Thursday, 12 April 2018

Next Real Nappy Meet on Friday 20th April and Real Nappy Week

*** Please note change of location for the event on Friday 20th, below ***
Happy Spring everyone!

Among other delights, Spring brings us Real Nappy Week and lots of events across London. If you're thinking of switching to real nappies, or want some advice on those you use, why not take advantage of this week to find out what you need to know and try them out?

Here's what Real Nappies for London has to say:

It’s Real Nappy Week 2018! Let’s #MakeClothMainstream #RNW2018
Every year in April, the reusable nappy industry celebrates Real Nappy Week. This year it will be happen across the UK from Monday 23rd April to Sunday 29th April 2018. It’s all about raising awareness of the benefits reusable nappies has on:
  • Our environment – by using reusable nappies, parents will reduce 8 million single-use plastic nappies ending up in landfill and incineration a day in England.
  • Your pocket – save up to £1,000 by switching to reusable nappies.
  • Your baby – breathable soft natural fabrics, which are comfortable and gentle on your baby’s skin.
On Friday 19th April I'll be hosting a Real Nappies info table at Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green (park next to the Museum of Childhood).

I will be there at least 10.30-11.30 a.m., longer if my kids are happy to keep playing.

Please note, due to me mixing up dates, the East London Sling meet isn't happening at the same time as it took place today (Thursday). Clearly I STILL have baby brain.

Here's a calendar of other upcoming events from Real Nappies for London, including Real Nappy Week. For example there's a Nappuccino (free demo and advice) in Hackney Library on Saturday 20th April.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Where to buy reusable nappies

There are lots of places to buy reusable nappies. Here's a quick overview.

If you're buying reusable nappies for the first time, there is a lot of choice, which can seem overwhelming. Here are some tips:

  • Don't buy a whole stash of nappies until you know they work for you. Different designs can fit different babies better, be quicker to use, and absorbency and drying times vary. The best thing to do is to try out a few different ones before you invest.
  • Remember you can buy second hand. This may seem weird if you're unused to reusable nappies but they are perfectly clean when washed, and are built to be - uh - reused! on more than one child.
  • Don't forget that some boroughs (including Hackney and Waltham Forest, but no longer Tower Hamlets) offer vouchers towards the cost of new nappies which are ideal for buying a trial set - check if your borough does this here.

Buying newIf you know what you are looking for, you may want to buy first hand. Also, if you are hoping to use them on more than one child, it might make sense to do this, as although they should be long-lived, nappies don't last forever.

Bear in mind that popper fastenings tend to last longer than velcro, which loses its stickiness eventually (I actually converted my velcro nappies to popper fastenings to use them on my second child).

Although they may seem expensive, as you have to buy them upfront, reusable nappies will save you money (£500-£1000) compared to the roughly 3000 disposables you would otherwise have to buy every year.

Here's a summary of nappy suppliers from Real Nappies for London.

The most local supplier in East London is Nappy Ever After, near Old Street.

There are lots of online suppliers, who will often also be happy to provide advice to help you choose nappies that work for you. For example, The Nappy Lady has a questionnaire to help you decide which nappies will suit your requirements and is very helpful over the phone. Juliet from The Washable Nappy Company runs free nappy demos around London and also sells trial packs designed for people using their borough nappy voucher to try cloth nappies for the first time.

Buying or exchanging Second Hand

I recently wanted a set of nappies that work more like disposables than my main two-part system, for my youngest to use on his days at nursery. I bought a set of 10 Bumgenius nappies that would have sold at £17 new, for £4 each from The Nappy Lady buying and selling group on Facebook. They are in perfect condition.

Real nappies are sold wherever you would get other stuff second hand, for example Ebay and Facebook - where there are lots of real-nappy related groups.

Because they are made to last, buying second hand is a great option and can be a good way to try out different brands or styles before you buy a whole set.

Do make sure you find out the quality of the nappies - ask about or examine for any wear and tear, how soft they are (some fabrics such as bamboo can harden over years of washing) and particularly if the fastenings are still secure. Obviously all of the usual cautions about buying second hand and online apply.

You can also pick up or pass on nappies for free at exchange events like the Hackney Real Nappy Networks', where you can also get other baby stuff. See here for their events diary - their next Give and Take is on 25th April.

NCT nearly new sales are another place you may get cheap cloth nappies second hand.
Here's a summary of where to buy second hand from Real Nappies for London.

