Real Nappy hints & tips

Real nappy FAQ`s

Q. What are my real nappy options?

There is a growing range of real nappies available including different styles and, of course, sizes. There are three main types of nappies from which to choose:

  • Flat nappies, such as the traditional terry square, need to be folded, secured with a plastic fastening and covered with a wrap.
  • The shaped nappy is designed to fit your baby snugly and are often sized from birth to potty. These also require an outer wrap.
  • All in ones include a cotton liner and waterproof cover with fastenings.

Contact your preferred real nappy retailer and they will be happy to talk you through all of the options available to you. One thing to remember is that real nappies are not an all or nothing option - you can do what is right for you. You could even use real nappies most of the time but perhaps use the odd disposable when you are travelling.

Q. Where do I get my real nappies from?

You should contact one of Cumbria`s real nappy retailers in the first instance - this will allow you to take advantage of the Cumbria Real Nappy Campaign voucher scheme. Once you are up and running there are other options that might be more convenient for you. You can even shop for real nappies online. Sites such as Ebay offer a good choice of brands.

Q. What do I need to get started?

You will need to but some equipment to get started but this is a one off payment unlike the weekly cost of disposable nappies. You will need:

  • A nappy bucket to store your used nappies before washing.
  • A nappy net to line your bucket and transfer nappies to the washing machine.
  • Liners which can be either biodegradable/flushable or washable.
  • 16 - 24 nappies. A newborn will need changed at least 8 times a day on average. You should allow at least 2 days worth if you plan on using them full time.
  • 3 or 4 wraps. These don`t need to be changed every time you change the nappy. You should work on a minimum of one on, one in the wash, and one in the changing bag for emergencies.
  • Washable wipes. You can buy specially made ones or simply use old flannels and wash them with the nappies.
  • Booster pads. These are completely optional and add extra absorbency to nappies at night time.
  • Non biological/eco friendly washing powder. This is kinder to fabric and to young skin.
  • Sanitizer. For if you decide to soak your nappies. Try 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar or 5 drops of tea tree oil.

Q. What is the Environmental impact?

The main environmental benefit of using real nappies is to reduce the amount of rubbish in your bin which is being sent to landfill. Around 8 million disposable nappies are thrown away in Britain every day. Every single child uses on average 5850 disposable nappies in their lifetime. That`s the same weight as two fully grown dairy cows. Furthermore reusables also reduce the about of energy and raw materials used in the manufacture of disposables in the first place.

Q. What tips can you suggest for reducing the environmental impact of real nappies?

  • Only tumble dry when you have too. Line drying or airers are not only cheaper but also better for the environment.
  • Don`t use fabric conditioner - it reduces absorbency.
  • Use eco-friendly washing powders.
  • Try potty training early - around two years of age.
  • Use your real nappies for more than one child.
  • Buy second hand nappies and sell yours on when you no longer need them.

Q. Are they difficult to wash?

Real nappies don`t need to be boiled, scrubbed, soaked or machine washed at 95 degrees.

  • Biodegradable nappy liners can be flushed down the loo with any solid waste. Washable liners can go in the wash with your nappies.
  • Modern washing machines wash so well that real nappies do not have to be sterilised.
  • Most real nappies can be line or tumble dried or simply placed on an airer in a warm room to dry.

Q. Do they leak?

Real nappies should not leak more than disposables. It is important to choose the right sized nappy for you baby. If you do have problems with leakages then contact your retailer.

Q. Will my baby get nappy rash?

Your baby is no more or less likely to get nappy rash through real nappies than from disposables. Frequency of nappy changing is the important fact to avoid nappy rash.

Q. Where can I spend my voucher?

All applicants will be sent a pack, which will include a list of Cumbrian suppliers. Only suppliers on this list are authorised to accept the vouchers.

Q. I have twins why do I get 45 instead of two 30 vouchers?

Nappy suppliers recommend that with two babies in nappies you only need to buy for one child plus half as many again. As two babies get though nappies quicker than one so you will be washing more often.

Q. Why can`t I use my voucher for eco friendly disposables?

Unless you compost eco disposables they are still going to end up in your bin. The aim of the council scheme is to reduce the amount of rubbish that is thrown away.

Q. We already use real nappies can we still have a voucher?

Yes for a child up to six months old. You may need to buy larger sizes of real nappy as your baby grows and you can also purchase washable potty training pants with your real nappy voucher.

Q. What can I buy with my voucher?

You can use your voucher as full or part payment for any of the following:

  • Real nappies
  • Waterproof nappy covers (wraps)
  • Nappy bucket
  • Bucket liner (nappy net)
  • Nappy liners (biodegradable/flushable or reusable)
  • Washable booster pads
  • Washable wipes
  • Washable potty training pants
  • Wet nappy bag
  • Reusable swim nappy

Q. Is there anything that I can`t buy with my voucher?

Your real nappy voucher cannot be used to purchase any of the following:

  • Disposable nappies
  • Eco disposable nappies
  • Plastic `nappy sacks`
  • Disposable wet wipes
  • Disposable `pull ups`/trainer pants

Q. How long will my voucher be valid for?

Your voucher will be valid for 12 weeks from when it is issued. The expiry date of your voucher will be printed on it.

Q. My voucher has expired, is there anything I can do?

Ring the helpline on 0300 003 1118 or email info@recycleforcumbria.org and explain your problem. We will be able to let you know if we can do anything to help.

Q. I`m only a few weeks pregnant, can I still apply for a voucher?

Yes, you can, you will have to tell us the date your baby is due, but please note that the vouchers have a 12-week expiry date.

Q. I don`t live in Cumbria, can I still get money off real nappies?

If you don`t live in Cumbria then you can`t apply for a money-off voucher through the Cumbria Real Nappy Campaign. However, your local council may be running a similar scheme so get in touch with them.

Q. What happens if I don`t spend the whole 30 voucher at once?

The voucher can only be used once with the retailer of your choice, it is in your own interests to spend 45 or more to make the best use of it. No change can be given.

If you have a question about resources or recycling in Cumbria call our helpline on  0300 003 1118
or email us at  info@recycleforcumbria.org