Embarrassingly I was really excited when John and I went to buy our nappies for Jess. Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of me banging on about real nappies will know how passionate I am about them and I will be the first to admit that I can get quite militant!
The amount of waste that using disposables generates is outrageous. One baby will create half a ton of used nappies a year and that all has to go somewhere, mostly into landfill. And it has been predicted that some bits of disposable nappies could take up to 500 years to biodegrade. There are also bucket loads of chemicals in the absorbent gels which I personally wouldn’t want to put up against Jess’ bum and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for them going into landfill either. Eco disposables are better than the horrors that are pampers etc and I will add my thoughts to the ones I have used but I would whole heartedly recommend having a go with cloth. I have put a terry towelling nappy on my nephew so I know where the feeling that reusable’s are complicated comes from however there are just so many more options on the market now that make life a lot easier.
I would recommend bum genius flip nappies. I am well aware that as I don’t use anything else I’m not in a position to say they are the best on the market but there were reasons I chose them and they have really lived up to my expectations. They consist of a wrap that you put an insert into. The standard inserts are called stay dry but you can get organic foldable ones that are good for overnight and long journeys and disposable inserts that are good for when you need to be disposable! The disposable inserts are apparently 97% biodegradable which is better than even the most eco friendly of disposable nappies but I find they do not absorb as much wee as the stay dry inserts.
They are so so easy to use and leak no more than a disposable nappy would and probably less than some. The wraps and inserts are all adjustable in size so one set of nappies will last you from birth to potty training and obviously one set of nappies should last you for more than one child. We’ve got 24 stay dry inserts and eight wraps which means that I generally do a nappy wash every three days. They come up well on a 60 wash with bio D (similar to ecover) but would probably be fine on a 40. I stick a touch of ecover laundry bleach in but if you can hang them in the sunshine that should sort out stains. I tend to rinse them if she has had a poo otherwise the nappy bucket can get a bit gross. The wraps come in three colours at the moment (blue, green and pink) and once they’ve gone through six dark washes they can be washed with anything without bleeding.
The wraps are billed as being wipe clean but I have found that if the poo is explosive enough they do need to be changed. If there is no pooing then I tend to get through two to three wraps in a 24 hour period. It's relatively simple to use the flip nappies and reusable wipes when out and about but the great thing is that you can take the disposable inserts if you want things to be a bit easier. Washing and drying is also less hassle than you might think! We live in a small flat on the 3rd floor with no outdoor space and we don’t have a tumble dryer. The component parts of the flips do dry very quickly and take up very little drying space.
The flips are a bit expensive, check out the Cheeks and Cherries website for pricing (I’ve looked around and they don’t seem to come up cheaper anywhere else) but you can get fewer inserts and buy some terry towelling squares and cut them down to size or fold them to make your own inserts which can be a bit bulkier but are good for going through the night. To be honest you could cut up old towels to use for inserts too. Terry towelling nappies or cut up towels are also great for popping under your wee one if they go nappy free for a while (good for getting rid of and avoiding nappy rash). I don’t have any small squares like this and I can guarantee that if I take Jess’ nappy off and stick her on a towel she will instantly have a poo. Needless to say it’d be easier to wash a small square or two than a whole towel. I’m actually tempted to go and hack up some of our towels now.... Maybe John will let me buy some nice fluffy new towels if I destroy all the old ones.
Remember some councils, especially in London will give you a voucher to use to buy nappies or put towards a nappy laundering service (yes, you can have someone take away your dirties and bring them back clean!). See the real nappies for London website.
Said I was going to do a quick rundown of the eco disposables I’d used:
Tushies (about £10 a pack)- I didn’t have too many problems with these although I did tend to find the tabs were quite sticky and if they stuck to Jess I’d feel a bit shitty pulling them off.
Bambo (I think similar price to tushies) - again very good but I didn’t use them very much because the animal pictures on the front scared me slightly (how shallow am I?)
Nature Babycare (£6 or there abouts for a pack) - rubbish but that was more of a fitting problem than anything else. I did find that if Jess did a poo while feeding and was on her side it’d just come straight out and onto my leg- not handy at all.
Moltex (about £15 per pack) - supposedly the most eco friendly and generally very good but they don’t have any elastic in the back so a large poo will usually require a change of clothes (a really large poo may mean you need to hose your baby down).
One of the main problems with nappies in land fill is the faecal matter and if using disposables it is recommended to use a flushable liner so poo can be flushed down the loo and dealt with safely.
I know I can get on my high horse about real nappies but they are so easy and disposable ones are so bad for the environment and I honestly think that most people will be convinced just by having a go. Cheeks and Cherries do trial packs where you can try them out to see which ones you like before you buy a whole set.
Christ I could go on about this for ages! If anyone has used any other types of nappies and would like to add to the discussion please go ahead! Coming up- lily padz and other boob delights and sleeping.
Jess modelling a flip in pink (or zinnia to give it it's technical name...)