Real Nappy Week 2018 – post 6

If you’re looking for offers, sorry, our Special Bundles are such good value – you get over £70 worth of nappy kit for £54.15 – I’m afraid we can offer no better deal this week.  At Nappy Ever After, if you want to try out real nappies, every week is Real Nappy Week!

But we have a special message for you that we’ve pinched from Tracey Emin:

“I want my time with you”

Which ever nappy you use, when you have time, take the opportunity to connect with your baby/toddler at nappy change time.  There are those who tell us nappy changing should be quick and efficient, the quicker the better.  But changing a nappy is a time to connect with your baby and spend precious time together.  Of course, life means some changes have to be quick and efficient but you choose when, don’t let them tell you that’s the way nappy changing should be.  And baby brain guru, Suzanne Zeedyk illustrates why.  This gorgeous short film shows a baby less than 6 weeks old taking the opportunity to smile at mummy during a nappy change.

This post is the final one of a six part series of posts leading up to Real Nappy Week 2018 (23-29 April.) Nappy Ever After, a not-for-profit real nappy social enterprise is 15 years old this year. Working in partnership with local authorities and parents, we have tested out the market for washable nappies in depth, through offering a local nappy laundry service and selling real nappies face-to-face. What we know is that recovering the culture of reusable nappies is slow, but a significant level of disposable nappy waste is reduced when a culture of real nappies thrives in local areas.

 

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Real Nappy Week 2018 – post 5

When disposable nappies first entered the market they were not popular.  It is SAPs (superabsorbent polyacrylate) that revolutionised single-use nappies.  SAPs are the superabsorbent gel micro plastic pellets that you can see on your baby’s skin when you leave a disposable on for too long.

Before SAPs, single-use nappies were inferior in performance to cloth nappies.  Basically the paper pulp of the nappy started disintegrating on baby’s bottom as soon as it started to get damp.

SAPs have incredible absorbency absorbing and holding a huge amount of liquid, relative to their size. SAPs can hold between 50 and 500 times their own weight, depending on the liquid they’re absorbing. In contrast, cotton and fluff pulp hold only 20 times their own weight.

So SAPs mean you can change your baby less frequently than you would change a baby wearing a cloth nappy.  However, SAPs are the problem when it comes to nappy waste.  They are basically urine saturated plastic, so when incinerated, because they are damp, they actually use energy in the burning process.  ‘Recycling’ them is a water and energy wasting business.  In landfill they absorb even more water.  SAPs are the part of the nappy that prevents the composting of disposable nappies.

If we were serious about the environmental impact of disposable nappies we would ban SAPs from nappies.  They could then be collected and composted quite easily.  But then, disposable nappies wouldn’t have their USP and cloth nappies and SAP nappies would have a level playing field.

The advantage of this level playing field would be that parents/carers would get used to changing baby every 3-4 hours and more people would find cloth nappies have adequate absorbency.  Another advantage would be that it’s likely that children would come out of nappies earlier because just leaving toddlers in nappies with infrequent changes tends to mean parents/carers tend to miss the ‘windows of opportunity’ of potty training and then making the transition to toileting independence bears the risk of becoming a trauma for parent and child.

There is a ‘window of opportunity’ NOW in the UK to reduce plastic waste.  This is the time to talk about banning SAPs from nappies.  If the UK government were to say they will be banned in 10 years time, this gives the disposable nappy industry time to adjust and gives a positive signal that cloth nappies are a good alternative.

At Nappy Ever After we want parents to know there is an alternative to single-use nappies.  There has been much debate about the environmental advantage of cloth nappies over single-use nappies, due to the use of water, detergent and energy used to wash nappies.  However what’s clear is that there is an undeniable environmental advantage to children coming out of nappies at the earliest opportunity.  Toddlers and parents also benefit from a child gaining toileting independence.

But another advantage is that washing nappies puts you in touch with a community of people who talk about doing the laundry in the most eco-friendly way, we also talk about children gaining toileting independence through play, we also engage with issues around fast fashion, reuse and repair, buying and appreciating high quality second-hand clothing and toys.  We also talk about composting and recycling.  It’s about helping parents become less dependent on single-use products and more resourceful.  As we parents are the ones raising the next generation, that seems like the most important reason for putting people in touch with their local reusable nappy supplier!

This is post five of a six part series leading up to Real Nappy Week 2018 (23-29 April.)  Nappy Ever After, a not-for-profit real nappy social enterprise is 15 years old this year. Working in partnership with local authorities and parents, we have tested out the market for washable nappies in depth, through offering a local nappy laundry service and selling real nappies face-to-face. What we know is that recovering the culture of reusable nappies is slow, but a significant level of disposable nappy waste is reduced when a culture of real nappies thrives in local areas.

 

Real Nappy Week 2018 – post 4

Nappy Ever After’s shop is open every Tuesday from 2-6pm, just show up, no booking necessary.  We also run a real nappy workshop one Saturday a month.  Check our website to book a place.  Our address is 81 Murray Grove, N1 7QJ.