Nappy Laundry ServicesYou can also use a service which rents you out a starter kit and then picks up your dirty nappies each week and delivers clean ones. In London these are offered by Nappy Ever After and Number One for Nappies.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Washable wipes and solution recipes

I've been asked about solutions to use with washable wipes. Here's a rundown.

1. Use water!
These days, all I do is carry a bunch of dry cloth wipes in my bag at all times and either run them under the tap (for a nappy change) or pour some water onto them from my water bottle to give their hands and faces a quick clean when out and about.

2. Make your own wipe solution
But in keener days with first baby I did make my own wipe solution and this was my favourite.

Chamomile is a natural skin soother and good for nappy rash.

1. Make up cup of chamomile tea - leave it to brew for 5 minutes.
2. Add a tablespoon of organic sunflower oil or almond oil.
3. Add a few drops (max 1 teaspoon) of Dr Bronner's Baby Mild Unscented castile soap.
4. Pour into containers of your choice. I used to keep one spray bottle in my bag and the other in the bathroom.
5. Replace the solution every few days to keep it fresh.

This is based on a recipe from the Nappy Lady, who has a selection of simple recipes, here.

There are advantages to carrying wipes dry, rather than pre-soaked.
1. Less faff - you don't have to keep them in a waterproof container, and they don't go mouldy if you forget about them for a few days.
2. It can be useful to have dry wipes to hand - both my children are scared of hand-driers in public loos, so I always use a wipe as a mini towel. Saving a little bit of carbon at the same time :)

However, you can have the best of both worlds if you make up some wipe solution in a spray bottle and carry it alongside your wipes. Solution is better at cleaning off sticky newborn poo!

3. Pre-soaked wipes
You can also pre-soak your wipes and carry them ready to use in a waterproof bag or in a wipes box at home. This makes them more like the disposable wet wipes.

There are even systems you can buy that do this - I tried out this one from Cheeky Wipes because they kindly sent me a trial kit to use in nappy demos. They suggest using a solution of warm water and a few drops of the 'baby friendly' essential oil they provide (Tea Tree, or Chamomile and Lavender).

My verdict:

  • It can be very useful to have pre-soaked wipes around the house, as they are so quick to use.
  • It's *really* useful to have a container in the kitchen for the used wipes with a laundry net in it, ready to throw in the wash. However, I don't think it adds anything to soak the dirty wipes as recommended by Cheeky Wipes. No-one soaks nappies any more, so why wipes?
  • I don't find pre-soaked wipes at all necessary for nappy changes, where it's just as easy to use tap water or a bottle of spray.
  • The solution with essential oil smells *lovely*, which is great for me but I think actually dried out the skin a bit on my older child's face.
  • If you want a set up that feels more like disposable wipes to use, try pre-soaked wipes.

So, I will go back to running wipes under the tap rather than pre-soaking most of the time. Sometimes (e.g. for my kids' birthday party) I do think it's great to have a stash of pre-soaked wipes to hand that everyone can use.

As for the lovely essential oils, I'll stick to adding those to my hand soaps and homemade cleaning products. More on these in another post, if you're interested.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Upcoming events in Tower Hamlets

Want to find out more about 'real' (cloth or reusable) nappies, or other sustainable stuff to use with your family?

Want to save money and help the environment?

Here are some upcoming events.  You can see samples, ask questions and share tips.

I'm a volunteer, so nothing is for sale but I can certainly help you find out where to buy what you need (or get it for free!).

Friday 9th March, Real Nappies at the East London Sling Meet, 9.30-12.30, The Cafe at St Paul's, St Paul's Churchyard, EC4M 8 London

Friday 23rd March, Real Nappies at Stepney City Farm cafe, 10-12.
Combine it with some Frog Prince musical fun if you've a little one - more info here.

Real nappies these days are super easy to use, come in many brilliant colours and designs, and really do cost you and the planet a lot less.

Even if you don't want to use cloth nappies (or you already do!) you might like to see samples of other sustainable alternatives to throwaway plastics, like cloth wipes, reusable swim nappies and eco-friendly cleaning products.

If you can't make one of these dates, you can drop me an email with any questions and I can put you on the mailing list for future events.

