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Real nappies

Real nappies are an alternative to disposable nappies. They have come on leaps and bounds since the terry towelling nappies our grandparents and parents used; there are no pins in sight.


  • Cotton nappies save you about £700 from birth to potty compared to disposables.
  • Keep your cotton nappies and save them for your next baby; you can save even more money!

Easy to use

  • Modern nappies are easy to use. Many don't rely on folding and they fasten with Velcro and poppers, not pins.
  • Designed to wash and dry easily; you can wash them at 60°C and many can be tumble dried too.


  • Cotton nappies are naturally absorbent and don’t rely on the chemicals used in disposable nappies.
  • Babies wearing cotton nappies are generally potty trained 6-12 months earlier than those in disposables.
  • Cotton nappies are naturally breathable unlike disposable nappies, which become hotter when they are wet.
  • Cotton nappies provide more support at the base of the spine so are great for tumbling toddlers. They are also excellent for babies with clicky hips as they are more padded around the leg so promote correct hip alignment.

Warrington, Wigan and St Helens Sling Library offer cloth nappy kits for hire, so people can decide which nappies work best for them.

Waste and the environment

  • Disposable nappies take over 500 years to decompose in landfill sites. Cotton nappies produce virtually no waste; you can wash and use them again and again.
  • Manufacture of disposable nappies uses seven million trees each year; they use much more energy and materials and produce more waste than cotton nappies.
  • Disposable nappies can make up half the volume of the weekly bin in households with a baby.

There are many places to buy real nappies from and so many choices that sometimes it is hard to know where to start.

Mothercare and Boots stock basic brands, including their own which are sometimes cheaper, but you will find much more variety online. If you find the type of nappy you like online and want to see or test it you can often buy a single trial nappy.  It you're happy you can then buy everything you need.

There are many deals on birth to potty packs which provide everything your child will need from birth to being potty trained.

Birth2Potty is a company that offers advice and have a wide selection of nappies from all different brands. This local company works with you to find the best type of nappy for your child so you are able make the most out of using reusable nappies.