Last week we covered 12 of the most common myths that come up in conversation about cloth nappies. You can check those out HERE.
This week, we’re looking at a further dozen fluffy furphies.
Reusable nappies aren’t soft and comfortable for baby.
BUSTER: Most good brands of cloth nappies are manufactured with materials that are skin friendly and super soft! We would probably find paper underwear significantly less comfortable than the fabric kind. The use of new materials, such as breathable polyurethane laminate over traditional PVC, has made modern-day cloth nappying even more baby-friendly than ever before.
Reusable nappies don’t save you that much money.
BUSTER: You will change your baby about 5,500 times until they are potty trained. At 40 – 80 cents a piece, this is a significant weekly outlay on disposable nappies.
You only need 20-30 cloth nappies over the same period at a fraction of the cost. We estimate a minimum saving of $1,000 on home-laundered nappies over the same period (more on the second child, even taking into consideration water, electricity and replacements). Perhaps you could consider taking out a 9 month lay-by of cloth nappies when you first find out you’re expecting. This would take the pressure off the start-up costs. Or you could put aside that money each month so that once baby’s born you can try a few different types to see which suits best.
If you are trying to reduce spending, cloth nappying is a simple yet important place to start.
We often hear from families with budgets so stretched that they can’t manage the outlay on a stash of cloth nappies, but there are many different options in the cloth nappy world, each catering to a variety of budgets. For families on a really tight budget, we would heartily recommend a traditional cloth nappy stash (flats and covers). But we would also recommend traditional nappying to any family wanting a versatile, durable and practical cloth nappy system that will last to toilet training and beyond.
Reusable nappies can cause bad nappy rash.
BUSTER: There is no evidence to link cloth nappies with nappy rash. Consistently, health care professionals advise that frequent changing is the best prevention of nappy rash. Hygiene and skin care, sensitivity to detergents, and the presence of infection are the three possible causes of nappy rash listed by the National Centre of Biotechnology Information.
Disposable nappies contain superabsorbent gel, paper pulp, plastics and adhesives, while reputable brand reusable nappies are made from knitted or woven fabrics, which better allow baby’s delicate skin to breathe. The absence of chemicals in cloth nappies often has the added benefit of reducing the incidence of skin issues and sensitivity.
Using cloth nappies isn’t that much better for the environment than using disposables.
BUSTER: According to 2009 figures from IbisWorld, 5.6 million single-use nappies are thrown out in Australia every day. 5.6 million. Every day. That’s over 2 billion a year. That’s all kind of crazy.
The vast majority of these end up in land fill. And our best guess of how long they take to decompose is about 500 years.
Land fill space is one of those issues that we don’t tend to fret over too much in Australia, because, unlike European countries, we have vast amounts of space.
But having space to fill doesn’t mean we should fill it. Not least of all with filthy used nappies.
Local council authorities are becoming a driving force in working to reduce the amount of municipal waste sent to land fill. But we all know that waste prevention at its source is the best way to reduce rubbish.
Even part-time reusable nappy use goes a long way in reducing disposable nappy land fill.
LCA report 2009 states reusables are 40% better for the environment when sensibly home-laundered (i.e., line dried, not ironed!). For a comprehensive look at the cost of laundering cloth nappies, check out Darlings Downunder’s blog post HERE.
Cloth nappies stain easily.
BUSTER: A warm rinse before washing will help lift dried-in stains and keep your nappies fresh and ammonia free. Sunshine is great for stubborn stains, but be careful about hanging them out when it’s too hot, as high heat can damage your elastics and waterproofing. For the best cloth nappies to use in high summer heat, please Click Here.
Common sense applies with stains, as it does with all other facets of cloth nappying. If we spill tomato sauce on a shirt and leave that shirt in the laundry, unwashed for a number of days, we have a significantly reduced chance of getting it out, even with the use of special stain removers. It’s the same with nappies. Remember to wash your nappies frequently (at least every second day) to reduce the chance of staining.
I need to use a dedicated cloth nappy detergent.
BUSTER: Cloth nappies can be washed using any commercially available washing detergent. However, we recommend steering clear of detergents with additives designed to stay in the fabric after the wash, like softeners (which can reduce absorbency or repel urine) and brighteners or fragrances (which may cause issues for babies with sensitive skin).
There has been much talk in recent years about replicating specific cloth nappy detergents. The theory goes that if you mix the ingredients of Rockin’ Green, you’ll create an identical compound, or Mockin’ Green. But the production of laundry detergent is based on science and the precise, research-based mix of ingredients. Simply because we can mix eggs, our and milk in a bowl doesn’t mean it would produce a cake we’d be happy to serve to guests.
I won’t be able to use barrier cream with cloth nappies.
BUSTER: You can use barrier creams with cloth nappies, but it is really important to use a liner (disposable or reusable) when using them. Barrier creams are aptly named. They are designed to create a barrier between the urine and your baby’s skin. However, they can also create a barrier on the nappy, coating the fibres of the fabric and causing it to repel urine and leak. If you need to use creams, please always ensure you use a liner. For further information about the use of liners, please Click Here.
I will have to iron my cloth nappies.
BUSTER: No. You definitely don’t have to iron cloth nappies! In fact, it can be really bad for the waterproofing fabric and is a waste of electricity.
I will have to change my child more frequently if they’re in a cloth nappy than if they’re in disposables.
BUSTER: For the safety and comfort of our children, health care professionals advise frequent nappy changes, regardless of the type of nappy. Two hourly is a good rule of thumb for all nappies, unless of course the nappy is soiled, in which case it should be changed as soon as possible.
Daycare centres don’t allow the use of cloth nappies.
BUSTER: Most daycare centres are amenable to the use of cloth; some even have specific policies that encourage their use. In this article, Jacquie Shanks from NZ Baby Supplies shares her list of things you can do to make it easier for your child care centre to successfully and easily use cloth nappies on your child.
I won’t be able to use cloth nappies as I live in an apartment with no clothesline.
BUSTER: Cloth nappies can be dried on a rack, over a railing, on the backs of chairs, under a fan, across a rope-line hanging across your apartment balcony… anywhere! Most cloth nappies can also be tumble dried on low
heat. Please check the care label on your nappy for specifications about this.
Disposable nappies are biodegradable.
BUSTER: We believe that the parenting journey is made up of thousands of small decisions, some of which may depart from our original ideals and aspirations. While we encourage and support a family’s journey into cloth, we also support every family’s right to choose a product that suits their needs, and sometimes it can be necessary to choose a disposable nappy option.
It is important to know that some disposable nappies that are marketed as biodegradable will not break down in land fill.
Be sure to check with your disposable nappy manufacturer about specific condition requirements for composting their nappies. In many cases, you will need to remove the waterproof liner and tabs before composting the remainder. For health reasons, it is not recommended to compost poo.