My journey with Nappies Nappies Nappies
Growing up I changed a fair few nappies.
Early on they came in the form of cloth squares and gradually phased out into disposable nappies. I always thought disposable nappies were wasteful and was uncomfortable being part of sending so many to landfill. I wondered how we could possibly fit all this waste in the earth…. Having so many children, changing them so many times in a day?
I am struck at how resource intensive having children are. So, when I became pregnant with my first child, I decided to research the possibilities of alternative nappies.
I found there were 3 main categories of nappies that I could choose the path to go down: Cloth nappies, Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN) and disposable nappies.
Cloth Nappies are traditional square cloths that you fold in half to form a triangle that you wrap around the baby and fasten with a pin or fastener. Some use a liner inside to help with emptying the contents once full. The liner is disposed of, while the triangle is washed and reused.
I didn’t try this with my own child, but had enough previous experience, to understand that leakages were commonplace.
Modern Cloth Nappies
MCN was a new one to me. MCN usually have a waterproof outer layer with an absorbable insert. Once again most use a liner inside. The liner is disposed of, while the rest is washed and reused. I went down this route for my first baby.
I used the brand Cushie Tushies (no longer trading as far as I can tell) as it was an Australian brand. The outer layer come in a variety of very cute prints, with elastic around the leg area to keep it snug and reduce leaks. The outer layer and insert had push buttons to hold the two pieces together in place. The inserts I used are made from bamboo and had a very high absorption. I used a flushable bamboo liner on the top, which greatly assisted with the contents easily rolling off into the toilet. I also installed a handheld bidet, so I could wash off any poo without having to touch it .
I used a bucket with a lid to store the used MCN and washed a load every day or two days. You could leave it for a maximum of 2 days. In the summer months, I would sticky tape a bamboo sachet to the lid to absorb the smell from the bucket. There is no need to soak it in water. I found using MCN easy when I was at home.
When my mother in law started looking after my son, I would pack the MCN with a disposable bamboo insert that could be disposed of. My mother in law much preferred this instead of handling the reusable insert. She would just pop the used outer layer into a wet bag to be returned to me. I was very grateful that she was accommodating enough to travel this eco style journey with me.
I really enjoyed using the MCN as my son knew when he wet his nappy and it assisted him in toilet training himself quite early on.
Disposable nappies are on our supermarket shelves ranging from plastic and pulp inside. There are also a range of disposable nappies that have a biodegradable component.
For my second child, I used a combination of MCN & biodegradable disposable nappies (BDN). I always had enough to do a load of nappies a day because I had two children in nappies at the same time. I ended up using the BDN as I was out of the house frequently for long periods of time with my second child, and found it difficult to carry the used inserts and be effectively stocked up all the time.
Currently the most biodegradable nappy that I’ve found is 80% biodegradable. I personally choose to use Ecoriginals because they are made in Australia and have the most biodegradability thus far. They are also super soft and outperforms many other biodegradable disposable nappies I’ve tried.
I’m onto my third child, and am still trying to reduce our family footprint.
Reflecting on this nappy exploration journey, I found that if you are open to trying a variety of options, it is as easy as you make it for yourself and your circumstances. I believe that if we are conscious consumers, we all can contribute to reduce the stress we are causing on our world.
This was the real beginning for living my sustainability journey.
Whatever you choose, just remember that if you just divert a few plastic nappies from landfill, that can make a big impact over many years.
Join me in becoming a conscious consumer.