Our latest story in the Cloth Nappy Super Hero series comes from Felicity Bewley. Enjoy…
Our little (but growing!) family consists of myself, my husband, our toddler and belly bub, and a dog who knows that one of the naughtiest things he can do is run off with a cloth nappy!
When I was pregnant with our first, cloth nappies was on the list of things to research, along with everything else like pram, cot, and car seat. We were particularly motivated by the impact on the environment – I had seen some very powerful illustrations about the amount of landfill disposable nappies create just for one baby. It’s not hard to fathom, we get reminded when we see how quickly the disposables add up when we’re traveling.
And this quote:
“It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to engineer a polymer, sandwich it in plastic, add adhesives, elastics and inks, package and distribute it, buy it and bring it home every week, and truck it to landfills, is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash a cloth diaper when you’re done with it.”
…is one I can’t ignore.
It bothers me that the first disposable nappy ever thrown away is still sitting in landfill, in largely its original state.
So cloth was the logical choice for us.
I came across a good brand on sale, so excitedly stocked up. We tried them out after we got home from hospital, only to find they weren’t a great fit for our healthy sized boy!
Lesson learned – better to try before committing to a whole stash – not every style works for every baby!
I have since learned that there are cloth nappy libraries for this purpose, or alternatively buying second hand is a cheap way to try out a few styles, or buy a whole stash on a budget. A friend introduced me to a couple of Facebook groups which are great for buying and selling second hand, hearing about others’ experiences, and asking for advice.
I sold my first lot of nappies, and then gradually built my stash up as I found what worked for us. We started with sized all-in-one nappies – which are as easy to use as disposables. From there we gave one size fits most a go, which are very versatile. They came in handy when we needed to go trimmer again after our baby started crawling and walking and the chubby legs disappeared!
Then I discovered ‘pretties’ and the gorgeous handiwork of work-at-home-mums, who make the most beautiful, unique creations, and I know that I’m supporting a hard working Australian mum. So when it came to announcing that our little boy is going to become a big brother, it was the obvious choice to have a custom nappy hand made!
There really is something for every budget – from microfibre, mass produced nappies at $5-10 each through to custom, handmade one of a kind creations with intricate detail upwards from $50 each, and everything in between. Considering how much a box of disposable nappies costs – the math speaks for itself.
Cloth nappying does mean a bit of extra work, but it’s really not as hard as some might make out. We figure we don’t use disposable plates and cutlery to avoid stacking and unstacking the dishwasher, so washing nappies is just a part of life like other chores.
The actual changing of the nappy is much the same, I just put the nappy in a bucket rather than the bin. I use flushable liners so I can tip solids straight into the toilet (where they should go, rather than into the ground). I do a few extra loads of washing each week – but no soaking, scrubbing, or buckets of chemicals. The washing machine and the sun does it all. (And I usually have a helper who is keen to push the buttons and unload the nappies!)
I started on a part-time basis as I navigated what styles worked for us along with navigating everything else that goes along with the newborn phase (or haze?). A lot of families will use cloth at home and disposable when they go out, or cloth during the day and disposable at night. While we are full time cloth now, we use disposables when traveling (although cloth when traveling can be done, and I admire those who do!). I’m sure when the new baby arrives and we have two in nappies, there will be some days when I just need less washing, and I’ll supplement with disposables. And that’s ok. Even using one cloth nappy a day saves 365 disposables a year from landfill. Every little bit helps.
If you have a story to tell about how you stumbled into cloth, or consciously choose it, or struggled and triumphed, or found it a breeze… we’d love to share it with the world!