It used to be that nappies (or diapers for my American friends) were such a hassle; mothers had no choice but to use cloth nappies, clumsy pins, and annoying covers. Then they invented disposable nappies and most mothers thought it was a miracle. Now, about 80% of babies use disposables. But are disposable nappies really better? Before you go grab a pack of Huggies, catch up on some of the benefits of cloth.

Figure out about how many nappies you use in a week and multiply it by 52. Next time you go to buy nappies, look at how much they cost. You’ll find that it’s a lot of nappies, translating to a lot of money. The average parent spends two to three thousand dollars keeping their baby’s bottom clean up to age three. Now take a look at the cost of cloth nappies, even our most expensive premium cloth nappies cost no more than $800 (Aussie dollars) for a full time stash. Sure, that’s a bit of an outlay, but you don’t have to buy them every week. Cloth nappies have a small added expense of doing extra laundry every week, but it still doesn’t compare to the cost of disposables.

Now, go back to the number of nappies you calculated earlier and times that by how many other people in the world use disposables every year. Pretty big number isn’t it? In the U.S. alone, 18 billion are thrown into landfills every year. Not only do they take up tons of space but they are not biodegradable. Plus, they’re just sitting there full of hazardous waste. Urine and faeces can contain harmful bacteria; which can work their way into the environment and even your water supply. Sure, animals poo where ever they want and it’s seen as nature at work, but all the animals in an area don’t dump their poo in one place like disposed of disposable nappies.

When I was a baby, my Mum used cloth. Not because they were cheaper or environmentally friendly, but because that’s what everyone did in the ’70’s and because the disposables she did try made me break out in a horrible rash O.K- disposables have come a long way since then, but lots of babies still suffer nappy rash because of them. If you switch to cloth nappies, you may find that some of your child’s nappy rash is actually caused by the irritation from disposables. Even if your kids aren’t allergic, nappies contain toxic chemicals including dioxin, which can cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, skin diseases, and genetic disorders. And you know those absorbent crystals you see when you rip open up a diaper? Those are the same chemicals removed from tampons because they were linked with toxic shock syndrome in women. Sure, the chances these chemicals might harm your child is low, but have there been any studies to show they are safe?

Most mums choose disposables because they think cloth nappies are annoying and inconvenient. What they don’t realise is that cloth nappies have changed since we were kids. Nappy pins have been replaced with convenient snappies and Velcro-like materials (Velcro itself isn’t flexible enough). You can also get fitted nappies to help keep out leaks. If you don’t like those annoying plastic covers, you can get lovely woollen ones; these are especially fun because you can find them in great colours and pattern. Wool is also more comfortable than plastic covers, but works just as well, so long as you don’t compress it too much (no onesies to sleep in).

For anyone who is good with a sewing machine, I made some no cost modern cloth nappies out of recycled curtains and bed sheets. They work really well. I just got sick of sewing them and bought Cushie Tushies instead. I still use my home made pocket nappies when I haven’t done the washing for several days. I used the Rita’s Rump Pocket diaper pattern which you can find here

And I watch this sewing tutorial several times, because I’m no sewer and this made it easy.

And here is the finished product expertly modelled by my little monkey, Andrew.

andrew_rrp

If you just like the convenience of disposable nappies, you need modern cloth all in one’s. They are just like a disposable only washable. No folding, no pins, change them every 4 hours, don’t change them overnight. I use them just the same as I used disposables with my older children and never have leaks. You don’t even soak these nappies, they go straight into the wash. You’ll find my favourites in the NaturalTransition.com shop. I am happy to take international orders so feel free to take advantage of our struggling Aussie dollar. Postage is charged at cost and by sea mail, it’s really inexpensive 😉

So, why not save the environment, save some cash, and help your kids stay healthy by using good old dependable cloth nappies.

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