Hi, my name is Amber and I'm the owner of Cradle to Crib, an ethical children's clothing company focused on making baby & toddler clothes last longer. I'm also a self-confessed eco-living addict. It started off as a money saving choice and now my house is filled with homemade handsoap, dishwasher tablets, and "unpaper" towels.
We're in the middle of Real Nappy Week, and given that I still have an article that I cut out of a newspaper in 2007 talking about the benefits of cloth nappies (true story), the team at Cotswold Baby & Toddler Company asked me to write a guest blog.
If you already embrace cloth nappies, there's probably very little I can tell you. As you well know, once you've entered the world of cloth nappies you want to learn more and more until there's not much else left to learn. If, however, you are curious to try it but don't know where to start, you're in the right place!
So why Cloth (or Reusable, or Real - there's no right or wrong way to say it) Nappies?
1) Omg the money you'll save. I save money the way people play sports, and the numbers don't lie on this. I've heard estimates of £600 savings for one child, but let's look at the figures - I'm going to be fairly generous to disposables to show you that even looking at the worst case scenario, you're still saving. To cut out the boring bits, I'm working on averages for the below figures (I know your newborn uses 4 nappies before noon, but trust me, this too shall pass):
4.25 nappies per day x 2.5 years in nappies = 3,878 nappies
3,878 nappies at cost of £0.13 per nappy = £504 if you use exactly the amount you buy and always get a decent bargain. I reckon the actual cost could be up to double this amount, but let's work with a figure of £500 per child.
If you went out and bought 24 brand new, individually packaged Bambino Mio All-In-One Nappies from me right this moment (24 is the max you'd ever need - 12 per day for a newborn, washing every day - that will very quickly tail off and become more manageable), it would cost you £380 - already a savings of £120. But you're very unlikely to do that, because why would you? That's a terrible idea - and that's coming from someone who would directly profit from this terrible idea. Promise me you will not buy 24 individual nappies!
Instead, you'd buy a multi-pack and a couple of individual nappies, maybe some pre-loved nappies - you might even try your hand at making a couple, and you'd probably pay something like £150-£250 for 24. Or you might even get them all second hand and you are quids in. Your council probably has a Real Nappy Scheme where you can get cash towards your purchase. Gloucestershire offers £30 towards Real Nappies if you can provide your child's birth certificate or your Mat B1.
Planning to have more kids? Hats off, mama, you win at the money saving game because all babies to follow will cost you virtually nothing (...as far as nappies go, at least).
Not planning on more kids? Sell to other frugal mums and recoup most of or even all of your costs.
Oh yes, you heard me.
Yes, you can toss a disposable nappy when you're out and about, and you don't have to deal with it again. Great, but you can just as easily throw it into a wet bag and I swear to you on my secret stash of Jaffa Cakes (that is a sacred oath) that you will not smell it. The real convenience comes in at home, though.
With disposable nappies, you stick them in a bin in your house. I don't know how long you wait before you empty that bin, but if you're anything like me then any length of time is far too long. Then it piles up until collection day. And every time you go out to the wheelie bin, you hold your breath and pray that the stink doesn't knock you over. If you have a newborn and you have a collection every other week, that's 168 smelly nappies in your bin. NO. THANK. YOU.
Reusable nappies are so, so much easier than you may think. Liquid soaked nappies go straight into a wet bag. Solids go down the toilet and the nappy then goes straight into a wet bag. When it's time to do the laundry, tip out the wet bag and throw everything in the washer. Easy, not smelly. Pro tip: attach a hose with a spray nozzle to your toilet and set up a changing station in the loo if you have the space, although this is not necessary.
And what's more convenient than knowing you'll never find yourself without a nappy in the house at 6pm on a Sunday once the shops have shut?
3) More comfortable for babies. I am not mum shaming when I say this, because I was in disposable nappies and do you know what? I don't harbour deep seated resentment towards my mother, nor do I remember what said nappies felt like. If you have not used Cloth Nappies before, so what? You have enough to worry about, and you have loved and provided and cared for your baby so well - don't give it a second thought. In fact, have a look at the next point if you want a reason to feel better about it (seriously).