A dad's perspective on cloth nappies
By Ben Grech
When my wife first mentioned cloth nappies, I honestly didn’t know there was an alternative to disposables! It just goes to show how much the marketing of mainstream brands impacts our decisions about the products we buy. The idea conceptually made sense to me and if it avoided us having to buy an extra bag of nappies each time we went to the supermarket, all the better!
So I was sold enough to give it a go. Brenda explained further that we needed to make a bit of an upfront investment because it takes about 20 nappies to be able to switch fully and not have to use disposables at all. “OK”, I thought. “Makes sense, but how much is this going to cost?”. Having a background in finance, I was keen to dive into a bit more detail on the numbers. It was a refreshing surprise to find that they would actually work out cheaper! A lot cheaper. As explained in the Nappy Advice section, we stood to save hundreds of Euros from when our baby was born until she is potty trained. It is so rare to find a sustainable product that is actually cheaper than its mass-produced alternative. Well, with cloth nappies you can!
So we took the plunge, and ordered our first batch of cloth nappies. Choosing the designs was fun, turning this normally mundane aspect of parenting into a much more enjoyable experience. Having a drawer full of 20 colourful cloth nappies is much better than the stacks of plastic bags filled with plain old disposables, just queueing up to be binned.
Another aspect that had concerned me was the use of these nappies. “Would they be more difficult to put on?”. Let’s face it, as a new parent I was only just mastering the use of disposables with the few practice runs on my nephew (thanks, Hugo!). Again I was pleasantly surprised, some of the nappies have a Velcro (AKA a “hook and loop”) system, which works exactly like disposables. Others come with poppers, which are also very easy to use and have the advantage of being a bit more secure when your little one grows up and starts tugging at their nappies. They are as easy, if not easier than disposables.
By far the biggest relief was the washing. No need for boiling, scrubbing or even soaking these modern cloth nappies. Simply put them into your washing machine for a rinse, then wash and they are ready. Our nappies that we have been using for the last 7 months still look as good as new, with no staining or even discolouration. We use a nappy bucket like this one to store the used nappies. Once the bucket is full, you can pull out the net bag and throw it straight into the washing machine avoiding the need to handle the nappies again. It really couldn’t have been easier! At this point, I couldn’t help but feel that modern cloth nappies are a “no brainer!”. It seems the only thing stopping more people from using them is the misconception that they are somehow more work than disposables. Perhaps this was the case for the old fashioned nappies that our grandparents used to use… but that’s a bit like comparing a fixed line telephone to a modern smart phone!
So, after a few months of use, I am grateful for my wife’s suggestion. I am a convert. Cloth nappies are truly easy to use, healthier for our daughter as she doesn’t get rashes, and cheaper for us! As more people take the step, I am sure these great new nappies will catch on. Then maybe we’ll all forget about disposables!