We try to be reasonably green as a family recycling, composting, using public transport or walking when we can, etc. So when we were preparing for J’s arrival we naturally thought about trying reusable nappies. I attended a nappy morning ran by our local council to see some nappies and get some advice. I looked online. Everything I read seemed positive: they’re a good thing, your child will like them, they will potty train early, and so on. Enthused by all this, I did the research, chose a nappy type, bought nappy buckets and invested a couple of hundred pounds in a birth to potty set of One Life nappies.
I was keen to use them from day 1, but we found that in hospital using disposables was more practical. Another factor was that even on the smallest setting they seemed a bit big for him. So we didn’t start using them until a few weeks into our life as parents.
They did not go down very well with J. He didn’t like being in a wet nappy or even a damp one. He seemed to wee pretty often (small bladders at that age I guess and he was a milk monster too). I was having to change him every half an hour to an hour. Our 16 nappies didn’t last very long before they all needed washing. Changing a child that frequently, combined with breastfeeding a frequent feeder, was an uphill task. I found myself been secretly pleased when they were all in the wash and I was using disposables.
I started finding excuses to use disposables. Wearing real nappies at night was not an option if I wanted to stand a chance of getting any sleep. I started putting disposables on when we were out as it wasn’t feasible to change him that frequently when you’re trying to do the shopping, plus you’d have to cart around a load of nappies. Next I’d say to myself that I wouldn’t be changing him again before we went out, so I might as well put a disposable on now, that time gradually extended. Soon we were wholly using disposables. I was relieved when we made a formal decision to give up on them.
The sad thing was that we’d spent money on the nappies and still had to buy disposables. Selling second hand nappies is difficult especially since eBay banned the practice. I tried selling at our local NCT sale with very limited success. Real nappies were a big mistake for us, both as parents and financially.
That said, I wouldn’t want to put anyone off, but I’d exercise caution. There are schemes which allow you to try out reusable nappies without buying. You can also try out a selection of different sorts of nappy this way. I wouldn’t buy until you are convinced that you will use them and you have tried them out on your child for a while. Friends, who have used them successfully with one child, have sometimes run into difficulties with a subsequent baby. Not all children get on with them. I’m glad that I didn’t have to bring up a child before the invention of disposables. At least, I had the choice over whether to go for reusable ones or disposables.