Modern Cloth Nappy Musings

Happy weekend! As you can see, I’ve had a day or two off. Apologies! I have no excuses, except for the fact that it’s the weekend, so I’ve been doing weekend things, like sleeping, eating, and googling crazily. My current obsession is modern cloth nappies. I’m sure I will look back on this post and laugh, and many of you are probably doing right now. I am coming from zero experience with nappy changing, and I’m still a little shell shocked at the idea of changing a newborn’s nappy up to 10 times a day. That’s a LOT of…stuff.

So anyway, modern cloth nappies (or MCNs). Aren’t there a LOT of them?? The choice is a little daunting. The types I have found so far are:

  • All in ones (AIO) – your typical disposable style MCN. One nappy, everything’s attached, you wash the whole thing in one go.
  • All in twos (AI2) – similar to AIO nappies, but with an inner liner that snaps into place. This gives you the ability to adjust which liner you use, based on your baby’s, erm, output. Can also be referred to as a pocket nappy (some have an opening to slide in the liner, instead of snapping in). These also have the benefit of only having to wash the liner, not the whole nappy.
  • Prefold – as far as I can see, these are old school cloth nappies sewn into the correct shape.

The BumGenius AIO


The Grovia Hybrid (an AI2)

Then you have additional options (as if all these acronyms weren’t enough!). There are snaps or velcro connections, organic or not, and a bunch of different materials suited to different types of absorbencies (wool, bamboo, cotton…). Lost yet? Me too!

Then of course there are the brands. I’m not going to name them all, because honestly there are far too many to keep track of. The two I’ve been looking at the most, mainly due to their general popularity and positive online reviews, are BumGenius and Grovia (both shown above).

My thought process for heading towards MCNs is mainly to do with environmental impact. Although many of the larger disposable nappy companies will tell you the energy consumption of washing MCNs creates a comparable eco footprint, their calculations are based on washing every day, and using a dryer for every load. Also, there is the little known point that even disposable nappies should be “scraped” of any waste prior to being binned. Which of course doesn’t happen. I like to think I’m a fairly eco-friendly person, and this route just makes sense. Even though I know there will be extra work, I think my peace of mind would be worth the effort. So, let’s have a look at the pros and cons:


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Cost savings (average investment in MCNs is around $300, disposables add up to around $3000-$5000 from newborn to toilet trained).
  • Sizing – more on this below, but the nappies are adjustable, so they should fit from about 8 weeks, all the way to toilet training. One investment = a lot of savings over the years.
  • Apparently improved resistance to nappy rash and the poetically named “blowouts”, due to better fit and natural materials
  • the colours! So cute – my inner stylist (often missing from my life) claps her hands together in delight with the range of solid colours and prints, like these:

Just. Gorgeous! It almost makes me want to lose my own continence. Almost.

Now for the not so great elements:


  • Extra time/effort in washing. Obviously this is the big one, and what turns people off. I’m hoping I can get through the initial stretch and into a routine.
  • The ick factor – having to scrape or hose off the unmentionables into the toilet is not going to be my favourite part of the day, but that said I’ve been told to prepare myself for a much closer relationship with bodily functions, so I’m guessing I’ll be up to my elbows anyway
  • Sizing – most MCNs will be labelled “one size fits most”, meaning that they won’t fit newborns, unless you buy a specific newborn nappy. But you’re not going to want to pay all that money to then have to replace them with a larger size.

So that’s my (not at all exhaustive) list. In regards to the cons, with the first two I think they’re more a matter of getting into the right mindset, and establishing a routine. With the third point, my incessant googling has led me to a fantastic service called a Nappy Library. I’ve found these in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane (here or here, here and here respectively), where for around $20-$25 a week you can hire newborn MCNs until your baby fits into the regular sized ones. They also have full size hire packs, to try out a range of brands to see what suits best. I think that’s a pretty fantastic service, and I’ll be getting into them just as soon as I actually fall pregnant!

On that rather long post, I will leave you on this fine Sunday afternoon. I hope I’ve given a decent description, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on these, or if anyone else has had experience of these. Special thanks to Young House Love and their excellent post here on their experience with MCNs.

Jane xx

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