An Introduction to modern cloth nappies

Written by Tory on the 12 February 2008

An Introduction to modern cloth nappies

I remember my mum using terry squares and plastic pants on my little sister, all that soaking, folding, scary pins, and horrid sweaty plastic! When mum suggested I used cloth with my first baby I was horrified and dismissed the whole idea out of hand.

I then discovered modern cloth nappies on the internet, whilst pregnant with my second child. What a revelation! They looked great, seemed really easy to use, not a nappy pin in sight and no soaking! I was lucky enough to find a nappy lady down the road who showed me some real cloth nappies and I got hooked! By the time my little one was even born I had built up a pretty impressive collection of many different types of cloth nappies (I wanted to try them all in the small size so I'd know what I wanted for later!). With the birth of my beautiful baby was the birth of my cloth nappy addiction and obsession!!

The main reasons I chose cloth and remain committed to cloth are comfort, cost, reliability and the environment. Let me explain each reason for choosing cloth nappies in a little more detail.


What would you rather wear, cotton knickers or those paper throw away ones? When I first heard this question asked it took me back a bit, it's so obvious, of course I'd rather wear cotton knickers, so why wouldn't my tiny newborn baby feel the same if only he could tell me? Cloth nappy's breathe and so do modern wraps which are made from materials such as polyurethane laminate (PUL to you and I!), disposable nappies do not. This keeps babies bottoms cooler and more comfortable· The temperature difference is believed to be as much as one degree which doesn't sound like much but there are concerns over increasing infertility and increased scrotal temperatures in baby boys wearing disposable nappies.This was researched in a study carried out in 2000 by Partsch, Aukamp and Sippell.


I am just getting my exact figures together! Suffice to say you will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars, pounds, euros or yens!


If you are new to cloth you may be surprised to hear this, cloth nappies are more reliable than disposables. Regardless of brand I often had leaks in disposables when my first son did loose bowel movements involving a complete change of clothes! I have never once in almost a year using cloth nappies had an 'accident'! I must say I've been amazed by this and very impressed. Both my boys have been quite heavy wetters and with the first I would occasionally get him up in the morning to find him wet with the 'gel' balls escaped from the nappy and onto his skin as it was unable to absorb any more liquid. With cloth you just boost the nappy according to your child's needs and it can easily go a 12 or 13 hour night with no leaks. Cool heh?!

The Environment

Cloth is better for the environment. In production disposable nappies use a cup of crude oil each as well as a huge list of chemicals. They are then thrown away adding to the growing problems of landfill· No one yet knows how long they take to break down although many believe it could be as long as 500 years. I find this shocking considering a baby in disposables can make up to a tonne of waste per year, not a nice present to be leaving for the next 20 or so generations. The production of cotton (and other materials) of course have environmental issues of their own but once they are made they are used again and again. Washing of course uses water and energy but so does the product process to make disposables. Unfortunately many people who haven't fully researched the issue quote back to the Environment Agency (UK) report of 2005 which at the time concluded that there wasn't an awful lot of difference for the environment between the 2 types of nappy. Amazingly they didn't look at the disposal issues (ie landfill) only the production as well as having a very unscientifically small number of cloth users represented in the study. For more information on the environmental issues surrounding cloth, read 'The Environment and Reusable Cloth Nappies'.

To sum up I have a baby who is comfortable, dry, looks absolutely gorgeous in his cloth nappies, I've got more money in my pocket and I'm doing my bit for the environment too!

As my baby grew so did my interest in modern cloth nappies and so grew the idea for Cloth Nappy Tree. I aim to provide a website that covers all aspects of cloth nappying. I hope you enjoy the site and if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to contact me.

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