Easy to use. They don't require any folding and fasten easily with sticky tabs. After use they need to be wrapped in a plastic bag and put in the bin.
Disposal. As the name suggests, easy to get rid of. Particularly useful when you’re out and about with your baby and don't want to cart used nappies around with you.
No laundry. No washing and drying needed so you don’t come into contact with any more poo than absolutely necessary!
Cost. Disposable nappies are expensive and as you cannot use them again, it’s a continual spend until your baby potty trains. Even if you do this early, you’ll still shell out around £1000 in your baby’s first two years.
Space. Packs of disposable nappies are bulky and you need to be able to keep a few packs so you’re not always lugging them back from the shops.
Environment. The biggest environmental impact of disposable nappies is their contribution to landfill. More than eight million disposable nappies go into landfill sites every day in the UK alone. Before that there are all the raw materials and resources required for production (energy, paper pulp, chemicals, absorbent gels and plastics) which all add up.
Chemicals. The chemicals used in disposable nappies help to keep them absorbent, including crystals, which turn to gel when they’re wet. Though there is no evidence to suggest these may be harmful to babies, if you’re trying to avoid his exposure to non-natural substances, you may want to steer clear.
Cost. Fans of reusables have estimated you can save around £500 by using them rather than disposables. See cons for more on reusable cost.
Environment. By reusing your cloth nappies, you will avoid hundreds of disposables heading for landfill. They also don’t contain chemicals used in disposables and their production is less likely to harm the environment. However see cons for the other side to the story.
Baby’s skin. The natural fabrics in reusable nappies are less likely to cause nappy rash and can be kinder to your baby’s skin. They can be made of different materials so if one irritated, there are others you can try.
Space. As you wash and reuse the nappies, they don’t take up as much space as disposables.
Easy to use. Modem reusables are not so different from disposables in terms of usage so you may find they are just as easy to get on with.
Disposal. This is where the work comes in with cloth nappies. If you use nappy liners you may find that you don’t need to soak your nappies first. But most mums soak them in a nappy bin until you're ready for a wash, or dry pail nappies (you can get waterproof laundry bags that go straight into the washer with the nappies) and disinfect the bucket with tea tree or lavender oil, which also banishes the pooey smell. Many modern nappies recommend washing at 40 degrees, but you might find you need to run a hotter wash or use some kind of nappy sanitiser to avoid a lingering smell. You'll then need to dry them of course, which will require space and time if you don’t have a drier or prefer not to use one.
Cost. The initial outlay is expensive as you’re buying everything you’ll need to keep your baby dry for the next three years! Ongoing costs include nappy soak, detergent and extra energy costs from washing and drying. They can still work out cheaper than disposables.
Environment. While they’re generally assumed to be more environmentally friendly, it’s important to take into account the cost to the environment of caring for cloth nappies. Extra washing at high temperatures (if required) and tumble drying will have a negative effect. Check for nappies that can be washed at low temperatures and try to line dry where possible.
Disposal. These are disposable so they're just as easy to get rid of but are designed to decompose in landfill.
No laudry. Again, as they're disposable there's no washing required.
Environment. Better for the environment as they use less chemicals to make and are designed to decompose naturally.
Baby's skin. Fewer chemicals are used to improve absorbancy so there is less for your baby's skin to react against.
Cost. Tend to be more expensive than either of the other options.
Environment. Still go into landfill and some of the eco benefits are exaggerated so it's worth reading the small print!
Absorbancy Because they don't use the same absorbant chemicals disposables do, eco-disposables can lack the absorbancy of normal nappies. But this will depend on your little one as well and is definitely worth investigating.