When Johnson & Johnson introduced the first mass-marketed disposable diaper in 1948, it seemed like one of the best things to ever happen to parents. Being able to make quick nappy changes without any washing was truly revolutionary at the time.
Today, the average child will use about 7,000 disposable diapers in their lifetime which results in billions of nappies being discarded every day.
While the convenience of disposable nappies has been a blessing to many parents, it has come at a hefty environmental cost.
Single-use nappies take over hundreds of years to break down, emitting harmful greenhouse gasses in the process, which contributes to climate change.
Fortunately, there’s a more eco-friendly alternative: Reusable nappies.
A new golden age of reusable nappies
Reusable nappies have come a long way since the days of terry cloth squares and safety pins. Nowadays, they can be as simple to put on as disposables and come in an array of natural fabrics including cotton, bamboo fiber and hemp.
They provide plenty of benefits which make them truly worthwhile.
Here are a few good reasons why you should add them to your baby care arsenal.
The benefits of reusable nappies
Spending hours mastering elaborate nappy folding techniques is now a thing of the past. Reusable nappies come pre-shaped, elasticated and fastened with Velcro or poppers to facilitate quick changes and ensure a good fit for your baby.
- Gentle on baby’s skin
Naturally, the baby’s well-being is at the top of any parent’s mind.
Reusable nappies provide maximum comfort since they’re made with breathable, natural fibers. They are highly absorbent and soft to protect your baby’s skin from any irritation.
- Environmentally friendly
Your baby’s carbon footprint shouldn’t exist past their lifetime. By choosing reusable nappies, you’ll be sending less waste to landfill, and when you finally throw them away, they won’t have a negative impact on the environment.
Furthermore, you’ll be saving the earth’s finite resources which are consumed by disposable diapers such as forests and petroleum.
- Easy to clean
Most parents assume washing nappies is a time-consuming, icky task, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to soak or boil the diapers beforehand – just shake off the solid waste in the toilet and put it in a dry pail or bag until you’re ready to wash it.
Nappies are expensive- according to the National Diaper Bank Network, the average baby goes through eight to 12 nappies a day which amounts to €70 to €80 per month. Reusable nappies can eliminate that monthly expense and save you a ton of money in the long run. You can even save them for your next baby, if you’re planning on having another one!
When it comes to choosing reusable nappies, there are so many great colours and prints available. You can coordinate them with outfits to bring out your little one’s lovely personality.
- Saves water
If you’re worried about how much water you’ll be using to clean reusable diapers, you’ll be glad to learn that overall, disposable nappies pose a far greater risk to our environment and use far more water when they are being producted. Also, many washing machines today are far more efficient with water usage than they used to be.
The Do’s and Don’ts on using and caring for reusable nappies
Reusable nappies can be an absolute dream to use! By sticking to a simple wash routine, you can easily incorporate them into your lifestyle.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Always follow the wash care instructions on the label.
- Wash reusable nappies a few times prior to use to increase their absorbency.
- If you are using a lower water temperature for washing, follow immediately with a 10 minute warm cycle to kill any bacteria left.
- Use disposable or reusable eco-friendly nappy liners to protect your nappies and to make the removal of solids much easier.
- Line your nappy bucket with a laundry mesh and just pop the whole bag into the machine hassle free- this way, you won’t have to touch dirty nappies.
- Use non-biological powder specially made for cloth nappies. Enzymes present in some bio detergents can corrode natural fibers.
- Line dry where possible. The sun is a natural bleach and it kills bacteria too. If needed, tumble dry on low heat to keep nappies at their softest.
- Don’t use fabric softeners or liquid detergent. They coat the fabric fibers which decreases the absorbency of the nappies.
- Don’t use bleach or other harsh stain removers. They deteriorate fabrics faster and shorten the life span of cloth nappies.
- Don’t boil or wash reusable nappies with the baby cycle - extremely high temperatures will wear them down quickly.
- Don’t use bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. They can dissolve cotton and bamboo fibers.
We hope this article has busted any myths you’ve heard about reusable nappies. Try them out! It will be good for your baby, your pockets and the planet! Just think, even using a reusable nappy once a day will save 365 disposable nappies from going to landfill each year. For the other times, use eco friendly disposable nappies such as Beaming Baby, Bambo, Eco-Boom, or Naty.