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hv 3 week old & not yet using reusable nappies...

(30 Posts)
ipanemagirl Fri 10-Oct-08 12:59:16

I am horrified by how many nappies I'm using.

I want to do the reusable nappy thing but am a bit put off by that pr which said all the extra washing nullified the ecological benefits... is that true? It can't be can it?!
Also dh is terrified of reusable thinking the whole house will be full of poo and drying nappies!
My sis is a massive fan though... i need some encouragement & ecological argument-bolstering!

ipanemagirl Fri 10-Oct-08 13:48:44


MrsBadger Fri 10-Oct-08 13:57:45

the PR is bollocks put out by Pampers etc - it's only true if you wash them at 90, tumble dry and iron them. And there's still the landfill issue.

just go for it - get paper liners so you can drop poo straight down the loo

no getting round the drying though - I tumble mine but have a green energy package to assuage my conscience

Try possting in 'Nappies, potty training etc' if you want advice on specific types

jooseyfruit Fri 10-Oct-08 13:57:51

have a look here.
Important that dh is on board tho.
I didn't start using reusables until lo was a month or so old. i love them.
house won't be full of poo, but may well have a few nappies hanging off a drier!!, when you and lo get into the swing of things, you'll be using about 6 nappies per day.
go for it!!!

ipanemagirl Fri 10-Oct-08 13:59:58

thnx I thought it had to be rubbish!
But don't the liners screw up some loos? I'm sure my sis had trouble with her victorian plumbing

jooseyfruit Fri 10-Oct-08 14:00:26

mine lo is 8 months and i wash them at 40 degrees with a 60 degree wash once in a while, and don't tumble dry them.

mollythetortoise Fri 10-Oct-08 14:00:59

think you do tend to use loads of nappies (whether disposable or eco) in the early days as you tend to do lots of nappy changes (obviously).. this dies down a bit as the baby gets older.. ie. they might only poo once or twice a day and you could reasonably leave 3 hours between each nappy change and do none at night.. so your nappy use will decrease soon as nappies won't therefore be drying everywhere..

Smee Fri 10-Oct-08 14:02:55

Okay, so well I was like you, so I went for reusables and I did it for about six months. Then to be honest I stopped and started using eco friendly disposables. Reasons were:-
a) the washing really did get me down - flakey I know, but true..
b) none of DS's clothes seemed to fit as the reusuables are much more bulky (+ yes I know that's a lousy reason...blush
c) no matter how many times I told myself it didn't harm him, I really didn't like the idea of him sitting in cold wet nappies in the middle of winter (I know pee's warm to start with, but let's face it not for long. And if you change them every time they wee, well you spend your whole life changing them. Believe me, I did it.
But stilll, I'd say give it a go - lots of people use them and are happy. Just start with half a dozen. If you change your mind you can sell them on e-bay easily. That's what I did with mine.

tassisssss Fri 10-Oct-08 14:03:32

in the early days you can do half and half. so start off in cloth and take disps with you for out and about? or only use cloth from 4pm onwards.

the way i see it any that you use is better than none. wash when the bucket's full (even if that's 3/4 days it'll be fine)

and before you know it it'll be second nature and you'll find you're using cloth more and more

just do it when you can! seriously it's easy once you get started.

Bramshott Fri 10-Oct-08 14:04:47

No, no, no - that report was seriously flawed!

I have used them since 12 weeks with both DDs and wash twice or 3 times a week. If you don't have a tumble drier, I'd go for prefolds as they dry really quickly. It's very, very easy - all you need is your nappies, a nappy bucket, liners and maybe some nappy bright. Put them in the bucket dry (the lids fit snugly so there's no smell)and wash them once it's full with washing stuff, nappy bright and vinegar as softener. You'll save money and save the planet too.

Actually, I have a load of prefolds which start from 11lbs that I don't know what to do with - CAT me if you want them to try out, and I'll send them to you for the postage.

HensMum Fri 10-Oct-08 14:16:04

When you use re-usables, there's less poo in the house, not more!
We get a fortnightly collection of rubbish. I wash nappies every other day. Dirty disposables hang around much longer than re-usables.
We have no problems with liners. Make sure you get flushable ones. You can also use fleece liners which will help baby feel drier too.

Get a couple to try out and see how you get on.

freakypenguin Fri 10-Oct-08 14:21:54

these liners are great and we have never had any problems flushing. when the baby's little i just use one, when bigger put two liners in a 'T' shape to avoid leaks. works a treat!

i have 18 terrys and am washing about every 3rd day with napisan at 30 degrees.

good luck!

witchandchips Fri 10-Oct-08 14:27:01

i can say that after the first few weeks, using cloth nappies generated no extra washing (i just put in the 5 or so nappies a day in with the rest of the washing). What did get me down was the endless scraping of poo and swilling out of the nappy bucket.

