To begin with, a disclaimer … I have nothing against disposable nappies or parents who use them. They are part of our lives too and I think all parents should do what suits them and their child. But I have decided to write about our reusable nappy (or diaper for any American readers!) adventure because when mentioning them to friends of ours, we became aware that there are so many misconceptions about modern reusables and so I just thought I’d share what we’ve discovered in case it’s of any use.
Once upon a time, reusable nappies were the stuff of bulky terry toweling squares, nasty wet covers, scarily sharp nappy pins and buckets of milton solution. These things do still exist but things have come a long way.
When Mr B and I were considering what to do about nappies for our imminent arrival, I started doing some internet research into the matter and then we went to see Rachel at the fabulous Boo Coo near Bristol. Rachel gave us a comprehensive demonstration of all types of reusable nappies, giving us an unbiased view on their pros and cons, and showing us all the different types from terry toweling squares onwards. We looked at BumGenius and Nature Babies and Easy Peasy Bambeasys. And ended up purchasing a full set of Tots Bots Easyfits as they seemed the most well designed, sleek and soft of the lot.
The life of one nappy goes like this:
- Pop a flushable liner (like a longer piece of loo roll) on top of the nappy, then put the nappy on the baby as you would a disposable.
- When you take the nappy off, pop the liner in the loo (which has caught most of the poo), then pop the nappy in a special wash bag. So no soaking in sterile solution.
- When you have a few nappies in the bag, you just put the whole bag in the washing machine along with your other dirty laundry, and the spin works the nappies out of the bag and washes them, even at 30 or 40 degrees. So no need to touch the dirty nappies again.
- Hang the nappies to dry on radiators or on the line.
- Repeat and re-use!
- If you buy birth to potty nappies, when the baby grows bigger, you just adjust the poppers on the front to make the nappies bigger so you can keep on using the same ones for a couple of years.
- At night time, pop an extra pad in to absorb heavy night time use.
What we love about our reusables:
- They seem so much softer and nicer to pop on Baby B’s bottom than disposables which seem to leave loads more marks on his skin. They are comfy and squishy and great for giving him a big base to practice sitting or for when he’s learning to walk and bumping down on his bottom.
- They are much better at containing poo explosions than disposables.
- As he gets older, Baby B should start to recognise sooner that feeling wet isn’t very nice which will hopefully help him get potty trained more quickly (or at least that’s the hope!)
- He looks super cute in them with his big bottom and the funny prints on them.
- We do daily washes with sick covered things anyway so it’s barely any more hassle.
- And of course, whilst we’re not evangelical about trying to save the world and still use disposables when we’re out and about, we’ve already re-used the nappies about 950 times which means 950 less nappies have gone into landfill in four months of babyhood.
Drawbacks to reusables:
- Some modern baby trousers aren’t really cut for such big bottoms so he looks quite funny with a big bum squeezed into tight pants!
- Disposables definitely wick the fluid away better whereas Baby B sometimes ends up with little damp patches on his baby vests.
- When there's a mammoth poo, you do have to deal with it as the liners don't catch everything. So there's a bit of scraping with toilet paper to be done. But then by this point you've already been scraping it off a bottom too so it's no worse than that unavoidable task.
So, whatever you decide to do about nappies for your baby – and you have to go with what works for you – just don’t rule out at least looking at a modern disposable. A Tots Bot or a Bum Genius or similar. Because they’ve come on so much, they are barely any more work than a disposable, and we love our Tots Bots. Who couldn’t resist seeing a baby with his bum covered in stars?!