Dexter is a cloth baby. Not one from birth, hell no I hated the honey mustard poo stage, but one from 8 months old. It wasn’t ever something I thought we, as a family would do, but I’m so very pleased that we have.
Whilst pregnant and attending our antenatal class we were given information on cloth nappies. I politely took the leaflet, didn’t bother to read it and just popped it into the recycling (I’m not dangerous enough to throw paper away). Adding to my work wasn’t something I was interested in. I was already dreading the sleepless nights, the inability to get washed and dressed before 4pm and I didn’t even entertain the fact of washing 2 maybe 3 loads of extra washing a week. The thought of opening a nappy full of a small person poo made me gag so why would I want to handle said item then soak, wash and fold it?
When Dexter arrived it was all a bit easier than I imagined it would be. I seemed to have time to clean (shared obviously with the OH), I had time to get dressed, even dabble in a bit of make up wearing, I even had time to go for walks and cups of coffee. I had time to spend with Dexter and enjoyed my maternity leave with no pressure hanging over me. When it was time to wean him I’ll admit I did struggle a bit. I found it hard to juggle how much boob juice he should have and how much puree, but we both eventually found our mojo and things calmed down and peace was once again restored.
Whilst at home with Dex every day I began to notice how much waste we seemed to be getting through. Our kitchen bin always seemed to need emptying, I was forever nagging the OH to empty the nappy bin in D’s bedroom and come refuse collection day we always seemed to be cramming our rubbish bags into a neighbours bin at 4am. We’d gone from household of 2 creating 1 bin bag full of refuse per fortnight to a family of 3 creating 3, sometimes 4 bin bags full of refuse per fortnight. I was also trying to budget as much as possible as the supermarket bills seemed to have doubled since weaning Dex and for someone so small I didn’t think he was eating the same as Mummy and Daddy.
That is when I looked into cloth nappies. A lovely friend and fellow mum who moved to Hong Kong had started dabbling in them. She’d been trying them out on her 1 year old boy whilst pregnant with her second. Whilst perusing through beautiful photos of her little boy on Facebook wearing his future siblings nappy I thought…..”I could do this too”. However my thought process at first was a little defeatist and I thought that it was too late to start Dex using them. I honestly believed his botty was so used to disposables that using cloth would only upset the solar system or something equally as nuts. It turns out that it’s never too late to start and that my son will literally poo and wee ANYWHERE and on ANYTHING.
Before I did anything I wanted to fully understand what was needed, what was going to happen and what I had to do if things went wrong. I also needed to get Dexter’s other carers onside. I had to convince the OH that it was best for everyone involved to use cloth, I had to show the grandparents how to use them and I had to convince my friends I hadn’t turned into a hippy nut job.
I researched the cost first. I estimated that Dex used on average 8 nappies a day, so around 240 per month. We’d only ever buy nappies when on offer so the cost was about 7.4p per nappy. So each month we were spending around £18 per month on nappies which was 25% of our monthly shopping budget. From reading online forums I’d worked out that I would need about 25 nappies (plus boosters) in Dexter’s “stash” to start me off. This would mean washing the nappies 3 times a week at an estimated cost of £50 per year. I looked into the many, many styles of nappies and felt that all in ones (AIO) and pocket nappies were the best for me. My initial stash consisted of 10 ebay cheapy poppers for £30, 8 Totsbots easyfits for £80, 4 Bambino Mio solo’s for £50 (plus loads of Boots points for me!) and 3 Little Lamb bamboo’s at £14 each. I invested in a nappy bucket at £3, a couple of wet bags at £2 each, some boosters (£10 for 10) and some fleecy liners (£7 for 15) and we were good to go. I know spending £226 sounds a bit excessive but already I had got £50 from my local council back for just filling in a simple form and sending them proof of purchase for the nappies (local council information ) and when you work out that the nappies I have can be used over and over again and with a little love and care could actually last us through many, many children (I hope the OH isn’t reading this) then it doesn’t sound like much at all. By the time that Dexter is 18 months old we would’ve recouped the costs we’ve spent on nappies which can only mean I can buy more colourful cloth for his behind.
I’ve recently taken the next step and started using reusable wipes when changing Dexter too. I found a lovely lady on eBay and bought 20 fleece wipes in all sorts of bright and wacky patterns for only £3. I’ve made up my own potion of lavender oil, chamomile oil and water and mixed it all together in a spray bottle purchased from Morrison’s. Once I’ve sprayed the wipes to wet them and wiped Dex clean I just pop them with the dirty nappy into his wet bag. The best bit? Dexter’s bum smells like an old lady.
But cost aside it was the environmental impact nappies have that made my mind up. Each nappy takes 200 years to biodegrade, and with the UK throwing 8 million away each day I wanted to try and make a difference even if it was minute. As a country we are very quickly running out of landfill space and even the smallest of attempts to recycle waste by each household could make a massive difference. The K-D’s are back to throwing out just 1 binbag of rubbish per fortnight, Dex has a fluffy bum and I have more money to spend on cake! Happy all round.
Thanks for reading
Mummy over and out