Today we are exploring how we can be more sustainable and make less of an impact on our environment, reducing our carbon footprint whilst making sure our babies have cleanest and most comfortable bottoms!! Babies will be in nappies for around 2.5 years which means a LOT of nappy changes. Of course we are considering the pennies too…more into the university fund and less into the disposable nappy landfill!
We get lots of questions and about reusable nappies and there is a plethora of information on the internet but here are some basics broken down to make it a little easier to understand.
Two Part Nappy System:
Shaped sized Nappies
These are two-part nappy systems. You will require the shaped nappy which comes in different sizes (weight categories will depend on the company) and a wrap that goes over the top which acts as the waterproof layer. Shaped nappies will give a good trim fit on a smaller baby and they have great shape around the legs to avoid leaks. You can also add an additional ‘booster’ into these nappies (sold across most brands) and these will add extra absorbency for babies who are heavy wetters or for night time. These are a good investment if you are intending to use for more than one child or if you have a both a baby and a toddler. They have good longevity due to the wrap being separate and therefore not having to withstand being washed each and every time you wash the shaped nappy. However, these do have slow drying time which can be a downside if you are short of space to air dry nappies.
All In One Nappies:
Birth to Toddler Nappies
These are nappies which are all in one systems designed to be used from birth (check birth weight with the brand you are choosing) through to potty training. They are shaped to fit and come with poppers or Velcro systems which allow you to change the size of the nappy as your baby grows. These do not require an extra wrap (waterproof layer) as this is part of the nappy. These are a great nappy investment if you want a nappy system which will grow with your baby. However they may not withstand a second baby as they are washed each use and therefore the outer layer can deteriorate. Some brands offer birth to toddler nappies in a two-part system so you will need to shop around for these. You can also add an additional booster with birth to toddler nappies for added absorbency. Great if you have both a baby and a toddler at the same time.
Pocket nappies have the waterproof outer layer and a soft fleece inner layer all in one with an additional pocket which you can add inserts so that they can have as much or as little absorbency as you need for your little one. The longevity is the same as birth to Toddler nappies (these often come with the option of pocket nappies) in that as they are washed after every use which can lead the outer layer to deteriorate. On the upside they often dry super quick and as super easy to use.
All in Twos
These nappies are somewhere between a two part system and an all in one. They have the outer shell and an inner soaker insert which poppers into the outer shell. It’s almost like a hybrid nappy. The clever part is that the outer shell can be used multiple times in the same day if you air it out and it has not become soiled.
Flat and Pre Fold
Don’t forget the option of terry towelling nappies, muslins (yes not just for spit ups!) and pre fold nappies. It is recommended that you buy good wraps to help reduce the risk of leaks and they can be fiddly in the beginning to learn how to fold them but they are an economical and quick drying way to start with reusable nappies. You can also ditch those traditional nappy pins as there is a new safe way of securing nappies – the Nappi Nippa. A little plastic device which is easy to use and cheap to buy!
From Birth – For some brands this means ‘almost birth’ or 10lbs so check the brand weight guides carefully before purchasing
Liners – super useful and come in disposable (check for biodegradable) or reusable. They line the nappy next to babies skin to protect your reusable nappy from soiling and nappy creams. Great for catching poos! Sometimes not great at catching the super runny breastmilk poo of the early days so make sure you check out the reviews.
Washing – You will need a pail or bucket to store your used nappies in between washes. Flush any poo down the toilet and you can rinse through the siled nappy and liners and then store them in the dry pail. It is not recommended to soak store them. Wraps can be used for the day or the full night if they have not become soiled. It is recommended you wash every other day at 60 degrees Celsius. Run a quick wash or cold rinse cycle without detergent (not a pre wash) first to remove soiling and then follow this with the 60 degree wash with detergent as directed by the brand of nappy you have chosen. Then allow to air dry. Check your brand for tumble drying advice.
Extras you will need – wet bag for storing the dirty nappies when you are out and about. Mesh bag to ensure they wash well and this will help with their longevity. Some nappies have laundry tabs on the nappy which folds over to protect the Velcro from damage and collecting fibres.
There are lots of other products you can use to create a more sustainable lifestyle these could include baby wipes, breast pads, sanitary pads and make up removal pads.
There is an argument regarding the use of energy and water for sustainability but air drying and not using a tumble dryer will definitely reduce your energy use. Its estimated around 3 billion disposable nappies are thrown away each year accounting for 2-3% of household waste.
We would recommend you check out the Nappy Lady, here. Her website is very comprehensive and will answer every question you have about reusable nappies. She also offers amazing links to videos on YouTube.
The only thing left is to not become obsessed with the amazing range of patterns and prints … and want to collect them all!
Learn all about how to change your baby’s nappy and more in our FREE Baby Care Workshop.