Does the environmental impact of disposable nappies bother you?
I have outlined the pros and cons for each option, which may make your decision a little easier.
The cloth nappy has come a long way since the good old fashion terry towelling and safety pin. These are still available and are by far the cheapest of the cloth options. Other cloth varieties include pre-folds, fitted nappies, pocket nappies, all-in-one and all-in-twos. These are all favourites with parents looking for a reusable alternative.
Eco Friendly – Cloth nappies are environmentally friendly if they are line dried and washed in full loads. You still have to consider the impact of using detergents, water and energy. Plus take into consideration the climate you live in. Can you get them dry without the use of dryers?
Chemical Free – Yippee! No chemicals for your baby’s sensitive skin to absorb. Be mindful to use an eco-friendly detergent when washing cloth nappies.
Cost Saving – Cloth nappies will definitely save you money in the long run. There will be an initial set up cost purchasing what you need for cloth nappy changes. Plus, the ongoing cost of water and power to wash and dry them. Overall, they will save you roughly half that of the disposable variety. Even more if you go on to use them for future babies.
Variety – We have come a long way since terry towelling and safety pins. The variety of cloth nappies are amazing. Some of the varieties include, cloth squares, pre-folds, fitted nappies, pocket nappies, all-in-one and all-in-two's.
Less Shopping – This is a great one. You’ll never have to experience that feeling when you have run out of disposable nappies and need to make a mad dash to the shops.
Washing – It is best to do a pre-wash and a main wash with cloth nappies. You can store used nappies in a dry nappy bin and do a bulk wash every 2 days. Depending on the style of cloth nappy you have chosen, this will create a lot of extra folding and putting away.
Travelling – If you like a challenge, this one is for you. There is a lot more preparation and forward planning involved. You need to make sure that where you are travelling to has washing facilities. Make sure the people you’re staying with don’t mind you. Plus, the extra room in the suitcase for all those nappies.
Upfront Costs – There will be an initial set up cost purchasing what you need for cloth nappy changes. Plus, the ongoing cost of water and power to wash and dry them. Some cloth nappies are more expensive than others. The investment is worth it in the long run.
Time Factor – Cloth nappy changes can take a little longer. You have to flush the poo down the toilet first. This is easier once your baby has started solids as the poo becomes more solid. Breastfed new-born's will have wetter poos so it’s best to do a pre rinse to eliminate the poo first.
Nappy Rash – Nappy rash can be a negative for both cloth and disposables. There are many causes why babies get it. Some include: the nappy has not been changed regularly enough, a reaction to your detergent, a reaction to the fabric, new foods in their diet and teething.
Invented over 60 years ago and changed mums lives forever. This is definitely a popular choice. You generally just have the two options. Disposable and Biodegradable Disposable Nappies.
Convenience – This cannot be denied. Disposable nappies are super convenient. Just change and go. Change your baby’s bum where ever and dispose of the dirty nappy. Please note: even with disposables it is recommended to flush the poo down the toilet before throwing them in the bin.
No Upfront Costs – There is no initial set up costs for disposables. As long as you have a few on hand they are readily available from your local shops. You can buy them as you need them.
Variety – Disposable nappies are available in your standard variety and a biodegradable option. Biodegradable nappies reduce the environmental impact. They can take as little as 50 days to break down in landfill. These nappies are made from plant-based materials which means they’re mostly chemical-free. A better option for your baby. This variety is more expensive than the traditional ones.
Travelling – Disposable nappies makes travelling a lot easier. Not only are they convenient to change your baby’s bum and go but you can buy more when you get to your destination.
Absorbency – Disposable nappies are made up of several layers. One layer contains a super-absorbent polymer. This polymer forms a gel as it absorbs baby’s urine, preventing wetness and leaks.
Environmental Impact – So this is a big issue. Aussies use approximately 5 million disposable nappies per day. Each one takes 500 years to break down. Then there’s the poo that ends up in landfill. This gives off methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The implications for global warming and climate change are enormous. Let’s not forget the baby wipes that get used during a nappy change. All ending up in landfill.
Cost – When you calculate the cost of having your child in disposable nappies for approximately 2.5 years it’s definitely the more expensive choice. Tip: start toilet training early. Save money and save the environment.
Chemicals – Now this is a scary one. You have your precious baby exposed to chemicals all day and all night if they are in disposables. Some of these may present health risks. Bleached nappies contain trace amounts of dioxins. This is the most toxic of all cancer-causing chemicals. The absorbent layer is made from sodium polyacrylate. This chemical has links to toxic shock syndrome. Some nappies might even contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. It’s also common for nappies to be fragranced with perfumes and contain dyes. Both may cause allergic reactions when exposed to your baby’s sensitive skin.