Why are disposable nappies the norm?

Being a new parent is unpredictable. Trying to keep up with the changes your little one is making is tough. How many feeds should they now be having, are they getting enough sleep, is that noise healthy, is that rash normal. So many unknowns! But the one predictable thing is nappy changes. Lots of them. For probably the next two and half years or so…

A quick google image search of ’disposable nappy landfill’ is enough to see just what a problem the disposable nappy norm has become. Most kids will use about 6000 in their first few years of life. And when you read any article about how long it takes for them to decompose (somewhere between 250-500 years per nappy…still unknown as none that have been made have actually broken down… ) that is enough motivation to look at alternate options.

Disposable nappie landfill

Almost nine months into the whole having-a-baby thing and we have not added one nappy to that pile since returning home with our little human from the hospital. We made the decision to use modern cloth nappies instead. Funnily enough even in the educated and socially conscious network that my husband and I normally socialise we both did not know anyone in our generation who had successfully used alternate options to disposable nappies for their children. Using disposable nappies is practically a given. People don’t even talk about it as a choice, it is just what you do. You get given boxes for baby showers and free Huggies samples from the local council, the hospital, the birthing classes and the people you buy your pram from. Not once during the 9 months of pregnancy did anyone even so much as hand me a pamphlet about modern cloth nappies. Even my local maternal health nurse, who meets with hundreds of new mothers in inner Melbourne each year hadn’t seen a modern cloth nappy before. In one generation the norm around nappies has completely flipped – from folding terry towelling squares at home to buying disposables in bulk from the supermarket. That just illustrates what a great job those disposable nappy marketers have done, and why the cloth nappy guys need a bit of a helping hand. Hence – this blog post.

Modern Cloth Nappies

So modern cloth nappies hey… gone are the days of folding and pinning cotton terry squares, soaking in potent bleach and hot wash cycles. These guys are modern. They come in cool patterns, are made from bamboo fibres and washed with gentle eco-detergent in warm water every third day. Easy. You need around 24 of them for full time use and they will last right through to toilet training. We spent around $600 getting set up with top quality nappies before our baby was born, and since then have not spent anything. We use re-usable wipes too… which some people find a little much but to be honest if you are washing the nappies anyway it is easy.

So just like I did, my baby will be wearing the same 24 nappies over and over and over again for the next couple of years. And if we have another child they will use the same stash too. But sadly, she is the anomaly. The disposable nappy market is a behemoth. And cracking it is harder than it should be. I was so excited to see that the awesome guys over at thankyou are making that their next goal. To shake up the nappy industry and take on the nappy giants.

But for now, disposable nappies are the norm. If you, or someone you know is about to enter the baby arena why not try going cloth instead.

So why do you think disposable nappies are now the norm? Do you or would you use cloth nappies for your baby?

For all the detail on going cloth, check out my post – Modern Cloth Nappies 101. It goes through all the specific tips around cost, styles, brands, washing, storing and anything else I have learnt along the way and felt may be useful for those wanting to give it a crack too. Initially I just wrote it up as a document for friends and family who were all having babies in response to their requests around how to get the cloth nappy thing working. But as people continue to ask me for advice, I thought why not just post it as a blog instead. So read it here.

Modern Cloth Nappies

Modern cloth nappy kids.

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