Some info from their website: There is an estimated 813,200 (and rising) babies born in England and Wales each year, using 3 billion single use nappies - which translates into over 355,000 tonnes of waste produced and an annual disposal cost to local authorities (and tax payers) of £32 million!
Disposable nappies are filling up landfill sites, costing families a lot of money, and creating large carbon footprints. Real nappies are a great solution to all these problems (and more) but aren't they difficult to use and yukky to wash?
No! They really aren't, I promise!
I'm a huge fan of cloth nappies and started using them when Wiss was born. We are now using the same ones for Ferne. There are loads of different brands and styles, and you can even make your own or have some custom made for you. So how do you know which to go for?
To help you decide before you invest in a set it's a good idea to see some up close. Many areas across the country have Nappy Libraries where you can look, feel and compare different nappies from different companies. They also often hold talks and demonstrations and there are loads planned this week as part of Real Nappy Week, so check out the website for events near you. When I went to a talk back in 2009 there was even a baby modelling one for us all, so here's one for you!
Once you've decided on which nappies to buy then you need to work out how many you will need. We have got 20 nappies in total (BumGenius one-size pocket) and I find this enough for us to be able to wash every other day. I do have to say that getting the inserts dry during the winter does take a long time, but during the summer it's a breeze. If you have a washing line they'll be dry in a day and the sun will help to bleach them too.
As well as helping to save our planet and saving you money, I've found that real nappies also help to prevent nappy rash. Wiss hardly suffered with it all, and so far (touch wood) neither has Ferne. There is also talk about cloth nappies helping to prevent hip dysplasia by supporting the babies' legs in the right position.
So how about the practicalities of using them on a day to day basis? Well, you do need to set a few things up but once you get in the swing of it, using real nappies is easy. We have a lidded bin next to the nappy change area that has a mesh bag inside. Dirty nappies get put in here until they are ready to be washed. It is a dry bin, no need to soak them and I put a couple of drops of tea tree oil in to keep things smelling fresh. I use flushable/biodegradable nappy liners which are basically a tissue-type cloth that goes inside the nappy to catch to poo (I didn't bother with this when my little ones were exclusively breast fed as the poos are too runny. A plastic spatula, kept by the loo can help you with these and that can go in the washing machine along with the nappies too.) As soon as they start weaning though, liners mean that you can tip the poo into a loo and flush.
When it comes to washing them, I just take out the mesh bag and pop it straight into the washing machine. You don't need to handle the nappies at all. I wash them at 40 degree, and only do a pre-rinse if they are particularly soiled (pre-weaning for instance). Easy! Never use softener, and only use 1/3 of the amount of usual washing powder.
Using washable nappies on the go is simple too. I usually have two wet-bags in my nappy bag, filled with two clean nappies. Then when I change my little one, the dirty nappy replaces the clean one in the wet-bag. They are lined with waterproof material so will keep everything contained and away from the rest of the contents of your bag. Any wet or soiled clothes can be squeezed in here too. And then when I get home i pop these in the wash with the nappies.
"I'm definitely going to try real nappies, but where can I get my hands on these wonderful wet-bags?" I hear you cry... Why, from my This is Wiss Etsy shop of course! I have a range of gorgeous bright, bold fabrics listed and as I make everything myself I will happily sew something to your exact preferences. I even have a few new fabrics not even listed (see below) so please start up a conversation with me if you'd like something made from those. The wet-bags come in a set with a matching travel changing mat and start from £20.
If you have any more questions regarding washable nappies then please leave me a comment below and I'll do my best to answer it or point you in the right direction if I can't. If you are heading out to any events planned for Real Nappy Week then enjoy! And I'd love to see or hear about them so why not tweet me @thisiswiss or post it on facebook (I'm thisiswiss!)