Nappies - what types are there?

From reusable to disposable, and the newer styles in between, we explain what nappy choices are available for your baby and toddler.

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  • Reusable nappies

    Reusable nappies are nappies that can be washed and used again and again. There are different types of reusable nappies around. The four main types are:

    Reusables are more environmentally sound than disposable nappies, but mean more effort, as you need to wash and dry them. While the initial price can look high compared to a pack of disposable nappies, they can work out to be more economical, as the price you pay gets spread over possibly years of use.

    Our buyer's guide to reusable nappies will take you step by step through finding the right one.

  • Disposable nappies

    Disposable nappies are nappies that you use once and then throw away. They’re convenient and mean no washing and drying.

    Disposable nappies have polyacrylates in their layers, and this is what absorbs any liquid. The polyacrylates turn to gel to hold onto the liquid.

    Our buyer's guide to disposable nappies will take you step by step through finding the right one.

  • Part reusable, part disposable

    We here at MFM have coined the term “half-and-half nappies” in order to explain this new breed! Half-and-half nappies are reusable nappies that come with the option of being partially disposable. Basically, you can use them as a normal reusable nappy (with a reusable insert), then choose to use a disposable insert in the reusable outer when you need the convenience of throwing the mess away.

  • Eco-disposable nappies

    Eco-disposable nappies work exactly like a standard disposable nappy. The difference is the have greener credentials, be it the materials they’re made from or the rate at which they biodegradable or the manufacturing process. In what way, and how much, they are eco-friendly varies brand to brand.

    They may use unbleached wood pulp, a corn-based coating on the outside or a percentage of the materials could be renewable. Others claim to biodegrade faster in landfill or release fewer chemicals if incinerated.

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  • Nappy or trainer pants

    Nappy pants or trainer pants can be reusable or disposable. They are for toddlers who are starting to learn about potty or toilet training. Often they are quite stretchy and a ‘pull-on’ style with no fasteners/tabs, so your child can get used to how real pants are pulled up and down. They also tend to be less absorbent.

    Many disposable options can be torn down the sides for when you do need to remove mess with minimal fuss.

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