Before we ever saw those two parallel lines on a pregnancy test, years and years before in fact, I knew I would be a cloth nappy mum. It was one of the first aspects of parenting that I discussed with my husband and I was so relieved that he was also on board.
I always assumed that terry towelling flats, pins and plastic covers, like my mum used on me nearly 30 years ago were going to be my only option (which I was ok with) – so imagine my surprise when I first started researching all the options that make up Modern Cloth Nappies these days! The absorbency options, gorgeous patterns and washing routines were mind boggling!
I love a project and there was certainly a lot to learn before I started buying up my initial cloth nappy stash.
But firstly, why did I choose cloth, what had made my mind up all those years ago? To be honest, it was rubbish – neighbours overflowing bins full of rubbish, seeing them sneak bags into other people’s garbage on bin night because they had a bazzilion dirty nappies filling up their own wheelie bin. The waste produced by the smallest members of our neighbours families was mind boggling, not to mention the affect this has on landfill and no one needs anything extra to add to the existing mummy/daddy guilt lumped on news parents these days!
The statistic that has stayed with Mr Dash, that he likes to quote back every time someone casts doubt over our cloth plans is this ‘every disposable nappy ever made, ever, is still in landfill somewhere on this planet’. This is because biodegradability studies have found that a standard disposable nappy takes 500 years to break down, since disposables were only invented last century, that’s a lot more generations of nappies to add to that statistic too.
Often the water usage of washing cloth nappies comes up in the cloth vs disposable debate. I read somewhere in my research that assuming you do cold water washes every second day, the water used to make disposables is greater for an equivalent number of nappies. Not to mention the fact that other baby clothes can be added to a nappy wash cycle after the initial rinse is done.
The initial outlay for a full time cloth nappy stash can be considerable, especially if you go down the full MCN all-in-one route (I recommend the fluff love university page for a great run down on nappy types), but when this cost is averaged over a child’s whole nappy career and if subsequent children are included, the savings compared to disposables, even in Australia where prices an higher, are significant. You’re looking at around $500-1500 for 3ish years in cloth, compared to over $2000-3000 for disposables, more even if you stick with Huggies or don’t shop the specials.
An unexpected perk of cloth, that I’m sure goes against the whole idea of reusable baby products is the consumerism – there are so many colours, styles, systems to try, it’s been a bit addictive! To keep the cost argument in my favour I have had to reign in the spending and stick to only one or two of each type to trial, but buying nappies has been a really fun way to prepare for baby. Once we have found the best solution for our family, then I can start buying up more.
Seriously, do I need to say any more about the cute factor…
Lastly, I will say that we have faced some backlash, plenty of people have thrown us shade when we tell them we are going cloth, especially my workmates, who say we won’t last til Christmas. The poo factor is the main sticking point (pardon the pun 😜) for most people. Yes I understand the desire to chuck a particularly nasty disposable straight in the bin when out, but an airtight wet bag in a hidden corner of the nappy bag or pram basket can be just as convenient if you are prepared.
I guess I’ll be back with an update on our cloth journey once Baby Dash arrives, but we are pretty determined to make cloth work for us!