Our shop is a 7 minutes walk from Old Street stations or 5 mins walk from bus stops on City Road and New North Road.  You can also reach us via Regent’s Canal.  Leave the tow path at Shepherdess Bridge.

We are the only place in London where you can see, touch and talk about washable nappies every week.  Many people these days are happy to buy on the internet but we are here for you if you want to see before you buy.  Babies are welcome!  You can try on a nappy to test out the size and fit.image

Nappy Ever After stocks all the major brands: BambinoMio, bumGenius, gDiapers, Bummis, Disana, Motherease and more.  We want to make real nappies simple.  Our trial packs allow you to start out at a low cost and build up your nappy stash based on your experience.  Choosing real nappies is much less stressful and risky than buying a pushchair as your investment can be spread out over time, based on what works best for you and your baby.

Don’t wait for Real Nappy Week to buy our £54.15 trial pack.  It is worth £70 and this offer is available all year round!  Real Nappies for London vouchers accepted.

We also offer a nappy laundry service, a weekly delivery of soft, sterile, cotton nappies.  We take away the used nappies to be washed and used again.  To be truly sustainable we do all our deliveries with an electric freight bike which limits our geographical reach.  If you are interested please check our website to see if we cover your area.

 

This post is part four of a six part series of posts leading up to Real Nappy Week 2018 (23-29 April.) Nappy Ever After, a not-for-profit real nappy social enterprise is 15 years old this year. Working in partnership with local authorities and parents, we have tested out the market for washable nappies in depth, through offering a local nappy laundry service and selling real nappies face-to-face. What we know is that recovering the culture of reusable nappies is slow, but a significant level of disposable nappy waste is reduced when a culture of real nappies thrives in local areas.

Real Nappy Week 2018 – post 3

If you think about it, it’s not surprising that most people use disposable nappies.  From the moment your baby is born, indeed even before your baby is born disposable nappies are established as the norm by our most trusted sources of advice and information: midwives.  Either expectant parents are given a hospital bag list that has ‘disposable nappies’ on it or disposable nappies are supplied on the ward.   Parents do not take the nappy waste home with them.  The hospital or birth centre procures, at a cost, clinical waste disposal services.

There is procurement legislation in the UK that says that ‘all establishments’  (and this includes hospitals and birth centres) should procure according to the waste hierarchy: preventing waste is at the top.  Currently most hospitals are not following this legislation and procuring disposal of nappy waste services instead of switching their establishment to reusable nappies.

Cloth nappies could  be used on London maternity wards and washed at the hospital laundry or sent out to a local laundry that deals with incontinence wear.  Hospital staff nurseries could be saving money, reducing waste and changing the idea that disposable nappies are normal by using cloth nappies.

If you would like to find out more about using cloth nappies on your maternity ward or in the hospital staff nursery please get in touch.  Indeed, Nappy Ever After has a huge stash of prem cotton nappies that used to be used on hospital wards and could be put back to use.

 

This is post three of a six part series leading up to Real Nappy Week 2018 (23-29 April.)  Nappy Ever After, a not-for-profit real nappy social enterprise is 15 years old this year. Working in partnership with local authorities and parents, we have tested out the market for washable nappies in depth, through offering a local nappy laundry service and selling real nappies face-to-face. What we know is that recovering the culture of reusable nappies is slow, but a significant level of disposable nappy waste is reduced when a culture of real nappies thrives in local areas.

Real Nappy Week 2018 – post 2

Three years ago I watched a report on Channel 4 News about child poverty.  I was shocked to hear a Stoke primary school teacher say that 35% of her September reception children had arrived at school in nappies.   Let that sink in, as they say.

A while later, I was at a health conference and met a Danish IT consultant (who uses big data to improve health outcomes.) His response, when I told him that up to a third of children starting school in England may still be wearing nappies, indicated no shock or surprise. “It’s a UK thing right?” he said. “That wouldn’t happen in Denmark. We would find out this is happening and we would spend money on educating the parents. In the UK, you don’t spend money.”

What’s clear is that many children are toilet training later. Schools are installing nappy changing areas.   Children’s education is being disrupted by it. It should concern all of us that reception teachers are spending time NOT teaching because 1 in 3 children in the class are not able to take themselves to the toilet.

Public Health England has noticed this problem. It has made toileting independence one of the ten school readiness indicators Foundation Years has also noticed. Its document, supported by the Department of Education: “What to expect, when?” tells parents your child will tell you s/he needs the potty or to go to the toilet at 16-26 months.

What’s this got to do with Nappy Ever After?   We want to help people who want to use washable nappies.  In so doing, we help reduce London’s nappy waste. We run a nappy laundry service and give expectant/new parents the opportunity to see nappies before they buy.  If a household uses them, that’s one tonne less household refuse to collect and landfill or incinerate per baby.

However even if we reduce nappy waste through encouraging more people to use washable nappies, nappy waste will not go down if an ever increasing number of children are wearing nappies for longer and longer – for no medical reason.

