Kate on Conservation

No Waste November: Making the switch to reusable cloth nappies

This past week I started taking action to fulfil my ‘No Waste November‘ pledge: ‘To be a ‘green mum’ with reusable wipes and nappies’.

As a new mum to a newborn baby, who arrived on the 20th October, I have pledged to go ‘green‘, by using cloth nappies and reusable baby wipes.

Since hearing about the No Waste November initiative back in August, when I attended Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Annual Summit, I began planning my contribution to reducing the amount of plastic waste I dispose of. Knowing my daughter was due late October, I saw it as a great opportunity to actually put in to practice the idea of using reusable nappies, liners and pads — giving myself the motivation to stick with it!

Pop-in reusable baby wipes
Pop-in reusable baby wipe set

It was important to me to find my feet as a mother and get used to changing my daughter all hours of the day and night — as well as managing all those extra loads of washing that consist solely of baby clothes, blankets and sheets — so for the first 13 days after her birth I worked with the convenience of disposable diapers.

It soon became clear to me how important the impact of this pledge would be… in those 13 days we went through 84 disposable diapers and entire 100 pack of baby wipes — not to mention all the plastic nappy sacks that the dirty nappies had to be thrown away in; for hygiene purposes!

Milovia nappy cover and lining
Milovia nappy cover and inner lining

I purchased an entire range of reusable nappies to see her through from birth to 2 years, finding two different brands I wanted to use: Close Parent Pop-in for the newborn stage and Milovia for when she’s 8lbs in weight to up to 2 years in age, due to their adjustable sizing (see above).

For a look at what comes in the Pop-in Newborn Nappy Pack, take a look at the video below:

I used a website called Babipur to source the nappy sets; a company which stocks a huge variety of eco-friendly baby products, whom I discovered courtesy of my colleagues at National Geographic Kids magazine.

Milovia nappy designs and carry bag
Milovia nappy designs and carry bag for holding soiled nappies while out and about

As well as buying the nappies from them, this is also where I bought my laundry kit by Tots Bots, which includes a lockable bucket for storing and soaking dirty nappies; mesh bags for soaking them in and easy transfer from bucket to washing machine; eco-friendly washing powder and flushable top liners for extra protection of the nappies — which I think will come into use further down the line.

cloth nappies cleaning in progress
cloth nappies: cleaning in progress with Tots Bots nappy bucket and laundry kit

So far, it’s been a little bit of trial and error — I’ve found the best way to initially soak the nappies is to wash off the excess by holding the liners into the toilet pan while flushing the chain, allowing the water to flow over the liner, then soak the liners and nappy covers overnight in the bucket using 3 table spoons of the washing powder. Then they need to be machine washed at 60 degrees to remove any stains and to soften the fabric ready for re-use. It is recommended that baby is changed at least once every 3 hours when using these nappies.

Kate on Conservation mother and baby

Although it’s taken a little bit of time to know how tight to fasten them (too loose and they leak, too tight and they indent my baby’s skin), and you do have to actually open the nappies regularly to check whether they need changing (unlike disposables, which indicate with a colour changing line down the centre of the diaper, which changes from yellow to blue when baby is wet); I’ve absolutely become an advocate the cloth nappy!

The amount of plastic waste I’ll save over the next couple of years — not to mention money — is incredible! It may take a little more work, but thinking about those 80-odd nappies over less than 2 weeks, and how that would add up; I’m really glad to have made my No Waste November pledge, and I’ll definitely be sticking to it long term!

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8 thoughts on “No Waste November: Making the switch to reusable cloth nappies

  1. Congratulations! I hope you’re settling in to life as a new Mum! I always had reusable nappies and wipes for my son! We originally were fully reusable for nappies and now do a mix. I’ve really enjoyed the reusable wipes and nappies and am so pleased I opted to use them, you will get used to the soak and wash! Enjoy this wonderful and special time with your new born!

    1. Thank you! I think we’ll use a mix for when we go for days out or visiting family overnight, but while we’re around home the reusables are working really well. Do you have any advice for using cloth nappies past the newborn phase?

      1. Hmmm, because we’ve always done reusable wipes additional washing has never been an issue plus, like you, we did a mix for days out and overnight trips. We were really lucky that Sam has always been very good at being changed on a mat, I’ve had friends who moved toddlers in to pull ups because of wriggling but as Sam has never wriggled I’ve never had to stop reusables for that reason. I do notice that if we’ve been away for a couple of weeks he’ll say “no” to the reusables for the first day or so back but then he gets used to them. I’d also say get vest extenders as they allow more room and reusables create larger bottoms than disposables! Feel free to drop me a line and ask any questions if anything crops up!

  2. Well done Kate. I used non-disposable nappies for all three of my offspring who are now in their fifties.

    1. My mum used Terry’s with me and my brothers :). If it used to be the way in the past, it can definitely be a thing again now! So many ‘convenient’ things have been introduced that are terrible for the environment.

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