(Apologies in advance, I am sleep deprived….)
I remember visiting a friend in Beijing a few years back, before pooping out a crinkly person (yes, I did just say pooping, cos that’s what happened), and my peep alerting me to the fact that I needed to be wary of dog and baby poos while walking the streets of China (in a strictly non prostitute way). I was horrified. Open Butt Pants are the pant of choice in China for babies and toddlers (and unfortunately not restricted to children…), made with overlapping material covering the crutch that pulls apart so the small person can squat, balls a-blazing, and drop, much to the bemusement of the idle pedestrian.
Melbourne a couple of years later and realising that I did not have the stomach nor the licence for a no-nappies approach to parenthood (but this is totally an option for the dedicated), I decided that I would use cloth nappies, a little from wanting to keep my environmental impact to a min and a little from my wanting to keep cash flows in check when hitting the dry end of a year long maternity leave.
Before we go any further, I do acknowledge that cloth nappies are not some passage to an Environmental Nirvana where Black Rhinos and Bengal Tigers high five each other. Supply chain considerations such as materials, manufacturing and distribution obviously add to their environmental footprint, as does their maintenance in terms of electricity and water for washing, etc. And there are biodegradable disposable nappy options should the poo nappy scraping not toot your horn (I feel like I may have lost a few people here, and considering I believe only my sisters read this – get down girl go head get down). Do your research, I am just here to give you a brief spiel about my cloth nappy experience should that be of any interest at all.
So here are few observations before entering into the world cloth:
- They are not perfect. It is extra washing, and when they leak, that does mean you have to change their pants too. And sometimes yours (the number of times I have press my hands into wee, or he sits on my lap leaving a puddle on my leg and I then go about smelling like urine…it ain’t good).
- They is cute. And then, all of a sudden, they is so not cute.
- They take forever to dry, especially the inserts which are designed to be super duper absorbent.
- Second hand is totally acceptable and obviously has even less of an effect on the environment and your wallet. Gumtree slash ebay, a good wash in vinegar before use and you’re ready to go.
- A bucket with a lid is essential, especially if you have a so called “European laundry” (real estate speak for no laundry at all, but taps that may fit you washing machine).
- Buy one size fits all where possible, and if you’re not sure, buy a trial pack.
- Teddy bears make the best pre baby guinea pig. They can be a little confusing to use at first.
- Leaking too much at night? Travelling? Use disposables. I seriously recommend looking into biodegradable nappies where possible.
Anyway, as I said above, do your research, ask questions, trial, test, decide.