Cloth on a budget

So one of the reasons you might have chosen to switch to cloth nappies is to save money. It absolutely can save you money, even with just one child. But when you start looking at purchasing nappies and find some that cost nearly £30 for a single nappy it doesn’t look feasible or realistic.

Let’s get this clear –  you do not need to spend anywhere near £30 to get a decent nappy, and you do not need a massive stash of nappies either.

There will always be the latest ‘must have’ nappy that is difficult (and expensive) to get hold of. That really doesn’t mean it is the best nappy out there, or that it is the only nappy that will work for you. Once you’ve been cloth nappying a while you’ll come to realise that the ‘must have’ brands change over time.

Sadly there can be a bit of elitism amongst cloth nappy users. This makes me sad. I think it puts people who can’t afford, or don’t want to, spend thousands on a stash, off from trying. One of my favourite nappies (and certainly my most reliable, costs just £12). The reason you’ll hear that cheaper nappies “don’t work” is largely because the absorbent part is made from microfibre. It is cheaper to use microfibre than something like hemp, that’s why manufacturers do it. But although absorbent it is prone to compression leaks. That does not mean these nappies aren’t any good. You just need to overcome the compression leaks. The easiest way is to not use the microfibre and replace it with something else. In a pocket nappy this is really easy and cheap to do. Check out my review on Alva Baby pocket nappies to see how I do this.

If you can’t remove the microfibre, or want to continue using it, then you need to add something to absorb liquid when the microfibre is under pressure. Any natural material will do. Boosters are really easy to add. Prefolds are very cost effective. It doesn’t even need to be something ‘proper’, an old flannel will work or a cut up tea towel. No one is going to see your inserts, they don’t need to be pretty. Check out my review on Bambino Mio to see how I counteract their microfibre insert for my heavy wetter.

You also don’t need a huge stash of nappies. Around 20-25 birth to potty nappies will see you through to potty training. You can also start small, just buy a couple and see how you get on. Adding to your stash over time. I’ll let you into a little secret, my stash isn’t anywhere near as big as it appears on my Instagram. I buy nappies, I try them out, I review them, I take a bunch of photos and then I sell them on. It might be months later I’m posting a photo of something I no longer own. At the time of writing this I have about 36 day nappies. It’s a few more than I need yes but this is also my hobby.

Which brings me nicely onto buying and selling. There is a great preloved market for buying and selling nappies. If you’re happy with preloved then join a few Facebook groups. If you’re buying then please always pay via goods and services on PayPal so you’re protected. The vast majority of sellers are lovely, honest and trustworthy but I hate to see someone caught out when a nappy isn’t as described. And of course once you’re done with your nappies then you can sell them on and recoup some of the money you’ve spent. My handy fees calculator will help you work out how much money you will receive from any sales.

Finally if you want to save money then absolutely check out cloth wipes if you’re not already using them. Without a doubt these will save you hundreds of pounds over a couple of years.

Budget nappies

Here are some nappies to consider that are under the £15 each mark, there are of course many other options too. Just remember it is mostly about the insert and there are plenty of ways to improve what you have.

  • Aldi Mamia all in one. Retails for £5, although you will definitely need to either add a fleece liner or get handy with a needle and thread. You will also need to add a booster.
  • Alva Baby pocket. Retails between £4-7, if you can try buy without the inserts which aren’t great and buy some cotton prefolds instead. This will give you a reliable day nappy system.
  • Baba + Boo pocket – £14.95 comes with two inserts which have good absorbency when paired together.
  • Baby Bare Ai2 or AIO or side-snap – all £18.95 each but included as their trial packs or 5 for 4 bundles make these nappies just under the £15 mark.
  • Bambino Mio Miosolo – £15.99 but included as you can normally find these on offer. They are also regularly in the Aldi baby events for just £9. Because of the microfibre insert you will need an additional booster.
  • Bebeboo Flex cover – £15 these don’t come with any inserts so you will need to buy those. But you can reuse the cover around 4 times if it isn’t soiled so this can be a really cost effective system.
  • Bells Bumz pocket – £13 for a pocket and 4-layer natural fibre insert. Depending on your baby you may need to add a booster.
  • Easy Peasy Bumble – £12 (although you’ll need a wrap too, but maybe only 5 wraps against a stash of 20 Bumbles). These can be used for both day and night.
  • Fiyyah Pokkit nappy. £15, comes with two pure bamboo inserts which are great and it’s unlikely you’d need additional boosters. Very high quality materials. Probably one of my favourite budget options.
  • Green Cheeks pocket. £9.50, comes with one hemp:cotton insert. It is likely that you’d need to boost this though which will add a few pounds to the cost.
  • La Petite Ourse pocket nappy. £15, comes with two inserts which used together are sufficient for my heavy wetter.
  • Little Love Bum popper and pocket – £10-19. The pocket can be purchased on it’s own for £10, you can use inserts you already have or prefolds are a very cost effective option. If you want to purchase inserts as well then the bamboo pack is the most affordable whilst still offering good absorbency. The bamboo inserts are £5, taking the overall cost to £15.
  • My Little Gumnut pocket nappy – £13 comes with one insert but you may find you need to add a booster as well.
  • Natural Mamma Cloud pocket – around £11. Comes with two microfibre inserts so you’ll probably need to swap one for a natural fibre booster. But still an affordable option.
  • Pēpi Collection pocket – £16-15 but individually cheaper if you buy as a bundle. Comes with two bamboo:microfibre inserts so unlikely you’d need to add anything further.
  • Tickle Tots AIO – £15.99 but included as you can normally find 10% discount codes for the various retailers. Although this isn’t a very absorbent nappy so expect to have to spend some money on boosters as well.
  • TJs charcoal pocket – £12 with a hemp insert, although you may need to boost.
  • Yoho & Co pocket nappy £13-14 depending on insert choice. You will probably need to add a booster.