How to avoid a large upfront cost
Using cloth nappies can work out cheaper than disposable nappies over the 2.5-3 years your little one will use them, but it would be futile to argue that cloth nappies don't involve a larger upfront cost, compared to the smaller weekly disposables purchases. You don't have to buy a complete system of cloth in one go however; you can gradually build up as and when your budget allows.
Read the article we wrote comparing the cost of disposables and reusable nappies for the BBC podcast better than sliced bread.
You could start with one night time nappy and 3 daytime nappies. You'd wash daily and top up with a few disposables each day. I wouldn't buy a bucket or storage bag until later on, instead just put the nappy in the washing machine and wash at the end of day, making up a load with sicky bibs and muslins or just washing with your regular household laundry (just make sure your detergent is ok for your nappies). As you can afford more, top up with a few more nappies each time and slowly decrease the amount of disposables you're using and you can then wash every other day.
Another alternative that people use is topping up their main nappies with a pack of terry squares or prefolds to use at home. This cheaply boosts your nappy supply, decreasing your washing frequency and reliance on disposables.
A full time set of 40 Premium Washable Wipes costs £36, where a 2.5 year supply of single use wipes could cost £195. Choosing reusable wipes alone can save you around £160! This is a significant amount of money saved for very little initial outlay. In fact, these savings can make your total spend on a complete nappy system lower.
Buying preloved/second hand nappies can be another way of minimising your initial investment, and has the added bonus of being even better for the environment, making the most of an item already in use instead of buying new. Read here for our guide on buying preloved nappies. Don't forget to also regularly check our Clearance page for end of line, ex demo or seconds quality nappies that are still perfectly usable!
If you're expecting a baby you'll surely be showered with generous gifts from friends and family! Instead of clothes and toys, why not suggest a nappy to go towards a full time set? It's a really practical option that will be used and appreciated daily.