Economics of reusable nappies

Hello all

I'm pregnant with my first baby due end of October and am starting to properly gear up for when she arrives!

Has anyone had any experience of using reusable nappies? I'm keen to either use reusables or more environmentally friendly nappies such as those from kitandkin.com (or a combination of both). I'm interested in the economics of both these options.

Disposables (rough example):
- Kit and Kin subscription is £37.99 per month and you get 160 nappies for that price plus 4 packs of biodegradable wipes. Wipes and nappies are supposed to biodegrade in 2-6 years.
- Works out at around £480 per year.

Reusables:
- My local council have a scheme where I can claim a free starter pack of re-usable nappies that includes 5 all-in-one cloth nappies, one night nappy and wrap, one booster and one roll of disposable liners.
- Bumgenius nappies cost around £8 each, I think I would need another 15
- Cheeky wipes washable baby wipes are around £40 for a set
- Other bits I would need are night wraps, liners etc. All in I think the initial outlay for reusables (everything included) would be around £300
- I think I will have to buy bigger sizes of nappies as the baby grows, I'm only at the start of my research so far so not sure if you can get a size of nappy that fits newborn through to toddler
- On top of that you have the cost of the washes, I have heard you need to do one wash per day. I have no idea what this would cost!

When she's a newborn, I think we will definitely use disposables and then perhaps make the move to reusable once we're more settled, but my main questions are:

1) When you factor everything in, including the cost of washing the nappies, is it really cheaper to use reusables? On my council website it claims the overall saving from birth to potty would be around £500. And I guess if I have a second child I could use my reusables again for them.
2) Will I have the time or energy to deal with reusables? I have no idea about this as I've never done this before and none of my friends who are mums have gone down this route.
3) Environmentally, will it really be better to use reusables? We will be drastically increasing our use of the washing machine if we are having to do 1 wash per day so using a lot more water and electricity. Maybe it would be better for the environment to use the biodegradable disposable nappies & wipes?

Any advice gratefully received! Really curious about anyone else's opinions on this.

Thanks!
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Comments

  • NelliePie
    NelliePie Posts: 280 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    I'm in a similar position as we'r due in December so would also be interested in other's opinions and experiences.

    Just a note to say the NHs website states:

    "Young babies need changing as many as 10 or 12 times a day, while older babies need to be changed at least six to eight times."
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/nappies/

    The KitanKin subscription gives you 160 per month, assuming this is every 30 days that's only 5.3 nappies per day. Or even if its every 4 weeks (so 28 days) its only 5.7 per day. This won't cover what you need.
    Little One born 19/12/18
    5/5/18 I became Mrs Pie
    FTB June '17 - £144k mortgage, £134k remaining
  • Drawingaline
    Drawingaline Posts: 2,939 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    I used cloth nappies for all four of my children. For me it was for the environmental impact rather than cost, but it did work out a lot cheaper in the long run. I used old style flat Terry nappies who are incredibly cheap, alongside some shaped nappies and wraps which I always bought either on sale or on ebay.

    The extra time was easy, take off, flush any solids down the toilet, bung in a bucket, wash every other day.

    I never had to change a newborn 12times a day, and by the time they were a year old it was around four times. But this will be dependant on your child, I was lucky that none of mine were particularly prone to nappy rash, or sensitive skin.

    There are loads of places to go for info, and your area may have a local nappy library, where you can 'borrow' one or two of a certain type to see what suits your child. Often one type of shape may suit one child and not another. Look on Facebook to see if there is a library local to you.

    Hope that is of some use.
    Debt free Feb 2021 🎉
  • Drawingaline
    Drawingaline Posts: 2,939 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Oh and with a new baby you will be increasig your washing wether you want to or not, both for their clothes an your own!
    Debt free Feb 2021 🎉
  • Shakey87
    Shakey87 Posts: 17 Forumite
    First Anniversary
    This is very useful!

    @NelliePie - thanks for the nhs link, I'm still such a dunce at all this that I don't even know how many nappies per day a baby needs. Hoping my NCT course will give me more of the key info that I need to know!!

    @Drawingaline - good to know it's doable! And agree, the environmental impact of it is the most important aspect for me too, above the cost. Do you have any web links for good info? Very interested in the systems people use to make this work as 12 dirty nappies needing to be dealt with per day seems like it will be very overwhelming! Then again 12 nappies per day in the dustbin will fill it up very quickly and we only get it collected once a fortnight!
  • I've been using washables with my little one who is nearly 2 now. I'm now at the stage where I'm getting fed up with doing the extra laundry but hopefully it won't be much longer. I wash the nappies every other day. I usually wash a 40 with a biological liquid, a pre-wash (no laundry liquid, just to get the worst of the wee and pool out) and an extra rinse. Usually you only need half the suggested liquid otherwise there is too much foam left in the fabric. Occasional 60 wash and sometimes I'll soak them in a sanitiser if getting a bit niffy, though I just use Milton solution for that. Keep the dirties in a bucket with a lid.



    I tried a nappy trial first (Avon area) so I was able to test a variety and see which I like best for use, leakiness and washing. I went with Little Lamb nappies in a mix of bamboo (slow drying but absorbant) and microfibre (quick drying but not so absorbant, used with a separate booster). Little Lamb covers until she could undo velcro and now on Motherease covers. She went up a size when she was around 10 months and has been on the same size since then. I thought the birth to potty nappies were a bit bulky when babies are very small. I've found that about 18 or 20 is enough when washing every other day though sometimes if the weather is bad and they don't try, you might have to accept that you'll need some disposables too.



