Admittedly I am a woman of convenience, pre-packaged ready to wash salad rather than chopping and arranging individual cucumbers and tomatoes. Aunt Bessie’s roasted potatoes as opposed to peeling and chopping Maris pipers and most definitely disposable nappies rather than washable nappies. Well, that was up until a few months ago!
A friend of hubbies came to visit with her 2 and 3 year old son and daughter. She is in fact a woman that I greatly admire. You know those mothers who appear to have it altogether with adorable children that only drink water, eat frozen peas for snack time and of course; wear washable nappies.
I’d never considered the idea until she bought up a discussion about it and enlightened me with some basic but poignant statistics about disposable nappies. “It takes 200 years for a disposable nappy to degrade, our landfills are filled with nappies from your parents and grandparents!” There are over eight million disposable nappies thrown away each DAY in the UK accounting for three percent of household waste. “Not to mention the chemicals used in those absorbent gels, only God knows what impact they have on our babies private parts”.
The very conversation really got me thinking and almost into a frenzied panic!!! Urgggg what have I been doing to my babies? What if I’m allowing dangerous chemicals to make their way into my babies gentle bodies causing unknown issues that will manifest as cancers or other illnesses in years to come? And then I had the opposing internal battle, well I used disposables as a baby, my other children used them and there isn’t anything wrong with them.
The thought of my personal contribution to landfills and the damage to the environment with all 6 of my babies using disposables plagued my mind.
Oh how the internal battle frustrated me and as much as I was flying the flag for disposables due to my stubbornness and internal resistance, I knew there was validity in giving washables a try. Admittedly, I was put off by the idea of having to scrape poop out of a nappy and then put that disgusting thing into my washing machine. The visions in my mind were quite all too grotesque and certainly not admirable to say the least.
But subconsciously, something inside of me felt that I was compelled and had a moral duty to set aside my inhibitions and resistance and be open minded about the prospects. After all, what would I be losing? If it didn’t work for us then I’d simply return to my disposables knowing that I gave it my best shot.
What became even more attractive was the fact that some local authorities run a real nappies for London scheme to support the use of washable nappies and actually give vouchers or starter packs for FREE! Meaning, I could test them out without any financial commitment.
I googled the relevant info and found the link to the scheme and found that my local authority were indeed involved in the scheme. The sign up process was simple but submitting evidence of my children’s birth was a bit tedious however, worth the hassle.
I had to email copies of my MATB1 for my unborn baby and child #5’s birth certificate. The whole process was surprisingly very quick considering my local authority certainly do not have the best reputation for being prompt and responsive when dealing with issues.
Our vouchers arrived via email in a couple of days after submitting the application and I started to educate myself about washables by watching hours of YouTube videos and arming myself with knowledge about the best brands to use and how I should use them.
My first order was very expensive! I chose to use my £80 worth of vouchers; £40 per child and go for the creamdelacreme of washable nappies- BUMGENIUS which I ordered from the washable nappy company.
I did my calculations costing the number of disposable nappy packs I use each month and how much it totalled over a year and up until child #5 reaches 2.5 years old (my predicted age for him to be out of nappies completely) and compared it to the cost of my order. To my surprise, it worked out more expensive to continue to purchase disposables. The other benefit is that child #6 is able to use the same washable nappies as it is no different to sharing clothing.
I was very excited when my nappies arrived, the bright colours and excitement of trying something new really enthralled me.
Child #5 was not in the least bothered by the change and settled into wearing his new nappies without any issues. It was a little annoying that we had to wash them for a minimum of 3 times prior to use as this helps to get the absorbency going and ‘wakes’ the fibers. The nappies were simple to put on and can be adjusted to the size of child.
We have been using washables for about 2 months now and we are finding the transition quite simple. We have found a routine that works for us and washing isn’t half as bad as I initially thought.
Being a woman of convenience I use liners that can be easily disposed of with a dirty nappy. Thankfully child #5’s poop remains in the liner and I take it off, put it in a paper bag and throw it out. Or I just tip it into the toilet and flush it away. I have even found that the ‘disposable’ liners can also be reused from a wet nappy and come out good as new in the washing machine, yet another way to save money.
Presently, Sainsbury’s have their baby event and you can purchase bambino mio washable nappies and liners in store at a reduced rate. Asda is also offering the same deal.
You can check out other stores baby events at http://www.madeformums.com
I’ve also tried Little Lambs and bambino mio washables. I honestly can’t say that I prefer any over the others just yet, as they all have things I like. Little Lambs are very soft and stretchy and have foldable inner liners which wash really well and dry fairly quickly. BUMGENIUS washables are great for adjusting and fitting your child’s body shape and size, they’re very absorbent and come in a variety of ranges, mio bambino is also great and come in various patterns and have a comfortable fit. They all seem to be very effective with the most distinguishing feature being the price.
Our routine involves a nappy bin, with a wash bag inside. I simply put the wet nappies in, separating the liners and pull out the entire wash bag from the bin, put it in the washing machine and wash everything at 60 degrees. We hang them on the airer to dry which usually takes up to 24 hours. We wash the nappies every two days and have about 20 different nappies altogether. Child #5’s childminder is also comfortable using them whenever he is in her care and simply puts the wet nappies in his colourful wet bag which we then put straight into the washing machine or the nappy bin.
I’ve definitely caught the washable nappy bug now, I find them very convenient and I love that there are many different types. From nappies that do up with ‘poppers’ or ‘snaps as the Americans call them’ to those that do up with Velcro. They come in awesome brightly coloured designs, you can pad them up as much or as little as you like and they certainly save money. They are better for the environment and of course, so much healthier for your little ones. I’d encourage every parent to give them a try.
The idea didn’t appeal to me initially but now I’ve experienced them I absolutely love them. Initially, they did leak from time to time. After researching what I was doing wrong I realised that they have to be fitted like underwear, so pulling the nappy up between my son’s legs as though he is wearing pants and also ensuring that he is changed every 2-3 hours. You do need to change more often than you would if you were using a disposable nappy but that’s a small price to pay for the health and financial benefits. I highly recommend washable nappies and that is coming from a woman of convenience with 6 children!
In fact, I love them so much that I’ve even gone on to try washable sanitary pads! Yes, they exist and also have the same health benefits. I know it sounds off-putting and probably quite bizarre but they’re really simple to use and very cost effective. Again, these things may not be for everyone but I’d say give them a go and if they work for you, let me know!
I have one bumgenious washable nappy to give away to a lucky reader. Watch the video below and answer the following questions.
Q1. What colour is the nappy in the video?
Q2. What brand is the washable nappy?
Email your answer with the subject ‘washable nappy’, your name and full address to firstname.lastname@example.org
The winner will be selected at random on Friday 23rd March 2018.