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Written by Erica - 2007 Article Competition winner on the 29 September 2007
When I first decided I was going to start using cloth on Jack the most frequent reaction was “Are you mad?” . Luckily I ignored them and love using cloth nappies. Their comments however got me thinking, why do the majority of people automatically assume that cloth is a bad choice?
Is it the cost?
Let’s take a look: I’m probably what you would call mathematically challenged! I scraped a C at GCSE, but even I can see that the initial costs of building up a supply of cloth nappies is nothing compared to the costs of buying disposable nappies every week for the next 2 ½ years. Even if you treat yourself to new nappies every couple of months you will still be saving money in the long run. I always compare my nappy purchases to purchasing a pack of disposables as they are roughly the same price, I have a nappy that will last me till my son is potty trained and then can be used on his future siblings, that pack of disposables I would have bought will have gone in a week and I will have to fork out again and again! You can even buy second hand (or as we prefer to call them pre-loved) nappies from many reputable nappy sites so that works out even cheaper.
Is it the mess? Or the smell?
I used disposables for the first five months of my sons life and as he was also breast fed that meant very explosive poos. I have lost count of the amount of times I had to do a full clothes change and wipe yucky poo from all over his back. Most two part combinations (nappy and wrap) are virtually bomb proof and I have rarely had a leak since even through stomach bugs, teething et al. You don’t have to touch the poo in your cloth nappy, if your nappy is fleece lined it will usually slide off with a vigorous shake down the toilet, you can sluice the offending faeces down the toilet with the flush or a shower head or simply use a liner inside your nappy, fold it into a small bundle and flush it down the loo. Even if there are tough bits clinging on to your nappy for dear life a wash at 60 degrees will soon get rid of them anyway.
Have you smelt a disposable nappy?
Enough said! No seriously, we used disposables on our last holiday as I didn’t think the friends we were staying with would welcome my cloth nappies, my fiancé must have spent most of the days asking if jack had pooed because he could smell something horrid, no he hadn’t, it was just the smell of the chemicals in the nappy. As well as being bomb proof cloth nappies are usually very good at keeping in most odours, many a time I have been tricked into doing the poke test and come out with an unwanted blob on my finger! Oh and we were wrong about the friends they wouldn’t have minded at all, but we’ll know for next time.
Is it the inconvenience?
You are worried about cloth nappies while you’re out and about, don’t be. It’s just as quick and easy to change a reusuable than a disposable and you can buy a PUL lined bag to carry your dirty nappy home that fastens up and keeps in any smells. And as a bonus you’ll never have to open one of those foul smelling disposable bins that they have in every Mother and Baby room in the UK.
Perhaps junior is going to go to nursery, they won’t take him in cloth nappies surely?
Well a large amount of nurseries will happily take cloth tushed babies, and even if they have never changed one before they soon learn, after all you did too! Pocket nappies or all-in-ones are just as easy to put on and take off as a disposable and can be popped into that PUL lined bag to be taken home for washing.
Is all the laundering putting you off?
Don’t let it, you will do 2 or 3 extra loads a week. Nowadays you don’t even have to pre-soak your nappies, just dry pail them and bung them in with a pre-wash and an extra rinse and it’s done. If there’s any marks on your lovely nappies a bit of sunshine will soon do the trick and save you using the tumble drier. Or if you really can’t be bothered use a nappy laundry service, you won’t have any snazzy nappies but you will have a selection of freshly laundered prefolds delivered to your door every week.
So yes I am mad, but only because lack of information and fear of the unknown is making parents to be choose disposables. I’m also mad that all these disposables are clogging up landfill and polluting the land that our children will have to live on in the future. But most importantly I’m mad about cloth nappies!