Parent Diaries: Vanessa and Tom
- SARAH PORTER
- Parent Life Product
- 13 / 12 / 2023
Vanessa and Tom began using reusable diapers when baby Arthur was a few months old. They had some concerns about how easy it would be to bring reusable diapers into their routine, largely due to some of the common misconceptions about reusable diapers .
Tell us a little about your family and family life in general.
Our little family consists of me, Tom and Arthur.
He is our first baby and he is definitely keeping us on our toes! He's just turned 1 and has started walking, so most of our days consist of him toddling about causing mischief and us chasing after him.
We love spending time in our garden, you could say its Tom's pride and joy (after Arthur of course!) and Arthur loves to help his Dad water the plants outside and loves to sit and watch the birds in the garden.
I'm not so much of a gardener but I love to cook, and I like to find new recipes to make for Arthur to eat with us. Food is definitely a big part of our family life and my culture. When we have family gatherings there is always lots to eat! As we are a multi-cultural family, its really important for us that Arthur is brought up exposed to both sides – so I try to teach him Cantonese as much as I can, and we also speak English to him. Our weekends are usually spent seeing our family as we are lucky enough to live close by to both sides of the family.
What made you opt for reusables in the first place?
I was curious to try reusables out, especially since I noticed that our disposable waste had definitely increased since Arthur was born. We started out with making sure to buy plastic-free baby wipes as a first step and choosing disposable diapers that were marketed as being more eco-friendly.
Life kind of got in the way and it just fell down the list of priorities but then when I saw the advert for the Bambino Mio photoshoot for the relaunch of the brand, it was a little reminder for us to have a rethink about trying to cut down on our diapers waste.
Was there one thing that made you think it was the right choice?
Every time we pop one of his diapers into a washbag instead of into the bin, its nice to know we're making a small difference!
Did you both agree to use reusables?
We both agreed to use the reusables together and since Arthur's grandparents look after him during the week, we've also got them on board too!
We just had to show them how they work with the liners, wetbag, fitting them ok etc but they got the hang of it really quickly. They're a big fan of the cute designs as well!
What are your thoughts on the current waste crisis? Was this one of the things that inspired you?
I think having a baby definitely opened up our eyes to how much we throw away. Especially during the early newborn stages, it just felt like we were constantly emptying the diaper bin.
And how quickly babies go through clothes as well, just made us think about how much would go to landfill unless we made the effort to donate, sell or pass on clothes to friends and family.
Were you concerned about washing?
Not really. We were used to doing a lot of washing anyway so didn’t think it would add to it too much and we haven’t noticed too much of a difference since we started using them.
Tell us about your nappy routine.
At the moment we are using the reusable diapers for daytime at home and when we are out and about.. the next step is swapping from our night-time diapers to the reusables too.
We tend to change every 2 to 3 hours, and I usually wash them every 2 or 3 days and just pop them in with our usual washing.
One of Arthur's favourite games is to pull out of all the clean diapers from the washing basket when I'm sitting on his bedroom floor getting the diapers stuffed with the boosters!
For the ones we keep in his changing table at home, I just put booster in and when we change him – add a liner then. But for the ones I'm packing to put in my changing bag when we go out for the day, I add the booster and also put the disposable liner into the diaper so everything is already done and I don’t need to faff about with taking the package of liners out with us as well.
Arthur will be starting nursery next month so we will be having a chat with them to see if they are happy for us to bring in reusable diapers for him to use during the day with them too so it will be interesting to hear their thoughts on it and if many other parents use them as well.
What other eco swaps have you made as a family?
We have a composting bin for food waste. Big water butt's for saving rain water to water the garden and plants (we have lots of house plants to look after!)
And then simple things like buying plastic free wipes, we get our laundry tabs delivered from Smol as their laundry products are plastic-free and cruelty-free.
There's definitely room for improvement though, and ditching disposable diapers is a start!
Do you have any other advice for parents considering reusables?
I think something so simple as changing the diapers that your child uses is a great way to start thinking about sustainability and cutting down waste. Its something you can incorporate into your daily routine pretty easily.
I know before I tried them, I thought they'd be messy and complicated. But I found that actually once I'd got one of the diapers in my hand to look at and try, it was just so similar to a disposable diaper and it was pretty intuitive to use.
We started off with just using the reusables during the daytime when we were at home and then once we'd gotten into the swing of it, moved on to using them when out and about as well. So if you think that you need to be 'all or nothing', that’s not the case. You can try them out, get used to the routine of using them at home, making sure they fit right to prevent leaks and as you get used to it then work your way up to using them for more of your diaper changes.
We're currently making our way through some disposable night diapers that we had stocked up on, but once they're used up then we're going to start trying the reusables.
Anything else you think people might enjoy reading?
I read a nice quote online that said :
'We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.'
And I really liked it because sometimes I can feel like I don’t know much about sustainability at all, and it can be an intimidating subject to tackle because it always seems like there are lots of people out there with so much more knowledge that do things 'better' than we are doing.
But if I can just make a little difference with what I am doing then at least it’s a start!