How to choose a nappy? This is a short article designed to be an overview of the different styles of nappies available for Australian Babies.
There are 5 criteria to help you decide what nappy you need.
1. Convenience: It needs to be easy to use
2. Price: It needs to suit your budget
3. Environmentally Issues: It needs to take care of our earth
4. Healthy Issues: It needs to be good for your baby
5. Washing Needs: It needs to be simple and organised
1 – Convenience: It needs to be easy to use
There are four styles nappies on the market. Standard disposables, eco-disposables, moderncloth nappies and traditional terry towelling square nappies.
You can buy standard disposable nappies from most supermarkets and chemists. These are made from layers of paper and plastic and contain gels that hold moisture. Looking the same as mainstream disposables but with significant differences, eco-disposable brands are available with limited release at some Australian Supermarkets but primarily sold online or in health food stores. More on eco-disposable nappies below.
Modern cloth nappies have been developed over the last two decades and are now very efficient in design. Available primarily online, they are a response to the contemporary need for an easy to use cloth nappy. They retail between $15 – $40 each, depending on the quality, country of origin, fabric used and whether it’s a business or cottage industry. Some brands are one-size fits from newborn to toddler and other brands have small, medium and large sizes. They are very economical and easy to use, and can be used on more than one child in a family. Modern or fitted cloth nappies look like disposables; they have gathered elastic at the legs and use Velcro or snap closures. Velcro, snap, or pull on nappy covers can be used as well. No folding or pinning is required. Ninety-eight percent of cloth nappy brands can be found online. Before you choose the nappy, ask yourself what is most important. The fabric they are made from? The design? The price? Narrowing down this criteria will help you significantly when you are browsing. For example. Decide Organic Cotton or Bamboo only. This will narrow down your search. It gets very confusing with all the choices once you start looking if you don’t have a criteria in place! Cloth nappies are still in the minority as a nappy of choice, but this trend is changing fast due to better designs, better information and a passionate drive from the creators.
Many people find traditional square nappies to also be convenient with practice and a well-organised system. It’s no secret that these are certainly my personal favourite. Ask your mum what nappy folds and tips she can give and share these with other mums, or else consult the internet. Terry towelling nappies are available at most major department stores and on the Internet. The Nature’s Child Organic Cotton Luxury Towelling Nappies are in my view, the best quality nappy available, the cheapest organic cotton nappy you can purchase and have the added benefits of one size fits all, easy to dry, inexpensive and more. See our YOU TUBE channel or just search you tube for HOW TO FOLD A CLOTH NAPPY NATURE’S CHILD – you will find this one minute video helpful, informative and educational. Watch the Video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_eBRVGf-TE
There has been a flood of “eco-disposables” on the Australian Market in recent years. Disposable Nappies that have no bleach, have biodegradable parts or that can be composted can all be found conveniently and introduced as part of your cloth nappy system as a back up. The Gently Nappy has the added benefit of having a traditional disposable shape with the majority being biodegradable. The tabs are not. Many councils will now take these nappies as part of a green waste disposal system. Ask your local council or contact us for a list of participating councils. View our recommended biodegradable eco-disposable nappies here. http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/hybrid-nappies-
Eenee Weenee Disposable Nappies have been available in Australia for over 15yrs. They are still little known but make a great disposable nappy pad that can be used alone as a disposable nappy or combined with a cloth nappy for extra absorbency.
We also love BAMBO disposable nappies. We think Bambo are a premium, affordable disposable nappy for parents. View Bambo Nappies here. http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/disposable-nappies
Remember, this article is a summary, we could go on and on but we are aiming to make this an introduction for you to discover the types of Nappies available for your baby. Once you have a feeling for a style of nappy you like, then you can delve more into that type of Nappy for your baby.
2 – Price: It needs to suit your budget
If you choose a full-time disposable (or eco-disposable) system, you will need to spend between AUS$3,000-5,000 on disposable nappies for one child from birth through toilet training. Then there are accessories like wipes, bibs (WHAT ARE BIBS?), change mats and swimmers, which are an added cost.
Fitted-Cloth nappies for the same period for one baby will generally cost approximately AU$400-800; these nappies can sometimes be used on second and third children too!
Square nappies that you fold in terry towelling, muslin or flannelette cost under $200 to set up in the beginning. You have on-going costs of nappy liners, fasteners and covers but these are minimal.
Environmentally friendly washing powders and nappy soak costs approximately $120/ year. Environmentally-safe washing products are surprisingly cost-effective compared to their conventional counterparts and sometimes cheaper, too. Additional costs of water and electricity need to be considered at approximately $3 a week.
