Washable or traditional diapers? Selection guide

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Marie-Ange Demory
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  • 1 Washable diapers: an ecological choice
  • 2 Save money with washable nappies
  • 3 Washable diapers and natural fibers
  • 4 The advantages of traditional nappies
  • 5 Are washable nappies absorbent enough? 
  • 6 Washable diapers and baby feces

Once upon a time there was the ciripà, the cotton ancestor of the modern diaper, that kind of fabric triangle that we children of the 60s and 70s experienced on our buttocks. Yes, because until a few years ago the alternative did not exist. Today, however, on the shelves of sanitary ware and supermarkets you will find dozens of different types of nappies, even if there is a boom in washable nappies. Unlike what one might think, their use is not much more complicated than traditional ones. You just need to get used to it.

So let's see the pros and cons of washable nappies and classic nappies.

Washable diapers: an ecological choice

More and more parents prefer washable nappies, which are made up of a part of cotton and a waterproof panty. The choice is made for several reasons. First of all for environmental issues: in the first two and a half years of life, a child wastes about 1,5 tons of diapers. You read that right: a ton and a half! Multiply this number by all the newborns in the world and you will understand that the disposal of these products is really expensive: it takes from 200 to 500 years !!

Save money with washable nappies

Secondly, there is an economic aspect. Washable nappies can seem expensive at first when you need to build a nice stash. It can take up to 1.000 euros. The savings, however, can be seen in the medium to long term. Traditional diapers cost an average of 5 to 10 euros per pack, so in the 2-3 years in which a child consumes diapers, the figure is not insignificant.

Washable diapers and natural fibers

And then there are the health reasons. Compared to washable cotton nappies, normal ones tend to overheat children's skin by about one degree and studies are underway to verify the possible consequences of this phenomenon. However, it is clear that cotton, being a natural fiber, allows better transpiration of the skin. This is why washable nappies may be advisable for babies who have a tendency to inflammation and diaper rash.

Also keep in mind that there are many chemical components in disposable diapers and scientific research is wondering about the possible effects (which apparently are not really good, but are to be ascertained).

The advantages of traditional diapers

On the other hand, it is undeniable that disposable ones are more practical to use, even when you are away from home. The washable ones are composed of two parts, so even the "last minute" change at the mall or in the car can seem more complicated. You should never forget a bag to store the dirty one.

Another very common criticism of washable nappies is that they are bulkier than traditional ones. This is true, but it does not cause particular discomfort to newborns, which is not that they have who knows what movements to do. The good thing is that keeping the legs a little more open is a protective factor against hip dysplasia.

Are washable nappies absorbent enough? 

The question is right and the answer depends on the type of model you choose. However, the absorbency can be increased by inserting special inserts inside the diaper itself, so that it can be adjusted according to your child.

Washable diapers and baby feces

And what do we do with the poop? Washable nappies - as the name suggests - should be washed when they get dirty. Generally they are equipped with a biodegradable "feces collector" veil that can be thrown into the toilet, but then clearly they have to go in the washing machine at 40 or 60 ° with a little detergent. Especially at the beginning you will need a lot of them because the little ones get wet and discharge much more often, but as they grow up the number of washable nappies you need decreases.

Article updated on September 23, 2022

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