Catching up with Alex Stedman
This week on the blog we are catching up with mum of 2, Alex Stedman... lifestyle editor and sustainability champion, to hear about her cloth nappy journey and why it was even better second time around!
When I first became pregnant in 2018, I never thought I’d use reusable nappies. I knew I’d breastfeed (primarily because it was cheaper!) but I didn’t really think about reusables until I had my baby and experienced so much waste and how many bins we were filling. I can’t remember the exact catalyst for starting the journey but when our baby was around 8 months we decided to give it a go. One of the first nappies we bought, funnily enough, was from Totsbots as I loved the story behind the brand and we went on to have a few in our collection - the easiest for us being the all-in-one versions. I think for most, the transition to being a new mum is daunting enough - loss of identity, sleepless nights, teething, feeding, sleep-training, leaps, colic - let alone thinking about helping the environment at the same time. All anyone wants is one night of uninterrupted sleep, so learning how to adapt to using a new nappy system is the last thing on some people’s minds.
I get it, which was why we probably didn’t start until we were on a full night’s sleep with Peggy. But looking back, I am so proud of how many nappies we saved from landfill. To put it into perspective, disposable nappies take roughly 500 years to decompose - scary, huh? Biodegradable ones, albeit better, still take 50 years. And, according to Wrap, a baby could use between 4,000-6,000 nappies by the time they’re potty trained. It accounts for 2-3% of all household waste.
When researching our nappy journey, I did find it hard at first as there are so many to choose from, I tried towelling (which I didn’t get on with but other mums I know swear by them!) but I wish someone had just said “start with the all-in-one style” as these have the same elements as the nappies we are used to - just use the buttons on the front to adjust the sizes and add a booster for extra absorbance and a liner to prevent stains.
I used to think that reusable nappies had to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach, I couldn’t possibly care about the planet if I didn’t solely use reusables, at all times. This couldn’t be further from the truth, yes the more you use the better but if you just buy one and see how you go, things will get so much easier for you! I think of the nappies like a pair of pants - just pop them on when you feel like it. Scared of cleaning poo? You have a baby right?! If you’ve avoided touching poo so far, then I congratulate you! But if this is putting you off, then put a reusable on after a poo, so the chances are slim (not impossible, mind!). We started by using them as the last nappy of the day, I used to hate putting a fresh nappy on at around 5pm as I knew it would only be for an hour or so before bath and bed, so it was the perfect time for a reusable.
I am often asked about washing. I haven’t found washing to be a problem for us, yes they can go in with clothes if just wet (wash separately if you have lots including soiled - but I rinse them first if this is the case) and we’re generally doing a wash every other day anyway (we have two small kids!) so no odour builds up around the house. We find they dry quickly, especially if you pull out all the fabrics to help them dry (and wash) as thoroughly as possible. A tip is to wash them before using, as this builds up their absorbancy and don’t use fabric softeners as this will hinder them.
Once we started using them pretty much full-time, our next hurdle was nursery. We were a bit concerned that they would find it difficult and a bit of a pain but actually, they ended up suggesting it! They were super helpful and knew exactly what to do - we just dropped off a bag of nappies in the morning and collected them in the wet bag at the end of the day.
And lastly…..how CUTE does my son look in his nappy? That little chunky bum is a signature cloth nappy look and I am here for it. I love how you can add real character to your baby’s nappy ‘wardrobe’ and the Frugi prints on these Totsbots reusables are extra sweet. The use of GOTS organic cotton and recycled plastic for the outerwear is a big plus for me too, as it is just as important to support brands that are sustainably creating clothes and caring for the environment at the same time using green supply chains, proving it is possible.
I have found our reusable nappy journey to be so much easier the second time round (not to mention cost and environmentally effective), my littlest has been wearing reusables for a couple of months now and I believe that it is slowly becoming more mainstream and the more we talk and shout about our great experiences, the more it will become the ‘norm’. I for one am truly happy with doing our bit for the environment and my two children will grow up knowing they did their bit, too.
Thanks so much Alex it's been fab hearing about your cloth nappy journey... here's to celebrating Reusable Nappy Week!