3 – Environmentally safe: It needs to take care of our earth
There have long been arguments around about cloth and disposable nappies being equally environmentally safe. In 2005, a UK Environment Agency report concluded that ’overall there are no environmental benefits to using either disposable or washable nappies‘. After a four-year study involving more than 2,000 parents, the agency found that ’there is little or nothing to choose between them‘. The findings were attacked as ’seriously flawed‘ by the Women’s Environmental Network, who questioned how the disposal of about three billion nappies each year in Britain’s landfill sites could be comparable with using washables.
Belinda de Montfort, the waste reduction officer at Kent County Council, which campaigns to persuade women to use washable nappies, even offering a £30 gift token for all ’converts‘, said she was ’astounded‘. Disposable nappies create about 400,000 tonnes of waste each year in the UK.
The disappointment from cloth nappy advocates regarding the scope of the research could be heard with a roar when this report was produced. The list of flaws was longer than the terms of reference. Environmentalists agree that there still has not been a worthy report looking at this issue with complete accountability or independence to give us an accurate picture. A packet of disposable nappies may use similar or less resources than a set of cloth nappies to make. But if you need to buy three years of packets, vs. one set of cloth, the differences to cloth advocates seem too obvious to mention.
Until an independent study is undertaken that looks at all factors, you need to use your own intuition and what facts you have on waste, cost, health and landfill.
If you choose a conventional or eco-disposable nappy, make sure you follow the instructions on the packet and don’t throw the poo away with the nappy. Raw sewerage in our landfill is a health hazard and is illegal. While disposable nappy companies take care in telling you this in their instructions, the design of the nappy means it is more likely people will throw the whole nappy with undisposed poo away in the bin. Untreated sewerage is a health hazard.
Please read our article Responsible Use of Disposable Nappies to learn more about this topic.
4 – Healthy: It needs to be good for your baby
The main issue with nappies that people fear is nappy rash. Nappy rash is primarily caused by an acidic diet or skin trapped by warmth and wet. Speak to your naturopath for advice on your diet and give your baby lots of nappy free time (see sidebar). See belowWhen using cloth nappies, use a cloth or disposable nappy liner that absorbs the wetness away from baby’s skin or a compostable disposable nappy liner that will protect their skin and also ease the mess at change time.
If your baby regularly gets a rash in a disposable nappy, it could be chemical burn or other reaction to the bleach and gels in disposable nappies. Many parents put up with this thinking it is nappy rash but our babies sensitive skin can react to these ingredients. Try an eco-disposable. They use a lot less gels and cloth nappies have no gels at all. Many parents who switch to cloth report an instant improvement in their babies skin condition.
Another reason babies may have nappy rash, is due to a digestion issue. See your naturopath for assistance with nappy rash that seems more dramatic than normal. To try our world famous certified organic bottom balm. Click here. http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/lotions-and-oils/nature-s-child-bottom-balm-50ml.html
5 – Washing: It needs to be simple and organised
The big appeal of disposable nappies is no washing. The action of taking a fresh, clean nappy out of a packet, using it, throwing it away and grabbing another one equally neat and clean when you are ready is very seductive. When it comes to throwing them away however, the horror of a full and smelly nappy bin may not impress you at all. Many councils are now reducing their pickups to fortnightly as well which is creating a longer lasting stench in wheelie bins. This experience has led many parents to wonder, how bad is it washing nappies? The fear and hassle about this chore has been so blown out of proportion over the years that simple help instructions are now required to assist parents. We mentioned above that some councils have green bin waste for disposable nappies, but only for two brands that we know of when this article went to press. Gently and Eenee Nappies are the only nappies approved for Green Waste Disposal in Australia. View both these nappies here. http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/hybrid-nappies-
So here is the good news – it is simple to wash cloth nappies. Read our other nappy articles to learn how to wash nappies with ease. For now…here is a little bit of information.
Cloth nappies need to be washed every day or every second day using a dry or wet system. You can have a day off washing if you have a well-organised system and enough nappies on hand. Bleach products have traditionally been used to whiten nappies when soaking, if you are concerned about environmental impact, it is not suggested you use whitening products. Bleach is a dioxin that is a major cause of animal and soil chemical contamination. Modern cloth nappies are less likely to require bleach and there are many environmentally-safe and cost-effective soakers available online and in health food stores. We recommend Tri Nature Pre Wash Soaker as the best, Australian Made, Eco-friendly detergent and Pre Wash Soaker for Australian Nappies.
We recommend our ULTIMATE NAPPY PACK which gives you a variety of Nappy styles to try. Mention that you have read this blog and we will include 1 x FREE pkt of eco-disposable nappies for you as well at no extra cost. View our ULTIMATE NAPPY PACK here http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/search?orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=ultimate+nappy+pack