It's Real Nappy Week! Are you getting involved? By Aoife Blight
GET RID OF DISPOSABLES AND CONVERT TO REUSABLE'S...
It’s real nappy week (23-29th April) and I’m talking about fluffy butts! Every year in April cloth nappy users celebrate those fluffy bums and try to spread the word in a bid to make cloth mainstream. There’s nothing cuter than your tiny tot wriggling around in a beautiful cloth nappy but aside from them being cute there are a ton of benefits, for you, your baby and the environment.
I started using cloth nappies on my boy when he was about three months old (he’s now 14 months). Up until that point we’d been using cheap as chips disposable nappies. They were fine and seemed great value for money but there was a lot more rubbish suddenly going to landfill. I’d been thinking about cloth nappies when I was pregnant but it seemed like too much hassle and money. I’d have enough on my plate without having to worry about boiling nappies as well!
After a couple of months, I realised that I was managing being a mum well enough; he was still alive and that seemed like a good sign, so I decided to have a second think about getting real. Aldi had a deal on; Bambino Mio Mio Solo nappies for £9.99. That was cheaper than I could get them (new) online so I threw a few into my shopping basket and let them sit in my cupboard for a few weeks. I was too nervous to start using them. But then I learned some facts...
The Facts: How many is too many?
In the UK, families with babies throw out between 6-12 nappies a day, which adds up to a daily amount of 8 million nappies nationally. The average baby will use anywhere between 4000 and 6000 nappies before it is fully potty trained (usually about three years). That’s approximately three billion nappies a year all going to landfill! Three. Billion.
In comparison, it is suggested that you only need 15 cloth nappies. Now, 15 nappies just about worked for us. It meant that we always had one day a week that was a disposable nappy day. But I had big dreams, a nappy-waste free home. We got there in the end! I now have around 22 nappies and we are disposable free. I only use disposables in times of great need, like when our washing machine decided to give up the ghost or if I know I won’t have access to a washing machine when we’re away on holidays.
Make Laundry not landfill
The carbon impact from cloth nappies depends on how you use them. The 2008 report concluded that if you:
* Wash nappies at 60°C max
* Wash full loads
* Line dry outside whenever possible
* Tumble dry as little as possible
* Choose efficient machines (A+ rated)
* reuse nappies on other children
you can significantly lower your environmental impact, by about 200kg of carbon, which is 40% lower than the baseline and is equal to driving your car about 1000 km!
So, from an environmental and economic point of view it makes sense to use cloth. Buy your stash once, use on as many kids as you can, follow the above washing instructions, save money, save the environment. Winning!
I’ve been using cloth nappies on my baby for almost a year now. We use All-In-One and pocket nappies during the day and a two-part wrap system over night. There have been leaks! There have been quick changes of clothes needed. There has been drama but this mostly happened when my son was smaller and the nappy fit wasn’t so great. Now that he’s a little bigger and I’m more experienced I know how long I can get out of a nappy and how to put them on him for a perfect fit. This will depend on how heavy a wetter your baby is but on average we get about 3 hours absorbency from the nappies. Some are better than others. Our Baba & Boo nappies are the best fit and last a good 5 hours. These are great for overnight use when you throw in an extra bamboo booster insert. Using a two part wrap is also great for absorbency. We use a Tots Bots bamboozle and a peenut wrap with a bamboo booster for overnight.
I store them dry in a plastic IKEA box with a lid but you can get proper nappy buckets from most retailers. I store the wipes dry and wet them with a bottle of baby soap and water when I need them. I was keeping them in a Tupperware box, soaked in a chamomile, lavender and coconut oil solution for a while but just using water is fine. When they’re dirty I throw them in the bin with the soiled nappies.
I line the nappies with a biodegradable liner from bambino mio. You can also use reusable fleece liners. I make sure to remove any nasties from the liner and then pop them in the nappy bin to be washed with everything else. When they’re clean, I put them in the compost bin. Whatever you do, don’t flush them. They won’t break down quick enough and could end up blocking your pipes or, even worse, floating off into the sea to be eaten by a poor sea creature!
I do a nappy wash every three days. I do a pre-wash, a normal wash at 50°C with non-bio detergent, and a rinse wash afterwards. Doing the rinse wash helps remove soap residue that might effect your baby’s skin. If you can control the spin speed use the highest spin possible to remove as much water as you can. I then line or radiator dry them (I live in Wales, not much sun around here!). Line drying them in the sun, when it comes out, is a great way of removing any tricky stains too. The sun gets your whites whiter than white!
I tumble dry them in the winter because otherwise they would take ages to dry but mostly I just hang them over the radiator. Some people say that that effects the absorbency but I don’t think they’d ever dry if I didn’t!
What we haven’t had, at all, since using cloth nappies are Poonamis! The cloth holds poo in really well. No more Poomageddons to deal with, which I think we can all agree is a big win!
The other thing we don’t have is any noxious smells. Disposable nappies stink! I don’t know why but they really do smell, and that’s something you just don’t get with the cloth ones, probably because of the lack of chemical gels working over time.
What you do get though is a great sense of satisfaction, knowing that you’re not contributing to depletion of resources like trees and water, pollution, climate change and landfill.
Fluffy bums for the win!
So that’s it. I hope that some of you reading this will think about giving cloth a go. I honestly wouldn’t go back to disposables now unless I had no other choice. They are the best thing for his bum, my wallet (especially if we use them on any future baby bums) and the environment. What’s not to love. I know it can seem daunting at the start but it very quickly all becomes part of the normal routine and soon enough you’ll be wondering why you were ever worried about them. Plus, there are so many gorgeous prints out there, once you start it really is hard to resist! Check out http://www.goreal.org.uk for lots more information and advice about local council incentives and www.fill-your-pants.com for information about nappy gurus in your area.
Check out http://www.goreal.org.uk for lots more information and advice about local council incentives and www.fill-your-pants.com for information about nappy gurus in your area.
Blog Post written by, Aoife Blight - Instagram: zerowastecardiff
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