Reusable nappies, which are widely known as real nappies, are good for the environment and are cheap and easy to use.
Real nappies have evolved from the terry squares and nappy pins of yesteryear - so much so that they are available in a wide variety of styles, shapes and colours, which are fun, funky and comfy for your baby to to wear. Today nappies are quickly and simply fastened by either poppers, velcro or plastic grips.
What are real nappies like?
There are three basic nappy styles to choose from:
shaped nappies are very similar in style to a disposable nappy and need a separate waterproof wrap or pants worn on top of the nappy
all-in-one nappies are similar to a disposable nappy, with integral waterproof outers and with velcro fastenings. They are easy to fit but can take a longer time to dry
flat nappies are a two piece nappy with a flat cotton square which is folded to fit inside a waterproof wrap. They are the most economical option and dry quickly
Make sure that you are using the correct size for your child, sizing is usually dependent on your baby’s weight. The wraps can usually be used three to four times before washing. Always make sure that when fitting that all of the nappy is tucked inside the cover, as any material showing out of the cover may cause leakage. Fasten the wrap so there are no gaps, but not so tight that the cover leaves red marks on your baby.
Line dried nappies
Line drying is the most natural way to bleach your nappies. You can soften up your nappies by putting them in the tumble drier for just a few minutes to finish. A tablespoon of vinegar in the final nappy rinse is also helpful for softening.
Most people choose to soak their nappies before washing. To reduce odours and stains, change the water in the bucket every day and always refill with enough water to cover the nappies. Rinse soiled nappies promptly to minimise staining. Using liners can help, as will drying your nappies outdoors in the sunshine. However, even if all stains aren't removed, as long as nappies have been washed at 60 degrees centigrade, they are totally cleansed and pure.
To simplify the clean up of soiled nappies and help prevent staining, lay the disposable liner on top of the nappy. These liners which are biodegradable can be safely flushed away or composted.
Easy to use and wash and quick to dry, fleece liners keep your baby's bottom extra dry and can be used instead of paper liners. They are excellent for sore nappy rashed skin.
Research shows there is no more nappy rash from washable nappies than disposables. Most babies at some time will develop nappy rash from foods they have eaten or you have eaten if breast feeding, at weaning time, through teething or illness, or even changing your washing powder. It can be helped by using fleece or silk liners instead of paper liners.
Once your baby sleeps through the night, you may wish to add a washable booster to the nappy.