You may already have your mind set on a certain brand or type of nappy, but it always pays to do research as there are plenty of options and products available – from traditional cloth nappies, through to disposable nappies and even new ‘hybrid’ nappies which are bio-degradable and eco-friendly.

To help you in your decision, here are some common arguments for and against these different types of nappies for you to consider.

  • The environment: Many will argue that contributing to all of those disposable nappies becoming landfill is a major environmental mistake. But interestingly, there are also arguments for the more local environmental impact of natural resource management – there is a lot of water involved in the rinsing, soaking, cleaning (and possibly drying in the dryer if you don’t live in year round summer) of those cloth nappies. Advocates for cloth nappies will argue that the manufacturing of the disposable nappy puts greater burden on the environment, but the disposable nappy team argue that in the processing and bleaching of cotton for the cloth nappy the same occurs.  There are new bio degradable disposable nappies which might be the best solution for those who are eco conscious. Bio degradable nappies are designed to break down quickly in landfill, and there are even ‘hybrid’ nappies available which have a cloth exterior with a flushable insert, so the answer is to do your research if you are looking for a ‘green’ solution.
  • Your time: Without a doubt the time it takes to have clean disposable nappies (trip to the shop – or better still, delivery) is less than the time it takes to rinse, soak, wash, hang/dry your cloth nappies, particularly for a sleep deprived mum who is also trying to manage a home, keep herself clean, dressed, fed, and have some quality baby play time.  There are, however, nappy services – for both options.  Services that collect your bag of dirty nappies and deliver a batch of clean ones, and services that deliver bulk disposable nappies.
  • Your wallet: Cost is certainly to be considered, but again the cost between purchasing disposable nappies or the cost of purchasing enough cloth nappies to cover you when you hit the wall, feel you need to sleep for a week, and just can’t bear to spend an hour in the laundry, added to the cost of nappy cleaning agents, water and electricity usage – is negligible. If you decide on a nappy service, the cost between having disposable nappies and a cloth nappy service might depend on the type of disposable nappy you use, where you live, and how many you have delivered at any one time.
  • Your baby’s bottom: Ok, this is where you might find yourself leaning towards the disposable nappies. Disposable nappies are made from absorbent materials designed to draw moisture away from your baby’s bottom.  Not only does this mean they are less likely to be disturbed from slumber by a wet nappy, but their little bottom has less exposure to wetness which can increase the risk of nappy rash.  Unless you plan on changing your baby every time they wet their cloth nappy (which will also often disturb both you and baby’s sleep unnecessarily between feeds), disposable nappies come out the winner.
  • Convenience for travel: When we talk about travelling with enough nappies, it’s not just the long trip down south to visit family or that first overseas holiday, but also the day trip to the park with friends.  With both options you need to pack for all eventualities.  The difference being with your disposable nappies if you happen to run out it’s a quick trip to the chemist or shop for replacements.  If you run out of cloth nappies, even if you are able to buy some nearby, there is also the issue of washing them before use.  Then there is also the issue of carting home the bag of dirty nappies that might have to sit in the car in the hot sun for a day. A good compromise could be  opting for the eco friendly flushable inserts – which fit inside most modern cloth nappies and are often made from bamboo. You can easily replace the line without changing the cloth nappy (in most cases!)


You can, of course, opt to use both.  Cloth nappies by day when baby is (hopefully) more awake and can be changed regularly, disposable nappies by night when you want longer sleeps between nappy changes; cloth nappies for visits to nanna and poppy who might have their own cloth nappy supply; disposable for holidays, day care and other outings for the convenience of buying if you run out and throwing out the dirty ones.  Ultimately the choice is yours and what suits you and your baby is the correct choice.