What is an Insert an How does it differ from a Booster?

An integral part of a cloth nappy is it’s absorbency. In some styles this is removeable and this piece of absorbent fabric is known as an Insert.

Inserts can be made from a variety of materials and blends. You will most commonly find Microfibre, Bamboo, Cotton and Hemp inserts. They all have various properties which determine what should be used when and how.

They can be all manner of shapes and sizes from rectangles and hourglass shapes to larger squares and long strips that need to be folded.

When we talk of ‘boosting’ a nappy we mean adding absorbency. A booster is an extra piece that we include in a nappy to meet our needs other than the components it originally came with. There is no physical difference between an insert and a booster but there is in how it is used.

We tend to boost All in One and Two Part nappies, so adding to their absorbency and use inserts in Pocket nappies. Practically speaking the two are interchangeable.

To browse Inserts and Boosters click here

What is a Pocket Cloth Nappy and How do I use one?

All cloth nappies are made up of two components:

  • An absorbent part
  • A waterproof or water resistant part

In a pocket cloth nappy those components are separate items. The waterproof part is a shell with an inner layer usually made of fleece sewn inside leaving one or both ends open to create a pocket. Inside the pocket you put your absorbent inserts.

Each pocket will be bought with one or more inserts. You can use one, two or more inserts in the pocket in a variety of materials to create the required absorbency for your child.

The pocket shell and inserts are dried separately, with the shell drying much faster. You can therefore use it again sooner if you have spare inserts. There is a small amount of preparation needed for each use in putting the inserts into the pocket, for some this is an annoyance. However, once prepared, when you put them on they are very simple.

You will find pocket nappies in hook and loop or snap closure and in all sizes.

To browse Pocket Nappies click here

What is an All In One Cloth Nappy and How do I use it?

All cloth nappies are made up of two components.

  • An absorbent part
  • A waterproof or water resistant part

In the case of an All In One nappy both of those parts are permanently attached or sewn together. You put them on as one piece, wash them as one piece and dry them as one piece. You can see that in this picture of the absorbent and waterproof parts that they are sewn together. Some have absorbent parts that are removeable by snaps but even when removed there is still a complete nappy system remaining.

In some All In One nappies, like this one, the absorbent part is visible and lays on top, in others it sits inside under a lining. In most, they fold out to increase  the drying speed. You will find All in One’s in both hook and loop and snap closure and in all sizes.

These nappies are most simple and easiest to use type of cloth nappy, popular with child care providers.  Disadvantages include length of drying time, the precision and care needed when fitting and possibly less scope for customisation and boosting.

To browse various options click here

 

 

Hook and Loop or Snap Fastening on your Cloth Nappy?

The majority of nappies fasten using with either Hook and Loop (the proper term for the generic use of ‘velcro’) or Snaps. Exceptions are some fitted nappies that use a ‘nappy nippa’ (a stretchy Y shape with hooks on 3 points) and Pull Up styles, either as a whole nappy or in cover form.

                   Some brands offer a choice in the same style but most stick with one type of fastening or other. It may be a factor in deciding if a nappy is for you or it may not matter at all.

Hook and Loop closure often allow for more precision fit, as the options are not restricted to the position and spacing of the snaps. It’s common for child care providers and the less experienced user to prefer these for ease of use. It’s also worth mentioning that hook and loop can be preferable for anyone changing nappies that has hand mobility issues as snaps can sometimes be tricky and there are a few of them to do at each change.

Hook and Loop fastening needs protecting during washing and drying to prevent ripping and attracting fluff. Cloth Nappy users often find that older babies and toddlers can often undo a hook and loop fastening themselves which understandably can cause problems. A Snap fastening can present as a ‘tidier’ nappy and requires less care, possibly extending the life of a nappy. They are also easier to replace.

Paradise Lost

I’m from the Midlands and absolutely love the sea. I think living in one of the furthest places in the UK from the coast means I can get a little over excited when I see it! As a child I spent most school holidays on the North Wales coast with my Nan and Grandad. We spent nearly every day on the beach come rain or shine – it was North Wales, so it was more often rain! Whatever the weather, it was beautiful – crashing waves, rippling rock pools and stunningly beautiful sands.

beach seaside family paradise

In April this year our family had a lovely long weekend in Ilfracombe, Devon. We arrived later in the afternoon and of course headed straight to the beach. It was just as I remembered and whisked me right back to my childhood as it always does. It was the first time taking our daughter to the beach and I couldn’t wait to share the joys I recalled from when I was little with her. There’s something so freeing and relaxing about looking out at the ocean as it laps against your feet, brushing sand across your toes. We had a wonderful afternoon and planned to head to the beach early the next morning.

paddle sea beach

My little one Floss woke up very early the next morning. We decided to head straight to the beach. We walked down the same path as the afternoon before, eager for another beautiful adventure. As we walked onto the beach I could not believe my eyes. The beautiful beach had turned into something akin to a landfill site. Across the whole of the beach, as far as I could see, there was a sea of rubbish. What had happened? I couldn’t let Floss take off her shoes, her feet would have been cut by the debris. There were so many pieces of plastic; lots were tiny splinters, but some were still whole, and you could make out exactly what they were. In the distance I saw a tractor and as we walked, aghast at what we saw, I began to realise that the tractor was cleaning the sand. The realisation that this happens every day, that every day this natural beauty is ruined by our pollution really shook me.

beach plastic paradise lost

That morning and for the rest of that day we carried on with our holiday, but my mind was pre-occupied with what I’d seen. I kept thinking of my unspoiled childhood adventures on the beach and how it was unfair that Floss didn’t also get to have that perfect image. I wondered what my grandchildren would see when they went to the beach. Would they even be able to go? Would the pollution be so toxic that families could no longer holiday on the beach and play in the sea? It was a devastating thought. I started to read articles and blog posts about pollution on our beaches and learn what things I could do, even in the Midlands, to help to reduce the waste consuming our beaches.

