Be honest… what’s the first thing that springs to mind when someone mentions reusable nappies…? Soaking? Rinsing? Traditional terry nappies? Being stabbed with a safety pin? POO?! If so, then you are thinking exactly the same as I did, three years ago, when my friend asked me if I had considered using reusable nappies on my baby. After all, why would anyone want to wash pooey nappies when you can buy disposables?!
Then I got thinking about the number of disposable nappies we were using; six or seven nappies, at least a dozen disposable wipes, plus the disposable nappy bags, and that was in just one day. The rubbish was, quite literally, building up, despite the council swapping our bin for a larger one. So, I bit the bullet and contacted my local nappy library, the Worcestershire & Herefordshire Nappy Advisory Service (WHNAS) and booked in to borrow a kit…
My first thought was how different reusable nappies were in reality compared to my preconceptions. Long gone are the days of bulky terry nappies that need to be folded and covered with plastic pants (though these are still a cheap and efficient option if you do want to go down that route); modern reusable nappies are slim-line, brightly-coloured and take the same amount of time to put on as a disposable nappy. There is so much choice now within the reusable nappy market and a nappy library is a fantastic resource that enables you to trial lots of different types of reusable nappies to see which works best for your child and circumstances. If you are considering reusable nappies for your child(ren), then you can find your local nappy library here:
Nappy libraries are run by volunteers who share a passion and enthusiasm for reusable nappies; the volunteers provide this service in their free time, around families and jobs, and often using their own money to fund the kits themselves. When loaning out a kit, your volunteer will go through the nappies with you, explaining the different types of nappies and materials, as well as showing how the nappies go together and come apart for washing. They will also show you how to fit a reusable nappy correctly so you don’t get leaks, and explain how to wash reusable nappies so they will last. Volunteers will also be available to help trouble shoot any problems you have during your loan (and usually after too!)
Each nappy library is run slightly differently; for example, some are completely free and entirely reliant on donations from clients, whereas others charge a small fee that covers their running costs and keeping the kits up to date, and yet more are run with NCT support. In order to be part of the UK Nappy Network, libraries must be fully insured, which covers areas such as washing kits at 60 degrees between loans and Public Liability Insurance in case anyone injures themselves during a demo.
After borrowing a kit myself, I volunteered to help out my local nappy library, the WHNAS; we now have a network of ten volunteers across two counties, spreading the reusable nappy love. We have various roles within the WHNAS, including loaning out kits, doing demonstrations at baby groups, administration, buying and selling nappies to make new kits and keep old kits up to date and online support. If you already use reusable nappies and have a couple of hours free time a month, why not see if there is a role that you could fill for your local nappy library!