One major thing with cloth nappies that I’m hyper aware of is the initial cost of a setup. Although cloth nappies wind up thousands of dollars cheaper than disposable nappies in the long run, not everyone can afford a big upfront payment. And not everyone knows which brand they want to invest in! Recommendations are hugely helpful, but ultimately it comes down to what you like and can afford and what fits your child best.
It’s like Terry Pratchett’s “Boots” theory. Having more money saves you money.
But if you haven’t got the cash for a bulk payment, here are some ways to get into the cloth game anyway.
- Start small
Remember, you do not need to be all or nothing. You don’t need a full stash of 28 nappies from Day 1. I think that expectation is one of the things that puts people off using cloth. If you only have two nappies to start with, that’s fine! That’s two nappies you save from landfill every time you use them. Do what you need to do for your budget, and if cloth works for you, you can continue to build up.
- Go part-time
You don’t need to go full-time if you don’t want to. Ever. Some cloth parents just use cloth during the day and go for disposable at night. Some do two days on, one day off. Some just have a few nappies that they use when they can. All of these options are fine! I use disposables when I’m on longer trips to visit family, because I don’t want to spend my holiday at the laundromat. Do what works for you and your family! You can always add more later if you want to.
- Buy secondhand
This is not as gross as it sounds, I promise. There are Facebook groups like NZ Buy and Sell MCNs where you can get great deals on secondhand nappies. Ads will state the condition of the nappies. If you’re buying secondhand, it’s definitely worth sanitising them with a bleach solution before putting on your baby. Groups like Clean Cloth Nappies will guide you through that, or just ask a fellow cloth user! We’re always happy to help. Secondhand is also a great way to get out of stock prints that you like from good quality brands.
- Use brand rep discount codes
A lot of nappy brands have brand rep codes that can offer you 10 or 15% off. Feel free to message the company and ask, or search the company’s hashtag on social media.
- Use stockist sites
If you want to try a few brands of nappy but don’t want to pay shipping costs for each individual order, you can use sites like www.tweedle.co.nz, www.tushie.co.nz, www.chirpycheeks.co.nz and www.nappyheaven.co.nz (New Zealand) or www.fluffmail.com.au, www.wrenandmyrtle.com.au (Australia) to choose several brands in one order. I’m sure there’s others, so feel free to plug your favourite site in the comments!
- Take advantage of bundles
Most brands have bundle deals, where you’ll get a discount for buying 6, 12 or 24 nappies. These are fantastic if you know which brand you like and want to commit to! Many brands and sites also have trial packs, where you will get a one-off discount for buying 2 or 3 nappies.
- Buy flats/prefolds and covers
Flat nappies are the old-school style of nappies, a bit like what our parents would’ve used in the good old days. They’re folded around the baby and held in place with a fastener (you can use Snappis these days though, not big old safety pins!) Flats and prefolds with covers are more cost-effective than a full stash of pocket nappies, as you can use the covers more than once before washing them. Flat nappies and covers also dry much more quickly, so you don’t need as many in your stash.
- Sell nappies you don’t need or want
Yes, those same secondhand groups are a great way to pass on what you don’t use or what didn’t work for your child! Cloth nappies hold value well, especially if they’re a popular brand. You may not get back the full amount you paid, but you will get some, which is definitely not the case for used disposable nappies!
- Ask a mate
Do you have a cool friend who uses cloth? They might be able to loan you a couple of nappy brands to try! Feel free to ask.
Hopefully these tips help you feel a bit better about taking the first step to using cloth. Have you got any other ideas to do cloth cheap? Feel free to share them in the comments!