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Starting to use cloth nappies is a marathon, not a sprint

Author: Laura Foster

Before my baby arrived, I decided that I wanted to try using reusable nappies. I’d been trying to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle, doing things like ordering organic vegetable boxes and setting up a subscription with recycled toilet paper brand Who Gives a Crap, and cloth nappies felt like a no-brainer as part of that.

I was very excited about the prospect and incredibly organised too; I contacted our local cloth nappy library months before my due date and booked a newborn nappy kit to try. In fact, I think it was the first serious thing that I did in preparing for my son’s arrival.

Before my due date, Clare from the nappy library brought my kit around and talked us through a dizzying array of nappies. There were all-in-ones, pockets, all-in-twos, wraps, boosters… my husband and I tried to take it all in, but it was SO MUCH to take on board.

I dutifully washed everything and put it away in anticipation for my baby’s arrival, hoping that I’d be able to get him into cloth as soon as possible after his birth. And then it all went slightly south.

We were lucky enough to have a beautiful homebirth, but then had to transfer into hospital because my baby had some minor health complications. We were stuck there for five days. On top of this, he also had severe tongue tie and couldn’t feed on me at all for the first week, until he had a procedure to sort it out.

This was the beginning of a really tough feeding journey that almost broke me mentally, and it took every ounce of my energy and resolution to get us on the right track when it came to breastfeeding. Trying to start using cloth nappies on my little one with all this going on was an impossibility.

And so it was that two months into having our library kit, Clare contacted me to arrange a collection, and I had to shamefacedly tell her that I hadn’t even tried using one of the nappies.

Thankfully, she explained that she also had birth to potty kits, so we switched over and had a refresher talk on the different types of nappies again.

When my son was 10 weeks old, I took a deep breath and threw us into experimenting with cloth nappies, and haven’t looked back. It took some trial and error, but it’s been a lot of fun, and I find it so satisfying thinking about all the disposable nappies I’ve saved from landfill.

I realised that there’s no point in dwelling on the disposables that we have used, we should just celebrate the ones that we haven’t.

Just because we couldn’t cloth from the off doesn’t mean that what we are doing is any less meaningful. So if your best laid cloth nappy plans haven’t come to fruition yet, it doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to jump in and start making a difference now too.

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