Think about it for a second, approx. 800,000 babies are born in the UK every year and it’s said that between birth and potty, a baby uses about 5000 nappies. Add that up and that’s about 4 billion disposables used per year in the UK alone. One nappy takes up to 500 years to decompose. Shocking, isn’t it?
When I read those facts about 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my first it was a no brainer to me that I had to go down the reusable route and when I started telling family and friends, I got the same response that most of you have probably gotten or are thinking now.
“Yuck, you’ll get your hands in poo”
“That’s so much extra work, how are you going to manage”
“Oh my goodness, where do you even start?”
“But disposables are so much easier”
Easier? I’m not sure. You run out of them, you have to run to Tesco, you have to empty the bin every other day before it gets so full and heavy and let’s face it, they’re pretty pricey!
First of all, I have to say that I believe the most important thing to remember in all of this is that it’s not about being perfect, it’s about progress. Even if you only use 1 reusable nappy a day, that’s 356 disposables per year that don’t end up in a landfill. That’s HUGE!
Down to the basics, so many people ask me where do they start? What brands are good? Are there different types? What about liners? Daynight vs. nightime? Etc.
Luckily nowadays, most of the local councils in Northern Irealnd offer a two week trial period with reusable nappies and after that, if you choose to keep going and purchase your own, they’ll refund you £30 if you spend more than £60 in most cases. It’s a great way to get a feel for them and also to see which brands are best for you and baby.
Personally, I read a lot of reviews before investing in them and saving money was a BIG factor for us. In the end, we decided to go with Bambino Mio. We chose the ‘all-in-one’ option which have adjustable snaps making them into different sizes as baby grows. One of the best tips I could give you is to look on Ebay. So many families out there end up purchasing many more then they actually need and then decide to sell them on with £3/4 off just to make a bit of money back. We bought all 29 of our nappies new on Ebay and spent £330 instead of £465 at regular price. There’s also so many gently used ones that are a great bargain.
I have a few friends who use reusable nappies as well and are very happy with other brands like Tots Bots and Little Lamb.
Next up, let’s chat wipes. Studies say you’ll save approx. £930 over 2 years if you opt for reusable wipes vs. disposable wipes. A good set of reusables can cost up to £100 and don’t forget, if you have a second baby that’ll increase your savings! For us, it was one of the easiest things we decided on with baby. We bought a 40 pack from Cheeky Wipes (best company for reusable wipes out there!) and are now using them with baby 2 (saving money AND the environment!)
I cannot recommend Cheeky Wipes enough. They are so absorbent, they clean well and are definitely worth the money. When we’re out and out, we normally have a few with us with a bottle of water to wet them and when we’re at home, we just wet them in the sink. No need to buy a pre soaking storage bin and essential oils as to be honest, half the time you don’t change a baby at the ‘station’ anyways – it ends up on the living room floor, in the back of the car or on your bed haha
Next question is usually ‘how do you wash them?’. Simple enough, we’ve used soapnuts now for just over two years. They’re super cost effective (£9 for 200 washes). Now that being said, of course if baby has a major poonami as we call it, don’t let the nappy sit there for 2 days for the stains to really soak in. Rinse it out and pop it in the wash asap. The other laundry soap I’d recommend that’s effective (& that we only started using in December and if you’re trying to use a natural alternative) is BioD laundry powder. It’s £9 for 33 loads. I also recently started using Nappy Fresh by BioD which is a stain remover and makes it smell fresh. I use it to presoak baby stuff or also in the washer machine.
The last question I get is about nappy rashes and creams. ‘What if I’m trying to use only natural products?’ Until recently we never used anything. I’m a pretty firm believer that because reusables have no nasty chemicals in them, they don’t cause any rashes. My first born, who is now 15 months old, has yet to have any rashes. Maybe it’s because we use natural laundry soap? Maybe it’s because we change it often enough that he’s not sitting in pee? Regardless, reusable nappies = no rash (in my opinion)
I have started using a natural vegan cream by Earth Conscious called Baby balm though because my first born is still nursing (while now getting the milk of a newborn because I just had baby two 7 weeks ago) so he’s peeing more than ever and I just want to make sure he stays dry, especially at night. It can also be used all over the body for any dry skin.
That’s about it with reusable nappies but by all means, send me over a message @doyourbit.ni if you have any specific questions about them. The more reusable nappies out there, the better!