As soon as I found out I was pregnant in early 2015, I wanted to know all I could about how to prepare myself for having a baby. Googling elicited a confusing and vast amount of information, as if just dealing with being pregnant wasn’t enough! There were so many lists of apparently essential baby products that I was going to need just to ensure my child’s survival! Surely I didn’t need all this stuff!? Would I be scorned as a terrible parent without it? Was I willing to take that risk??? The questions, doubt and a creeping sense of panic were quickly taking hold.
What’s more, I wanted to try to do this parenting thing in a way that was in line with my (and my husband’s) values. I consider myself to be a bit ‘green’ (though certainly no zealot) and having worked in waste minimisation, the vast consumer-driven machine that is the baby industry made me a bit uncomfortable. However, there were some things I obviously was going to need: somewhere for the baby to sleep, baby clothes and nappies.
So to start with, I did a bit of research into cloth nappies. I knew a bit about them already, and also knew that I didn’t want to only use disposables if I could help it. However, not having any firsthand experience with nappies of any kind (nope, never), I didn’t want to commit to something that was maybe going to be overly difficult or stressful. I also didn’t want to rule out disposables all together, as there are just some times when you need the convenience factor! So I looked into some of the many reusable nappies on the market and decided that I would go with something that looked relatively simple to use.
Out of the various options (and I was surprised to find there are heaps!) I decided to go with an ‘all-in-one’ style of nappy and bought a stack of TotsBots Easyfits v4 (they are one of the more expensive options but I got a really good deal on them at the Wellington Baby Show). I chose this style because of its practicality and ease of use, as there are no separate bits to have to take apart and put back together, no complicated folding required, no pins needed. You put it on the baby pretty much the same as you would a disposable nappy, the only difference being that when you take it off it goes in the wash, not the bin. Simple!
I also found out about a scheme by my local council that offered workshops and subsidised cloth nappies, and paid $20 for a sample of 4 different kinds. Score! In fact this kind of thing is offered by quite a few councils around New Zealand, so it’s worth looking into.
The TotsBots were too big for our baby boy to start off with (skinny thighs), but since I hadn’t personally committed to using only reusables, I didn’t feel too bad about using disposables with my newborn. I have to say it was probably also easier at this stage, since we were establishing an entire new routine and just basically getting to grips with the massive life change. But every week the sight of our full garbage bag made me slightly guilty!
When our son was big enough (at about 3 months), we switched to the reusable nappies during the day. As a mum with a small (and quite spewy) baby I do so much laundry anyway that the nappies hardly make any difference. They have turned out to be super easy to use and easy to wash (just rinse a little and chuck them in the machine), I’m saving waste from landfill and feeling smug about saving money as well! We still use disposables at night for the extra absorbency, as he is only changed a couple of times overnight to keep him in “sleep mode”, but I intend to give the reusables a go at night when I run out of this lot of disposables.
I figure part time cloth nappy use is better than none at all, and being flexible in this way definitely has its advantages. If you want more information I’d recommend checking out the Nappy Lady’s website – there is heaps of valuable info there! Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments, and I’ll help out if I can!