I’ve just washed, dried and folded my batch of reusable nappies as they are going to a new home to be re-loved and re-used. At one point in time, I had the twins and my little one all in reusable nappies – showing that it very much can be done for more than one baby and here’s why.
Using reusable nappies is of course better for the environment, cheaper (even more so if you can source second hand and often available on the likes of freecycle), and it’s nicer having no nasty chemicals near your babies skin. But there’s other benefits too – we never had to rush to the shops to buy nappies as we always had some, having big cotton filled bottoms are so cute and there are no nasty smells festering away in your bin (have you smelt a bin with dirty nappies for over two weeks?). If, like us, you only get your bin emptied every two weeks, you can imagine how much of that will be filled up with nappies (around 100 nappies per child….). The other benefit is containment – we didn’t have exploding poos meaning a full change of clothes.
At the start in hospital, you will need to use disposables for convenience, especially if you are in for a few days but try to use them from the moment you get home otherwise you might not get round to trying. If your baby is born small, you may struggle at the start to find a nappy that fits although there are lots of new ones on the markets for the more petite baby.
Using reusable nappies, you will need to buy trousers one size up, tight jeans are a no-no at any point, and you will need to wash nappies every night or at the very least every second night (we had twins so we ended up doing one wash every night). You will need a bucket (or two if you have twins) to store the nappies during the day. They are easy to wash, flush the liner, set a pre-wash for your machine, put in special nappy washing powder into the pre-wash drawer (we used one with Aloe Vera), normal powder in the main drawer and wash at 60. They generally dry very quickly on a clothes horse or outside – literally a matter of a few hours or overnight.
Out and about can be a bit more challenging and we ended up with a large rucksack. You can easily dispose of the liners in any toilet, but you still need to bring home your dirty nappies so you need a waterproof sack. A word of warning, make sure you empty the bag when you get home otherwise the ammonia builds up and you end up needing eye protectors. It’s always handy to have a disposable tucked away just in case you get caught out.
We found nappy rash an issue at times, so had to ensure lots of nappy free time in the morning and evening to give their bottoms lots of opportunities to air as well as regularly change their nappies – probably a bit more often than you might have had to do with disposables.
At night we generally used disposables, mainly we struggled to keep them dry overnight, even with extra padding, we just couldn’t get it to work. We also only used disposables on holiday. We were still very happy with that as 80-90% of our nappy use was reusable.
We had our boys in private nursery and they were happy to use reusables – we used to leave some every day with them and also had sets at grandparents and other places so there were always lots around.
Just before the twins were potty trained, when they had had too many liquids, the nappies started to struggle to contain them so unfortunately we started to started to need to use more disposables. I do think it made them understand they needed the toilet a little bit quicker.
If you’re thinking about using reusables, pop along to your local nappucino event, speak to your local waste team and chat to mums that have used. There are so many nappies to choose from and you can probably easily waste away many hours researching them. For us, we used Tots Bots Fluffles with Mother-Ease wraps – simply because someone at our local twins club was selling a batch big enough for two! But that was 6 years ago, like everything so much has moved on and nappies have become slimmer, more absorbent and quicker drying.
It’s definitely something to consider as I felt happier especially considering how many nappies we went through. Using disposables can of course offer more convenience but there are so many advantages to using reusables.
NurtureMe offers a Baby Planning service to help you plan on essential equipment before your baby arrives including what you need if you are using reusable nappies.
Much love, Tricia