Best Baby Nappies
Finding the right nappies for your little one can often involve a balancing act between ensuring your bub stays comfortable and dry throughout the day, and making baby changing as easy and convenient as possible for you.
Don’t cause leakages
Comfortably soft on baby’s skin
- Ease of Use4.7 (173)
- Comfort4.7 (157)
- Value for Money4.4 (175)
Good and secure fit
Side snaps make changing easy
Barely any leaks
$36.95 each - a premium nappy price
- Ease of Use4.2 (29)
- Comfort4.5 (24)
- Value for Money4.1 (29)
Highly absorbent and leak proof
Good quality materials
Quick to dry
- Ease of Use4.3 (12)
- Comfort4.1 (8)
- Value for Money3.6 (13)
Snug nappy design for most ages
Highly absorbent inserts
Good customer service
Premium price at $34.95 each
Sometimes bulky on newborns
- Ease of Use3.0 (6)
- Comfort3.2 (6)
- Value for Money2.7 (6)
Easy-to-use Velcro tabs
Affordable price for MCN’s
Can be bulky on newborns
Types of Baby Nappies
These nappies are designed for one-time use, to be thrown in the bin afterwards. They’re made of a softer inner layer that touches baby's skin, followed by a layer of absorbent chemicals or gel, then an outer plastic layer.
- Will save you time on laundry day as you use them once then throw them away - no washing required
- Easy to buy from supermarkets and pharmacies, so they can conveniently be part of your weekly grocery shop
- Usually more absorbent than reusable nappies thanks to agents that aid in absorption
- Pricier than reusable nappies, disposable nappies are an ongoing expense
- Not environmentally friendly thanks to the plastic shell and anti-bacterial agents that don’t break down easily in landfill
Reusable cloth nappies are made to be used multiple times. A good quality cloth nappy can be used as a newborn nappy all the way up until your child is fully toilet trained.
- It’s cheaper to use reusable nappies in the long-run, as you won’t have the ongoing expense of buying new nappies
- Better for sensitive skin as the natural materials are chemical-free and less likely to irritate your baby’s skin
- More eco-friendly than plastic disposable nappies, with options like terry cloth, bamboo and hemp
- Cheaper than disposable eco-friendly nappies, if you’re after an affordable nappy that’s kind on the environment
- Generally less absorbent than disposable nappies, which means reusable nappies need to be changed more often
- Can be fiddly and time consuming since you’ll need to launder them. For some types of reusable nappies, folding and pinning is required.
Terry cloth nappies
Also called terry towelling, this involve a more traditional way of using cloth nappies. It uses square lengths of terry cotton that you fold to form a nappy, then secure it in place on your bub with pins and clips.
- The cheapest reusable nappy available, terry cloth nappies can cost around $300 in total
- Aesthetically appealing as they come in a wide range of attractive patterns and colours
- The most time consuming type of nappy, you'll spend time folding, pinning, and ensuring everything is secure
Modern cloth nappies (or MCNs)
Modern Cloth Nappies refer to reusable nappies that have come a long way since their traditional counterparts. They blend the coveted convenience of the disposable nappy with the multitude of benefits offered by a reusable nappy. All of the following nappies are variations of MCNs.
These are the closest thing to a disposable nappy, in cloth form. They use velcro or press studs, not pins.
You have one nappy that doesn’t require additional parts. However, this means they’re also thicker, and take twice the time to dry.
All-in-two’s or ‘snap-in-two’s
These have two parts - a cover that acts like a leak-proof shell, and an absorbent insert that ‘snaps in’ to the shell.
You can throw the inserts into the wash, and they’ll dry faster than all-in-one’s as the material is thinner.
Similar to snap-in-two’s, but with an option to switch out a reusable insert for a handy disposable nappy.
It’s a good back-up option if all your reusable inserts are in the wash, or you intuit that a ‘poopsplosion’ is on its way - you can just throw the whole mess out in the bin.
These are highly absorbent all-cloth nappies. They need a waterproof cover, to keep the wet, soiled cloth contained underneath. If you have a young baby or an infant who’s a heavy wetter, this may be a good option.
Designed with a waterproof cover, a soft inner lining, and pockets in between the two. You then put absorbable inserts inside the pockets. They have layers of protection, which are suitable for heavy wetters.
Are cloth nappies better for baby?
The answer to this will ultimately be a matter of what suits both your baby and your own lifestyle. You might find that the right match will require a bit of trial and error.
Babies with sensitive skin
For example, you might love the convenience that disposable nappies have to offer. But some parents find that their babies soon develop nappy rash or even thrush, as an allergic reaction to the chemicals found in disposal nappies. As a matter of their baby’s health and comfort, they then transition to cloth nappies.
However, it's also possible to find allergy-friendly disposable nappies, if you search far and wide enough. You might have to pay extra, but it could be worth it if the thought of reusable nappies is still a bit daunting.
Mix and match
Remember also that you can switch it up. Choosing disposable or cloth nappies doesn't have to be an absolute.
