Babies’ bottoms – Plastic-free July!

Author Headshot - Sophie
July 31, 2016

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Photo courtesy of Bristol Cloth Nappy Library

July has been “plastic-free” month and as it draws to a close I wonder just how possible it is to raise babies without resorting to buying/using lots of the stuff.  There are many parents who adamantly tell you that they will only let their little darlings play with beautifully-crafted wooden toys prior to birth.  How many of them find their living rooms cluttered with brightly-coloured, noisy tat once the babies start to engage?  It’s relatively easy to look at that aspect – but where else does plastic play a part?  And what options do parents have?

Probably one of the biggest baby plastic offenders is the disposable nappy. It is a shocking thought that every single disposable nappy ever used is still sitting in landfill, and that nappies contribute to a significant percentage of the rubbish that we throw away nationally – each baby will go through approximately 6,500 nappies in 2 1/2 years.  Consider the expense both to your purse and to the environment.

So, what are the alternatives?  These days we are fortunate that there are amazing washable nappy options – there are Nappy Consultants who run “Nappuccino” events – yes that’s right – a coffee morning for mums and mums-to-be to look at the range of options out there – beautiful, quick-drying, colourful, no-pins-required, soft, comfortable, absorbable pants that little bottoms deserve to sit in!  And whilst we are at it – rather than buying endless tubs of chemical-filled baby wipes it’s possible to make your own by cutting up some old towels in to small flannels, store them in a recycled tub in a solution of water and a few drops of essential oils, then wash alongside your nappies when you have used them.  Simple, cheap, effective!

Due to the effectiveness of disposable nappies the natural age for potty-training seems to have been delayed.  I’ve heard so many mothers bemoaning the fact that their grannies claimed to have had dry children by the age of one, when theirs are still resolutely refusing to come out of disposables aged 2, 3 or even 4 years old.  When it comes to potty-training we aren’t limited to plastic either – there are options like the Becopotty – made of bamboo and waste plant material it can be used and reused for as long as you like.   However, once you are done with it it can be planted in the garden, where it will begin to biodegrade without releasing nasties into your soil.

Or, if you are feeling brave then perhaps you will consider Elimination Communication and aim to go nappy and plastic-free from the very start with your little one?  It works for millions of families across the world – what harm is there in learning your baby’s cues for weeing and pooing and avoiding both nappies and the potty-training nightmare completely?

To list yourself as a Nappy Consultant on the Nurturing Birth Directory go to

Author Headshot- Sophie
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