A vast array of poo-related songs have been created in our house over the past two years, plus many re-writes of well-known songs with bum-related lyrics. A personal favourite of mine is the tune of Jingle Bells with the words “stinky bum, stinky bum, very stinky bum, oh what fun it is to do a great big stinky poo…” etc. And one of my all-time greatest parenting memories so far is singing alternative stinky bottom lyrics in harmony to the Thula Mama song ( a Zulu lullaby) with one of my very beloved mum friends.**
Anyway. I’m a bit late to the party on the whole sustainable/eco nappy thing. I always intended to go for reusable nappies (or “cloth bums”, as some people insist on calling them). But the truth is that I found the first few weeks and months of parenting so incredibly tough, for a variety of reasons, that I never managed it. I’m sure it’s not all that complicated to get a system set up for the reusable ones, but it just felt overwhelming to me and I could never quite get my head around it. If we have small person #2 (should we?), I am determined to crack it, although I do have some qualms about the impact of the additional laundry – yet more to be thought about here. I’m not sure it’s worth the financial outlay to make the change now for small person #1, especially as I think we’re quite close to potty training (what larks await us…!).
We did try out biodegradable nappies, but they cost a fortune, and leaked. We tried biodegradable nappy bags, but they also cost a fortune and seemed pointless if the nappy therein isn’t biodegradable.
We use Waterwipes, which are chemical free, and never flush them, but of course we now know that they contain plastic (80% polyester and 20% viscose, according to Friends of the Earth – this article looks like the final word on the subject of wet wipes, I haven’t read every word but will do eventually and maybe do a follow-up post if there’s anything interesting to say).
I’ve sort of justified it to myself on this by acknowledging that our black bin waste doesn’t end up in landfill. Our borough incinerates non-recyclable waste at an energy recovery facility. So this statement that I keep seeing that every single disposable nappy ever used is now in landfill isn’t actually true. But even so, no matter how clean these facilities purport to be, clearly they will have some negative environmental impact.
So anyway, enough excuses, let’s cut to the chase.
I did a wipe-free pooey nappy change yesterday and no one died. I used the front of the nappy to get rid of the worst (always do this anyway), then loo roll for the rest, then a damp flannel for final wipe and dry flannel for drying. The main hassle factor for me is having to do this on the floor in the bathroom to be near the loo, rather than upstairs on the changing table which I still use as my knees are still knackered post-pregnancy. But I think it’s probably worth the pain, so I’m up for making this a long-term switch and using up the Waterwipes stash while out and about. I think we will also save up for some Cheeky Wipes, for this purpose and also for post-meal carnage clear-up.
So I guess this very long post is aiming to show that these decisions at a household level are not totally straightforward, despite the #WaronPlastic rhetoric. But I think I’ve made the decision for us to ditch the wipes, and I’m seeing lots of other people making it too, which can only be a good thing for the planet.
(And it’s probably cheaper in the long run too, I will do the maths on this at some point, just for fun),
*John B, Blandwagon Poos – it’s so funny you might wet yourself, although you have to be pretty rad and cool to like drum n bass.
**Thula Mama is the brain-child of Helen Yeomans, a franchise of singing groups for mums with their pre-walking babies, running all over the UK and beyond. Lush acapella harmonies, coffee and cake – kept me sane in the early days for sure. Spotify playlist here, YouTube video here (just made me cry a little bit). Also CDs available, highly recommended for long car journeys, as well as the 3am shift.
P.S. I’m on Twitter, @TheEverydayRad1. I’m a bit lonely. If you want to see photos of my cabbage pasta and lentil ragu, and other random stuff I share, follow me!