Arja Fri 10-Oct-08 14:34:04

Have a look on the Women's Environmental Network site it has all the facts and figures on how much real nappies can save you and the environment.
I've used real nappies on both my girls and would never use disposables now. There are plenty now available made of really modern fabrics which are designed to dry very quickly without the need of tumble driers. I have some that come out the wash almost dry.
You can wash other things with the nappies, such as muslins, towels etc or anything they've peed on or been sick on. You can use a sanitiser or tea-tree oil to kill all the nasties and allow you to wash at 40oC. Some people say they have less washing with real nappies since they are less likely to leak.
See if you have a local nappy advisor who can show you all these types, as there are so many to pick from and it all comes down to your budget, washing/drying facilities etc. You can find one on this site and choose nappyfinder.

girlandboy Fri 10-Oct-08 14:39:53

Have a look at your local council's website. There are quite a few offering incentives to use cloth nappies. Mine will give you £30 cash back if you spend over £30 on cloth nappies in the first place.

noolia Fri 10-Oct-08 14:52:49

Reusables are great! I've used them since dd was 2 weeks and I love them. Like you I was horrified by the waste and generally chemical yuckiness of the disposables. Apart from the environment / landfill / and cost benefits I can honestly say that I just prefer reusables, DH has really come round now too.It's not much work (once you get into a washing routine). You havde less poo hanging around becuase it is washedf away and not in the bin. Dungarees and dresses + tights fit fine. You may not need liners with runny milk poo anyway!

nannyL Fri 10-Oct-08 18:32:24

i read that whole report ages ago and this is what i thought of it

have posted this before but here it is again smile


you will see that this is May 2005 and one of the biggest (the biggest?) studies of its kind. Also the one that most people refer to.

You can read all 130ish pages, + 50 pages of appendix if you like.... OR i will summarise it for you for people who cant be bothered.


they assume that 1/3 of people wash their nappies at 90c (i disagree!) table5.7
they assume 10% of nappies are ironed (5.14.7)
they assume 60% of nappies are tumble dried.... (if you look it says their survey sugested that 19% of people tumble dry their nappies but because 75% of household use a dryer they decided to use a figure of 60% (off the top of their heads basicaly)(9.3.2)
they assume 50% of people add softner to their nappies . im sure anyone who uses nappies KNOWS that you do NOT ever add softner to nappies cause it stops them from absorbing.... (also consider the enivironmental impact of the softner.... and of manufacturing the softener.... and of driving to sthe supermarket to by the softener and of the softener going down the drain etc etc) (5.14.5)

It also assumes most people SOAK their nappies and allows 10 litres of water per day.... on top of 75 litres per washing machine load.... a large overestimate on the amount of water most modern machines, having recently got a new washing machine trust me i KNOW, so 85 litres of water per day (5.14.2)

They assume that people have 47.5 'terry nappies' nappies per 6 months (9.3.5)...
and then asses the full environmental impact of manufacturing all that cotton to make 47.5 nappies per 6 months.... and its the MANUFACTURE and water used during manufacture that is basically the major environmental 'problem / issue with' washables
also they acknowledge and justify this figure and in the same sentence say that actually only an average of 40 nappies are bought for the LIFE of the child (personally i cant believe that is an accurate average.... does anyone know anyone with more than 40 nappies?... EVERY person i know has LOADS less)

Its is assumed that 12 nappies are washed at a time (5.14.7) and that it takes a WHOLE HOUR to iron 12 cotton nappies.... and they use that figure of electricity... ie an iron on for an hour to iron 12 cotton squares..... Maybe 12 seconds would be more accurate? or 0 seconds for ironing nappies!]

FOR disposable nappies they assume just over 4 (4.05) nappies per day... this is a LOW estimate IMO especially when you consider new born babies (9.1)

In the summary they conclude that reusable users should reduce they energy they use washing and drying nappies.

SO..... they DO over estimate the washing temperatures, water use, tumble dryer use and iron....

they also allow for FAR too many nappies being manufactured (washables) and asses the environmental impact of the commercial manufacture of the cotton...