There are hybrid nappies where you can slot a disposable nappy into a reusable cover. Or when you’re travelling and aren’t confident about being able to easily find baby changing stations, you can switch to disposable nappies, making a brief change from the cloth nappies you use at home.
How much do cloth nappies cost?
Cloth nappies usually cost between $10-$30 each.
As a general rule, most parents recommend investing in at least 20-25 cloth nappies. At around $30 for high quality nappies, this will cost $750.
While this sounds expensive (and it is a high initial hit, money wise), cloth nappies are still cheaper than disposable nappies.
Newborn nappies, washed daily
Newborns need, on average, 12 daily nappy changes. If you're washing nappies daily, investing in 15 cloth nappies is a good idea to start with, as you'll have a few spares if laundry time comes a little later or your bub has a few extra accidents.
- Regularly priced: At $20 a pop for 15 cloth nappies, this will cost you $300.
- Premium cloth nappies: If you're investing in nappies that cost $30 each, this will set you back $450.
Keep in mind that washing daily can soon become too time consuming - especially on top of all the tasks that come with caring for a newborn.
If you'd rather save time than money, consider washing every second day and just investing in double the amount of cloth nappies.
Newborn nappies, washed every second day
- Regularly price: At $20 each for 24 nappies, this will cost $480.
- Premium nappies: At $30 for 24 nappies, this will cost $720.
Crawlers, walkers and toddlers
Bubs that fall within these age groups need fewer daily changes than newborns. Crawlers (6-12 months) and walkers (12-18 months) require about 6 daily changes, and toddlers need about 5 per day.
Washing twice daily, your crawler will need about 12 nappies (plus a few spare ones), and your toddler needs at least 10 cloth nappies.
Tips for buying cloth nappies
Trial them first
If you're still not sure how easy cloth nappies really are, you can start off with buying just 1-2 nappies, to see if they're a good fit.
Premium picks may save you money
Even if they're more expensive now, if they have higher absorbency and thicker layers, they'll last longer. You may even be able to use them for bub's future siblings.
Accessories cost extra
Shells can cost extra
Some types of nappies come in two parts, with an insert and shell, also called an outer cover. You'll need at least one shell for every 5 cloth nappies.
How much do disposable nappies cost?
This will depend on the brand you opt for. Popular household brands are more expensive than your supermarket equivalents. For example, for newborn nappies, which require changing 12 times a day. These are some comparisons of newborn nappies for popular brands:
, 54 Bulk Pack: $16 per pack - Around 30c per nappy, a pack of these will last you 4.5 days. You’ll have to buy this 20 times when your baby is a newborn, aged 1-3 months, costing you $320 for 3 months.
ALDI MAMIA Infant Nappies, 56 Pack: $9.99 per pack - 18c per nappy, these will last you 4.5 days, too - plus 2 extra nappies. You’ll make the trip to ALDI around 20 times, which will set you back a modest $193 for 3 months of nappies.
Conclusion - Cost of disposable vs reusable nappies
You can see that while the premium newborn nappies from Huggies are $320 - compared to $720 for premium reusable nappies.
However keep in mind that this is only for the newborn stage, and disposable nappies will be an ongoing expense till your child is a toddler - around 2.5 years old.
Considering that children need 4, 500 - 6000 nappies before they're toilet trained, you’ll find that the cost of disposable nappies will quickly climb, overtaking the initial sum spent on cloth nappies.
Other factors to consider when buying nappies
Age and size
Most disposable nappies are sold in three sizes; newborn (0-3 months), crawler (6-12 months), and toddler (12 months-2.5 years). This will also depend on your baby’s size and weight, so make sure to check the size guide on the pack.
You might have to experiment to find out which brands fit your bub. For a more adaptable fit the first time round, look for nappies that have easy-to-secure velcro tabs, an elastic waistband and leg holes that fit snugly.
Some types of nappies are designed to be more absorbent than others. Generally, absorbency is increased by having more layers, and a snugger fit - as contents are less likely to leak out.
Ease of use
Since you’ll be changing a total of 1000s of nappies in the next few years, the nappy should be easy for you to learn how to use, and get the hang of.
Disposable nappies have plastic and chemicals in them. If you’re concerned about the impact of these on the planet, you can opt for cloth nappies or disposable nappies that are biodegradable. They’re more expensive than regular disposable nappies - but made with materials like bamboo and paper pulp, they’re more eco-friendly nappies.
In conclusion, the type of nappy you opt for your little bub will depend on a number of factors. Most importantly, weigh up cost and convenience. While it's easy to grab the cheapest nappies on the supermarket shelves, these may end up costing you more in the long-run.
Also consider whether your bub has sensitive skin or allergies, and how nappies fit into your lifestyle. Reusable options may be troublesome if you're constantly on-the-go or travelling; or most disposable nappies might have too large an environmental footprint for you.
Being mindful of all these factors that go into selecting the right nappies for you can make the period of trialling nappies shorter, and the whole process smoother and easier.