Making the Switch to Cloth
Posted on March 16 2020
In this time of uncertainty, where shelves that once contained our every day essentials are standing there bare, what is one to do when you are down to your last nappy, wipe, pad or tampon?
There is no better time than now to make the switch to cloth!
It is not an all or nothing situation.
YOU choose what you want to do and how far your want to go.
One a day, two a day, day time only, at home only or full time and everything in between. They are all acceptable and every little bit counts.
What are the benefits?
Better for your Wallet
Disposable nappies cost anywhere between 15 cents to $1 or more each. When you are changing a nappy 5 to 12 times a day, every day for 2 to 3 or more year, per child. That adds up quickly.
Cloth nappies have a higher initial outlay but in the long run (including considerations of detergent, water, energy and time used) they can save you thousands. PLUS many Australian cloth nappies retain thier value on the second hand market, increasing the savings by recouping a portion of your initial outlay.
Lets talk raw numbers:
$1,800 to $5,000: The cost of disposable nappies from birth to toilet training (approx 3 years of average use). This number is affected by the brands you choose and the frequency of changes.
$923 to $2192: The cost of cloth nappies across 3 years of use, taking into consideration initial outlay, detergent, water, energy, etc. This number is affected by your initial outlay and quality of brands chosen, the efficiency of your machine and your detergent choices.
When everyone is so different, it is hard to come up with a true, tangible number, but you see that there is the potential for big savings, especially with subsequent children.
Better for the Environment:
Did you know that every disposable nappy that has EVER been made, still exists in landfill? They take approximately 500 years to break down (remembering, they haven't been around that long to test).
I often hear that "cloth is no better for the environment" because of how much water it uses. This is simply not true. Looking at raw materials used, disposables still come out as more resource heavy in the ways of land, water and energy used and the end waste to deal with. Check out the diagram from the Australian Nappy Association (referencing a University of Queensland study) for the breakdown.
Better for your Baby:
One word: Rashes.
Since switching to cloth, our family has experienced minimal rashes (and when we do they are often associated with teething, food intolerances, sickness etc.) With a good wash routine, your baby shouldn't get rashes. There are no nasties left in the fabric after being washed, the detergent is washed away (and I assume you are already using that detergent successfully for all of babies clothes anyway).
Bonus: Better for Mum:
Well it was better for me...
Having a new baby is hard. Everything is always about them, they need you every second of every day. When I first started cloth nappies (3 months of age), it was a great escape for me. It was something I could achieve and made me feel like I had achieved something. Spending 5-10 minutes every day putting on that load of washing and then either popping it back in the dry pail awaiting main wash day, popping it in the dryer or hanging the nappies out on the line (fresh air for bub). It was a big deal for me. If I did not "achieve" anything else, I could achieve that.
Prepping (stuffing/snapping) the clean nappies and displaying them in a pretty way is something that many Mums enjoy doing. As your baby gets older they want to be involved too and pick their own pretty nappies to wear.
There are many other benefits to cloth nappying but the last one I want to point out is the community. The community that has grown around the cloth nappy movement is something I have not experienced before. It is a beautiful, safe community full of positivity but is also real and raw. Like all mum groups where different styles and choices clash, there is drama occasionally but the vast majority of the time, it is women, helping women, giving support and guidance and love as we tackle this crazy Mum thing.
I have Drawn from industry studies and my own experiences to create this quick and simple breakdown of the benefits of using cloth nappies. Like any large group of people, there is alot of acronyms, jargon and the likes. I have tried to keep this as jargon free as possible. If you need clarification on any that has slipped in or just have general questions on how to start etc., please let me know in the comments or via email or Facebook messenger and I will happily explain it and then write an explanation and hyperlink it here for future people.
If you are new to all this and don't know where to start, shoot us a message and we will happily help you make your first choices. We don't currently have trial packs available as a standard option but are happy to put them together custom to your needs.
Credit where credit is due:
Clean Cloth Nappies
Cost Breakdown - https://cleanclothnappies.com/economics-of-cloth-vs-disposables/
Australian Nappy Association
Environment Impact - https://www.australiannappyassociation.org.au/are-cloth-nappies-as-bad-for-the-environment-as-disposable-nappies/