I love hearing from our readers and I was really happy when Bethan contacted me to ask if she could share her experience of using reusable nappies. ‘Of course’ I said, and here is her story…
I’ve always thought of myself as being quite ‘green’ – I know exactly what can go in which colour bin, and trail around the house after my husband switching off the lights. I had never thought, however, that my efforts to do something good for the planet might turn into an obsession with poo.
While I was expecting my daughter, I read that disposable nappies are expected to take 500 years to decompose. It was a sobering thought: every nappy I had worn as a baby was either floating around in the sea or on a rubbish tip somewhere. I began to look into a reusable alternative.
I wasn’t too sure where to start – I’d never changed any kind of nappy! In the end, the research turned out to be the hardest part: there are so many different kinds (pocket, ‘all-in-one’, wraps…), each brand boasting a unique ‘nappy system’. They’re not cheap, either, with many brands costing over £15 a nappy. Eventually, I bought a set of five ‘Close Pop-in’ nappies, a brand which works with Babi Pur in Penrhyndeudraeth. Once these arrived, I was able to start to make sense of the jargon and make a decision about which kind of nappy I wanted to use. Given that online forums suggested I’d need at least 20 nappies, I was looking for a more cost-effective option. I went back to Glanamman based company, Little Lamb, which had been recommended by a friend. Little Lamb sell a ‘nappy kit’ including the nappies, all the accessories and a bin to store dirty nappies.
I hadn’t mentioned my plan to use reusable nappies to my husband at this point, so I had some explaining to do when the massive box arrived from Little Lamb. He liked the idea of saving money in the long term, especially once I’d explained how many nappies we’d go through in a day! Sadly, he wasn’t quite so keen on the idea of washing dirty nappies.
I had decided to use disposables for the first week – I felt I’d have enough to think about, without worrying about the washing! Also, this meant the nappies wouldn’t be ruined by the meconium. After a week, I began using reusables in the day, switching to disposable at night or if we were out and about for the day. I have to say, there were lots more accidents whilst in disposable nappies. I also noticed that our daughter would soon develop nappy rash if she had been in disposable, but not so much in the reusable.
In terms of washing, it’s not as bad as I’d expected! I chuck the dirty nappies in the bag, which has a washbag in it. I then throw that bag in the washing machine when it’s full. It takes a while for them to dry, but if you’re short on drying space, you could opt for microfibre, which dries faster.
The cloth nappies are always a talking point (brownie points with my Health Visitor!), and people often say how nice the colourful wraps look. I have to admit, the nappies have become something of a hobby! I enjoy trying out different types, and have tried ‘all-in-ones’ and pocket nappies since. I was even on the Little Lamb online sale on Boxing Day, buying the next size up! I realised it was getting to be an obsession when I treated myself to a ‘Dewi’ daffodil print nappy from Babi Pur… Well, what else is a baby to wear on our patron saint’s day?!
I was quite happy just using reusables in the day until I had to empty the Sangenic bin. As I emptied the contents – a disgusting plastic sausage! – I was reminded of the original reason for choosing to use reusable nappies: avoiding sending nappies to landfil. I set myself the challenge of going 24 hours without a disposable nappy. It took a while before I was brave enough to leave my daughter in a bamboo nappy at night but there was no need for me to be worried about night-time leaks. It’s great to think that we’ve bought less than ten packs of disposable nappies so far for our three month old. My next challenge is to go for a full week in ‘real’ nappies, but I will have to be a lot more organised to ensure I have enough clean nappies to use.
Perhaps I’ll have to persuade my husband to do the laundry!
Mam Cymru would like to thank Bethan for sharing her experience and tips, and for introducing these lovely welsh companies who supply the nappies. Best of luck with getting your husband to do the washing too! If you would like to share your story or tips with our readers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.