Reusable nappy resources to know in London
Reusable nappies are a must for parents looking for ways to minimise their plastic use and waste. This is what you need to know...
The times are a' changing, however: as parents look for plastic-free, zero-waste alternatives for their precious bundles, reusable and cloth nappy services are becoming more mainstream, accessible and stylish than ever. And ever more appealing, especially once parents realise just one baby can use up to 6,000 disposable nappies until they're potty trained (in the UK, we chuck nearly 3 billion nappies a year, which will take hundreds of years to decompose in landfill).
Even parents not willing to completely take the plunge and ditch disposables are seeking out eco-friendly nappies, made from plant-based ingredients like bamboo, which don't contain any harsh chemicals like chlorine or alcohol, that are better for baby's sensitive skin. You'll also find a slew of reusable and eco-wipes available now, too.
The cloth nappy movement has gone as far as the government: SNP MP for Glasgow East, David Linden, proposed a Nappies (Environmental Standards) Bill to Parliament earlier in 2019 in an effort to incentivise parents to adopt reusable nappies into their regimes.
The cloth nappy movement is also trending on Instagram. Known as "cloth-bumming," it's the trend of showing off your eco-credentials - and your baby's cute bum in a funky printed reusable nappy (the designs are amazing). Some obsessives will even pay extortionate amounts to get limited-edition designs from brands (see midwife and mum of four Cecilia Leslie's Insta account for cloth-nappy obsession in action).
If you don't go the Insta "buying every reusable nappy style available route," not only can you help the planet, you can save a load of cash. As a rough guide, when you're using reusables, you're likely to need 20-25 flat nappies and a few waterproof wraps and liners, which will typically cost you £120 all in.
Here are the brands, resources and tips you need to become a cloth-bummer yourself - or at least ditch the disposables on occasion.
Stunning prints available online at The Nappy Gurus
The Nappy Gurus
New to the world of reusable nappies and totally overwhelmed? We got a few top tips from Laura Davies, founder of The Nappy Gurus, a one-stop shop with all of the need-to-know cloth nappy brands, as well as wipes and other zero-waste accessories. The website has tons of helpful items and info, including cloth nappy starter packs and tips on how to start, what to do about leaks, washing cloth nappies and more.
"In our homes and our lifestyles, the 'Attenborough Effect' is playing a significant role in our changing attitudes to waste, and single use products. Nappies are one area where a marked shift is being noted, with an increasing number of parents choosing to ditch the disposables in favour of eco-friendly, reusable options," Davies says.
Colours, and prints and cute poppers, oh my. We can see how these reusable nappies from The Nappy Gurus are trending...
Here are five top tips to help with your transition to cloth nappies:
1) Try before you buy. To be sure that you use the right system to suit you, it is a great idea to try a few different brands before investing in a full stash. See if there is a Nappy Library in your area, or pick up a Starter Pack.
2) Don’t just ditch the nappies, ditch the wipes too. Washable wipes are a no-brainer – they are chemical free, more effective and will save you a small fortune.
3) Don’t get overwhelmed with options. Get a free personalised recommendation from a Nappy Guru.
4) See if your local council offers an incentive. Some will provide cash vouchers, or free starter kits to encourage people to make the swap.
5) Just give it a go! The best way to start understanding the nappies is to start using them. Get stuck in and it will all slot into place!
Bambino Mio's nappies come in a stunning selection of prints and colours
Real Nappies for London (nappy vouchers, nappy cleaning services and more)
Real Nappies for London is the London scheme designed to help you make the change from disposable nappies to reusable ones. There are local drop in events to teach you everything you need to know about cloth nappies, as well as voucher schemes in certain boroughs like Hackney, Islington, Camden, Lambeth, Waltham Forest, Haringey and Enfield (Lewisham, City of London and Bexley have their own schemes, too). If you live in one of those boroughs and have a baby under 18 months, you're eligible for a free voucher worth up to £54.15.
If you're still not convinced you want to splash the cash, you can find out more info at a Cloth Nappy Library (there's one in Croydon and one that covers the Waltham Forest area). You can also cut costs by purchasing your reusable nappies secondhand. So you know, there are a few different types of reusable nappy you can get: all-in-ones (these have a built-in waterproof outer layer and absorbent insert)), shaped nappies (these require a waterproof wrap, but have an elasticated waist and legs) and flat nappies (these need folding and an outer wrap of some kind, and are typically the cheapest).
Still need help? London mums turn to the 'Nappy Lady', Wendy Richards, for advice and tips on how to start.
Nappy laundering services
Washing nappies is arguably the thing that turns most people off of reusable nappies (it's also the one slightly contested issue eco-wise, due to the carbon emissions released from frequent washing and drying - of course, you can air dry them to minimise these). Or - you can outsource the issue, especially handy in those early months when baby is constantly weeing and pooing, and you're exhausted and sleepless.
- Nappy Ever After: You hire prefold cotton nappies from Nappy Ever After and pay for weekly hire, delivery and collection (you only need to buy waterproof wraps and disposable liners for poo). The starter kit is £38, and the service is £15 a week for hire, delivery and collection.
- Number One For Nappies: Another laundry service which starts at £9.50 a week for supplying, delivering, collecting and laundering your cloth nappies.
Bambino Mio, which originated in 1997, is the UK's most widely used reusable nappy brand - no surprise once you see the stylish range of patterns and colours available. They also stock reusable swim nappies, wipes and potty training accessories.
Little Lamb offers a range of handy starter packs for reusable nappy newbies (standard, premium and economy) and parents can choose from cotton, bamboo or microfibre nappies, with Velcro fastenings or without. You can also purchase accessories like bamboo or fleece liners to increase the absorbency of the nappy, bamboo breast pads, cloth sanitary pads and more.
Newbie brand Mama Bamboo launched a year and a half ago and might just be the alternative you're looking for if you can't deal with the Huggies and Pampers... but can't quite commit to the full reusable nappy experience. This multi-award winning brand makes eco-nappies and wipes that contain fewer chemicals than regular nappies but are also biodegradable - instead of taking 500 years, these nappies will be 80% degraded within six months. Even the packaging is biodegradable: nappies come wrapped in compostable corn starch film. Plus, the chemical-free formulation won't irritate baby's sensitive skin.