PARENTS are forced to make tough decisions everyday, including what type of nappy to use when baby is born.
With shelves lined with different varieties of disposable nappies its easy to think which brand is best, but more parents are choosing to turn the clock back and use cloth nappies.
This week – April 19 to 22 – marks cloth nappy week and the Observer’s Sarah Mason explains why she made the change.
PANIC buying at the start of the pandemic saw not only toilet roll, pasta and dried fruit being wiped off the shelves – but nappies too.
As a mum to a newborn at the time, the last thing I wanted was to take on something that involved adding to the wash pile.
But as the supermarkets, local shops and chemists’ shelves lay empty, I found myself drawn to the pile of reusable nappies bought as an experiment for baby number two which hadn’t quite gone to plan.
Once the decision had been made to adopt cloth I was overwhelmed with the nappies on offer and information on how to wash them.
I spent the night feeds researching the different types of nappies and how they’ve changed since disposables first entered the scene some 30 years ago.
Pins and rubber pants are long gone but the humble terry nappy still has its place alongside the newer versions.
There are pocket nappies, all-in-ones, inserts made of bamboo, hemp, microfibre, cotton and waterproof wraps to avoid leaks – my already frazzled brain fried a little bit more.
But I was determined – so I joined some Facebook groups, gained valuable advice and bought some second-hand nappies to try out.
There were times I wanted to give up as the washing pile multiplied by the hour as nappies leaked resulting in several costume changes a day.
But the social media groups are fountains of knowledge and I was thankful for every piece of advice given by fellow “cloth bum” families.
Through time and a lot of trials I found out what worked, what didn’t and, importantly, what looked cute!
Some days, as the panic buying subsided, it all seemed too easy to pick up a packet of disposable nappies but when I found out about the plastics and chemicals in disposables it proved a turning point for me.
It is estimated one nappy takes around 500 years to break down and given that babies use around 7,000 nappies before they start potty training – for me that’s a lot of single plastic waste for something that a baby uses for a few hours.
It is also estimated disposable nappies can cost upwards of £800 and in just over a year while I have spent around two-thirds of that on reusable nappies and once potty training begins I will be putting them on the pre-loved market.
The washing can get tedious but when I found the right routine for me it became easy and part of everyday life – and don’t worry it doesn’t involve any solids in the machine.
On sunny days it’s nice to see the washing line full of pretty nappies knowing I’m saving money, I’m helping in the fight against single plastic use and I managed to complete one lockdown project.