London spends £20 million per year on the collection and disposal of nappy waste. We want to reduce this cost. We can think of better ways to spend £20 million. We need more parents and carers to receive good up-to-date information about potty training. No one wants to be changing nappies of a child who is perfectly capable and happy to take her/himself to the toilet.  Let’s do it!

 

This post is part two of a six part series of posts leading up to Real Nappy Week 2018 (23-29 April.) Nappy Ever After, a not-for-profit real nappy social enterprise is 15 years old this year. Working in partnership with local authorities and parents, we have tested out the market for washable nappies in depth, through offering a local nappy laundry service and selling real nappies face-to-face. What we know is that recovering the culture of reusable nappies is slow, but a significant level of disposable nappy waste is reduced when a culture of real nappies thrives in local areas.

Real Nappy Week 2018 (23-29 April)

This post is part one of a six part series of posts leading up to Real Nappy Week 2018 (23-29 April.) Nappy Ever After, a not-for-profit real nappy social enterprise is 15 years old this year. Working in partnership with local authorities and parents, we have tested out the market for washable nappies in depth, through offering a local nappy laundry service and selling real nappies face-to-face. What we know is that recovering the culture of reusable nappies is slow, but a significant level of disposable nappy waste is reduced when a culture of real nappies thrives in local areas.

This Real Nappy Week  I am making a plea: we need more people with the intention to reduce disposable nappy waste.  And where do I get this idea of intention?  Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

According to the news this morning, today is an  historic day.  Wigan, a second-league club knocked the invincible Manchester City out of the FA Cup.  City manager Pep Guardiola defends his players “It’s the intention that matters, not the result.”

Let’s get out there and spread these encouraging words from someone who knows about leadership.  We all need the intention to reduce nappy waste if we’re going to make it happen.  Sadly, this didn’t work for Man City last night but this is not about winning today, reducing nappy waste is a long game!  And Man City will win the league.

 

How to wash cloth nappies

Time has revealed there is not ONE way to wash nappies.  You work it out as you go along.  But here are some general guidelines to help you start out:

Wash nappies before use to make them absorbent.  Once dry pour some water on to the nappy.  If it absorbs the nappy is ready for use.  If it runs off the surface it isn’t!

If you buy pre-loved nappies, wash before use without detergent/laundry soap.  To ensure bacteria are killed either wash at 90 degrees (check label, only nappies such as terries, muslins, cotton prefolds can be washed at this temperature) or use a sanitiser such as MioFresh or Napisan.

Use liners to catch most of the poo.  Bin them, don’t flush them. Then most of your nappies are simply damp.

Store nappies in a bucket with a lid until you have a machine drum’s worth of nappies.  Do not soak.

To get nappies clean you need:

  • Lots of water (sounds obvious but HE machines tend not to use much)
  • soap (but not too much, follow the instructions)
  • biological or non-biological?  You probably already know whether or not biological works for you.  The important thing is for enzymes to work they need a temperature of 40 degrees
  • agitation (don’t over or underfill machine – look at laundry to see laundry is being agitated)
  • to kill harmful bacteria use either heat (60 degrees wash) or sanitiser such as MioFresh or Napisan
  • no fabric softener – it reduces absorbency of the nappy
  • in London we have hard water.  You may need to use a detergent that cleans well in hard water such as the Hard Core formula of Rockin’ Green
  • line dry if possible.  Sunshine is magic: it makes stains disappear.

Modern High Efficiency (HE) machines use less water.  The simple way to overcome the lack of water in your washing machine is to do a pre-rinse cycle, then a wash cycle with detergent.  This may seem like a lot of water but just remember, flushing the toilet after every pee and long showers are a waste of water.  Getting nappies clean isn’t.  Also, remember the production of disposable nappies uses a lot of water too.  Plus when disposable nappies are incinerated they are heavy with urine/water – so it’s okay to do a pre-wash.

Modern fabrics, such as microfibre and bamboo have a stem like structure.  This makes  them more absorbent than woven fabrics but with a catch: they are difficult to get clean.  Dirt can accumulate deep inside the fabric.  At Nappy Ever After we still sell terry, muslin and 100% cotton prefolds because they are easy to clean.  The benefit is also that you can wash at 90 degrees if necessary to zap bacteria.  Two part nappies, where you can wash the absorbent part and the waterproof wrap separately (if necessary) are still popular options.

When nappies come out of machine, smell them.  If they don’t smell clean they probably aren’t.  If they smell of mould your washing machine needs a clean (run wash cycle at 90 degrees with a little detergent and no laundry in it.)   If they smell of detergent, you need to do an extra rinse.  If they smell of ammonia you need to read this.

As I said at the start, you learn as you go along.  Washing nappies is great preparation for parenting.  You need to keep observing because things change, teething or weaning, for example may make pee stronger and require a slight adaptation to your normal laundry routine.  Enjoy the challenge!  Using washable nappies gives you a great feeling.