bucket sand beach

I think for changes to be lasting they have to be manageable. Here are some of the changes we’ve made as a family to help reduce our waste:

  • Stop buying small plastic drinks bottles
  • Using cloth wipes to reduce the amount of disposable wipes
  • Buying shampoo and conditioners that can be refilled
  • Choosing wooden toys over plastic
  • Taking cutlery sets with us so we don’t have to use disposable when we’re out and about
  • Take reusable bags when shopping
  • Shopping at our local farm shop so things aren’t packaged in plastic and we only buy the quantity we need
  • Stop using kitchen roll

This is just the start of what we are doing as a family. Next on my list is reusable straws. I’d never really considered these before as I didn’t use them, but my little one needs to use straws to help her drink, so I want to make sure they are with our cutlery stash.

What do you do to reduce waste? What will you do in future?

Non-plastic = ocean fantastic

  • Between 5m and 13m tonnes of plastic leaks into the oceans each year
  • By 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight
  • Those who eat seafood ingest up to 11,000 pieces of microplastic a year

(Source: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

We all know plastics are bad for the oceans, and we all know that refusing a plastic bag at the checkout or a straw at the bar can help us do our bit for marine life. But what if we want to do more? Here are some simple swaps to help you save even more plastic from going to landfill…

Plastic-free bathroom:

plastic-free, deodorant

Deodorant

Organic Confidence deodorant shuts down odor causing bacteria with baking soda and organic coconut oil. It is gentle, effective and made using USDA-certified organic ingredients. But most importanty, it comes in a recycleable paper tube. No more plastic containers going to landfill, breaking down into microplastics and leaching into the water table, and eventually polluting our oceans.

Bamboo toothbrushes 

Did you know that every plastic toothbrush you have ever used still exists somewhere? It’s a horrible thought! Bamboo toothbrushes like those by Hydrophil are far better for everyone. For the little ones, these biodegradable and compostable Jack N Jill toothbrushes are a great alternative. For plastic-free floss, give Georganics a try.

plastic-free periodCloth Sanitary Protection 

Approximately 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million sanitary towels are flushed down the toilet in the UK every single day. (Statistics from in the Journal of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.) When you consider that each pad can take 500 years to break down – and by “break down” we mean disintegrate into microplastics – and the average woman will use 11,000 in her lifetime, you get an insight into just how big a problem this is. It’s now easy to have a plastic-free period by opting for eco-friendly alternatives.

Plastic-free nursery:

Cloth nappies and wipes

baba + boo tree frog nappyIt is true that the laundering of cloth nappies has a carbon footprint. But it is now widely acknowledged that this is a drop in the ocean when compared to the environmental costs of producing and disposing of disposables. The production of disposables alone uses 3.5 times more energy, 8.3 times more non-renewable resources, and 90 times more renewable resources than real nappies. The average nappy takes between 250 and 500 years to degrade, all the while seeping microplastics, bacteria and harmful chemicals into our earth and oceans. As for wipes – which also contain plastic, by the way – in 2017 they came in at #7 in the top ten items found by beach-cleaners. This is a very real problem.

All seem like good reasons to invest in real nappy alternatives!

plastic-free badger balm

Plastic-free nappy changes

Badger Balm Chamomile and Calendula balm contains no  harsh chemicals, synthetics, fragrance, parabens, GMOs, or anything else you wouldn’t want on a baby! AND it comes in a tiny tin with a cardboard sleeve – no plastics in sight!

Plastic-free toybox:

More and more of us are switching to choose open-ended wooden toys, and for good reason – they are better for our children’s development, encouraging imaginative play and discovery through exploration, building resilience and critical-thinking. But there are also environmental considerations at play here. In North America, 90% of toys are plastic and the majority are simply not recyclable, so destined for landfill. There are exceptions to these: Green Toys are made from 100% recycled plastics with replacement parts readily available to ensure your already-recycled toys will last as long as possible.

Wooden toys are often more costly than plastic toys, but in my experience, they also last longer on two levels: 1) As heirloom pieces, that can be boxed up and kept for future generations without any fear that the plastics will be degrading when they are next put to play; and 2) As cross-age, even cross-generational pieces that can be played with by, for example, my 1-year-old, my 5-year-olds, my teenaged niece and myself, alike! While I found our plastic toys were quickly boxed up and put away as soon as they were “no longer age-appropriate”, our Grimms, Grapat and Raduga Grez are permanently out and consistently played with. So many brands  – Ocamora, Black’s Toys, Gluckscafer to name a few – produce amazing open-ended toys that won’t lose their play value as long as your children have imagination. Even my autistic spectrum son, who has struggled in the past with “imaginative” play loves the order of creating a mandala with grapat pieces, or building with the rainbow pieces, and now creates whole playscapes with boundless imagination. SHOP TOYS

Plastic-free everywhere!

BYOB: Reusable drink bottles

The average person in the UK will use 150 single use water bottles every year – that’s 13 billion each year to be chucked away. But how do they end up in our oceans? Well, they are quite light, so often get blown into streams and rivers, which naturally lead to the sea. Our landfills are overflowing, increasing the potential for lighter plastics to “escape” this way. Much of our plastic used to be shipped to China to be recycled in poorly-organised recycling plants, providing opportunity for yet more “lost” bottles, either on the open oceans or into the waterways at the far end, where it is now thought much of the plastic sent to be recycled was, in fact, incinerated or dumped.

That’s where reusable drinks bottles can really make a difference. There’s one for every pocket and one for every style, and if you are looking for an entirely plastic-free option – there’s one for you too!