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by Katie Hodgkins

Eco-Friendly Parenting - Cloth Nappies

Protecting our environment has come to the forefront of public attention in recent years. As parents, it’s something we can all participate in.

In recent months, I’ve developed a huge interest in the environment, and how we can parent in the most environmentally responsible and sustainable way possible, the black bin being full of stinky nappies also being a motivating factor! Lots of the parents in our community have told me that they’re unsure where to start, or anxious about changing when they’re in a comfortable routine. Understandable, I felt the same way, but I feel that this is something really important to address!

The prospect of changing things up can be daunting, but there are so many easy swaps you can make during your parenting journey that will be kinder on our planet, protect your local ecosystem, and reduce the footprint you leave on this earth for future generations too.

In this series of guides, I’ll be exploring all the wonderful tips and substitutions that exist that are more friendly on the environment, and as as bonus may are kinder on your bank balance too!

We’ll be exploring;

  • Eco-Friendly Baby Products
  • Cloth nappies and wipes (this edition)
  • Biodegradable nappies and wipes
  • Reusable sanitary products
  • Wooden toys vs. plastic toys
  • Buying eco-friendly baby and maternity clothing, or using charity shops more
  • Use of ‘single use’ plastic

We aim to dispel misconceptions about how difficult it is to change your habits, and also show the amazing benefits of each of these eco-friendly parenting ideas, with recommendations on where to go to find everything from environmentally friendly toiletries and eco-friendly options for mum too.

This edition is dedicated to cloth nappies, reusable nappy products, and biodegradable nappies – we hope that it helps!


Cloth Nappies

Swapping from disposable nappies and wipes is an excellent way to be an environmentally-friendly parent, as well as saving yourself lots of money in the long run! Here we will look at our favourite brands, statistics and tackle misconceptions.

We asked the mummies in our Facebook community if they’d try cloth nappies and wipes, and a staggering 60% told us they weren’t keen to because;

  • They’re worried about the cost.
  • They’re worried about hygiene.
  • They’re worried about leaking.

We’ve addressed these concerns below with a wonderful list sent to us by the team at Baba + Boo… keep on scrolling!

There are many amazing cloth nappy brands to choose from; Ecopipo, Baba + Boo and Little Lamb are brands we’d wholeheartedly recommend for mummies wanting to try cloth nappies & wipes!

Here’s our breakdown of each brand and why they’re such ace choices for environmentally minded parents.

Ecopipo

Ecopipo is ‘committed to the environment’s wellbeing and aims to be a socially responsible enterprise’. Ecopipo has worked to employ staff who come from textile communities in Mexico struggling for employment & immigration to the US is very high, which has had huge benefits for these communities, and they’re paid well above the Mexican national average income wage. Over 300 families benefit from their employment by Ecopipo.

You can read Ecopipo’s blog post ‘Are Cloth Nappies Greener, Healthier And Cheaper?’ here!

Here’s their guide on how many nappies you need to cloth bum full time!

EcoPipo Nappy Image

Image Credit: Ecopipo

Baba + Boo

Baba + Boo is a ‘planet friendly baby store’, which specialises in cloth nappies.  Their nappies are fabulously high quality, and come in eye popping colours to make that wee cloth bum stand out from the crowd! In particular, we love their starter sets; they’re great for cloth bum mums just getting started, and for gifting too. Shop the range here!

BabaandBooImage

Image Credit: Baba and Boo

 

Reusable nappy myths busted

Jane Shaw from Baba + Boo sent us this handy list of 10 myths that shouldn’t put you off reusable nappies;

It’s all or nothing. Just because you choose to reuse, it doesn’t mean that a disposable nappy must never cross your threshold again. You’re not comfortable using reusables when you’re out? Then it’s fine to use a disposable. You’re upstairs and the reusables are downstairs? Just grab a ’sposie. Using just one reusable a day stops around 900 nappies from being thrown away – every little bit makes a difference and there’s no rule that says you must exclusively cloth bum.

Getting started is too expensive. A quick peek at the cost of a new set of 20 nappies can make your eyes water. But getting started with reusables doesn’t have to be painful. You can buy one or two at a time and build up your set gradually. If you’re switching from disposables, you will quickly notice that you’re buying fewer disposables each month and you can use those savings to fund your next reusable. Friends and family love to gift nappies for baby showers and birthdays (modern nappies are seriously cute), and buying pre-loved nappies can cost less than a pack of disposables. It’s also worth reminding yourself that using reusables for two children – or selling them on when you’re done – can easily save you £1,000 compared to using single use nappies. Which suddenly makes that initial outlay much more bearable.

They’re too much hassle. Reusables aren’t more work – they’re just different work. Using washable nappies full-time adds about two extra loads of washing a week. Which might sound a lot if you’ve not got children. When little one arrives? It’s sounds more like a drop in the ocean. The trade-off for the extra couple of washes is no more late night dashes to the supermarket when you run out of nappies, no more emptying stinky nappy bins every day, and no more maggots in the overflowing outside bin in the heat of summer.

The extra washing means they’re not much better for the environment. Washing reusables uses about ten times LESS water than manufacturing single use nappies. Single use nappies are made of plastic and wood pulp. Manufacturing them is water intensive – and the waste water is polluted with industrial toxins, which are far worse than anything in your washing powder. Washing nappies is far better for the environment than manufacturing disposables.

