To cloth or Not to Cloth… Part 1 by Midwife Alinta

Harry cow bum in air

Baby Harry

30 years ago it was the norm for the babies to be all tied up in their terry flats nappies with a pilcher on the outside to stop those common leakages. How times have changed. Now 90% of babies in Australia are put in a disposable nappies.

So what is the big deal?? Why not just use disposable nappies???

Let’s talk about the cost saving factor.

If we add up the cost of disposable nappies you would buy for one child from birth to toilet training at 3 years old it would look something like this.

1 x disposable nappy = $0.47-$0.60 each. Averaging 6 changes a day = 6,570 nappies in the 3 years = $3,087-$3942 over the 3 years your child is in nappies.

Compared to using cloth:

If using the old school terry flats.

You will need roughly 24 (4 packs of 6). They are at a maximum $40 a pack for the decent ones = $160. You will also need waterproof covers. These are roughly $20 each for good ones. You will need a minimum of 4 of these as they are reused = $80.

This means it would be roughly $240 to set yourself up.

If using the new modern cloth nappies (MCN).

They range in price from $5 on eBay to $50 on some Work At Home Mum (WAHM) websites, giving us an average of $25. You will need about 20 to be able to get away with only washing every second or third day. This means it’ll cost you around $500 to set yourself up. Most MCN’s come with inserts and boosters (I’ll fill you in on what these are a bit later on in the blog) however it wouldn’t be a bad idea to purchase extras to have for night time especially if your baby is a heavy wetter. Say you get 10 extras and they are $7 each = $70. You can also buy flushable liners, the most you will pay for these is $30. This brings the total to set yourself up to $600.

Now the other cost consideration… washing and maintenance.

The terry flats will require a sealable bin to soak the nappies in while waiting for the wash. The MCN’s are not designed to be soaked. In fact soaking them can ruin them. When you change your baby you empty the solids down the toilet and put the nappies in a sealable bucket/wet bag until washing.

Going on the theory that you will need to wash 2-3 times per week and using a 5.5kg top loader washing machine in a cold wash and line drying it will cost roughly $49 a year including detergent and the water to flush the solids down the toilet.

Cost birth-toilet training disposables

Cost birth-toilet training cloth nappies



AMAZING savings!

Obviously there is a bit more work involved using MCN’s. A basic rundown on what is required when using MCN’s.

  1. Baby does a nice big poo.
  2. Change the nappy and flush the liner and all the solids down the toilet. (If you have a little squirter attached to your toilet you can squirt it clean of poos)
  3. Put the nappy and liner and booster in a sealed dry bucket.
  4. Clean your baby’s bum and put on another MCN.
  5. When bucket is full or every 2-3 days, put all nappies in the wash and turn onto a cold wash, use minimal detergent.
  6. Hang on the line in the sun if possible. If raining they can be dried in the tumble dryer.
  7. Restuff the liners into the nappy pockets and you’re back in business ready for the next change.

Basically, no different to washing their clothes.

So that’s the basic information about the cost savings and ease of use when using cloth.

Arley and Jamie-Lee

Jamie-lee and Baby Arley

Now to talk a little bit about the environmental side of using cloth nappies.

Between birth and toilet training your child will use around 4,000-6,000 disposable nappies. That equals to around 180kg of waste thrown out into landfill.

It uses more water to have disposable nappies. It takes more than DOUBLE the amount of water to produce a disposable nappy than it does to wash a cloth nappy for a whole YEAR!

It takes more than 300 years to break down a disposable nappy. In other words EVERY single disposable nappy that has ever been thrown in the bin and sent to the landfill still exists today!

I hope I have intrigued you enough to stay tuned to learn the differences in MCN’s and all the lingo that goes with it in my future blogs. Trust me it’s a whole new language!!!

The biggest plus about all this…

Talise beach nikki

Nikki and Baby Talise

They are so damn cute!!!

WARNING: You will get addicted!!!!

Modern Cloth Nappy Supplier:

www.bonnibuns.com.au or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Bonnibuns


(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).