WHEN I was pregnant my sister suggested using cloth nappies and immediately I had images of scrubbing large flannels in a big bucket while a baby screamed in the background.
Not for me.
But when my son was a few months old my eyes were opened to the world of cloth.
Gone are the days of real nappies being limited to a square of towelling, folded and pinned with ugly rubber pants over the top.
Now there are countless options and a world of brightly coloured, patterned and even personalised outers.
Swayed, I stocked up and set about using cloth part-time, choosing disposables for nursery, overnight and days away.
Although I only dipped my toe into the water, the difference in cost and waste was noticeable.
The community of ‘cloth bum mums’ is vast, thousands of people passionate about the environment, and seeing their babies with ‘fluffy bums’.
And many have used only cloth nappies, including lead volunteer with Dumfries Nappy Library Anna Robertson.
Anna has three boys and has used the same set of terry squares for all of them.
Ten years ago she worked with Dumfries and Galloway Council to set up a Real Nappy Project.
Following the birth of her third child, Seth, Anna supported mums attending the Mum2Mum drop-in by providing information and advice on using cloth nappies.
Along the way Dumfries Nappy Library (DNL) was born.
She said: “We have gained the knowledge and support of the volunteers we have and have been supported greatly by local charity Bump, Baby and Beyond.
“Together we have built up an extensive lending library and offer free advice, information and support to families across Dumfries and Galloway.”
They offer group talks, 1:1 sessions, a Facebook page and attend events to spread the love of real nappies.
For those wanting to get started the DNL offers the hire of full kits, mini kits and accessories from the library.
Laura Graham converted to cloth nappies after starting out with disposables with her daughter Lily.
She said: “I did not use cloth from the start as took us a while to get the knack of disposables.
“ But once I was feeling confident I wanted to try the cloth nappies, mainly for environmental reasons as I could not believe how much waste disposable nappies generate.
“Our bin was rapidly getting full.”
Laura favours traditional terry nappies with an attractive water-proof outer wrap.
She added: “They very rarely leak, are super soft, dry quickly, are the cheapest cloth nappies and are very adaptable to your babies needs.
“And they double up as changing towels or for moping up sick. “The primary emphasis for my nappy choice was no leaks.”
Real Nappy Week
This year’s national Real Nappy Week theme is celebrating change.
Parents-to-be and existing families are being encouraged to choose or switch to real nappies.
If each baby wore just one cloth nappy a day, throughout their time in nappies it would save three million disposable nappies going to landfill.
Locally, DNL is celebrating by raising awareness and running a competition with a box of cloth goodies up for sale. Nappy Natters will be at different local groups all next week, including at Locharbriggs Toddlers on Monday.
And on Saturday April 23 from 10 am to 2 pm they will be at the Bump, Baby and Beyond cafe at The Usual Place in Dumfries where they will host exhibitors providing information, support and demonstrations to families.
DUMFRIES and Galloway Council supports the use of cloth nappies and offers up to £30 cashback for the purchase of reusables.
The offer can be claimed once for each baby for reusable nappy products, including nappies, liners, wraps and more. For more information email [email protected]
Counting the costs
For every £1 spent on disposable nappies it costs the taxpayer approximately 10p to dispose of them.
Almost 4000 disposable nappies will be used by the time a child is potty trained, costing £760.
A further £250 is estimated to be spent on wipes.
A full kit of birth-to-potty nappies and a bundle of reusable wipes can be obtained for under £300, or you can build up a stash gradually with different brands that suit you.