This Real Nappy Week 2019 we are so excited to share James’s story. Cloth Bum South Brum is relaunching this month as Birmingham’s Cloth Nappy Library. You can find their meets detailed on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ClothBumSouthBrum/ and on instagram @clothbumsouthbrum.
During RNW you can find all sorts of bargains and offers on real nappes and accessories so it’s a great opportunity to dip your toes in or grow your collection.This great blog from local mum Kathryn is filled with plenty of tips to get you started. Read on to hear from a father’s perspective.
I’m James, Daddy to two wonderful boys aged 7 months and 22 months, and I’m married to Laura who has recently taken over running Cloth Bum South Brum (our local “nappy library”). We’ve used cloth nappies since our oldest was a couple of months old.
Why did we choose reusable nappies?
1. The environment. Laura and I had just started trying to live in a more eco-friendly way (things like cutting out plastic-wrapped items on our weekly food shop; using our reusable coffee cups, water bottle, and straws; composting our food waste in “Bokashi bins”) and when we were expecting our baby we decided we didn’t want to be responsible for a huge amount of disposable nappies piling up on a landfill site somewhere! The thought that all my pooey nappies were still around somewhere was also a bit disgusting…
2. Our finances! In this decision-making stage I still wasn’t 100% convinced as it seemed like it was expensive, and considering all the other things we had to buy ready for our baby I kind of hoped it was something Laura would agree to not bother with in the end! However, once we got our calculator out we discovered that the chunk of money at the start was well worth it as it worked out cheaper in the end than using disposables: it was something like it would cost £250 to buy the 18 nappies we liked and also the reusable wipes, whereas if we bought disposables til our child was 3 it would eventually cost something like £1000-2000 depending on which brand of disposable it was. So for me that sealed the deal – saving money and reducing our negative impact on our planet!
How do you start?
We then did our research into what was the best kind of nappy to buy. This part felt overwhelming, so to be honest I just let Laura take the lead here. This is where a nappy library’s hire kits come into their own: if we had known that for just £15 you could try a whole box full of different styles of nappies for a whole month I would have bitten their arm off!
If you’ve searched online and can’t find a nappy library near you though, I would see if any friends have any you could borrow instead, or if not just go for it and buy a couple of the same one and see what you think – you can always use disposables if you don’t have enough, especially to start with, and you can buy more if you like them afterwards. We chose to only have one style for daytime and another for night time which makes things really simple; although there is a lot of choice out there, your nappy system doesn’t have to be complicated and confusing.
So anyway, we bought 18 nappies (partly based on what looked the most stylish!) and once we had our baby and the craziness of new parenthood had subsided a little we started using them. My wife was a little keener than me when it came to beginning as I felt like it was a big thing to get my head around, but actually I just needed to get stuck in and learn along the way! I soon picked up how to fit them (Cloth Brum South Brum’s Facebook and instagram pages have a great pictorial guide to doing this really well) and washing them was much easier than I thought. We wash every couple of days, and as both our babies were exclusively breastfed there was no need to scrape off the poo as it is water soluble, and turning the chaotic pile of inserts and covers back into neat piles of ready-to-use nappies afterwards is very therapeutic and not a difficult extra job.
Would I recommend it to others?
Yes! It’s environmentally responsible, saves money in the long-term, and can be quite fun! We also like that we’re already starting our children on a journey of trying to positively impact our planet, so it should be more natural for them to make environmentally sensitive decisions themselves in future. One thing Laura is great at recommending is that not everyone feels they can go 100% reusable and that’s okay, it’s about doing what you can and being kind to yourself: even using some reusable nappies means less disposables going to landfill. Using cloth nappies was well worth the initial effort and has become a natural, easy part of our everyday rhythm (the opposite of what I expected) – I’m so glad we chose to use them.
Adapted from Real Nappy Stories, Cloth Bum South Brum 22.4.19