As someone who took the plunge in 2018 and made the switch to reusable wipes (read about them here), I decided with baby number 2 that I would give reusable nappies (often referred to as ‘cloth nappies’) a try!
Whilst at the Isle of Man Bump, Baby and Toddler show earlier this year, I was able to talk to a lovely lady called Jen about reusable nappies and she let me know about the newborn nappy hire service available at Nobles Hospital for just £10. I genuinely thought I’d misheard when she said £10! For £10 you receive a nappy bin, mesh laundry net, 10 outer ‘shells’ and 30 cloth (terry) inners. You even get to keep the nappy bin and mesh laundry net so you can continue your cloth nappy journey once your newborn outgrows the nappies from the hire kit.
The nappy itself is called The Stork Eco-Nappy and was designed by the NHS to be used within the NHS. The hospital actually provide these same nappies from the moment your baby is born, meaning all you need to pack in your hospital bag is whatever nappy you want your baby to wear for the journey home, whether that’s a reusable or a disposable nappy.
The outer ‘shell’ of the nappy is waterproof with elastic fitting around the legs and a popper system meaning they can fit babies from newborn until between 6-8 weeks. The inner is independent from the outer and is placed inside the shell. This is the part that absorbs the wee and catches the poop.
As excited as I was to try using reusable nappies, I was a little concerned about how to deal with poop, especially newborn poop, and how to handle washing them so here’s a brief intro about what to do.
So the best thing to start with is the fact that milk-fed babies (both breastfed and formula-fed) produce water-soluble poop meaning it will wash out easily and washing at 60 degrees sterilises the nappies thoroughly (but nappies don’t need to be sterilised every wash so a 40 degree wash will do for most washes). If you fill the washing machine 3/4 full, enough friction will be created to wash the nappies well. You run a quick wash cycle with no detergent initially and then at least a 2-hour wash with non-biological washing powder (not liquid) but no fabric softener (this can ruin the waterproof layer of the nappy). You can then either air dry or tumble dry on low.
HOW TO HIRE
If you ask at the hospital shop about hiring cloth nappies, you pay £10 and are given a token which you take to the maternity ward to swap for your kit. Once the nappies no longer fit, you return the inners and outer shells to the maternity ward and keep the bucket and mesh liner. Easy!
If you’re anything like me, once you start using cloth nappies and get into a routine, you’ll soon see how easy it is and start to think about buying your own stash to continue using cloth once your baby outgrows the hire kit. You’ll also start to realise:
1) How many different types of nappies there are and 2) how cute the patterns are!
If you want to buy some second hand to try out a few different styles (I did this) or have any questions then head to Manx Cloth Bums – Advice and B/S/T on Facebook.
I have really got on with Little & Bloomz nappies which I get from yellowbloom on eBay but I really encourage you to do your own research. I have found that what works well for one person or baby does not always work well for others. There is also the cost of the various nappies to factor in!
You may also want to check out the amazing clothing made by the local business Blackberry Bunny who make clothes for babies and toddlers with cloth nappies in mind. Due to the nature of reusable nappies, they are bulkier than disposables and give babies and toddlers bigger-looking bums. I adore the ‘cloth bum’ look but you can find some outfits are a bit of a squeeze so a company like Blackberry Bunny is brilliant and the fact that the clothes are made here on our island is an added bonus.
WHY SHOULD I CARRY ON WITH CLOTH NAPPIES?
You, as a parent, will decide how it is best to raise your child. I am not going to be that annoying one who tells the other parents how to do something… sit the F down right? However, if you have the patience and time then this could be the way forward for you.
There are some larger upfront costs which you should consider but in the longer term, it will save money.
The main reason though is environmental. The amount of waste that is saved by not using nappies is incredible. Your baby will go through between 4,000 and 7,000 nappies by the time they are two and a half. Granted, you will use some more energy because you need to wash the nappies but that is a lot of nappies that you have kept out of landfill/the incinerator. A study at Nobles showed that since the introduction of the Stork-Eco Nappy, disposable nappy waste for clinical incineration has been reduced by 99.9% and total clinical waste by 83%
Now I don’t exclusively use cloth nappies, I’m only human and for those times that need a quick fix, a disposable comes in very handy. However, if I can cut my use down by even a small percentage, surely that’s a good thing?
My advice, give it a go – what’s the worst that can happen?!