightly coloured waterproof wrap, which is a very stylish and popular choice.
Click to purchase
AI2 Reusable Nappy
A Superior All-In-Two Nappy System Made in England
Bamboozle Stretch Natural Nappy
A Best Selling and Luxurious Highly Absorbant Nappy
Nappy EasyFit STAR White
An Eco Choice Crafted Locally in the UK
Soft, Green Fabrics Perfect for a Newborn Baby
Bamboo Fitted Maxi-Night Diaper
Tried and Tested, Environmentally Friendly With Sustainable Bamboo
Miosolo All-In-One Reusable Nappy Bumble
A Convenient AIO Nappy Without the Need for Inserts
Littles & Bloomz
Reusable Pocket Cloth Nappy
Choose Bamboo, Chacoal or Microfibre Insert
Coloured Reusable Nappy Kit With Bamboo Inserts
A Good Value Starter Kit Made from Bamboo
AIO Reusable Washable Charcoal Bamboo Insert Overnight Cloth Diaper
A Breathable Charcoal Bamboo Nappy
Pocket Cloth Nappies
Microfibre Terry Cloth for Softness
Our winner is the Tickle Tot's 2's, made up of an outer waterproof shell and snap-in absorbent boasters locking in moisture. Their fabrics are tested to OEKO Tex 100 standard and are extremely safe and kind against baby's skin.
Tickle Tots plant a UK native tree for every 1000 nappies manufactured and their delicate prints reflect the company's ethos of environmental care, quality and beauty. This nappy contains everything you need and doesn't require buying a wrap or an insert, making it a perfect choice.
We have another TotsBots nappy in at number 2 and as well as the points previously made about the brand, the Bamboozle is seriously winning when it comes to absorbency, especially overnight.
The Bamboozle is well known amongst ethically living families because it can stand up against all manner of accidents without leaks. The gorgeous, fleece fabric feels cosy to the touch and is exceptionally soft against baby's skin.
TotsBots are not just another well established, family nappy brand but they are becoming the first reusable nappy company in the world to make 100% of their waterproof fabric out of recycled polyester yarn, repurposing plastic waste.
TotsBots are based in Scotland, which is another reason why buying them is a great environmental choice. The EasyFit STAR is also an all-in-one nappy for maximum convenience but still made with beautiful materials.
Mother-Ease is a well-established brand which has been making cloth nappies since 1991 and manufactures them with 100% green energy from their base in Ontario, Canada. Not only are they eco-friendly, they are incredibly leak-proof too!
Sandy's Diaper is perfect for newborn babies and is made from soft, stretchy terry cloth with another inner layer of terry creates top quality night time absorbency. This is a two-part nappy so the waterproof wrap always needs to be bought separately unless the description includes it.
An excellent natural option with maximum absorbency. Petit Lulu is a small family company whose nappies have been rigorously tested on (their own) babies! Petit Lulu pride themselves on acting on customer feedback to make the upmost product they can.
The nappies are made within the EU with pride, are as sustainable as possible and have maxi absorbency perfect for overnight. Compared to other options the fitted nappy is more expensive, and a wrap must be bought for full protection. But this is a great buy which can be used for years to come.
The Miosolo all-in-one nappy is easy to use, inexpensive, can be used from birth all the way to potty training. It has an accessible pull-out tab system which makes washing and drying more efficient (and better for the environment). If needed you can also insert a booster pad for maximum absorbency.
They come in an array of different colours and patterns to choose from. However, although one-part nappies are excellent for convenience, some parents find that they don't offer as much protection as two-parter nappies for heavy wetters.
A popular, well made inexpensive nappy you can buy alone, with the option of adding on bamboo, charcoal or microfibre inserts. It has an easy to use hook and loop fastener and built-in laundry tabs for ease at washing time.
The specially designed pocket makes it very easy to put in and remove inserts, and both the shell and inserts are easy to wash and dry. These nappies are one-size fits all and can be adjusted, however, they may be a bit small when your baby gets bigger.
This kit includes 6 washable cloth nappies, 6 bamboo nappy inserts, bamboo nappy liners and a free wet bag which is an ideal option for those just trying out reusable nappies or who want to keep the budget low.
Juicy Bumbles products are made in Europe, and their ethos is about using good quality materials at an extremely competitive price. However, the flushable nappy liners slightly reduce the eco-credentials.
This AIO (all-in-one) nappy has an inner layer made from charcoal bamboo which doesn't hold moisture itself but draws it away to the microfibre insert keeping baby comfortable and dry.
The poppers are convenient in keeping tiny hands from opening the nappy, which can occasionally happen with velcro. The nappy and insert come together at a reasonable price. However, a few customers have said that the nappies are on the thicker side.
Alva Baby nappies are comfortable, with sweet designs that will look adorable on baby. The inserts feel soft and are absorbent and breathable, made from 100% microfibre terry cloth, and the leg gussets protect against leaks.
This product is a bit of an investment and best if you are committed to using reusable nappies. For its features (6 nappies and 12 inserts) it is reasonable value for money, however, the company is based in China and goods are shipped to the UK, so it may not be the most eco-friendly choice.
As a parent of a young child, it can be hard to always make the best choices for both the environment and your family. Lucky for you, we've done the hard work already and have found the best environmentally-friendly alternatives to use in your family's daily life.
As you can see there are a few aspects to consider when deciding on which reusable nappies suit you best. However, the wonderful products listed above prove that cloth nappies can be as easy as disposable ones, but with a much cleaner conscience.
We hope we have assisted you in choosing your perfect match, whether that be an all-in-one, all-in-two or a two-part nappy system.
Author: Melanie McPhail
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