Persuading Partners & Real Nappies
Friday, 1 August 2014
There is a lot to think about with cloth nappies and they can feel like much more of a commitment than disposables. However if you’re reading this there’s a very good chance that you want to use cloth nappies so we don’t need to convince you, but maybe there is someone in you life who does need a little convincing.
Nearly anything in parenting is going to be easier if all caregivers are on the same page and cloth nappies are no different, so here are a few pieces of advice for you to help win someone over to cloth.
Getting Used to the Idea
Take the time to have a conversation about using cloth, if possible actually plan time in to have the discussion so that you don’t get distracted. Understand the benefits of cloth but also the perceived downsides: there’s no hiding the fact that washing nappies is more work than just throwing them away but knowing the pros and cons will help you win them over. You’ve got to change a nappy anyway, disposables don’t take that away, so the additional effort is minimal, just a bit more washing and drying.
You’re having a child and it would be a great thing to leave the world in a better place than when you were born and using cloth nappies will have a positive environmental impact for generations (it’s thought that disposables take 500 years to decompose, so every nappy ever thrown away is still in landfill).
Know your partner and raise the subject in a way that will address their main concerns. For instance, if finances are a major worry, especially if you have now given up a second income, then the cost benefits of cloth nappies may well be the way to approach this one. Your partner may worry that this will be a large one off expense at a time that you can't afford it, even if they can see the financial benefits in the long run. Stress that it is both possible and indeed desirable to get advice first, then buy only a trial quantity before committing yourself to the expense of a full kit.
If your partner wants to use disposables 'because all my friends do', you have to persuade them that using cloth nappies is not going to look silly. This might mean getting the cutest, easiest cloth nappies on the market. The upside is, if you convert, your friends may well do too, because they will not want to miss out. It's a clique thing.
I have heard many parents-to-be say "I would like to try cloth nappies but my partner isn't interested". If you’re still struggling to convince them then you could try visiting a local nappy library or book in to one of our online nappy demos. They normally last around an hour and explain everything about cloth and give you or your partner the chance to ask our team of advisors any questions. So all you need to do is borrow an hour of their time and you can always use biscuits to bribe them. It's lovely to see a couple in a demo gradually both getting enthusiastic about the idea once they have more information and especially the opportunity to see or feel a nappy in hand. Sometimes the more enthusiastic partner is the one who has done the more research, so their partner may not necessarily be disinterested, but instead less enthusiastic about seeking out the knowledge.
Sharing the Nappy Chore
In many of today's households, including my own, both caregivers are willing to get involved in the nappy changing and washing routine, but there are some households where one partner takes much more of an active role than the other. This section is to give a few thoughts to those who have more of an uphill battle on this front.
It's very easy for the parent that stays at home with their child to have the advantage with all things child related as they are doing all this stuff day in day out for months on end (at least until they go back to work), so adapting to cloth nappies is pretty easy for them. After all, it's a chore that needs to be done so there's no point making a fuss about it. The parent who is out at work doesn't have the same advantage. This can mean that some partners may make the perceived difficulty of cloth nappies the excuse for getting out of nappy changing.
Only you can tell the best way to persuade your partner that cloth nappies are easy once you know how, but you may want to try the following steps:
Cloth nappies have their own jargon, and everyone needs to know what is a nappy, what is a wrap, what is a liner, how they fit together etc. Explain everything clearly, but don't insult their intelligence!
Get your partner to watch you change the nappies. Don't slap everything together so quickly that they can't see what you have done. Make a point of exaggerating or pointing out all those last tweaks (no bits of liner sticking out, elastic sitting where it should etc), so they aren't missed when it's their turn to change a nappy. Share all your tips for making it easier (like a toy to keep baby busy, wiping the poo from baby's bottom with the liner etc) and maybe they'll develop some of their own to show you.
When it's your partner's turn to put the nappy on, be on hand to advise or help as necessary. Tread carefully with any criticism - if the nappy achieves what is needed, even though it might not be the way you would do it, then it is good enough. Remember you were once just as baffled!
You are both expert changers of nappies, so sit down and enjoy a few minutes to yourself knowing that nappy change is all under control!
With thanks to cloth bum dad Liam for contributing to this article (and doing his fair share of persuasion).