Let’s be honest. Changing nappies is never going to rate highly in anyone’s favourite activities. It’s just one of those things that you just get on with. Whilst you may get people who are nostalgic for baby days, I would question whether nappies really are one of their highlights. So why do I add to the chores and use cloth nappies?
With Real Nappy Week underway, I seems timely to bring together my 4 reasons that we chose to opt in.
I should be clear that I am largely shallow for my reasons for using reusable nappies. I mean, some of my reasons are arguably noble. It’s nice to imagine that fluffy bunnies are somehow being helped by my efforts. But on the whole, I’m really more about the money.
Here’s my four most compelling reasons to use cloth nappies:
Way back when Thomas was just a few months old, I was just embarking on a stint of statutory maternity pay. Like many parents in that situation, it meant I really needed to look at where our money was going. I went a bit crazy and really started tracking where every penny went. I was utterly dismayed when I realised that I spend more on nappies and wipes than I did on fruit and vegetables. What was worse – I was spending more on nappies and less on coffee.
Other people have gone into a lot more depth on this, but I’ve summarised things in a little infographic for you.
Obviously, there’s some days when babies go through far more than 6 nappies. When they’re toddlers they’ll probably go through less. So it’s all about a law of averages.
The same applies for the cost of reusable nappies – you may wish to find a brand that’s more expensive or find the cheapest option you can. Either way, it’s pretty clear to me that running my washing machine and then hanging things up to dry equates to a lot more savings.
That said, the same also applies for cloth nappies. You can find second-hand nappies that are available for a much smaller budget, equally you could buy more than 15 and wash less. Putting a larger load of washing on would also decrease the cost of running your machine more frequently.
Either way… gin money. Or savings.
Whilst the initial expense isn’t fun – in the long run it’s a saving. Obviously, if you then used the nappies again for a second child – it would be great!
I swore when we first switched to cloth that I wouldn’t get obsessed with the different prints. This is a quick way NOT to save money as you really don’t need more than 15 nappies. Whilst I have caved a bought a couple of extra nappies. My overall advice is to just make sure that those fifteen are REALLY cute.
I love how slim Tickle Tots are so they fit easily under Thomas’ slim fit jeans. But actually – I always want to work out how to show off the design. I’m hoping for a REALLY hot summer so he can just dash about in a t-shirt and nappy!
We’ve recently been testing out the Tickle Tots 2 as the newer edition has a slightly higher rise. The previous version fitted Thomas fine but sat just under his belly. This one sits slightly higher up – a little more like a disposable would.
I have to say that we’ve been happy with both types of Tickle Tots nappy as they are equally user friendly and most importantly, have kept Thomas dry and leak free!
I’ve written before about really not being an eco-warrior. But as I look at my kids imagine their future – it’s not something that can be ignored.
In the area of Sussex that I grew up in, there was lots of campaigning against an incinerator being built. Of course, it did eventually go up and you can see it from the road as we travel from the airport to my Mum’s house. We’ve told the kids that it’s a space station so actually causes me no end of mirth. But when you see plumes of gas rising from the chimney, you do wonder the effect it has on the beautiful surrounding countryside.
So I’ve summarised things again. On average, a baby goes through 2190 nappies a year for 2.5 years. It’s estimated that a typical disposable will take 500 years to decompose. I have no idea if nappies can be incinerated, but it just strikes me that avoiding these possibilities is preferable.
Now, I know there’s lots of ‘eco’ disposable nappies out there now. We use them on holiday sometimes! I’m sure these are better and certainly are kinder on Thomas’ skin.
I also know that people have done some math and worked out that running a washing machine and a tumble drier may actually contribute more carbon into the environment and do even greater harm. But then this is easily countered by pointing out a) I don’t have a tumble drier and b) you don’t have to wash at 60. In fact, Tickle Tots advise you to wash at 40 to help prolong the life of the nappy. So overall, I’m more inclined to think not filling the landfill is better.
Finally, my most compelling reason – Thomas’ skin. Almost from birth, Thomas developed the most blistering nappy rash. His skin reacted to any hint of soap in the bath and quickly reacted to conventional nappy creams. We duly trotted off to the GP who initially prescribed a cream that made things worse. It was then trial and error to find something that would relieve his skin.
I found that organic cotton was much better for him and washing him in plain water at this point was fine. But he was still clearly reacting to his nappies.
We had just continued using the same brand we had for Katie so tried switching to a hideously expensive eco-nappy which really did help. However, when I saw an advert for a real nappy trial in Edinburgh – I thought ‘what’s to lose?’
Why not just give them a try and see if they work for us?
If you’re local to Edinburgh, do check out the ‘Edinburgh Real Nappy Community‘ who often run events to demo and even sell-on nappies!