Benefits of reusable nappies
A main reason people consider using cloth is because of the cost benefits. Disposables are expensive. Parents have to buy them every week for two and a half years. When they have used them, they bin them and buy more. It is possible to buy cloth nappies for your baby for next to nothing if you buy preloved. Even buying a brand new kit you can save over £500! The cost benefits add up quickly if you have more children.
You can easily spend £10 a week on disposables, adding up to £1,300+ for the duration your baby is in nappies. If you use cloth, you can pick up a birth to potty cloth kit for as little as £100. Of course if you get carried away buying pretty patterns and new designs you could spend much more!
Cloth nappies reduce waste and can be reused, this reduces the need for raw materials and is better for the environment. They can be up to 40% better for the environment than disposables. Many people make the assumption that cloth nappies are just as bad for the environment as disposables because of all the washing and drying. The Environment Agency proved this was not the case and published an updated Life Cycle Analysis report in 2008.
The average child uses 4,000 disposable nappies, resulting in nearly 8,000 tonnes of waste being sent for disposal in Suffolk each year. The cost of the collection and disposal of these nappies costs Suffolk about £800,000 per year.
Many parents who use cloth nappies believe that they have health benefits due to the materials used and reduced chemicals in comparison to disposable nappies. Materials such as bamboo, cotton and microfibre are specifically chosen because they are soft and comfortable. If your baby has sensitive skin then materials such as wool can offer a waterproof and more breathable alternative to disposables.
Benefits include; less nappy rash, earlier toilet training and a softer bum to land on when learning to walk!
When talking to other parents about using cloth nappies you will find that you come up against a number of objections and varied opinions. Here are a few of our favourite myths and formulated responses for you to use!
Cloth nappies are just as bad for the environment as disposables
No - this is not the case. This misconception was caused by a study commissioned by Proctor and Gamble in 1991. The study was found to be misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority and was prohibited from being mentioned in advertising. Further to this in 2005 the Environment Agency published a report claiming there is no overall difference between cloth nappies and disposables. This report was later withdrawn and found to be seriously flawed because of irrelevant questioning, inaccurate assumptions and small sample sizes. It focused on production and use assuming that users boil wash, tumble dry and iron their nappies. They also overlooked the fact that cloth nappies have a significantly lower impact on waste disposal than disposable nappies do.
Cloth nappies are hard work
Modern cloth nappies can be as easy as disposables to put on and do up. They can be fastened with velcro, poppers and grips - no more safety pins! Modern washing machines are so efficient that washing nappies is no more difficult than washing any other laundry. No boiling, soaking or any old fashioned routine needed. An easy washing regime uses a drawstring bag to store used nappies. This is placed into the washing machine open and the nappies fall out and are washed as the machine drum turns. Nappies are then hung out on airers indoors in poor weather or on the line outside when fine. Simple.
Wetness causes nappy rash
Many children suffer from nappy rash whether they use disposables or cloth nappies. Cloth nappies have much fewer chemicals than disposable alternatives.
They make children bandy legged
Actually not at all true. Optimal hip development is square shaped, with legs slightly apart. Disposable nappies enable babies to close their legs forming a triangle shape in their hips. Also when your baby learns to walk, a cloth nappy bum is more padded, meaning inevitable falls are cushioned lessening spine impact. For more information on 'do cloth nappies damage your baby' please follow this link.
Nurseries or childminders won't use them
Legally, they can't discriminate against cloth nappy users, and so long as you provide the nappies and a reasonable storage facility, they should accommodate you. However some childcare providers are reluctant to do so, and offer excuses as reasons why not. If this happens, and they will not relent, it is not unreasonable to compromise, as using cloth does not have to be full time or 'all or nothing'.
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