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Guide to nappies - how to pick the perfect nappy

Reusable, disposable or eco? How to choose which nappy right for your baby

Posted: 8 November 2010
by Kimberley Smith

Babies in nappies
Keeping your baby's bottom clean and comfy from birth to potty training

What's in a nappy?

You might not have realised, but when it comes to nappies, there's a choice to be made.

Your baby will be wearing a nappy from birth until she's potty trained - the best part of three years! So choosing a type of nappy that works for her and suits you, your budget and your lifestyle is a big decision.

Your options are:

  • disposable nappies
  • reusable (often called cloth or real) nappies
  • eco-disposable that bridges the gap.

The three nappy options

Other things that might affect your choice include your baby's poo, nappy rash, time constraints, cost and space so check out how each nappy shapes up with our pros and cons.

Discover the truth about real nappies in our ultimate guide to reusables.

Plus you can find out how to change a nappy - be it disposable or reusable.


Disposables are the most commonly used nappy in the UK. Brands such as Huggies and Pampers make a whole range of nappies for different ages and sizes, plus specialised designs for different activities such as swimming. They're easy to use so you don't have to learn the method or faff about folding them onto your baby. And they can be thrown away to minimise your contact with baby poo. Find out more about the pros and cons of disposable nappies.


Reusables are cloth nappies that can be washed and reused over and over. They come in a variety of different styles and can be combined with disposable nappy liners to reduce messiness. They take a bit of work to get the hang of but many mums swear they're more environmentally friendly than disposables, better for your baby and can save you money. Find out more about how reusables shape up to disposables and for check out our ultimate guide to reusable nappies.

Eco disposables

Eco disposable nappies look and behave in a similar way to the classic disposables. However, they do not contain the chemicals that standard disposables have and do not use the same polymer salts to prevent leaks. You are still able to throw these away but they are made of more natural materials and are not bleached in the manufacturing process. Though more expensive and often bulkier than traditional disposables, many parents find these a good compromise between reusable and disposable. Find out more about the pros and cons.

For more help, check out the reviews of nappies on our sister site, MadeForMums.

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