“ Brand: Happy Nappy / Type: Nappies „
Like many parents, when having a baby, I knew certain items were needed. These things included nappies, which for over 99.9% of parents is a must have. It certainly was for us, as I was not even remotely interested in the elimination communication concept. If you have read any of my other reviews, you will no doubt note I started off, like many parents, by using disposables, then moved over to cloth. I did so for a variety of personal reasons, which, as I am reviewing a cloth nappy, I will mention here as it is relevant, as well as other things in favour of cloth in general, as they therefore apply to this nappy.
Happy Nappy Days is an enterprise ran from home by a stay at home Mom here in the UK. She makes cloth nappies in a variety of patterned outers and these nappies feature a stay dry fleece inner. This means that like a disposable, babys bottom stays dry, but no chemicals come in direct contact with skin (unlike disposables. In fact, concerned manufacturers had to be FORCED to remove toxic TBT from their manufacturing just 4 years ago after Greenpeace tested major brands and found toxic levels, despite the tests and campaigning dating back to 2000. http://www.nappies.net/tbt.htm). While the fleece inner means babys skin is dry, unless the nappy states it is an all in one, it still requires a cover, which she also makes and sells, but more about that later.
Obviously, being a cloth nappy means it has to be washed before reuse (and for best use, wash a few times before first use as it plumps the cotton fibres for maximum absorbency). These are easy to launder. Just throw in with your towels or other baby laundry, wash at 40 degrees and dry either on the line or in the dryer. Adding the days worth to your existing load means no extra washing, so environmental impact is lessened even further. Indeed, environmental reasons were one of the reasons we had for the switch. Many have no doubt heard the so called news that cloth is no more eco friendly than disposables. This is cobblers. Firstly, the study was paid for and conducted by the disposable nappy and sanitary product manufacturers association with membership including the makers of Huggies and Pampers and was NOT done by an independent laboratory. It also based the findings on a VERY limited sample of cloth nappy users (less than 50), and assumed a person boil washed, tumble dried, and then ironed their nappies. Lastly, the study only followed the first time use of the types of nappies, and not the manufacture, reuse, and disposal costs. For a truer picture of the footprint incurred with a first time use (i.e., not then used by other children), see the independent study here: http://www.wen.org.uk/general_pages/Newsitems/pr_asa.htm
It should be noted the home laundering assumes you are doing a dedicated nappy wash, and no other laundry is washed with it. So, I like these nappies as they are eco friendly, and greatly reduce our footprint on the environment, with further reductions being made dependent on your laundering methods.
Lack of leaks is another thing I really liked about these nappies. The soaker pad does an excellent job unboosted handling even a heavy wee, and the elasticised legs and back keep leaks away and ensure the nappy moves when baby does. The soaker is cotton, which brings up another point I really like about these. Brands of disposables sold in high street shops and supermarkets contain a gel that swells when it is exposed to liquid. While this makes the nappy very absorbent, and the gel is harmless if it touches skin, it is NOT a harmless substance when placed under deeper scrutiny. The first strike against it, and in this nappys cotton absorbent cores favour, is that if gel gets upon the bedding, or if a child gets it upon their hands, etc, it can be inhaled or swallowed. I found this out to my detriment and got a very bad scare. An undetectable to the naked eye manufacturing fault meant that when wet, the swelling of the gel expanded a microscopic tear in the plastic outer and gel leaked onto my daughters bedding. She then wriggled, and rolled in her bed as infants do, and got some up her nose and on her lips. I rang the maker, and was told to get us to an A and E immediately. The liquid does not have to be water. It can be moisture from mucous, the lining of the lungs .you get the picture. Luckily, it was not actually in her nasal passages, and she had not swallowed any, as that could have been fatal as the gel expanded. No such worry here in this gel free washable nappy!
Being gel free also brings further point about the Happy Nappy's environmental friendliness, as it relates to why disposables have a higher footprint. Being fabric, when it is reduced to rags and unwearable, a Happy Nappy Days nappy (admittedly, as well as practically any other cloth nappy) will decompose in landfill (or better yet, in your compost bin or wormery) as cloth rots easily, being organically based. Disposables on the other hand, do not fare anywhere so well. Scientists conducted studies to discover how long it would take for the average disposable to decompose. The answer was a shocking 500 years, during which time the gel would absorb ground water, leaching untreated sewage from the urine and faeces inside as well as the chemicals that make up the plastic and gel, into the ground water table. (www.knowsley.gov.uk/environment/rubbish_waste/nappies.html). When you factor in the fact that if changed regularly as advised, each child uses an average of 5850 nappies during its early childhood, and that in the UK alone, this tots up a whopping 3 billion nappies are thrown away on a daily basis (smartnews.warrington.gov.uk/article2.asp?ID=291446) and end up buried in landfill, you get some VERY disturbing conclusions. Even scarier, in many areas, brownfield sites are being used to build housing, so you or your children could literally be moved to a house built on a nappy "mountain".
