One of my least favorite things about being a parent is change time. My babies have a marvelous ability to turn seemingly innocent breastmilk and simple foods into some foul smelling offerings. But enough about my kids, how do we stop such ‘offerings’ from ending up all over the carpet, furniture and throughout our beds, why with a nappy of course!
Just like every other aspect of parenting what to use pre-toileting our children can be a difficult and complex decision with many options all as confusing as the next. I see 3 options.
1. Disposables – while convenient and seemingly cheap they are bad for the environment and can cause nappy rash. They are expensive as they are an ongoing cost. Each nappy costs approximately .50c, a baby needs approximately 8 changes a day more when they’re younger less when they’re older, average child toilet trains at roughly 2-2.5. For the sake of this calculation let’s say 2 and your child toilet trained early. That is $2,920 not including wipes. Say you buy 1 packet of disposable wipes a week at $3. You’re now looking at $3,200 if you’re child toilet trains early. That’s per child. Have two it’s $6,400. Have 3 and its almost $10,000!
Environmentally disposables have a huge impact. They don’t break down, every disposable diaper ever worn is now in landfill. There is no denying that any reusable product is better then a one time only product even when you just think about the land fill side of things.
There are an estimated 321 million babies aged under two-and-a-half in the world. If each of those babies wore disposable nappies, assuming an average of 4.2 daily nappy changes, 6,000 tonnes of nappies would need to be disposed of every day. That’s an awful lot of nappies and an awful lot of landfill.
. From this article here -http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/disposable-nappies-a-looming-environmental-threat-477750.html
There are environmentally friendly disposables but they are often expensive, they may however be a good option if on holidays or moving house but be sure not to bag them in plastic bags to go in the bin or else they cannot break down.
Cloth – here is where it gets truly confusing. There are many different options ranging from simple to extravagant! I will admit my children have WAY more nappies then they need. If you intend to wash every day you could probably get away with having 12 nappies but bear in mind they need line drying so if you live somewhere particularly wet, humid or without a lot of sun you will need more to get them dry in time. A good starting place is to have a days nappies in the wash a day for wearing so between 20-24.
What kind? There are many different kinds of nappies so here is a basic run down.
Flat – think of the big towel nappies our mums use to use. Even if you don’t intend on using them they’re great to have as spew rags and for nappy free time. Get bamboo or hemp as they’re more absorbent and better for the environment then cloth.
Fitted – are designed like a disposable and generally need a cover of some sort. No stuffing or boosting required.
AIO or AI2 – all in one have a booster sewn on that flips out for quicker drying while AI2 generally have a snap in booster. I use mostly AI2 and I love that i can add extra boosters for greater absorbency.
Pocket – a PUL shell that requires boosters to be stuffed into the pocket section.
Sized – designed to fit babies in a certain weight range.
OSFA or OSFM – for babies birth to toilet training.
Night nappies – designed to last overnight without leaking. Can be bulky and a little more expensive but well worth nor changing wet sheets every morning!
There are lots of brands and different nappies fit different babies well, differently! I would recommend buying a trial pack from a couple of brands and then deciding which work best for your baby after he/she is born.
The prices might seem daunting, say $400 for 24 nappies, but think of that $400 compared to the almost $3,000 you might spend on disposables in the first 2 years. My MCNs are now being used on a second child, so there is no second outlay. The investment now is a saving in the long run and once you pay for the nappies you don’t have to pay anymore. Remember even doing part time means an outlay of say $200 means a $1,300 saving after you minus your initial cost of 12 nappies.
What about cheap nappies on eBay? Steer ckear! Many mums I’ve spoken to have bought them and found them horrible. They don’t soak up the wee, they leak, the elastic gives way, the fabric pills. If you’re after a cheap alternative many WAHMs on Facebook have great deals and Greenkids are a cheap pocket OSFM that I’ve used and was very impressed with. With nappies, like most things in life, you get what you paid for.
What about when we’re finished with them? I’ve passed on my daughters nappies to my son and his newborn nappies to friends having babies. In good condition, second hand MCNs sell quite well. You could give them to charity, as I imagine reusable nappies would be a wonderfulgift for a struggling mum. Your options are not just limited to landfill.
Eliminaton Communication – this is something I haven’t had a lot to do with as I haven’t done it, but it is an option so I’ll give a little information on it. If anyone would like to add more or do a guest blog on ECing I would welcome the sharing on knowledge.
What is it? It’s a way of listening to and letting your baby communicate her need to deficate or urinate and letting them do so in an appropriate place from birth. I find it incredibly interesting and there is more information here – http://www.nooneewilga.com/EC/index.html
The mums I know who have done EC has often used cloth nappies as a back up.