Yes nappies. I’ve been meaning to write about nappies for ages but have probably been too busy running around after the small person who necessitates the nappies to do anything else.
J is almost 2 now, unbelievably, and is showing signs that she’s ready for potty training soon, so I thought I’d better get this written before I get consumed with that whole ordeal and want to talk about potties and trainer pants instead.
So nappies. When I was pregnant T and I discussed the various choices that parents these days in this country are faced with – should the baby sleep in our bed or in a crib (crib), should she be breast or bottle fed (breast), should I give up work or return after leave (returned part-time) etc etc. Many of these choices are widely discussed and options are presented to parents-to-be to make decisions that suit them. One aspect that was hardly ever mentioned was nappies. It is assumed that using disposable nappies is the default position, there is no debate there, that’s just what you do.
Initially I was happy to go along with that – I didn’t know much about the alternatives, no-one I knew used anything but disposables and it seemed like taking on an extra burden at a time when life would be chaotic and stressful anyway.
Then I went to the Baby and Toddler fair at the SECC and saw all the stalls from the different companies. I had a quick look, but still thought to myself, “no, that’s not for us”. But something lingered with me – the stall holders were claiming that modern cloth nappies were just as convenient as disposables, that nappy pins, soaking and boil washing were a thing of the past, and they came in a variety of funky designs and colours.
I went home and did a bit of research on the internet. I was impressed with what I saw and read, but also somewhat overwhealmed. The array of different styles, manufacturers, materials and designs was staggering, I had no idea. I read on one site that some Councils run incentive schemes, through their waste-reduction programmes and lo and behold West Dunbartonshire Council had one such scheme!
So I duly applied – they sent me a voucher that entitled me to a free starter-pack with one of 2 Scottish companies. I decided to redeem mine with Tots Bots, mainly because they were local to Glasgow, offered a slightly bigger pack and looked like a good company to deal with.
Unfortunately there was a delay in getting my order through, so the pack didn’t arrive until J was about 6 weeks old, but I was very excited by the arrival of my lovely soft fluffy nappies. For those in the know – Tots Bots Bamboozle 2 parters so I got I think 10 Bamboozles, 2 wraps, 5 bamboo cloth liners and a roll of flushable paper liners. Oh and a wash net for lining the bucket. And they all came in a drawstring canvas bag. Cheers West Dunbartonshire Council!
I was so impressed with how they worked out. I felt that the cloth nappy was much better against J’s skin, I was happy about not having to throw about 10 disposable nappies in the bin every day and they looked quite cute. They were so easy to use, both the cloth part and the outer wrap are shaped like disposables, there is no folding or pinning required and they fasten by poppers (cloth part) or velcro (wrap). Easy peasy. Washing is no hassle either – the paper liner catches most of the poo, this gets removed and flushed down the loo, then the rest simply gets put in a bucket with a sealed lid, no need for soaking, and when the bucket is full they go in the washing machine on a normal wash. The bamboo material dries really quickly and you are ready to go again.
After trying them for a short while I was utterly hooked. I went along to a meeting organised by the Glasgow Real Nappy Network and bought some more nappies to add to my collection to allow me to use them more of the time (the original pack of 10 didn’t last that long back in the early days when J was tiny and pooping every 5 minutes) Luckily there are people who sell their stash on once their kids have stopped using them so I was able to pick up a lot 2nd hand, but well cared for and in very good condition. I did this again when J got bigger and out-grew the original ones, and managed to build up a nice stock of different brands (all 2-parters cos I found that worked best for us) and some old-style terry squares too.
I now have enough to use full-time, but unfortunately when she is at nursery she uses disposables – initially they did offer and said they would accommodate, but then said that no-one had ever used cloth before and I would pretty much have to train up all the staff and back then I was returning to work and couldn’t face it. In hindsight I wish I had gone ahead and done it, but as I said now she’s getting nearer the end of her nappy days it’s probably not worth. I do regret it though. And J’s dad still hasn’t quite got to grips with them – he agrees in principle to the idea of them, but when it comes to changing time he’ll whip the cloth nappy off and pop a disposable on, unless I sweep in and intervene. It was only recently that he realised that I used cloth when out and about. All you have to do is take a waterproof wet-bag for the used ones and pop them in the bucket when you get home.
I also discovered washable wipes. I don’t think I had even heard of them before, but once I did it made total sense to use them too – why embrace cloth nappies but continue to use disposable wipes? At home we had been using cotton wool on J at change times anyway, but the washable wipes made more sense. Basically they are just small pieces of cloth (could be cotton or fleece but I like to use bamboo ones because they stay softer, dry quicker and have inherent antibacterial properties) that you just moisten with water or a solution of water and mild cleanser and pop in the nappy bucket after use for washing with the nappies. You can also take them out and about too. Saves a helluva lot on buying packets of wipes and for no extra effort. And they can be more effective at cleaning too, cos the cloth is more textured than either disposable wipes or cotton wool, so they remove the poo more easily rather than just smearing.
So after my initial scepticism I am a total convert and will extol the virtues at length at every possible opportunity. I have convinced several friends to give cloth nappies a try and am looking for other opportunities to spread the word and encourage cloth nappies to be at the very least one of those choices that parents-to-be consider, and ideally become the norm again.
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