Putting poo in your washing machine is gross. This is the deal breaker for lots of parents. Reality is, fortunately, a lot more palatable than myth. First things first – most of the poo gets knocked off the nappy into the loo. (Which, let’s face it, is a far better place for poo than the bin.) Anything that’s left on the nappy gets cleaned in the washing machine. If you’re still a bit grossed out, it’s worth remembering that nurses wash their own uniforms and farmers wash their overalls. All human underwear – adults included – includes traces of faeces after it’s been worn…and it all comes out clean. If washing nappies really was bleurgh, then someone – the single use nappy manufacturers, the public health authorities, or certain sections of the media – would have pointed it out by now.

You can’t use cloth with twins. Twins are hard. Double the feeds, double the sleep deprivation, double the clothes washing…but not double the nappy washing. Washing for two doesn’t need to be any more frequent than washing for one, depending on the size of your machine and how many reusable nappies you own. There are plenty of reasons why cloth bumming two is a bonus. You’ll need 30-40 nappies instead of 10,000. You’ll double the amount you save (enough for an extra month of parental leave). And you won’t have a supermarket trolley so full of nappies that you can’t fit anything else in it.

Childcare won’t use them. Most childcare providers are happy to use reusable nappies. Some actively encourage it, offering discounts to cloth bum parents because of the waste disposal costs they save. Even if your childcare provider is one of the few that’s unwilling to use reusables, there’s no reason why you can’t use cloth at home and reusables at childcare.

They leak. Well, it’s not unheard of – but a well-fitted reusable nappy will leak less than a single use nappy. Especially when it comes to poo. The elastic at the back of a reusable nappy means that up-the-back poo-namis are virtually unknown in reusables.

They use pins. Take a peek at a stash shot of modern cloth nappies (it’s a thing) and there won’t be a safety pin or plastic pants in sight. Cute seasonal designs that match the latest clothing range? Yup. Easy to fit all-in-ones with poppers or velcro? Yup. Pins and plastic pants? Definitely not. Nappies in the 21st century are as stylish as the hottest clothing ranges – new print launches are eagerly awaited and can sell out within days; hashtags like #fluffyfriday and #fluffylove abound; and the first time your little one chooses her favourite nappy at change time is a ridiculously lovely moment.

It’s not worth starting with a toddler. If your little one is six months from potty training, you can easily save 1,000 nappies from being thrown away. Even if you’re not planning any more children, the switch can work financially when you choose nappies with a great resale value or buy pre-loved. And you could make potty training a whole lot easier – there’s lots of anecdotal evidence that reusables make potty training easier. Which could quite possibly be the clincher.

Here’s their blog post on tackling misconceptions about reusable nappies & wipes!

Little Lamb

Another firm favourite with Team BBY is Little Lamb. They sell such a wide range of cotton, microfibre and wrap nappies, and loads of different bundles to help set you up for cloth bum heaven (and don’t get me started on the absolutely adorable prints!).

This ‘Baby Shower Full Time Bundle’ is a great way to get started with everything you need, or the perfect gift for an environmentally conscious mama to be. This bundle contains;

5 x bamboo nappies.

2 x standard cotton nappies.

2 x bombproof wraps.

5 x OneSize nappies.

1 x mesh laundry bag.

1 x roll of nappy liners.

10g Violet’s Bottom Balm.

1 x pack of 10 bamboo boosters.

1 x pack of 10 bamboo breast pads.

1 x wicker hamper – handmade by Somerset craftswomen.

Wowzer! You can see this here!

 

Image Credit: Little Lamb


Biodegradable Nappies

Reusables really not something you’d consider? Why not try biodegradable nappies then? Standard disposable nappies take a whopping 500 years to decompose and leech nasty chemicals into the groundwater, which isn’t nice for our ecosystems.

We’d 100% recommend Beaming Baby for any parent considering biodegradable nappies! They’ve won a Mother & Baby Bronze award, are certified organic and carbon neutral, and donate 10% of profits to charity. Beaming Baby disposable nappies contain 54% less added chemicals than standard nappies, and aim to be far more kind to sensitive new baby skin than standard nappies, so if your baby is prone to rashes and eczema, these could be the answer to all your problems. Beaming Baby guarantees that their nappies will not cause nappy rash, and if by seven days your baby does develop nappy rash, they will give you your money back.

Save 10% with this bulk purchase – click image to see more

They also sell biodegradable nappy sacks made from cornstarch, and biodegradable wipes – nappy sacks and standard wipes contribute to landfill and aren’t considered biodegradable, so this is another great way to be kinder to our planet.

Learn more about Beaming Baby’s free trial packs here.

Local Council Cloth Nappy Initiatives

Did you know that many councils in the UK offer initiatives for parents wanting to try cloth nappies? Mine (Derbyshire) will give me 50% off when I spend over £50 on cloth nappies!

All you need to do is search your county council website, or give them a phone and they’ll be able to give you more info.


We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions – cloth bum mums, what tips do you have to share?

Love from Katie. Xx

Katie Hodgkins Image
I'm Katie, and I'm a mama, wife, and freelance content creator for Bump, Baby & You. I also help to run our thriving online community over in our Facebook support group, as well as volunteering for my local branch of the National Childbirth Trust. I'm a busy bee and enjoy keeping active, cooking, writing, and fun days out with my little family. My special topics of interest are... autism (as me and my son are both autistic), science, all things parenting and pregnancy related, and The Handmaids Tale!
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