WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING DISPOSABLE NAPPIES
There are many different factors that parents take into consideration when choosing what’s right for their baby and that includes nappies. For some it may be cost, for others it may be environmental factors. In fact, it is thought that up to 36% of parents are aware of the environmental strain that disposable nappies have on landfill and the environment. This can be a great motivator to make a tangible lifestyle change when becoming a parent.
Despite this, trends show that reusable nappies have not caught on as well as other popular reusable products. Regardless of whether this is due to a fear of the unknown or lack of information surrounding these products, disposables still seem to be the hot ticket.
This choice, just like any other decision you make, is going to be met with opinions and interjections. Just as with the debate concerning disposable vs reusable sanitary products, your choice should ultimately be one that you feel you can stick to and that is most beneficial to your lifestyle.
But if you need a little encouragement one way or the other, here are some factors that could alter your decision as to what you choose to purchase and use regularly.
Let’s face it, regardless of the downsides, the convenience of any disposable product cannot be overstated, whether it’s nappies or coffee cups. When it comes to the former, it’s not only your rare trips outside of the comfort of your home that become less stressful; even changing a disposable nappy at home is easier when you can simply throw everything away in an instant.
While cloth nappies are coming back into fashion, especially for their eco-friendly benefits, many parents will not be used to this seemingly antiquated method. It might require research and practice, which may feel like an unnecessary burden to new parents that have enough to worry about already. That being said, reusable nappies, just like reusable sanitary towels, are becoming increasingly user-friendly; no more figuring out where the safety pin goes as these days nappies often have handy velcro fastenings or closely resemble their disposable counterparts to help parents make that tricky transition.
In the end, however, the real test of convenience will come when you are out and about and in desperate need of a nappy change there and then. Opting exclusively for reusables may mean storing and carrying a soiled nappy for hours if you are caught out at a restaurant or public place – and let’s face it, the likelihood is, you will be. While of course, many companies provide a sealable bag to help with this inconvenience, it’s just not the same as ridding yourself of the waste there and then in a dedicated nappy disposal bin which can be found in every baby changing facility. The only thing that will save a reusable nappy is a washing machine, and that may be in short supply when you’re out of the house.
As important as convenience is when it comes to parenting, some parents will find that cost outweighs all the convenience in the world. In the long run, reusable nappies are simply the more cost-effective option. It is thought that before a baby is potty trained, they will go through, on average, 4,000 nappies when taking into account disposables.
This means that within about two and a half years, your disposable nappy costs could be around £1,875. Reusables, on the other hand, even with laundry costs, should only set you back about £400. This cost may be brought down even further if, for example, you choose to buy second-hand nappies or even sell your own nappies once your baby has out-grown them and you know you don’t want any more children.
Unfortunately, the significant discount in the long term doesn’t do much to help with the larger start-up cost to purchase the amount of nappies you will need. For low-income families, larger startup costs simply aren’t possible even when the overall savings over the span of several years are significant. After all, when there are already so many initial startup costs to having a baby such as beds, clothes, and other essential items, it’s understandable that many parents will opt for the disposable or pay-as-you-go option that reduces that burden early on.
The two words that no parent wants to deal with: nappy rash. It may seem like common sense to think that just by using a reusable nappy, your child is less likely to have skin irritation or even better, will never get nappy rash at all. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Cloth nappies can certainly reduce the risk of nappy rash to a certain extent due to their lack of plastic or chemicals, but they can only do so much on their own. Contrary to popular belief, nappy rash usually occurs because a baby is being changed too infrequently, whether they are wearing a disposable or cloth nappy. There is an argument to be made for parents being more attuned to when their baby needs changing when they are using reusable nappies, but this is not always a guarantee.
Aside from nappy rash, your baby can suffer from a variety of skin-related conditions that have nothing to do with the kind of nappy they wear. For example, sweat build-up could cause rashes or irritation to appear. And even though disposable nappies carry the risk of irritating your baby with the plastics and chemicals found in them, reusable nappies can also have traces of detergent after being washed. Failure to wash them properly or at a hot enough temperature can also lead to bacteria build-up that can cause irritation.
Whether you are a disposable disciple or a reusable devotee or enjoy a mixture of both, the most important thing to take into consideration is that it works for you and your family.
Of course, if you choose to devote yourself to disposables, then it is crucial that you always dispose of your waste in the appropriate nappy disposal bin when in public, rather than in a general waste bin or sanitary bin. Even if a reusable lifestyle isn’t possible for you and your family, environmental waste must always be a consideration for everyone when throwing away disposable products.
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