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Mums to be > Green Issues > Cloth-Nappies

Cloth Bottomed Babies

If you're using cloth nappies you may need to get clothes that are designed with cloth bottomed babies in mind to give plenty of room for the slight additional bulk. This set me thinking about the pro’s and cons of using cloth nappies. When my children were tiny there was really not a choice but now there is a vast range of disposables and cloth nappies to choose from.

First of all a good place to start might be some facts and figures produced by local councils.
• Every year we need a forest the size of Wales to provide all the paper we use in Britain.
• 1 tonne of recycled paper saves 17 trees from being cut down.
• 7 Million Trees are cut down each year just to make disposable nappies.
• If you use disposable nappies your child will use an average of 5,000 from birth until potty trained.

Not so many years ago a cloth nappy was simply a square of toweling which was fastened onto baby using two lethal looking large safety pins. Now the range available is astonishing you can have a one piece nappy, a shaped two piece, prefolded, terry, a flat nappy used with a stuffable style cover, waterproof covers, liners, booster pads and swim nappies. The large pins have been replaced by snappi nappi clips and nippi nippas and I am sure there are many more. Modern cloth nappies then fit really snuggly. It is argued that children wearing cloth nappies become potty trained more quickly because the child is able to detect some wetness. This awareness encourages the child to use a potty.

Some of reasons for using disposables might be convenience, not having the bother of washing or perhaps your child goes to day nursery. It is also suggested by manufacturers that disposables prevent nappy rash. I would argue that there is no reason for a child in a cloth nappy to have a higher incidence of nappy rash. A child’s skin is very sensitive and nappies need to be changed frequently to avoid prolonged contact with wee and poo which are the cause of nappy rash. Avoid using biological washing powders apart from the fact that they are not eco-friendly they can cause rashes. Or perhaps you might consider a nappy laundry service which may not be as expensive as you would think.

Many childcare providers will be happy to accommodate children in cloth nappies providing you have chosen an easy and reliable type, and provide a sealable bag for storage of dirty nappies. If all this still sounds like a lot of extra work, perhaps a compromise would be helpful just consider; using only one cloth nappy per day will save 365 disposable nappies being thrown away. So from little oak trees etc. etc.

Just two more factors to consider_
• In the next 10 years about 800 million people will be added to the global population.
• As the population consumption and wealth increases so does the amount of waste we produce.
• We have used more goods and services since 1950 than in the rest of human history.

Well I hope this gives you some food for thought and you may even decide to swap to cloth nappies.

Linda Sones

Information obtained from;
The Complete Cloth Nappy Guide.
Colchester Borough Council