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Reusable Diapers – What, Why, and How?

Less plastic and chemicals, faster potty training

This really isn’t of this age anymore, I think to myself as I empty the trash can. In just two days, we’ve accumulated a considerable pile of diapers and baby wipes. We’ve been staying over and I didn’t feel like bringing the cloth diapers, but maybe next time I’ll just do it. Carrying an extra bag, how bad is that?

Nowadays, the conscious person pays attention to their plastic use, it seems. Less single-use, less pre-packaged, and natural care products without microplastics. Going back to the old days, you could say, or perhaps just going back to contact with nature. Especially with children, I start to think more about the world we are leaving behind for them. Will they still see coral when they go diving, or just a soup of plastic? Will they ever experience a white Christmas, or is it too warm for that now?

Cloth diapers?

Babies need a large number of diapers. That’s not just a significant expense, week after week, but also a mountain of plastic waste. The alternative? Cloth diapers. Ew, isn’t that dirty? And isn’t it such a hassle? I hear you thinking. But it’s actually not that bad! And they come in very cute prints, too. If you start looking for more information, you’ll find them in all sorts and sizes. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees myself. With/without liners, diaper covers or not, snaps or Velcro, and how does it work exactly? Here’s a brief overview of the What, Why, and How of cloth diapers. In doubt? Just order a trial kit .

Why would you choose cloth?

  • It’s better for the environment. One child uses about 6000 diapers. Did you know that a disposable diaper needs 500 years to decompose? Besides, the production of a disposable diaper uses so much water that you still save water with cloth diapers (despite all the washing you have to do)!
  • No chemicals. In disposable diapers, the substance Sodium Polyacrylate ensures the diaper stays dry, despite your child having peed or pooped. This substance has not been allowed in tampons since 1985, but is still used in diapers and thus comes into contact with your baby’s sensitive skin…
  • It helps your child get potty trained earlier. Disposable diapers absorb so much moisture (through chemicals) that your child doesn’t feel when they have peed. As a result, children who wear cloth diapers tend to become potty trained a lot faster. Did you know that in the 1950s, 95% of children were potty trained by the age of 18 months, whereas now it’s only 10%? And, you guessed it, in the 1950s there were no disposable diapers.
  • Soft for the buttocks. Cloth diapers contain no chemicals and that’s a lot better for your child’s sensitive skin. The chance of diaper rash is significantly smaller with cloth diapers.
  • You save money. Okay, the initial investment is larger (you’ll quickly spend around 500-600 euros in one go), but in the long run, you also save about 1000 euros! That even increases if you use the diapers for a second or third child. Or when you buy the diapers second-hand or sell them yourself.
  • What I’ve noticed myself is that I sometimes have leaks at the top with a disposable diaper (where I have to put clean clothes on the baby again). With Happy Naps, this has hardly ever happened to me.

What exactly are cloth diapers and how do you use them?

It will not surprise you, cloth diapers are; diapers that you can put in the wash! Now there are all kinds of different types. I use the diapers from Happy Naps, because they seem the most practical to me and are simple to use (they resemble disposable diapers the most). They are so-called all-in-one diapers. Suitable from newborn to toddler because you can keep adjusting them with snap buttons. So, you don’t need to buy a different size for the first weeks, but use the same diapers all the time. Inside the diaper, you put an insert that absorbs moisture and is available in different sizes to grow with your child. In the diaper, you can then add a bamboo liner that catches a lot of the poop, which you can throw directly into the trash.

How do I use the diaper? I lay the diaper open, place a bamboo sheet in it, and fold the diaper around my baby’s bum. That simple? Yes, actually no different than a disposable diaper.

Baby peed or pooped? I throw the bamboo sheet in the trash, and I put the insert together with the diaper in the laundry bag. I usually rinse off the poop stains with some water. You don’t have to do this, you can also run a pre-wash by rinsing everything in the washing machine.

When the diapers and inserts are washed, I let the diapers dry on a rack. The inserts go in the dryer or I let them dry over the heater. Then fold the inserts into the diapers and fold them up. Yes, so that’s an extra little job you don’t have with disposable diapers. But honestly, I quite enjoy this task and I’m doing the laundry now that the baby is here anyway…

Handy to know before you start

  • The inserts of new cloth diapers need to be soaked in water overnight a few times and then washed before you use them for the first time. Just like new tea towels, they can absorb moisture much better after that process.
  • Make it easy on yourself by purchasing a starter kit/bundle, then you have everything you need at once. Tip: a nice gift to ask for (a contribution towards) for your baby shower/ mama blessing.
  • A cloth diaper is thicker than a disposable diaper which is why I find myself switching to a larger size leggings/pants for my baby a bit quicker.
  • Meconium, the first poop of your baby, is black, sticky, and difficult to wash out of the diapers. That’s why I personally used eco disposable diapers for the first few days of the postpartum week.

My own experience

Am I really saving money? I’m not sure, the disposable diapers seem to be on sale all the time. But I find it important that I’m saving the environment with this, exposing my baby to fewer chemicals, and using less plastic.

Is it a lot of effort? No, not really. I actually find them just as easy to use as disposable diapers. Although I do see it as a drawback that you end up carrying a bag of dirty diapers when you’re out and about, so then I occasionally use disposable diapers. I actually find the extra washing and folding of the diapers to be a nice little chore and it’s done quickly.

Difficult to start? I became a bit despondent and confused when I discovered that there are so many different types of cloth diapers. Afraid of making the wrong choice and then ending up with a whole bunch of not so nice diapers. Happy Naps really made that very easy. Clear, detailed explanations (including in their ebook) and when I did have a question, I got a very quick response via a WhatsApp message. The diapers are nice and have cute prints.

I am very happy that I made this choice and I also plan to continue using the cloth diapers. Because honestly, every week such a mountain of disposable diapers and plastic, that’s just not in tune with our times anymore?

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