(no mention of bamboo which is a much more environmentally friendly material and becoming increasing popular with washable nappies)
then there is the fact that loads of people who choose washables are 'environmentally aware' people who are likely to be using less than 'conventional' washing detergents... such as soap nuts or eco balls, and are likely to be using more energy efficient machines, due to the way they think.

the fact that they only allow for 12 nappies being washed per load then 60% tumble dried (when only 19% of their survey suggested they tumble dried their nappies, AND allowed 1 hour of electric for the iron per load).... yet allow for the manufacture of nearly 200 nappies PER CHILD just shoes how ridiculous this whole study was!

{they also allow for nappies to be travel half way around the world to England.... yet several main brands of washables ARE made here in the uk}

and with 2nd babies etc they DONT need to be manufactured... which IS the main issue with washables

don’t forget we bin 8 MILLION disposables per day and for every £1 a parents spends on nappies the tax payer has to spend 10p disposing of them

madlentileater Fri 10-Oct-08 20:13:28

I really can't believe that anyone would iron nappies! what were they thinking???
(conspiracy theory brewing....)
FWIW, used washables only with my youngest (no 4, so plenty of other things to do) not a problem once you get organised smile

Bramshott Fri 10-Oct-08 20:41:08

Thanks for that summary NannyL - just shows what madness the report was shock angry

The main reason I use washables (apart from being a skinflint!) is that I can't bear the thought that every nappy I wore 30 years ago (my mum was a liberated 70s woman who saw disposable nappies as "the future") is STILL THERE in landfill somewhere and will be for another hundred years or so - ewwww!

ChairmumMiaow Fri 10-Oct-08 20:48:58

Even if the washing and tumbling (we wash nappies at between 30 and 60 depending on what they're in with and how much poo is on the nappies - and at 8 months most of it is caught by the liner) were that bad, I'd still use reusables because of the landfill issue.

I used some of each from around 6 weeks, but soon found that actually, it wasn't that much hassle to use them out and about and we've been almost exclusively using reusables from about 12 weeks to now - 8.5 months.

The bum size can be an issue, but I just go for the bigger size - the longer legs on things work great when DS is in the sling to keep those little legs warm! (they don't seem to get in the way of crawling now DS has figured out you crawl with your knees not your toes)

UmMwahahahaaaaa Fri 10-Oct-08 20:54:33

My aim is to use at least one washable a day. Less pressure, often do more this way! All nappies just go in with normal washing (along with pooey babygros, wipes etc - am bfing). I just use terries and have six, and three wraps and dry on clothes horse in the house...

Bloodandchatkins Fri 10-Oct-08 20:56:17

I love reusuable on ds, they make his trousers stay up ! If he is ever wearing a dosposbale, (keep some for emergency or if someone else has him), his trousers fall down constantly !
I am a lazy reusable user, as in I have never soaked any of the nappies, I just use flushable liners, or scrape poo off with tissues etc, give them a quick rinse and stick in a carrier bag til nappy day, which is every other day, so they don't get a chance to stink the house out. Plus ds ony does one poo a day.

he has never had nappy rash or any soreness at all. They didn't stop him crawling, he crawled at 7 mo and walked at 10 mo, whilst my dds who were in disposables crawled at 9 mo.

The best thing is drying them on the line in full sunshine, that gets them whiter than anything else ! Go for it !

therealsupergirl Fri 10-Oct-08 21:04:22

I used to laugh at my Nan for ironing knickers and tea towels, but I'm sure even she wouldn't iron a nappy!

Terries rock by the way - no need for bins full of pooey disposables, and if you dry pail and get a mesh bag to line your nappy bucket there's no mess. You don't even have to touch the dirty ones, just swing the bag into the machine. Peasy!

georgimama Fri 10-Oct-08 21:10:22

Who IRONS nappies? You put them on the washing line and then scrunch them up to make them soft again. That's it.

I found DS was better off in a disposable during the night and washables during the day. I used terry squares with paper liners (which went through washing machine and got pegged out on line and reused absolutely fine) and those covers with poppers on waist and legs that they sell in Waitrose, can't remember the brand blush.

Dry pailing means there is no poo smell - those giant drawstring net things mean you don't even have to handle them, just pull the string, take bag out of nappy pail and put it in the washing machine. If the nappy is very very pooy (and it only will be for first few months anyway) hold it inside the loo (tight!!) and flush and all the poo will go down loo. I washed at 60 degrees and rarely used the tumble dryer.

georgimama Fri 10-Oct-08 21:12:43

And I have to say, I felt marvellously smug when all our old lady neighbours would congratulate me on seeing George's "flags" on the washing line. It gave them genuine pleasure to see real nappies on a washing line these days.

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