If every nappy wearing child in the UK used a Real Nappy once a day, that would be 25% less waste to landfill and 25% less global warming CO2e.
While minimising my impact on the environment is important, my child’s wellbeing and practicality come slightly higher on my priorities, so although I was keen to try real nappies, I wasn’t committed. Mr MilkChic was much less keen. He had used disposables with his older children and had horrible visions of stinky washing nightmares, nappy rash and leaks.
|A flash of clothbum…
(c) MilkChic. All rights reserved
If I hadn’t had a problem pregnancy and spent far too many hours in hospital reading baby magazines, I don’t think we would have ended up with cloth nappies. We would have started out with “eco” disposables and gradually eroded our principles as the costs started to bite. As it was, I read a really good article about the new style cloth and managed to persuade Mr into trying Bumgenius All-In-Ones. They were designed to work like a disposable and washing looked pretty easy and the cost savings made sense. The cost of the initial investment guaranteed that I would give them a good go.
Having done our research, we didn’t feel it was economical to buy the newborn size (lowrise for the umbilical cord) so the first 6 weeks were disposables. At 6 weeks, prompted by the imminent visit of a friend who had jeered at all my hippy parenting principles, I broke out the clothbums.
And it was fine. No nappy rash. No hassle. On the occasions we had a bad nappy, the rinsing wasn’t so nice… but then they seemed to cope with extreme poo better than our disposables so at least I wasn’t washing an entire outfit. We still used disposables occasionally when we were out, but I increasingly found myself packing the baby bag with cloth because they looked more cosy and were saving us a fortune. To be honest, I’m amazed to hear that the average baby has 4.43 nappy changes a day – the small one had a record of 14!
The benefits for us were great – no running out of nappies and having to run to the shops, no night time leaks, no nappy rash and no huge outlay. They could be a bit bulky to carry in quantity, but it was a minor issue.
As she grew, with Mr MilkChic now a cloth nappy convert, we moved on to Bumgenius One Size, which have special poppers on the front that allow you to resize them easily. We used double boosters at night and they still fit now even though the small one is large for her 21 months.
We now use a combination of real nappies and disposables, using just under one large pack of disposables a month. The main advantage of disposables for me is their portability, although modern cloth nappies are getting smaller and lighter. Having said that, when the small one started to walk, the extra padding was a bonus and the comfort, cost and cuteness far outweigh that. They also don’t stink out and fill up our bin, a bigger issue now we only have bi-weekly rubbish collection! Functionally, I would say that they are very similar, and as we get towards potty training I am favouring the cloth more and more as the small one likes her “knickers” more than baby nappies.
Next time, I would probably buy second-hand and use the birth to potty nappies from the start as they are really no more difficult. You can pick up new and barely used nappies for half the RRP on various baby forums and it’s really no different from using preloved clothes. I sold my first batch of nappies to fund the purchase of the next lot and they ended up costing me about Â£4 a piece. If I’d bought carefully first time round, my nappies would have been virtually free!