Looking forward to meeting you soon!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Autumn update

It's been a while... Sorry for the internet silence. Being back at work with 2 kids is taking its toll. However, I'm hoping to get a few events up and running again soon and will post as soon as I do.

In the meantime, here's an update.

For anyone considering using real nappies:
1. Tower Hamlets Council has discontinued the cloth nappy voucher as part of their budget cuts. Obviously I think this is a real shame and a false economy. But this is the situation. 

2. However, there are other ways to save money on cloth nappies. The easiest is to buy second hand - perhaps especially good if you want to just try out a few types before deciding what to invest in. I would recommend doing this anyway, rather than buying a whole set straight off (unless you are super certain which type will work for you). Look here for a list of places to buy/get free second hand nappies or search on Facebook. 

3. If you're looking for a nappy demo in the next few weeks, try the fantastic Hackney Real Nappy Network, who run regular events that are open to all. Next demo and pop-up shop is 13th October in Hackney Central Library, see here. By the way Hackney Council also still does vouchers for free cloth nappies for Hackney residents, and funds a worker to run the HRNN so they have time to run a volunteer network and regular events. Sigh.

4. Or just drop me an email if I can help with any cloth nappy questions!

For anyone interested in/using real nappies locally who might want to get involved:
1. Hooray! I'd love to hear from you. We need volunteers to run a local demo, answer queries or help source samples for 2.

2. I've been working with another volunteer, Urszula, to help the Royal London parent education team to demo cloth nappies in all their antenatal classes. Urszula has been brilliant at getting cloth nappy suppliers to donate samples for the team (who by the way, have NO funding at all). Any ideas (or NEW unused nappies) welcome as we are still looking for more samples for them and for NCT antenatal classes in the borough.

It would be great if all parents-to-be got a helpful demo of modern cloth nappies with some nice samples to look through. So they have a genuine choice, rather than only being shown how to use a disposable. 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Real Nappy Week event in Limehouse this Friday

Hi all,

This is Real Nappy Week! If you want to find out more about 'real' (also known as reusable, and cloth) nappies, this is a great week to do it!

Aside from all the other reasons to use real nappies, did I mention how cute they are? Look at these new Bamboozle Stretch lovelies I've just bought (I got them from the Nappy Lady here, though she doesn't pay me for affiliate links or anything I've found her to be very reliable and helpful) for my 1-year-old. Super soft knitted bamboo, brilliantly absorbent and... cute
Bamboozle Stretch size 2s in 'Plop' and 'Daydream'

Here are the details of an event this week in Limehouse from my fellow Tower Hamlets real nappies volunteer, Urszula:

To celebrate Real Nappy Week I will be running short information demo sessions at Yurt Cafe in Limehouse on Friday 28th April at 2.30pm. The demo will take place during The Front Room session, which is a local group for parents with children up to three years old.

Come along to have a coffee, meet other parents and find out about the benefits of using cloth nappies!

After the demo Urszula will be on hand till 4pm to answer any questions and offer free advice on real nappies.

Venue details:
The Yurt Cafe
St Katharine's Precinct
2 Butcher Row
London E14 8DS

Please note that pram space is limited so please bring babies in slings if you can.

If you can't make it on Friday, check out lots of other events across East London this month on the Real Nappies for London website. Lots of freebies and info/advice up for grabs. You can also email me and Urszula at if you're starting out or thinking about using reusable nappies, and have specific questions you'd like to ask.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Real Nappy Info Events coming up!

If you're looking for information about real nappies, want to have a look at samples or pick up some pre-loved nappies and other baby gear there are several events coming up.

TOMORROW 18th November is the next Nappuccino event run by Tower Hamlets Council with a talk from The Washable Nappy Company. You can claim your £40 Real Nappies for London voucher for cloth nappies* then:

IDEA STORE. Lab 1, Chrisp Street, 1 Vessey Path, LONDON E14 6BT
Friday 18th November 2.15pm ( talk at 2.30pm)

*For all Tower Hamlets residents expecting a baby or with a child under 18months. See here for more details or to apply online.

ALSO tomorrow 18th November, if Hackney Central Library is closer to you there's a Real Nappy Demo and pop-up shop there, 10.30-12. See details here. And Hackney residents can get £54 towards real nappies (not fair! but great if you live in Hackney...).

See here for a list of other upcoming events in Hackney and beyond, including a give-and-take event on 23rd November where you can get (or giveaway) lots of baby stuff for free: