Real nappyIt’s real nappy week 2007. The Women’s Environmental Network are running a week long awareness campaign to promote real nappies.

Doing my bit, here are my own personal top five reasons for using real nappies:

  • They don’t create anything like as much waste. A family with one baby in paper nappies produces about twice as much rubbish as a family using cloth.
  • They are cheaper. You can save about £500 by using cloth nappies rather than paper ones. You can save even more by re-using nappies on a second or third baby.
  • They don’t have nasty super-absorber chemicals in them. Just clean cloth.
  • They are very, very cute. On teeny babies, the huge weeble bum is adorable, and as your child starts to toddle she will love picking out which nappy to wear, which cute little wrap, what bright colour Fuzzi. Lovely.
  • The smell. Paper nappies stink! Especially the chemical ones (the eco-paper-nappies don’t seem so bad) – Pampers in particular smell vile. Ugh.

There is another reason, not in my top five because it is rather more woolly and odd.

It seems to me that real nappies help you feel more in touch with your baby’s body and, ultimately, your own. This seems like a weird one, I know, but there’s something about dealing with cloth nappies which creates an intimacy wholly missing from paper nappy disposal. Perhaps a recognition that poo and wee are not so unutterably disgusting, that bodily waste is just so much organic matter – perhaps this helps to create a bodily oneness for which “hygienic” paper nappies do not allow. It makes it easier to pay attention to poo and wee as an indicator of health. It makes it much easier to deal with and contemplate other bodily secretions too.

It is sad to note that after this year, WEN has no further government funding for real nappy week – especially given the current focus on climate change and the increasingly urgent need for us all to find ways to reduce waste. If you feel that you can support the network in some way (join!), I know they would very much appreciate it. Click here for details of how.