First up - this post is intended for people curious about using reusable nappies. It is not a post intending to persuade people to use them of for me to brag about my eco credentials. Parenthood is hard and no one wants the added pressure of feeling that they should be doing something extra on top of the mind blowing amount of other things that they are trying to do. As someone who really wanted to breast feed and didn't succeed, i'm quite aware of the pressure and a sort of left outness one can feel by not subscribing to your own tribes parental norms. I would hate to think that any posts on my blog would ever make someone feel like that.
I wanted to write this post though because I always intended to reusable nappies but struggled to get my head around one part systems, two part systems, nappy wraps and nappy boosters and struggled to find the right information at the right time. We moved house just before Frieda was born and my mind became filled with mortgage advisor’s, broken chains and trying to rope in friends who could help us move. The nappy idea retreated to the back of my head.
I tried reusable nappies when Frieda was six months after talking to a few mums who use them and being given someone’s old ones to try. Saving money was a real motivator for us, we had very little spare pennies and I certainly didn't want to be spending my precious pennies on nappies. Looking after the planet and less contact with chemicals were also real motivators. I was given a whole bag of new tots bots birth to potty, two part system nappies from a mum, who didn't get on with them, at a baby group. I use these as Frieda's bed time nappies with a motherease wrap. I do not use extra boosters. These work great for us. In the day I use really basic, no frills motherease one size, two part system nappies with motherease wraps. I love them, they are very basic though but I like that. I got all of my motherease really cheaply, ssecond-hand from ebay. In order for this to work for us it had to be low cost I couldn't be buying fancy new nappies as we just didn't have the money. I did buy some all in one little lamb nappies but I really didn't get on with all in one nappies but I know many people that do. My initial start up costs were therefore very low and I intend to use them if we have any more little ones. I also often see bundles on freegle so it's worth keeping your eye out.
(Image from http://www.cleangreennappy.co.uk/)
We do a lot of laundry, I really can't make out that we don't, because we do ALL THE TIME!! In the summer I hardly notice, the nappies dry really quickly outside. It has more of an impact in the winter when It can be difficult to find places to dry them in our small house. I did check our water usage as I thought this may be high but it turns out that we use less than average for a family of our size, so it hasn't had too much of an impact. I use cloth nappies when out and about and I take them to nursery. We use disposables when we go on holiday.
Here are my top tips:
- TheNappy Lady fountain of cloth nappy knowledge. Fill out the questionnaire on her website (like your own private consultation) and she will recommend products that will suit your needs.
- Join a cloth nappy facebook group. I use a Brighton and Hove one and use it to ask other cloth nappy users questions.
- If using a two part system the wraps are so important they must cover the whole of the cloth nappy or you will experience leaks. I really recommend motherease airflow with poppers. Don't get cheap wraps they really are prone to leaks (I speak from experience)
- Try using reusable wipes they really will save you a small fortune. I use the all in one cheeky wipes kit. I know it can take people a little while to get their heads around reusable wipes so no pressure!!!
- Ask friends and look out on freegle for cloth nappies to try before you buy
- Start when it feels a good time for your family. I know people who only use reusables for their little ones as they start potty training.
- Check out local council websites for useful information re cloth nappies. The Vale of Glamorgan website has some great information re cloth nappies
I have started to use some of the old boosters as night time sanitary towels. I'm not sure i'm ready to take the full plunge yet with regards to reusable sanitary products but I am more open to the idea since using cloth nappies. I would be interested to know your thoughts.