    I've bought all the nappies via ebay, most have been secondhand. Most have been in good condition even if used, a few were pretty old so not great but those ones were very cheap and I keep them as the backups. You have an advantage that you've got time to look out for good deals. Wraps have been a mixture of secondhand and new - they lose waterproofing after a while so I've had to buy some new replacements.


    I then sold on all the first size nappies and wraps, so they probably cost me about £40 in total taking account of the sale. The second size ones have probably cost me around £80 including extra wraps, but with any luck I can sell then for around £40.



    I'd suggest using disposable liners to make it easier particularly once baby is onto solids and the poo also becomes more solid, also if he/she goes to a nursery or childminder it helps them a lot; I've recently been using Little Green Eartlet liners which are like thick kitchen roll and can be flushed (poo) or composted (wee); I buy them cheapest from Uber shop (£10 for 3 rolls of 100 though you can get even more in bulk). You can make fabric liners from cut up fleecey fabric which is dirt cheap online or somewhere like Fabricland. I've also made my own washable wipes which are just pieces of brushed cotton cut up with pinking shears; they're not even edged but have lasted nearly 2 years and again were really cheap to make, you could probably do the same with towelling fabric, or just buy some multipacks of cheap flannels (I bought a load from ebay to put under baby's bum when changing to catch the inevitable wee and stop it from wetting her clothes, also useful for drying off bottoms after cleaning).



    I do use disposables when out and about, particularly on holiday, as I can't face carrying around lots of mucky nappies and they do take up more space. I tried some ecofriendly ones but the Beaming Baby ones were very very expensive and the Naty ones literally fell apart when she was wearing them (two separate packs of different sizes - took them back for a refund), so I've stuck with standard disposables after that.
  • Alikay
    Alikay Posts: 5,147 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I think a lot of websites and articles overestimate how many nappies a baby gets through. I had 3 children, my DD has 3 and I've fostered a couple in full-time nappies, and I'd say around 5 or 6 disposable nappies per day is more usual. You'll use more when they're teething or poorly, and you do get used to your baby's toilet routine, so if you know he poos just after waking up from nap time, you wait to change him until he's done - thereby saving a nappy!

    Reusable nappies require more room in clothes, so you may end up spending more on Frugi clothes or similar cut-for-cloth brands. Also you may wash more bedding, buggy liners etc as they leak more than good disposables when wet or after a poonami! Also the price they used to calculate disposable nappy use always seems high: Most parents do shop around and stock up on their preferred brand when they're on offer, plus a lot of own-brand are excellent: I liked Asda Little Angels, and Aldi's own.

    I'm not trying to discourage reusables - anything which cuts down on landfill is a good thing IMO, but do your research on costs, including washing and drying, and be prepared that you may prefer disposables for holidays, visiting and some childcare settings.
  • selement
    selement Posts: 518 Forumite
    edited 13 August 2018 at 6:32PM
    I've bought some cloth nappies to try for my first baby (due in november).
    I got the following set I think:
    http://www.thecottonnappycompany.co.uk/pop-in-big-box-20-nappy-pack.ir
    I say I think because I got them from the baby show at the NEC for less money than listed price.

    They claim this is enough to wash every other day.

    They are 'birth to potty' but realise as a newborn might be too small so may need to use disposables at first. I think the cloth nappies are from about 8lb? I hope I get on with them!
    Trying to lose weight (13.5lb to go)
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,007 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    TBH I think if you start with disposables you may never feel 'ready' to make the change ...

    I used cloth with DS1. Think about where you will keep your bucket. With him, I could keep the bucket in the bathroom which was handily close to the washing machine. They went into soak in the bucket and into the machine every other day. It was a big bucket ...

    Then we moved, and it wasn't nearly so convenient to have a bucket anywhere so we moved on to disposables while I worked it out, but I never could, as I either had to lug a bucket downstairs full of mucky nappies, or have a bucket in the kitchen.

    I only used square terries btw. Not nearly so much choice in those days.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • selement
    selement Posts: 518 Forumite
    Savvy_Sue wrote: »
    TBH I think if you start with disposables you may never feel 'ready' to make the change ...

    I used cloth with DS1. Think about where you will keep your bucket. With him, I could keep the bucket in the bathroom which was handily close to the washing machine. They went into soak in the bucket and into the machine every other day. It was a big bucket ...

    Then we moved, and it wasn't nearly so convenient to have a bucket anywhere so we moved on to disposables while I worked it out, but I never could, as I either had to lug a bucket downstairs full of mucky nappies, or have a bucket in the kitchen.

    I only used square terries btw. Not nearly so much choice in those days.


    I was advised by the cotton nappy company not to soak - there was a bin included when i bought them lined with a wash bag - just bung wash bag into machine when ready to wash. We will probably set up a changing area in baby's room.

    Shakey I am akso tempted by cheeky wipes but haven't commited yet. I think they are on 20% off this month
    Trying to lose weight (13.5lb to go)
  • Shakey87
    Shakey87 Posts: 17 Forumite
    First Anniversary
    Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has replied - some really interesting stuff. I need to do a lot more researching and to some extent I guess I'll be figuring things out when the baby comes. But this has definitely made me more determined to have a go with reusables. I'll report back with anything useful I discover!
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