In Praise Of Cloth For Real Nappy Week

This week is (amongst other things) Real Nappy Week, designed to help get people talking about – and using – cloth nappies. It’s also a week awash with offers, promotions and competitions amongst the many cloth nappy manufacturers, enticing hapless addicts like me into wanting more pretty prints for the stash.

You already know that I’m a fan of cloth nappies, largely due to my dislike of taking the bins out. But did you know that the UK is due to run out of landfill space by 2018? Or that the average baby will use around 5000 disposable nappies before they are potty trained? That’s a lot of landfill…

Cloth nappies these days are very different to the terries and safety pins of our parents’ day. And in fact they’ve moved on a lot even in the last 4 years since I used them for G. They’re easy to put on, easy to wash and quick to dry. With summer coming up it’s also been shown that despite the layers of fabric cloth nappies keep baby one whole degree cooler than disposables – and as they’re so cute they can run around in them without needing anything on top!

This week I’m posting on Instagram and Twitter a daily photo of our pretty cloth nappy choice of the day – our first 4 days are in the pic above. And I may have ordered a few new ones as well. I’m also working to set up a local cloth nappy library, to allow parents to try real nappies without any risk.

If you haven’t tried cloth nappies yet, get involved this week and give it a go. A good place to start is Go Real, The Nappy Gurus, or check out some of the bloggers trying cloth for the first time.

Accidental Eco Mum

It’s official, I’ve become one of those mums.

Yup, I’m a card carrying member of the breastfeeding, cloth bumming, baby wearing brigade. And I’ll probably end up doing some form of baby led weaning too, just to complete the picture. An eco mum, you could say.

Except I’ve got a confession. It’s got very little to do with being eco friendly. In fact, I’m doing it all out of pure laziness, with a bit of vanity thrown in.

Let me explain:

Breastfeeding – C seems to have a cows milk protein intolerance, which rules out standard cows milk based formula. I’m not entirely surprised as I struggle with dairy too (it gives me migraines and headaches). I could get a special formula on prescription, but that would involve firstly the faff of going back and forwards to the docs to get it, not to mention the faff of washing, sterilising and making up bottles constantly. And apparently it stinks anyway. I’m grateful that I can breastfeed (not all can), so for me breastfeeding just seems easier overall. Even if I can’t have cake.

Verdict: lazy.

Cloth bumming – the one household chore I hate more than anything is taking the bins out. I’d much rather load and unload the washing machine every other day than trudge out with a heavy bag full of pooey nappies. And the cloth nappies these days are seriously cute – I’ve already got tons of girls clothes left over from G so don’t have much excuse to go cute shopping otherwise.

Verdict: lazy and vain.

Baby wearing – G pretty much refused to get in her buggy after she was about 18 months, preferring to be carried or to walk. This was fine for Daddy, who was plenty strong enough to carry her about, not so much for me. I tried all sorts of gadgets to help carry her (the Hippychick Hip Seat was the winner, but I did look blimming stupid wearing what looked like a fully loaded bumbag when she decided to walk instead of being carried). I can see how much easier life would have been with a proper, ergonomic buckle carrier or a woven wrap, so I’ve already got both on loan from a local sling library to try out. And C falls asleep in them pretty much instantly too, which saves the hours of trying to get her to take a nap, particularly when I’ve got G pestering me to play. Oh, and have you seen all the pretty patterns they come in?? It’s like clothes shopping for me without the stress of having to buy two sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy clothes, and without the guilt because after all, it’s for baby isn’t it…

Verdict: lazy and vain.

Baby led weaning – we’re not there yet and won’t be for another few months. But seriously, cooking, blending and feeding all those purees? Who’s got time for that? And I tasted some of those baby food jars when G was weaning – yuck! Nope, C can have (broadly) what we’re having 90% of the time and leave it at that.

Verdict: lazy.

They might not be the reason that the books give for doing all of these things, and it might only be me that sees it this way, but it’s what works for me.

And surely that’s the only thing any parent should be striving to do – bring up their children in a way that suits their personalities, lifestyle, morals and so on?

The Baby and Toddler Show

C and I went on a flying visit to the Baby and Toddler Show at Manchester’s grandly named Event City today. A little white lie to the parking attendants directing people to the furthest overflow parking (yes, I’m a bad person ) and we were soon parked up outside the Trafford Centre’s Barton Square ready to go.

It may not be a patch on the huge shows in Birmingham and London, but given we live close by it was worth a quick trip down the road fora number of reasons.

Firstly, I had a voucher for 50% off a Bambino Mio Miosolo nappy. I’ve already written about my cloth nappy addiction, and whilst it’s not my current favourite nappy, I’ve been very impressed with the Miosolo – it’s held up to some pretty epic poosplosions, is pretty quick to dry and the attached insert is simple to stuff and much easier than hunting out a matching insert from the washing pile.

Secondly, I was fed up of hunting through baby swimming class websites trying to find one I can get to with C inbetween school pickups, ballet, football and so on. All the main class providers were there, and it was great to see G’s first ever Water Babies swimming instructor again. I was also excited to discover that Rebecca Adlington has set up a swim school in Bolton – guess what I’m enrolling G for ASAP!

And finally, I got the chance to meet Rachael from Kangarinos who was there with Cheeky Rascals giving me the chance to try out a Manduca carrier around the show (pictured!). I’ve been looking for something quick and easy to pop C in for the school run, and the Manduca is definitely a contender, particularly as they’ve released a limited edition purple version. Purple!

Back home, a brief look online reveals the worst. No, not anything wrong with the Manduca carrier – it simply appears that the world of ‘baby wearing’ has the potential to be just as addictive as cloth nappies.

This could be dangerous.

Fluffy bum

There’s something quite addictive about cloth nappies.

My main incentive for using them is reducing waste. If nothing else, taking the bins out is my most hated chore, so much so I’d rather pile up the recycling in a precarious pile in the kitchen, threatening to tumble at any moment, rather than pick it up and take it the five yards out of the door.

I justified my decision on the basis of cost, and when we used them for G we delivered on this, using prefolds (the cheapest type of cloth nappy, generally speaking) and plain but effective wraps. But now that I’ve discovered the wonders of Aldi nappies (they’re brilliant, and work out at just 8p each for C’s current size), cost saving alone isn’t looking that compelling.

Which brings us to looks.

Yes, reusable nappies mean that baby will have no need to ever think ‘does my bum look big in this?’ (answer – yes), but have you seen how cute they are?!

My stash is currently growing at a rate of knots, and my latest addition is the cutest white frilly gNappy, pictured above.

Yep, I know the photo looks a bit like one of those horrendous attempts to recreate studio photographer style baby shoots at home, but it was the best I could do single handed with a cranky baby!

Proof, perhaps, as to the extent of my addiction is that I must confess to placing an order with Ocado almost entirely so that I could get this particular nappy before the style was withdrawn.

Of course within five minutes of wearing it C had christened it in spectacular style, but it held its own so she’s forgiven, for now.

And I’m already plotting the next addition to my collection.