Reusable nappies, so many choices - where do you start?

There are many types of reusable nappies out there and of course being a new parent we don't want to make the wrong decision.

Do you feel like you have information overload? Or stuck not sure where to start?

Nobody wants that but at the same time, you need enough information to make some choices. So let's walk that fine line...

This article has been written with beginners in mind. Those who are expecting and are interested in the idea of cloth nappies, or those who were waiting until they ‘got used to being a parent’, but now don’t know where to begin.


1. Research the types of Nappies

Now you're thinking "duh Merine, that's what I've been doing and I'm still undecided".

Reusable nappies come in various styles, such as prefolds (like Real Nappies), flats, fitted, pocket nappies, and all-in-ones. Look into the different options to determine which one might be the best fit for you and your family situation.

What style will suit me?

Prefolds? Flats? Pocket? Fitted? All-in-one? All-in-two?

If you want a breakdown of what each are, have a read of our handy pages:

Each system has its pros and cons and at the end of the day they are all a great option for someone.

For example, the Real Nappies prefold system is...

  • affordable - our price point sits in the middle to lower range of the nappies available on the market.
  • great fit - our system grows with your baby. The four different sizes means you get a snug slim fit without any extra bulk at all ages and stages; from 2.5kg to 18+ kgs!
  • easy to wash and super fast to dry - so if you live in a hot and humid climate, struggle to dry washing in winter or need flexibility in your wash routine, Real Nappies are a great option as all parts of the nappy separate out.
  • comes with a 2-child limited warranty - we back our product and offer this for your extra peace of mind.
  • you don’t need to change the cover each change so less washing is created and overall less nappy covers are required to be purchased - reuse the cover if it is not soiled.
  • beautiful bold coloured covers, a fantastic everyday nappy.

For some people, a con is that you need to fold the insert (see how simple the folds are here). We think that is actually a positive as it allows tailoring of the insert absorbency at different stages of your baby's nappy journey.

Compare this to a Pocket nappy.
Pros – most are claimed to be OSFM adjustable from about 4kg to 13kg, often available with colourful patterns.
Cons – You have to change the whole nappy each time so you need to buy more nappies and end up with more washing. They are a more expensive option due to the additional sewing and materials required to make them, they take longer to dry as they have multiple layers, harder to get a good fit as they may vary based on the baby's body shape and size. Some babies may outgrow the absorbency capacity before reaching the upper weight limit. They also take additional time to stuff the inserts to be ready for changing.

For some people the convenience of a pocket nappy with matching insert size is essential and they don’t mind the longer drying time or expense, for others the affordability and ease of washing and drying is more of a priority so a prefold system, such as Real Nappies, is best.

What closure suits me?

There are basically two options, velcro or snaps/poppers.  This can come down to personal preference, but if you want a look at the pros and cons of both these options, check out this blog here:


What fabrics do I want?

Things to look at here are natural (such as cotton, hemp) vs. synthetics (such as bamboo - yes that is actually Viscose made from Bamboo which is far from being bamboo anymore, or microfibre; organic or not; and for the covers PUL, wool or minky.

Real Nappies prefolds are made of Indian Cotton, so they are fastest drying of the natural fibres and available in Organic.  Real Nappies covers are made from PUL.

Learn more on some of the differences between fabrics here: Cloth nappy fabrics.

Consider what YOUR priorities are. 

Do I need to choose just one style?

Not at all! Most people have a mix. It’s totally up to you. Generally people have a favourite nappy style, but might have a few others styles in their stash for variety.

Secondhand cloth nappies are also an affordable way to try out different styles.

Some brands have handy starter packs so you know how many nappies or inserts and covers you need.

Check out the Real Nappies packs here.

2. Plan your change area setup

To make life easier with any nappies you need to sort out your storage, where do you keep the nappies so that they are easily accessible for change time? And where are you going to put the dirty nappies?

With cloth this is as simple as finding an airy bucket/basket that is big enough for your dirty nappies. You will pop the dirty nappies in here after you flush the solids (or rinse off the runny poo). There is no need to soak the nappies – this method is called dry pailing and common practice amongst the modern cloth nappy community.


3. Plan your washing routine

Once you have a wash routine sorted you are ready to go!

Follow the washing instructions from the nappy manufacturer.

This usually involves throwing the dirty nappies in your washing machine, every 1 - 2 days, from the dry bucket they were stored in. Running the load through a short wash cycle to rinse them, then a normal or heavy duty cycle to wash them. Hang to dry or put in the dryer (inserts only) and they’re ready to use again.

You can read more about the Real Nappies washing instructions here.

Prefolds on the line

4. Start using your nappies

Just go for it! Get some nappies and begin.

Prep your nappy inserts before you start using them – again refer to the manufacturers instructions.

Typically either washing the nappy inserts three times or soaking them for 24 hours. This prepares the fibres in the nappy, maximising their absorbency.


5. Join reusable nappies online communities

Join online communities or local groups of parents who use reusable nappies. They can provide valuable advice, support, and recommendations based on their experiences.

Search social media with terms such as "MCN tips", "cloth nappy advice" or "cloth nappy washing" to bring up relevant groups.

Or even better, buy our trial pack and join our Nappy Club VIP group

And if you have any questions just contact us or check out our FAQ page for answers to all your questions.  

Good luck!

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