I have never used a reusable nappy in my life. So I’ve absolutely no expertise whatsoever to share with you!
My mum used terry-towelling squares on all her babies. It wasn’t a choice. There wasn’t an alternative.
She said she spent the best part of ten years washing nappies and after I, being her last, grew out of them she put them away and kept them in some bottom drawer – for a grandchildren, I suppose, since she was of the wartime mend and make-do generation.
When I first became a mother, myself, the thought of nappy liners, fiddly pins and learning nappy folds seemed far too old-fashioned and I dismissed her offer of tired looking 4th hand terry-squares with a certain wrinkle of the nose. I wasn’t going to waste my time on such an antiquated system, when there were fantastic, simple to use disposable nappies on every super-market shelf.
My mum, never wasteful, found a way to reuse the terry nappies I’d ditched with total disparagement. They were frugally re-made into bibs for my new baby!
I look back on the attitude I had with a significant amount of shame. Fourteen years ago I barely aware of the nappy-land-fill-issue; but with my next child (thinking he’d be my last) I was doubtful that switching to reusables would be money saving; and by the time I had the ‘accidental third’ reusables were becoming as simple to put on as disposables but I only vaguely knew one mum in all my circle who used them.
Had I known I was going to have three children, or was having a baby now, there is no doubt I would have picked the reusable route which were quickly becoming more innovative and simple to use each time I had another baby.
The day after you have cast your last disposable nappy into the bin you look back at the amount of money you’ve thrown away, not to mention that my weekly rubbish bag was suddenly half the size and a third the weight. It isn’t a good feeling.
Reusable nappy technology has undoubtedly come on in leaps and bounds in the last ten or 12 years and in seven years I’ve been coordinating the testing for the Mother & Baby Awards they have gone from ‘fringe’ to ‘mainstream’ in the consciousness of every new mum.
So to start the debate: What nappies do you love or love to hate? I’m handing over to my wonderful testing mums (and anyone else who wants to join in) who offer an expertise on nappies one and all that are second to none.
Here speaks an expert, perhaps in nappy gobbledegook for the initiated such as I, but perfect sense to those in the know, I’m hoping:
“Reusable Nappies? Me, I love them!” says Vicki, “We’ve been using them since Arthur was home at about a week old and only use disposables at night and when we’re out and about.
We use Bimble nappies with a nappy nippa – a little gadget which my Dad thinks is a piece of genius and wishes was around 30 years ago as he reckons he stabbed himself and us hundreds of times with the nappy pins! We went for those as they’re more adjustable round the waist than any with poppers or velcro which is just as well as Arthur is a long fairly thin baby and the tabs on the nappy overlap when we do them up! They’re also birth to potty nappies so we don’t need to buy any more and came with a booster to go inside when he’s weeing more so they can absorb more…
We love them, they wash really well and weren’t too expensive to buy. They’re fleece lined as well so soft on little man’s behind! We use Tots Bots wrappers with them to keep his clothes dry as they have some really funky patterns and a huge range of adjustment. When he was first born we used Imsey Vimsey wrappers that did the same thing with the same level of adjustment but no pattern. They’re quite hard to get hold of though whilst Tots Bots are pretty much everywhere!
The one extra that I’ve recently discovered for them, which I love, is boots nappy liners – these little bits of fabricy-paper go into the nappy and catch any poop whilst letting the wee through which means poop is binned and makes the nappy bucket a little less stinky! I know some people have successfully washed the wet ones and reused them but as our machine is 10+ years old I don’t fancy trying my luck. You also wouldn’t want to flush the liners, as I don’t think they’d do the plumbing any good.
I’ve mentioned a stinky nappy bucket – we dry pail them which means they go into an empty bucket with no liquid in it. Some people wet pail them so that they soak in water and something like Nappisan before they’re washed. As we do a load every other day it doesn’t get too whiffy although there’s definitely been a change in smell since he started weaning (sorry if TMI!) so I’ve started putting a piece of fleece in there with a few drops of lavender oil on it which keeps the smell down and is also a natural antibacterial. The bucket is also lined with a mesh bag so all we do is pull the bag out and put it in the machine so we don’t have to pick up fistfuls of wee soaked nappies :o) Biggest thing is don’t use fabric softener – it reduces how much the nappies can absorb! And Vanish and drying them outside keeps them white whilst a quick blast in the tumbler means they’re fluffy (not something we do very often…) if you want them to be.
One final thing, having a baby with a reusable bum (as we call them) on means they’re a lot easier to hang on to as it does make their bum bigger, plus there’s a bit more padding for the inevitable crash landings whilst he’s learning to stand (as long as he lands on his bum!).”
“I have so far tested 4 lots of reusable nappies which has had interesting results. The first I tested were the Bambino Mio reusable nappy system and although not my favourite type of reusable I was actually pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to use, unfortunately I have a heavy wetter so we had leaks. I think these would be better for a younger baby, rather than a very active 16mth old.
The Hipphipp baby – real easy all in ones – I was very, very impressed!!! They are so soft inside and out and my little man seemed very comfortable in them, we had one that leaked but then he had had it on for just over 2 hours. I love the way these can be made smaller for a newborn baby as well.
The next to test were the Tots Bots S-T-R-E-T-C-H, now I am a great fan of Tots Bots but on inspecting these was a little worried that they would not fit my rather ample little boy. But I put one on him and it actually did stretch, I don’t think that I washed them enough though as they weren’t that absorbent (I think it said to wash them 10 times? A little impractical really, maybe they should prewash a couple of times before dispatching). I still like these though and hoping that they will become more absorbent as they are used and washed. They are also nowhere near as bulky as my original cotton Tots Bots, which is nice, as I tend to have to buy his clothes a little bigger to accommodate reusables!
Then came Charlie Banana, oh my, they are THE cutest nappies I have seen, my little boy was so impressed that he even tried to put one on himself which was very sweet, again, not too bulky but am unsure of the disposable liner that comes with them.”
“I’m loving testing the reuseable nappies 🙂 I have received my Charlie Bananas today and so far I am finding them fantastic! The colours are really bright and funky, the fit is great and, even though I was too impatient to pre-wash one of them (I wanted to try it on straight away, while the others pre-washed it’s not had any leaks at all. Indiana seems to like them too!
Krystie’s take, “I’m glad I am testing One-Size reusable nappies. My 2.5yr old is almost out of nappies and once I got the deliveries of the Reusables I stopped buying ‘sposies. The day after I got the One Size BumGenius, Evie came down with a bout of the runs.
Yeah, nasty and as our bathroom is downstairs! I didn’t want to risk her making a mess in her room overnight.
So on went a One Size nappy. Covered Butt, Contained Poop, Clean Room, Happy Mum. Yeay for One Size nappies!”
- What’s your take on the best nappies to use?
- Are you a Reusable, or Disposable, fan and why?
- Reusables sound so complicated, so how do you work out what’s the best ones to use?
- How many mums choose reusables? Do most of your friends use them or just one or two?