Monday, 24 November 2014

My own experience of real nappies

I learnt most of what I needed to know from asking parents who used cloth or 'real' nappies already. Like EVERYTHING with parenting, there seem to be infinite options that will all suit different people. So I've asked a few local parents to answer some FAQs to help you find what suits you. I will post their answers here.

Here are my own answers to the FAQs to start us off:

1. Why do you use real nappies?
I started using them because they are better for the environment. I really had to psyche myself up for it as I thought it would be hard work. But, I carried on using them because I found I actually prefer them to disposables, and I don't find them hard work at all. 

2. What do you think are the main advantages?
Better for the environment (WAY less waste, fewer chemicals, and so long as you don't boil and iron(!) them, less energy too). Better for your family: no chemicals next to baby's skin, no poo-ey nappies hanging around in a nappy bin. With real nappies you can use a flushable liner so all the poo goes down the loo, where it belongs. Oh and guys, you don't need to soak, boil wash or iron(!) nappies any more.

3. What is the biggest drawback (and, if relevant, how do you get around it)?
They're bigger than disposables so they take up room in packing. I sometimes use disposables if we're away for a weekend. I also find I need the next size up, or cloth nappy cut trousers for my son. But I think this depends which kind of nappy you get - some are quite slimline but ours are bulky. 

4. Which type/style of nappies do you use, and why?
Microfibre Teddys, which are pre-formed velco nappies made of micro fibre, and last from birth to potty training, with a separate Motherease wrap. The Teddys have a separate inner pad to help them dry quicker. You also put a  flushable paper liner inside each nappy (as with most real nappies) so that you easily flush poo away before putting the nappy in the bucket for washing. You change the nappy every time but the wrap only once a day or if it gets dirty.

I like '2 part nappies' - nappies with a separate outer wrap - because they are two layers of defence against leaks. We virtually never get the poosplosions onto clothes that we had with disposables, and never get wee leaks. Also the wraps are cute and work as shorts in summer. Microfibre nappies suit us as they are super quick drying - almost dry when they come out of the machine. It was important to us to use as little extra energy as possible so we definitely didn't want to have to turn on a heater or invest in a tumble dryer.

At night we use the same Motherease wraps but with Bamboozle stretch bamboo nappies as these are more absorbent, they easily do the whole night with no leaks (when our baby is older we may need to add an extra insert for nighttime absorbency).

Altogether we have 15 Teddys, 6 Motherease wraps and 5 Bamboozle stretch nappies. The nappies are all birth-potty training but the wraps do come in different sizes so we had to rebuy these as our son grew.

5. Can you recommend any local resources or websites for real napp-iers?
See my links bar on the left of this page. I used the Nappy Lady online service which was great as she gave a detailed recommendation of which system to use based on your personal needs/set up. But since then I've met several people who have bought nappies really cheaply on eBay or similar sites, and I think I would try second hand nappies if I was doing this again - especially to try out different kinds of nappies and to reduce the environmental impact still further.

6. What's your top tip for new parents considering trying real nappies?
Don't feel like it's all or nothing: give real nappies a try. If it suits you to use them only some of the time, you are still saving tons of landfill waste. And you may find you just really like them.

I will also try to answer individual questions you have about real nappies - you can email me at realnappies.towerhamletsnct@gmail.com 

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