Cost is another factor that using a cloth nappy such as this has. Being skeptical, we totted up how much we actually spent on nappies. Firstly, we added up how many packs per week we bought of disposables (and adjusted it over time to accomodate the packs holding much fewer as she grew), and how often that meant I had to get to the store, and figured out costs for that. Then we factored in how many more KW per hour I was using if I did a dedicated nappy wash, rather than adding it to the baby laundry I already did. We also added in the additional water as shown by the meter. Adding in the cost of the differnet cloth nappies I bought, including postage was also factored in. At the end of the first year, we saved over £750, doing exceedingly well as the conservative estimate of £500 year is tendered by expert studies. This was in part because we lived in a rural village, so I had bus fares to add into costs, though I did divvy it up as a percentage against other items I also went out to get. When baby number two was born, at the end of a year, we had saved over £1100, as he was able to wear what his sister had worn, so outlay was practically nil. Cost for these nappies is on par with most major brands of cloth nappies, but you get a designer service and help out a cottage industry.
Style is another reason I am a big fan of these nappies. As you can see by the title, I am reviewing the Gothic Collection she does. This is just one of the many style of prints she does, and boy, do these rock. From rock and roll black nappies with red flames, to cute gosts, bats, and witches, there is something here for everyone, from the hardcore gothic mama to the parent wanting a bit of fun for Halloween! This is definitely an area that makes this nappy shine, as Happy Nappy Days is the ONLY nappy manufcturer who specialises in this niche market. I loved the adorable prints, and the addition to her wraps collection of the black breatheable PUL wrap made this a combo hard to resist. I have to admit our new grandbaby is getting the black and red flames one with matching black wrap as a gift. The designs make a cute little statement about fun, where as many nappies are plain boring, being all white, or just have a little cartoon strip across the waistband. Ho hum.
As mentioned, you do need a wrap with these unless opting for one of the all in ones. The wraps are fabric, made of a breatheable type of polyester fabric that helps keep body temperature down. This is vital, as nappy region temperatures of just 1 degree are associated with fungal growth (thrush) as well as rises in male infertility and colorectal cancer later in life. Sadly, while the PUL wraps and the PUL she uses in the all in ones, do keep these temperatures within known safety ranges (ie, normal body temperature), the same again cannot be said about disposables. For further information, you can read the news article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/941174.stm. I can categorically state that my daughter seemed fine in disposables until she got an unfortunate thrush infection that simply refused to clear until we moved to reusuables initially on medical advice, relating to temperatures and breatheability. The gel incident mentioned earlier occurred whilst using the pack off at night and ended our disposable use.
I have only found one quibble with these, and it is the drying time. In summer, these dry a treat, and if I place directly over the radiator, they dry fine overnight if the heat is on, though not as soft as when line dried the normal way. With the cotton soaker being integeral, drying time can be 3-4 hours at best outside on the line, or what seems practically forever indoors on an airer. His is a fault of the most shaped nappies, so admittedly I used these for showoffability and holidays, and not as my regular nappy. If you have a tumble dryer, these will dry only slightly slower than your load of towels, so if drying more than one load, you can simply keep them in with the second load and have them finish drying without extra cost.
Ease of use is a plus point. These are shaped, so require no origami dexterity or skill, and simply fasten using a hook and loop fasterner which is like velcro, but much softer to the touch. Simply place under baby, and fasten the tabs onto the waistband. If an all one, you are finished. If it is a standard nappy, you then simply place the wrap over it, and fasten it, ensuring it is not digging into the nappy or child, and that the nappy is not peeking out anywhere.
So, all in all, a WAHM made nappy that is a bit different, with spooks, rock n roll themes, and other fun prints to choose from, at an affordable to the wallet price, performs extremely well, and that wont destroy the world or cause health issues in your little bundle of joy.
You can buy these and other nongothic print nappies from www.happynappydays.co.uk, clicking on GO SHOPPING in the upper left hand corner to access the shop.
Cute gothic prints on these fun nappies for kids.