When you’re about to have a baby, your mind is overrun with choices. What kind of cot? Bumper pads? Which jungle gym? Breast or bottle? But one choice is often overlooked, despite the fact that it is quite a central one. You will be changing huge numbers of nappies over the course of your baby’s lifetime, and whether you use cloth or disposable nappies can in fact make a difference both in terms of money spent and in terms of your environmental impact. Why not have a look at the differences?
Disposable nappies are all the rage, and they can simply not be beaten for convenience. When a nappy has been used, you can change your baby and throw it away at any of the thousands of facilities available across shops everywhere in the country, and you needn’t worry about carrying a foul and potentially stinky nappy along with you. Additionally, with a carefully engineered outer layer and specialised sizing it’s difficult to get the disposable nappy wrong and you’ll rarely have to cope with leaks. But disposable nappies are not bio-degradable, and as such every single one you throw away will simply end up taking up space in the landfills around Britain. The production of disposable nappies also involves various chemicals and you will find yourself paying quite dearly for them even if you decide to stick to cut-rate brands.
Alternatively, cloth nappies make less of an impact. What there is can be reduced by using environmentally friendly soaps to launder them and running your washing machine at a temperature no higher than 60 degrees. While you will need to do a large number of loads, you can still expect to save money and if you use a nappy-washing service you can still save pennies and save even more water as they will use highly efficient machinery to launder the nappies they use. However, cloth nappies require quite a bit of commitment in terms of time and you’ll need to get much more touchy-feely with your child’s effluent as you scrape it into the toilet and set the nappies to soap in a nappy pail. This can also lead to unflattering smells if not properly used. You’re also going to need a bit more skill attaching the nappy and even with a pair of rubber pants over the top, your child may experience leaks a bit more often.
Making the choice between cloth and disposable is a personal decision, and not one you should be judged for at any time. But it is a choice you should make consciously after weighing up all the facts, to ensure you make the decision that is right for your family’s wallet, conscience and commitment.