Before having a baby I was using period undies to lessen my wastage of pads and tampons. When I fell pregnant I began researching cloth nappies in Australia. I was aware of the terrible impact disposable nappies have on the environment, some take up to 400 years to breakdown. I knew I wanted to minimise my contribution to landfill.
My friend was using modern cloth nappies or MCNs as the parenting world calls them. She invited me to a Facebook group to get up to speed. I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many MCN brands to choose from, different washing techniques and tips and tricks to using the snaps. It seemed overly complicated and I was unsure whether to give them a go.
Another factor which put me off MCNs was aesthetics. Although looks shouldn’t be a big factor, it was. I wasn’t a fan of the prints and patterns of majority of MCNs. They were all too ‘loud’ and colourful. If I’m changing my baby’s nappy so many times a day, I want to look at nappies which are pleasing to the eye.
Then I discovered Disana resuable nappies.
As a trial I bought a pack of five Disana organic cotton muslin nappies, Disana organic brushed cotton liners and Disana disposable absorbent paper liners. To absorb the excess moisture, I bought two of the Disana organic merino woollen nappy covers to put over the cloth nappy.
The woollen nappy cover naturally self-clean and are hygienic due to the wool fibres. Once the Disana woollen nappy cover become less absorbent, soak them in lanolin, dry in shade and they’re good to go for another 2-3 weeks unless soiled.
From the first use I loved the Disana nappy system’s simplicity and the beautiful organic fabrics natural for both baby and planet. They didn’t have snaps, just ties. There were no prints, just a beautiful neutral colour. They were easy to put on, just as easy to wash and quick to dry. Cloth nappies need to be changed slightly more regularly than disposables but it’s not an inconvenience.
One downside I’ve found with the woollen nappy cover is that while extremely absorbent they’re bulky so don’t fit well under the baby’s clothes. On colder days and during winter he wears them as pants. But so he can wear the nappies under his regular sized clothes, I am going to buy the Disana organic boiled wool nappy cover . It’s less bulky and cooler for hot days.
Environmentally some sources say that cloth nappies are just as harmful mostly due to the use of detergents, water and energy used to wash them. Yet if you wash your nappies in full loads (put them in with your towels), with the heat on 40 /60 not hotter and line dry instead of placing them in the dryer, overall they tend to be the more environmentally friendly option. If you choose to use the disposable paper liners to save cleaning the cotton liner, the amount of towel place in the rubbish compared to a whole disposable nappy is incomparable.
Another positive of cloth nappies is the cost.
A full cloth nappy set costs $300-400 and can last several children.
Disposable nappies on the other hand can cost between $2000-$4000 per child.
My advice if you’re interested in trialling cloth nappies, is to start part-time.
Buy 4-5 cloth nappies, trial different brands, purchase second-hand and see how you go. Even with part-time cloth nappy use you’re still doing your bit for the environment, and for your wallet.
My baby is now four months old and I’m still using part-time Disana cloth nappies. I love it. I use the cloth nappies during the day when home and disposables when we’re out and about and overnight.
This year one of my (planet) resolutions is to move to full-time cloth.
I feel confident as I know how easy they are. I just need to convince my husband.
A beautiful guest blog from first time mother and talented photographer Lei Lei.
Read more about her story via her blog Lei Lady Lei.