13 votes

My hospital uses reusable towels for baby diaper changes

Hi, I was originally meaning to write a whole thing about my personal low waste challenges with a new born, but...Yeah the new born part is making it kind of impossible right now.

So, before giving birth, we did get some reusable diapers used. I really wanted to commit to them, but was honestly afraid that they would be too overwhelming. And I had no plan for replacing disposable wipes. I had some little towels, but considering a new born goes through about 8-10 diapers a day and I have used up to three disposable wipes while changing my nephew's diaper - I wasn't sure how feasible reusable wipes were. (I don't have 30 little towels and wasn't planning to run out and buy anything).

Sometime in the last year, the postpartum ward of my local hospital dropped their disposable wipes and now use little orange face towels. And they were surprisingly easy to use. Quick wetting with warm water and they work better than disposable cloths, so you really don't need as many as I previously calculated. Using them in the hospital really encouraged me to use them at home.

I honestly think we've grown really use to a disposable mindset, especially for sanitary items, and find it interesting and a little sad how things like disposable diapers and wipes are the default. Reusable diapers for most people aren't even a consideration. Hope to see more changes like this in the hospital amd elsewhere to remind and encourage us to evaluate out options.

8 comments

  1. [2]
    Dovey Link
    That's encouraging to hear. My friend did that with her baby years ago, and (when time and circumstances permitted) would add a drop of lavender oil to a bowl of warm water for the cloth....

    That's encouraging to hear. My friend did that with her baby years ago, and (when time and circumstances permitted) would add a drop of lavender oil to a bowl of warm water for the cloth. Congratulations on your baby!

    2 votes
    1. Catt Link Parent
      Thanks! And lavender sounds really nice.

      Thanks! And lavender sounds really nice.

      1 vote
  2. [6]
    mat Link
    Our postnatal ward didn't have any wipes at all. They had cotton wool and tubs of water. Cotton wool is at least easily disposable (they run a non-biohazard incinerator for power at the hospital),...

    Our postnatal ward didn't have any wipes at all. They had cotton wool and tubs of water. Cotton wool is at least easily disposable (they run a non-biohazard incinerator for power at the hospital), if not reusable.

    We bought a whole load of facecloth-like cotton cloths which we use for wipes. They're still really useful six months down the line and once he's too old to need constantly wiping we're going to use them for general housecloth things. The ones we have were 10 for £3 or something, which definitely works out cheaper than disposable wipes after just a few months use, as well as lower impact. Cheaper and better for the environment is a combination I like!

    Reusable nappies are good but for the first few months, we didn't bother. Apart from anything else, he didn't fit into size 1 nappies until he was 3 months or so - but even if he had there's so much else to do, keeping on top of the laundry is hard enough without having to make sure you have 10-15 clean and dry nappies available every day. Especially if you have a winter baby and no clothes dryer... The way we looked at it was given the amount of waste a human will generate over their lifetime a couple of months of disposable nappies is basically a rounding error. A couple of years is a rather different proposition though.

    Our little dude is in reusables most of the time now, but we still have disposables around for occasional use - he can move so much better in them compared to the bulky reusables, plus he needs them for swimming and so on.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Catt Link Parent
      We didn't really use them in the beginning either. He was too small for the pocket ones we had and the prefolds didn't have enough capacity after him growing about a week. And we do have some...

      We didn't really use them in the beginning either. He was too small for the pocket ones we had and the prefolds didn't have enough capacity after him growing about a week.

      And we do have some disposables for occasional use too. Mostly for if I know I won't have easy access to a baby change table or water.

      The reusables really are quite bulky. It's kinda funny seeing them on.

      1. mat Link Parent
        Currently our chap can roll over quite happily if he's naked or wearing disposables, but in reusables he can't move his legs enough. He will get there, and he's much less interested in rolling...

        Currently our chap can roll over quite happily if he's naked or wearing disposables, but in reusables he can't move his legs enough. He will get there, and he's much less interested in rolling around than he is in sitting up (which he just mastered this week) but he is quite small for his age so they're still quite chunky on him.

        All it means is we have to schedule more naked wiggle time, which is no bad thing. He's never so happy as when he's naked...

        1 vote
    2. [3]
      NaraVara Link Parent
      How does the cleaning work on disposables? Do you just run them through the washing machine poo and all? Or does the water get scraped off and flushed down the toilet? I was never really clear on...

      How does the cleaning work on disposables? Do you just run them through the washing machine poo and all? Or does the water get scraped off and flushed down the toilet? I was never really clear on that aspect of it.

      (My wife and I plan to start trying soon, so we’re looking into options).

      1. [2]
        mat Link Parent
        I'm guessing you mean reusables, not disposables. You don't clean disposables :) With the reusables there's an optional non-reusable liner bit which you can throw or flush, which catches quite a...

        I'm guessing you mean reusables, not disposables. You don't clean disposables :)

        With the reusables there's an optional non-reusable liner bit which you can throw or flush, which catches quite a lot of stuff. The cloth part goes in the washing machine and we usually run a 15 minute rinse cycle on the day's nappies then put in all the rest of the laundry and just put them on a normal wash at 30 degrees. Seems to be fine. Occasionally they go in an extra hot wash just to kill off anything that has survived so far, but drying in the sun does that just as well.

        tbh the poo is mostly pretty liquid, and not even particularly unpleasant until they're on solids. They do only drink milk for quite a long time - ours is six months old and we've just started showing him actual food, which is more of a game than a meal right now - he'll be on the milk as his main source of food for quite a while yet.

        Best of luck! Took us a little while to get from trying to actual baby, lots of ups and downs along the way (and I don't just mean in the bedroom). But totally worth it. Even if sleep is just a distant memory and we realised the other day that our 'acceptable amount of piss on an item of clothing' threshold was no longer "none"...

        3 votes
        1. NaraVara Link Parent
          Yep. That is what I meant. Thanks!

          Yep. That is what I meant. Thanks!