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The simplicity of cloth nappies

Mother of two, HANNAH PORTER, looks at the advantages of ditching the disposables and opting for cloth nappies.

When I had my first son we started using disposable nappies. They were brilliant, easy and I could grab a box at the supermarket. Like many families, however, I had a budget for my weekly groceries. That box of nappies was costing me about a quarter of the budget.

Cloth nappies were something we were keen on. We’re environmentally minded as a family anyway (I mean, we have a compost bin and reusable grocery bags), but the whole concept was really overwhelming. I had no idea about the differences between all the various choices. We stuck to one type (pocket nappies) and these days, cloth nappies are second nature to us as a family. So, let me break it down for you and remove some of that overwhelm.

Reusable cloth nappies have made a huge comeback for a number of reasons, but the two primary reasons people choose cloth are because they save you money, and they’re better for the environment. As a country, we send approximately 600 million nappies to landfill every single year. That is huge, and unnecessary. If every New Zealand baby used just one cloth nappy a day, we would be saving approximately one million disposable nappies from going to landfill every single week. In a time when we are so overwhelmed with rubbish and plastic, this small thing could make a huge difference.

And, at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet, cloth nappies can save a significant amount of money. From the time a baby is born, until they are fully toilet trained, they will go through between $3000 and $4000 worth of disposable nappies. Cloth nappies retail from about $15 and a full-time stash would likely be around 20 to 25 nappies costing you a maximum of $400. That’s 10 per cent of the cost of disposables.

I’m not going to deny that it leads to more washing, but the process of washing a nappy isn’t anywhere near as complicated as it can seem. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or work out your own system. I like to keep it as simple as possible. Number twos go in the toilet, then nappies go into an empty bucket. No water, no bleach, nothing. When you’re ready to wash, throw them in the machine with laundry powder on a normal cycle and hang them outside to dry (sunlight is a natural bleach). Yes, if they’re extra dirty you might want to do a pre-wash. Yes, you can buy special detergents, or wash them on a certain cycle, but you don’t have to. Don’t overcomplicate this because, let’s be honest, we have enough washing to do as it is!

Nervous about taking the leap? I highly recommend checking out the Raising Ziggy – Cloth Nappy Pay It Forward group on Facebook where you can get yourself three reusable cloth nappies for just the cost of postage to give them a go. Once you realise just how easy it is, you won’t go back!

Hannah Porter is the mother of two boys, and is the owner of Bear & Moo, a Hamilton-based company making reusable products for families simple and affordable.


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