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Can you go sustainable with a baby in tow?

Today we are exploring how we can be more sustainable and make less of an impact on our environment, reducing our carbon footprint whilst making sure our babies have the cleanest and most comfortable bottoms!! Babies will be in diapers for around 2.5 years which means a LOT of diaper changes. Of course, we are considering the pennies too…more into the university fund and less into the disposable diaper landfill!

We get lots of questions and about reusable diapers and there is a plethora of information on the internet but here are some basics broken down to make it a little easier to understand.

Two Part Diaper System:

Shaped Sized Diapers

These are two-part diaper systems. You will require the shaped diapers which comes in different sizes (weight categories will depend on the company) and a wrap that goes over the top which acts as the waterproof layer.  Shaped diapers will give a good trim fit on a smaller baby and they have great shape around the legs to avoid leaks. You can also add an additional ‘booster’ into these diapers (sold across most brands) and these will add extra absorbency for babies who are heavy wetters or for nighttime. These are a good investment if you are intending to use them for more than one child or if you have both a baby and a toddler. They have good longevity due to the wrap being separate and therefore not having to withstand being washed each and every time you wash the shaped diaper. However, these do have slow drying time which can be a downside if you are short of space to air dry diapers.

All In One Diapers:

Birth to Toddler Diapers

These are diapers which are all in one systems designed to be used from birth (check birth weight with the brand you are choosing) through to potty training. They are shaped to fit and come with poppers or Velcro systems which allow you to change the size of the diaper as your baby grows. These do not require an extra wrap (waterproof layer) as this is part of the diaper. These are a great diaper investment if you want a diaper system that will grow with your baby. However, they may not withstand a second baby as they are washed each use and therefore the outer layer can deteriorate. Some brands offer birth to toddler diapers in a two-part system so you will need to shop around for these. You can also add an additional booster with birth to toddler diapers for added absorbency. Great if you have both a baby and a toddler at the same time.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket diapers have the waterproof outer layer and a soft fleece inner layer all in one with an additional pocket which you can add inserts so that they can have as much or as little absorbency as you need for your little one. The longevity is the same as birth to Toddler nappies (these often come with the option of pocket diapers) in that as they are washed after every use which can lead the outer layer to deteriorate. On the upside they often dry super quick and as super easy to use.

All in Twos

These diapers are somewhere between a two-part system and an all-in-one. They have the outer shell and an inner soaker insert which poppers into the outer shell. It’s almost like a hybrid diaper. The clever part is that the outer shell can be used multiple times in the same day if you air it out and it has not become soiled.

Flat and Pre Fold

Don’t forget the option of terry towelling diapers, muslins (yes not just for spit ups!) and pre-fold diapers. It is recommended that you buy good wraps to help reduce the risk of leaks and they can be fiddly in the beginning to learn how to fold them but they are an economical and quick-drying way to start with reusable diapers. You can also ditch those traditional diapers pins as there is a new safe way of securing diapers  – the Nappi Nippa. A little plastic device that is easy to use and cheap to buy!

Other Tips:

From Birth – For some brands this means ‘almost birth’ or 10lbs so check the brand weight guides carefully before purchasing

Liners – super useful and come in disposable (check for biodegradable) or reusable. They line the diaper next to babies skin to protect your reusable diaper from soiling and nappy creams. Great for catching poos! Sometimes not great at catching the super runny breastmilk poo of the early days so make sure you check out the reviews.

Washing – You will need a pail or bucket to store your used diapers in between washes. Flush any poo down the toilet and you can rinse through the soiled diaper and liners and then store them in the dry pail. It is not recommended to soak store them.  Wraps can be used for the day or the full night if they have not become soiled.  It is recommended you wash every other day at 60 degrees Celsius. Run a quick wash or cold rinse cycle without detergent  (not a pre-wash) first to remove soiling and then follow this with the 60-degree wash with detergent as directed by the brand of diaper you have chosen. Then allow to air dry. Check your brand for tumble drying advice.

Extras you will need – wet bag for storing the dirty diapers when you are out and about. Mesh bag to ensure they wash well and this will help with their longevity. Some diapers have laundry tabs on the diaper which folds over to protect the Velcro from damage and collecting fibres.

There are lots of other products you can use to create a more sustainable lifestyle these could include baby wipes, breast pads, sanitary pads and makeup removal pads.

There is an argument regarding the use of energy and water for sustainability but air drying and not using a tumble dryer will definitely reduce your energy use. Its estimated around 3 billion disposable diapers are thrown away each year accounting for 2-3% of household waste.

We would recommend you check out the Nappy Lady, here. Her website is very comprehensive and will answer every question you have about reusable diapers. She also offers amazing links to videos on YouTube.

The only thing left is to not become obsessed with the amazing range of patterns and prints … and want to collect them all!