Disposable nappies are supposed to be the easier, rash-free choice for changing time - but for Auckland mum Sherylee Teoh, that just doesn't wash.

The Glen Eden early childhood education worker says she and her husband, Jason, estimate they saved around $6500 not buying disposable nappies for their son Kyan.

Kyan is now 7, and his old nappies have gone to 9-month-old sister Quin.

"With Kyan, I was the only one of my friends using cloth nappies, and they were like, 'Oh my God, you're making so much work for yourself ... you must have hours to sit around and wash nappies,'" Ms Teoh told the Weekend Herald.


"But really, it just comes down to two extra loads of washing a week."

The latest nappies had flushable liners and allowed solids to be easily emptied into the toilet - something even her parents, in their 60s, had no trouble figuring out.

As for rashes, Ms Teoh said this only happened while she used disposables on overseas family trips.

Despite her experience, Ms Teoh is in the minority - just 20 per cent of Kiwi parents told a survey they favoured reuseables, compared with the two-thirds who bought disposables.

The survey was carried out by the country's biggest parenting expo, The Baby Show, being held at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds this weekend.

Kate Meads, known for her free parenting programme The Nappy Lady, agreed misconceptions around cloth nappies were still rife in parenting circles.

"A lot of people think they are going down to the river with a washboard, and that disposable nappies will save them time, but in all honesty, there is no difference in the time it takes to chuck a disposable nappy in the bin and to chuck a cloth one in the washing machine."

Yet things haven't been that straight forward for Ms Teoh's friend, Alex Galley, whose bad experience with reuseables and baby Lily's body shape has kept her buying disposables.

"We wanted cloth nappies first but my partner bought some off TradeMe and they didn't work," said Ms Galley, who runs Auckland wedding specialist service Belle Beauty.

"So there are so many [cloth] brands out there and they're not cheap - you might end up going through two nappies of each brand until you've got one you like, and then you've got nappies left over," she said.

"And when you buy the bulk box from Countdown or New World for 30 bucks, they don't blow out, she doesn't leak, and you'll get 12-hour protection overnight - it's much better than having a child waking up in the middle of the night needing a nappy change."

That said, Ms Galley would choose re-useables if she thought she could - and was aware of the impact they had on the environment.

Baby talk

What the numbers say about Kiwi parents:


say having kids has put a dampener on their sex lives, compared with 11 per cent who say it's been good for the bedroom.

40% support sleeping with their infants - but only under certain conditions.

81% felt parents should be made to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, with only 1% saying they shouldn't.

3% think children should be breastfed until they're 3 years old.

1% say children shouldn't be allowed in restaurants, while 47% said it depends on the situation.

80% said they would expect to spend up to $50 a week ($2600 a year) on nappies and 85% said they would not spend more than $3000 on a new nursery.

(Findings from a survey of New Zealand parents carried out by The Baby Show.)

The Baby Show: ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane. Entry $15, under-12s free.