Taking the reusable nappy plunge

A few weeks ago, I was dipping a tiny toe in the world of reusable nappies- it appealed to my vague green credentials in that I might save a bit of space in a landfill, and appealed more to my tightfistedness in that it’s meant to save a good grand or so compared to disposable nappies.

At the time, I’d done nothing more than use some reusies that a friend had lent me but only when I had a full day in the house and not at night. Last week another helpful friend lent me some big old night time nappies, and I decided to take the plunge. Additional kit was purchased in the form of a toiletry bag to carry around the dirties when out of the house, and some baby flannels to use as reusable wet wipes- may as well go the whole hog, eh!

Dangerously, I also took to facebook and joined some second hand real nappy groups and bought myself one of the hallowed gnappies that I liked the look of. Oh and there were a couple of different brands on special in Tescos and Sainsburys, so I bought them too. And then took them back because I decided I didn’t like the look of them. So now my current collection consists of 1 pair of gpants (the outer bit of the gnappy), six new gcloths, the free bambino mios that I borrowed, three little lambs for night time, also on a loan and a bum genius pocket nappy that I’m not a massive fan of. And there are  three more pairs of gpants winging their way to me in the post (all second handers).

So how’s it going? Well, on the first day I had to deal with a poo while out of the house- it wasn’t so bad- it was a bit of a big one but amply contained by the bambino mio, although I will fess up- I did use disposable wetwipes to clean that bad boy up, and put the pooey inner cloth in a nappy bag to take home and rinse out there rather than having to contend with it at someone’s house. The second poo was at home but on the whole contained by the disposable liner, so I chucked that away, and as the nappy itself didn’t look too splattered, just chucked it straight in the nappy bin. That was a mistake as the bin smelled like death for a whole day. I’ve heard that rather than rinsing them in the sink you can hold your inners under the flush of a toilet. Sounds gross, but I’m willing to give it a try. For today’s poo, I confess I wussed out and put on a disposable- I knew it was brewing as it’d been three days with no movement, so it was likely to be (and indeed was) a bit of a beast.

Wee-wise, we’ve only had two leaks- one mystery one that I just think I went too long before I changed him- 12 hours overnight was obviously pushing it a bit- and one that Mark put on but left a bit of nappy sticking out the back of the wrap, so that just leaked out onto clothes- nothing too tragic.

I’m looking forward to building up my gnappy collection a bit more, as that’s what we’ve settled on. I’ve seen some pictures of people’s ‘stashes’ of hundreds of nappies and am confident I’ll never get to that stage, but in order to go full time on the reusables, but only wash every other day, I think I’ll need as a minimum six gpants, eighteen cloths plus my three night time nappies. I’m still not 100% confident of it working- you certainly need to change babies more frequently in cloth than disposables but I’m getting used to it. It’s really not difficult, only involves a little bit more washing/preparation and I’m looking forward to having a little bit of extra cash

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Real nappies

Real nappy week is just coming to an end. Alright, it sounds a bit weird as surely there are no imaginary nappies, but what it’s referring to in this case is reusable, rather than disposable nappies.

I had actually been dipping my toe in the reusable nappy world in the last few weeks anyway, so this seemed like a good opportunity to go for it a bit more!

I liked the idea of saving the world a bit- the amount of nappies that a kid gets through is nothing short of disgusting, and the disposable kind take forever and a day to break down, although when I looked into it a bit more, it was apparent that actually, the environmental impact between reusable and disposable was actually very small- particularly if you were washing at more than 40 degrees and tumble drying every day or two. What became more clear as I did my investigating, though, was the money that you could save was really pretty substantial, which always sounds like a bonus to me!

I got particularly lucky in that my local council offered a trial pack, of two different types of nappy for a fiver (a bargain as they gave about £40 of kit) and on asking my best friend, who uses reusables, for advice, she mentioned that her youngest had finished with the smallest size that she had if I wanted to borrow her’s- Obviously I took her up on the offer!

A brief bit of background- the real nappy world is bloody mind-boggling- there are so many different types and brands but all basically consist of a waterproof outer bit, something to soak up wee in the middle, and usually a liner to catch poo on the top. I ended up with…
-A pocket nappy, which is the waterproof outer, fleecy inner, and an additional towelling pad tucked in a pocket inside the nappy for extra absorbancy
-A two parter (waterproof outer and towelling inner in two separate parts, so you can wash the inner bit once it’s been wee’d in)

Both of these were shaped like disposable nappies, with velcro fastenings and poppers so they can be made bigger or smaller to fit a baby from ‘birth to potty’.

I wasn’t really a fan- they were both absolutely massive even when poppered down to the smallest size- Sid’s only 10 weeks old and not a big baby, and I just felt like he couldn’t kick his legs properly. The pocket nappy, a BumGenius, was pretty leaky too. Not a good first experience.

The stuff that I’d been lent was by Bambino Mio- a two parter again, with a nappy-shaped waterproof outer, but rather than a shaped inner, this system just had flat cloths that you folded up and put in the outer. The outers were sized too, so there was no faffing around with poppers. The outers were a bit old, so the velcro was curling up a bit at the edges, which I found was rubbing on Sid’s tummy a bit, but apart from that I’ve got on with them really well- they don’t leak, they’re ridiculously absorbant, and personally I think they’re not as bulky as the other ones I tried, so I’m sticking with them.

I haven’t quite gotten my head around the whole ‘carrying around a bag of wet nappies’ thing so we’re just using them when we’re in the house and still take disposables when we’re out and about, but even that’s saving some cash- The only thing I’ve paid for so far is a big lidded bin from IKEA and a net bag that’s meant to be used for washing bra’s in a washing machine. I’ve been putting the used nappies in the bin, which has been lined with the string bag, then every couple of days, I just scoop out the bag and sling that in the wash with half a capful of detergent and we’re good to go. I’ve been drying them on the line, but they are getting a bit crunchy, so I think I’ll do the next lot half in the sun and then finish them off in the tumble drier to soften them up a bit.

The danger now is that while I’ve saved some money in that the system’s been lent to me, I’ve started looking around and really want to go shopping now! I’ve seem some great covers that I want and actually, there’s a whole other system, Gnappies, which I’m hankering after, after I saw a friend using it- It looks similar to the Bambino Mio in that it’s sized and has inserts, but the covers look much nicer and it seems really streamlined. And as well as getting reusable inserts, which can be washed, you can get disposable ones too, which can be composted, so seem like the best of both worlds! If I can find some on the cheap, I really want to give them a go!