As an environmentally aware person, it horrifies me how much landfill waste I generate through nappies alone.
When my first child was a baby (over two decades ago) I used terry towelling nappies. I always loved my pile of fluffy white, freshly laundered, neatly folded nappies on their special shelf above my baby changing table. That was probably the only thing about it I loved.
I hated all the other bits that went with the nappies - the liners, the plastic pants that left sore red patches around my precious girl's thighs, the nappy pins that terrified me thinking that I was going to stab my baby, the sanitising solution in lidded buckets to keep the soiled nappies in until they were washed. They were difficult to put on too. The amount of times I thought I'd done a good job only to find that the whole thing had gone ridiculously saggy within minutes of wearing. And they leaked. They leaked something terrible. But disposable nappies were expensive and money was tight. I persevered.
As the years went by, the price of disposable nappies dropped and our disposable income increased. Subsequent babies were not subjected to the trial of the terry. However, environmental awareness was growing and the use of the disposable nappies carried a certain amount of guilt amongst parents who cared what sort of world their offspring would inherit. I joked that I had done my time with environmentally friendly nappies and had earned the right to take the disposable option.
When in my forties, I had my fifth and sixth babies after an eleven year gap, I was faced with the prospect of more years of nappy use.
It seemed that reusable nappies had progressed since my experience twenty years previously. Now they were shaped and fastened without the need for pins and special laundry services were available to take away the inconvenience of having to do your own washing. However, disposable nappies had also evolved. They were much more cost effective than they had ever been and there always seemed to be a supermarket special offer available. They also promised a dryness to baby's skin and leak proof measures even with the most active tots.
Despite my environmental misgivings, disposable nappies won the day. They do deliver on their promise of dryness but it is hard to ignore the full to overflowing wheelie bins I put out for my refuse collector fortnight after fortnight.
I was excited to be given the chance to try the reuseable nappy system known as Smartipants.
These seemed to offer many of the advantages of disposables but with the added bonus of being environmentally friendly.
They come in One Size Fits All with secure poppers to fit to your child's size. They are soft to the touch, neat and compact. An absorbent insert fits into an internal sleeve to absorb wetness whilst a suede cloth lining interfaces with baby's skin for optimum dryness.
The Smartipants come in a range of colours. I was given gender neutral Aqua Breeze to try with my 7 month baby boy and my Potty Training Resistant daughter.
I have already begun to use Smartipants with the baby. I am keeping a totally open mind and will post my verdict once I have used them for a few days.