A letter to my family: Yes, I’m using reusable nappies. No, I’m not crazy.

To my family,

I know you think I’m mad for using reusable nappies. And I know it’s because you care. I understand that you’re worried about the extra work and the hygiene, and that you want the best for us. But please hear me out as I explain what I am doing. Because having young children isn’t always easy. Washing a few nappies doesn’t make it harder; but feeling like I’m on my own, that my family don’t support me - that makes it tough.

I understand that when I talk about reusable nappies, you think I’m letting myself in for soaking and boiling, for pins and folding. But nappies have changed. Reusables just aren’t like that any more. There’s no need for pins, or even folding. When they’re dirty, I’ll shove them in a bag until I’m ready to shove them in the washing machine. I’ll do an extra couple of washes a week.

It’s not hard

Reusables aren’t more work than disposables, they’re just different work. I won’t be emptying the bin every day. There’ll be no late night dashes to the 24 hour garage when I realise I’ve run out of disposables. I won’t be soaking poo-stained clothes all the time - because reusables are far better at holding in the poo than disposables. A couple of extra washes a week? Think about it, I have a baby. That’s nothing.

There are parents using reusables who have twins, who have seven children, who work full-time and who run their own businesses. These people wouldn’t be using reusables if they were too much work.

It’s not gross

Changing a nappy is never going to be the highlight of my day. But it’s what parents do. I’m going to be dealing with poo - and wee, and sick, and weetabix. Did you know that you’re meant to scrape a poo-ey disposable down the loo? Which makes sense because really, poo belongs in the loo. So if I’m doing that anyway, what’s the difference between a disposable and a reusable? And putting poo in the bin? When you think about it, that’s far more gross than putting it down the loo.

Yes, I’ll be putting the nappies in the washing machine after I’ve got the poo off. And that’s OK. Nurses wash their own uniforms, farmers wash their overalls. The point of the washing machine is to clean things. If nappies were so gross, you can be fairly sure that someone - the disposable manufacturers, the hysterical sections of the press, the NHS - would have realised by now. It’s only the last 40 years that we’ve even had disposables. It’s not like everyone over 40 was always ill because they had reusable nappies!

Money matters

There’s never going to be as much money to go round now that we have a baby. Reusable nappies will save me hundreds of pounds. Enough for an extra month’s maternity leave, enough to start saving for my baby’s future, enough to enjoy a holiday with my precious new family.

Yes, my baby’s bum will look bigger. Which really doesn’t matter. But it does matter that I will be able to look my grown-up child in the face and tell them honestly that I did what I could to protect the planet that they have to live on. That I didn’t send 5,000 nappies to landfill, where they will sit for 500 years. That I didn’t play a part in cutting down seven million trees a year, or using 10,000 barrels of oil, or wasting millions of gallons of water - just to make a nappy that I’ll throw away after a few hours.

That is why I am using reusable nappies. It is because I want the best for my baby; now and in the future. I would dearly love to do it with your blessing. I would dearly love to show you that they aren’t hard to put on; that they’re not extra work; that they’re soft and lovely and keep my baby dry. Thank you for reading this.

And I’m not so crazy after all, huh?



  • I used cloth nappies 28yrs ago for my son & it’s normal to use them, the cloth nappies now are just so much easier to put on, no making a kite or triangle & plastic pants & pins, they are beautiful and so easy to pop on a little wriggle one now, enjoy the experience of these new design’s, you won’t regret it

    Frances sumner
  • I run my own business. Reusable nappies save me time. Bung then in the machine. It would take me longer to go into town. I have sensitive skin. I work with my hands with disposables and wipes my hands fell to pieces Baby one and two had disposables. Baby 3 had flip reusable nappies. Couldn’t go back .They don’t leak unlike disposables and nicer on skin.

    Joanne Redpath
  • I agree reusable diapers are better, saves the planet more efficient use of resources, if managed well, hygienic issues are under control


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